by Steven Neely


Anglers have eagerly awaited the addition of a more robust and aggressive stillwater boat fly rod to the immensely popular Stillmaniac range.  I can confidently declare that their prayers have been answered with the 10′ #8. Vision’s new Stillmaniac, 10ft #8, truly delivers spectacular power, but it should only be entrusted to responsible individuals.

When it comes to an out-and-out casting machine, this rod literally left me open-mouthed. The distances that I was able to achieve were literally staggering. What’s even more impressive, was that the wind on the day was pretty brutal. Faced with a steady 18mph, with gusts of 33mph, it was like casting in a wind tunnel.

Despite this, the sheer ‘grunt’ of this rod meant casting into or across it was a doddle. I just wound the thing up and then watched it go. With the wind at my back, it was incredible. By pitching the cast high on the forward stroke, my Damsel was nearly hitting the other side of the lake. A staggering 45 yards away. We’re talking about shooting head distances here.

A picture of the butt section of Stillmaniac 10ft # 8 the best Stillwater Boat Fly Rod
Vision Stillmaniac 10' #8 Stillwater Boat Fly Rod

Stillwater Boat Fly Rod – Performance

Line-wise, this rod will accommodate everything. I have been threading a lot of full-on, competition-style lines through the guides lately. Ones with aggressive front tapers and an extra-long running line. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to pull the backing knot through the tip ring, for a little extra length on my cast. Yet I’m sure it would have taken more, had I tried it.

Although I really enjoyed using it from the bank, the distances you can achieve from the boat also give immense benefits. Anglers love an edge, that little something that allows them to get one over on their boat partner. And one of the best ways is by covering more water. More water means more fish, right. Even with some crafty boat positioning at the bow, any proficient caster can effectively cover the most productive water first using this 8wt rod.

For me, many fast-action Stillwater boat fly rods are nothing more than broom handles. They’re too stiff, with no give and can be a total nightmare to fish with, taking all the enjoyment out of the day. Not this rod, not a bit of it. Although it’s an 8wt and a very fast action one at that, this Stillmaniac has something about it which makes me want to use it time and time again.

Stillwater Boat Fly Rod – Playing Fish

I’m a 7wt maximum kind of guy. So that is a real rarity for me, as I find most fast-action rods just have no soul about them. Yes, you can cast miles, but they’re no fun to fish with. Their capability for playing fish becomes obsolete. Leaving you with a ‘pulling rod’ that’s hardly useful for anything else, and very few anglers desire such a tool.

The Stillmaniac, however, delivers so much more than you’d expect from an 8wt Stillwater boat fly rod. It gives you the chance to cast to the horizon, but also offers enough flex and movement to play trout and enjoy the fight. After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

The rod’s power can be harnessed to maintain control and assert authority during the fight. Yet it also offers a crucial level of flexibility when needed. I now find myself reaching for this rod when fishing nymphs at distance. Whether it’s on the washing line or the bung. It allows me to set the hook at long range without fear of breaking off, giving me the flexibility I need.

Rainbow trout landed with Vision Stillmaniac 10' #8 Stillwater Boat Fly Rod

For someone who has previously been hesitant about heavier outfits, this rod has completely shifted my perspective, and I have undeniably been captivated by the allure of this remarkable beauty. Right from the moment you hold it, you can discern that it’s meticulously designed to meet the demands of the modern Stillwater angler. Whether you’re a pleasure angler or a die-hard competitor, the new Vision Stillmaniac 8wt offers advantages that will transform your time on the water. Find out more about the Stillmaniac family here.

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