Expert Review: Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Sealed Drag Reel

This review is my honest opinion of the reel which I purchased with my own money in April of 2022.

The Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Sealed Drag Reel.

All photos courtesy of Marshall McDougal

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the reel which I purchased with my own money in April of 2022.

My take

Temple Fork Outfitters’ BVK SD II is a great reel for the money. This reel is lightweight and has a good drag system that will help fight fish, while holding extra backing for those fish that like to make long runs.

The Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Sealed Drag Reel at a river.

About the reel

  • Model: Temple Fork Outfitters BVK SD II
  • Reel Size: WF5F
  • Backing Capacity: 200 Yards/20 lb/WF5F
  • Arbor Size: Large
  • Construction: Machined aluminum and anodized
  • Drag System: Fully sealed Delrin® and stainless-steel
  • Drag Pressure: N/A

About me

  • Preferred fishing style(s): Dry Fly and Streamers
  • Experience: 16 Years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: April 2022
  • Rod Paired with Reel: TFO Axiom II 05 90 4
  • Line Paired Reel: Monic Icicle WF5F
  • Days tested: 15+
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Piedra River, CO; San Juan River, CO
  • Species targeted with rod: Trout

How it performs


What I was looking for

My search started with a trip I had planned to Colorado to chase brown trout. I needed a sealed drag reel that was capable of fighting larger trout, and one that was relatively inexpensive compared to other high-end reels.

Why I chose this gear

I decided on the BVK SD II because of its larger arbor size and its sealed drag system. Drag was not as big of a concern for me, as I knew that I would not be fighting fish that would be getting into my backing. Overall, it came down to the price, and the BVK SD II was a great price for the quality of reel I received.

A trout in a net.

What I love about it

  • Performance: I was pleased with the performance of this reel. I was able to handle big trout with ease – it got the job done.
  • Use Case: I used this reel for trout fishing. Hopper dropper rigs as well as streamers were the main setups I was using.
  • Size: Perfect size for trout application. The reel is big enough to hold plenty of backing, but it is not bulky.
  • Drag System: The sealed drag kept the reel functioning flawlessly. It had just the right amount of drag to keep large trout from breaking off on a 5x tippet.
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty. Like most TFO products, they will replace broken parts and even the reel if it is a manufacturing defect.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Quality: The quality of this reel is middle of the road. It is built well and will last, but sustained more nicks and dings than most other reels I own.
  • Versatility: The BVK SD II is best suited for freshwater applications, making it not as versatile as I would like. I would not use this reel in saltwater applications.
  • Durability: This reel took a beating on both of my trips to Colorado, and the wear and tear show on the frame. With that being said, the performance is not affected by the marks it shows. This reel shows more signs of wear and tear than I would like but overall does not affect the actual performance of the reel.
  • Aesthetics: The BVK SD II is not the prettiest reel on the market. It is a simple, older-style-looking reel.
Close up of the Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Sealed Drag Reel.

Favorite moment with this gear

My favorite moment with this reel was landing a 16” rainbow trout on a hopper dropper rig. I was running my fly through a riffle when this trout ate, and he immediately swam into some stronger current that made him feel much bigger than he was. This reel was able to fight the fish on a 5x tippet and still land him.

Value for the money vs. other options

TFO makes a great reel for the money. The BVK SD II is a great sealed drag reel at a relatively inexpensive price point compared to other manufacturers such as the Orvis Hydros. When it comes to needing something that will fight mid-sized fish who don’t typically make runs into the backing, at a reasonable price, this reel is at the top of my list.

Final verdict

The TFO BVK SD II gets the job done. I was not overly impressed with the capabilities of the reel, but I liked the way it looked and for my purpose of chasing trout with it, it was exactly what I needed.

Selling Temple Fork Outfitters on
Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Sealed Drag Fly Reel
From $229.95
Fly Fishing Expert Marshall McDougal
Marshall McDougal
Fly Fishing Expert
Marshall here! How can I help?
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Written By
I picked up a fly rod at the age of 10 and have never been able to put it down. Fly tying started shortly after and I have chased fish all over the US and Mexico. I now own a small fly tying company as well as run guided trips. My favorite area to fish is the Bitteroot River in Missoula, MT and my f...

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