Jun 26, 2018

Rod Review: CF Burkheimer 7127-4

 Purple muddler and direct sunlight to break in the 7127's first fish.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing spey rods and many anglers will select their rods based on specific criteria. For the most part I believe the criteria to be- graphite technology, price, and fit/finish/aesthetics. Now when judging a book by its cover, Burkheimer rods tend to be the most coveted rods on the shelf as far as aesthetics go. They're simply beautiful. Burkheimer doesn't seem to pursue the graphite race as much as other companies such as Sage or G. Loomis, but that's okay with me as these rods have soul that you can truly feel. They tend to be in the upper price spectrum mostly due to the superior craftsmanship and attention to detail incorporated with each hand rolled rod.

Desert Steel taken on a 450gr. Scandi and 15' tapered leader. 

I've always wanted a Burkie, however never saw myself able to afford one as I was always the angler with leaky waders and hand-me-down gear. However, a couple years back I injured my foot fairly bad and now it's more metal than bone. During the long rehab process, I was unable to fish so I started saving up money that was typically spent on fishing trips. Locked away at home I kept dreaming of a rod/reel combo to replace my old wonky set-ups I'd cut my teeth on. Soon enough I was able to get out of the house able to wiggle a few Burkies (though we all know how much that tells us about a rod), but the bottom line was that it was one of the most beautiful rods I'd ever held. The first thing I notice about any rod is the grip- I can't stand big club-like corks, and I loved how Burkheimer incorporates contrasting inlays into their cork. The blank material itself was also slim and sleek unlike some other spey rods I've held. The rod felt super light in hand and I was already day dreaming of what the first fish caught on it would be like.
 When you riffle hitch a purple muddler be sure to hang on!

So I did what any steelhead junky would do so that I could sleep better at night and I bought the sucker. I've never looked back or regretted my decision since. I opted for the "presentation" model as I figured go big or go home, right? This model came with gorgeous cobalt blue graphite that's complemented by chrome guides, and high grade cork. Furthermore, the beautiful wood and bright nickle on the reel seat round out this particular rod's build, though you can certainly customize yours to fit any personal style. While I didn't have a proper reel for it yet, I was able to borrow a vintage Hardy that seemed to suite it just fine. I took it for a test run on a favorite river once I was able to cram a wading boot back on and immediately took notice of how pleasurable it was to cast. Single speys and snake rolls shined on this rod and it was a pure joy to fish all day long. I was also happily surprised at how much line I was able to cast- maybe it was the fresh running line, but I was comfortably getting a handful of extra strips while still feeling like I could push it more- astonishing, as this rod isn't considered a fast-action rod that are generally known for generating more line speed. In general, I find these moderate-fast actions of the Burkheimers much more comfortable to cast day in day out than other faster rods I've used. I even got to break it in on a nice summer-run steelie and a dry fly on its inaugural trip out!

 "Winter's Hope"- Potentially a fruitless endeavor. Dryline and winter-runs...

Over the years I've cast many different two-handers and this rod is still by far my favorite for fishing dry line.  In general, I find the moderate-fast actions of the Burkheimers more comfortable to cast day in day out than other faster rods. While I do tend to like faster action rods if I'm fishing for winter-runs with skagit heads and sink tips, but I've got a dedicated winter stick for those cold months when fish are sluggish and tips are necessary. However, I have fished it for winter-runs and it's handled big fish just fine. The grain window is rather large on Burkheimers as they tend to fit a wide variety of casting strokes. I've dialed in my scandi line preference to a 34' 450 grain with 15' tapered leaders for presentation casting, and if any wind comes up or I've got a big bushy dry fly on I'll opt for a 450 grain Rage looped to a 10' Polyleader and a few feet of Maxima. If I decide to fish skagit heads with this rod, I've found I liked a 480 grain Skagit Switch or 480 grain Skagit F.I.S.T. on it. I also like a 510 grain skagit compact head too that loads it nicely. 10 feet of T-11 is generally my bread-n-butter sink tip and it doesn't seem to have any problems with them. But again, this is my summer rod and it begs for dryline and riffle hitched flies! Since picking up this rod I've added another Burkheimer 7117-4 to the mix, which I thoroughly love for both skagit and scandi casting on smaller water and I am hoping to add the 8134-4 to the quiver for some water and fish up North. There's a reason folks are brand loyal with Burkheimer two-handers, and as soon as you cast one you'll quickly know why. 

A winter hen found on the Oregon Coast with the 7127-4

Cody Booth
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"


  1. Have two Burkie's and they are the first to go on the Jeep's rod rack. One a straight dry WF dry line the other a sink tip. Between the two I've got 90+ per cent of fishing on the Rogue River 'nailed.' Expensive? Yes they are but the first hour on the river will prove that they are well worth the $$$. fae

    1. I'm totally with you Fred! My Burkheimers are often the first rods I grab when I'm heading out the door. I've also let some friends test cast them on the water and they all say shortly after that they need one. Travis has a saying here where "if you don't want to buy a more expensive rod, you shouldn't ever cast one!"


  2. If you like a quicker rod, consider trying the three piece Burkie equivalents... I have a 7133-3 & 8139-3, plus a 10130-3 Burkie. Haven't done a ton of side by side comparisons between 3- & 4- piece equivalents in Kerry's line up, but in my hands, the 3-piece rods have a quicker feel. They tip cast scandi-style lines all day long, but will load deep with the right timing and line, and will handle any Skagit and tip combo. I also have a 7115-4, the much quicker of the baby spey rods Kerry offers. With the four, I've got everything covered.... Makes it hard to justify yet another rod... But I keep trying... nothing like the Burkie feel.... Won't go to anything else...

    1. Feiger,

      Burkheimer certainly offers some quicker rods in the lineup and I would have to agree that the 3-piece rods tend to feel a little faster as well. Also, in Kerry's lineup there are a few rods that are just a little different in taper than the rest- For example the 7117-4 and 7115-4 are two completely different animals from one another and enjoy noticeably contrasting lines. In my opinion, there is a Burkie for everyone depending on one's personal casting style. The 7127-4 just happens to be my all-time favorite summer rod! I've already justified needing another one in the quiver... and in time, good things will come!



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