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Best Fly Fishing Rods: Your In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

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Fly Fishing not only requires precision but also the right equipment. Fly fishing gear is quite different from gear you would use for bass fishing or saltwater fishing.

The best fly fishing rod can make or break a successful fly fishing trip. One of the best fly fishing rods is the Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod.

Top Fly Fishing Rods

Bundle of the Best Fly Fishing Rods

The Fenwick has been used successfully by anglers for several years. In this article, I am going to cover several brands of the best fly fishing rods, as well as how to use them.

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What’s Fly Rod Weight?

A rod’s weight rating denotes the weight of line that should be used with it. If you have a five-weight rod, it’s made to be fished with a five-weight line.

When determining what rod weight you should use, there are several things to consider. Of them, the type of water you’re fishing (the distance of your casts), prevalent weather conditions, fly size and fish size are most important.

Typically, the larger the fish, heavier the fly, larger the body of water and stiffer the wind, the heavier weight rating your fly rod should have.

Caring for Your Fly Fishing Rod

Take the rod apart when you are done fishing to avoid stuck ferrules. Completely air dry your rod and place the rod in a cloth bag and tube before storing.

The rod tubes can trap moisture, which can swell reel seats and ruin the rod finish. To protect the tip, it is best to bag your rod with the tip top and cork handle up.

Once your fly rod is completely dry and stored in the rod bag and carrying case, if available, keep the rod stored in a dry relatively temperature constant environment for optimal protection.

How to Cast a Fly Rod

Casting a fly rod can be challenging but once you get the hang of it, then it becomes very easy.

The weight of the line propels the rod. Fly rods are much more flexible than spinning rods.

Your fly rod will not cast properly if you do not feel the rod bend and unbend in your hand. This is called “feeling the rod load” and can sometimes be a difficult concept for beginners to grasp.

Another way to think of the “load” on your fly rod is as the amount of potential energy “loaded” into the flex of the rod and weight of the fly line.

Man Smiling Fly Fishing

Let some line out of your fly rod. Fly line is thicker and heavier than monofilament line, but it features a plastic sheathing to make it buoyant.

As you let more line out of the rod, you add more load. The process is very similar to the length of a whip determining its potential energy load.

When done correctly, the torque of your cast combined with the flex in the fly rod will sail the heavier fly line out, carrying the fly with it. This means that your rod will not load if you do not let out the right amount of line.

How the Fly Fishing Rod Feels

Ideally, the line should extend to the end of your shooting head.

Your thumb should be on top with 4 fingers wrapped around the rod. Do not grip too tightly. The casting motion requires fluid movement, so a firm but relaxed grip, the same as you would grip a golf club, is ideal.

Moving your hand further up the rod moves the point at which the rod bends further up, making it so less power is achievable. This can help with accuracy on short casts. Moving your hand further down on the grip allows you to achieve more power, which means more distance and accuracy at range.

Keeping the butt of the fly rod under your wrist and in line with your forearm helps you maintain a straight plane while casting as well.

Begin with your fly line in front of you and cast it back. Be sure to put a lot of power into thebackcast, as this is the most important part of the cast.

Finding Your Apex

Begin with a slow movement and accelerate as you move the rod farther back. The stop should be very abrupt and, if you back cast correctly, the forward cast will be effortless.

Once you see the line leave the surface, pause at the apex of your back-casting movement. This allows the momentum of that movement to travel all the way down the line.

Your amount of line and rod load will determine the exact amount of time you need to pause before beginning your forward cast. The ideal amount of time to wait is for the fly line to unfurl behind you almost entirely so that the leader is nearly extended at full the moment you begin your forward cast.

Start your motion forward smoothly in a straight line toward your desired spot on the water surface. Begin moving slowly and accelerate as you cast farther out.

 

The movement should be relaxed but swift. Once again, you are transferring energy from the movement into the line.

As with your backcast, the most important aspect is making sure that you cast forward in a straight line, otherwise the fly line will wander and take your fly with it.

Stop your hand abruptly with the tip of the fly rod still slightly pointing upward. The line will continue to transfer momentum from your movement, but keeping the rod tip upright will help the line carry out to its complete distance rather than falling short.

You will feel the rod “unload,” but try not to bend your wrist.
As you see the line in flight, slightly turn your thumb down around 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Keep your hand where it is and let the line fly out of the rod.

Man With the Best Fly Fishing Poles

Are Fly Rods Good for Bass?

Yes!

In some cases, fly rods can work better than conventional or spincast setups.

Fly rods make certain baits mimic live prey more closely. This would be true in the case of topwater flies.

Sage makes a fly rod targeted at bass, called the Sage Bass II Fly Rod. This fly rod is tough enough to handle the toughest bass.

Sage Bass II Bass Fly rods are designed to be sensitive but still allow for a solid hookset and hold up to a fight.


Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviews

Best Beginner Fly Fishing Rod

AnglerDream Archer Fly Fishing Rod 

AnglerDream Archer Fly Fishing Rod 4 Section 3/4/5/8WT with Cordura Tube Graphite IM 10 / 36T Carbon Fiber Dark Green Fly Rod
  • Graphite IM10 / 36T Carbon Fiber Blank - makes the...
  • Hard Chrome Stripping Guide and Stainless Snake...
  • Alignment Dots - makes sections fit tip over butt...

Archer fly rod is designed for everyone from beginners to experienced anglers. Solid and Lightweight makes the rod is easy to cast while Powerful for fighting with big fish.

Fast action suits a wide range of abilities and techniques. AAA Grade cork grip handle helps to cast, accuracy, avoids fatigue.

CNC machined aluminum reel seat, chromed stainless steel snake guides and hard chrome stripping guide provide a lifetime of corrosion resistance.

Pros

  • Come with a highly durable case
  • Long and smooth casts
  • Excellent customer service
  • Has fast action when needed
  • Loads line very well

Cons

  • The handle can come loose easily
  • Not suited for very large fish

See Prices >


Best Fly Fishing Rod

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit 905-4 – 5wt 9ft 0in 4pc

Sale
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit 905-4 - 5wt 9ft 0in 4pc
  • Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit | 9'0" 5WT

The Clearwater combines lightweight power with exceptional line control.

This complete outfit includes the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod, Orvis Clearwater Fly Reel, Orvis Clearwater Floating fly line, Dacron Backing, Tapered Leader and Orvis Cordura rod tube.

All shipped properly rigged and ready to fish! Backed by the Orvis 25 year warranty.

This is definitely an all in one package that gives you everything you need to start catching fish.

Pros

  • Very easy for a beginner to use
  • Can handle larger fish well
  • Casts very accurately
  • Long life warranty
  • Easy to pack for travel

Cons

  • Can arrive with no line
  • Price is higher than comparable combos and rods

See Prices >


Best Intermediate Fly Rod

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh Professional Series II Braided Graphite Fly Fishing Rods

Temple Fork: Professional Series Fly Rod, TF 10 90-4P 2
  • Smooth and powerful, medium fast rods
  • Black matte finished blanks, gold logos for style
  • Anodized reel seats with aluminum inserts

These medium fast and progressive action rods are smooth casting and powerful, yet very forgiving and are an incredible value.

Lefty says they are the perfect rods for all anglers and skill levels. Traveling anglers can afford to take them as a backup but often return with a new favorite.

Cosmetics include matte black finished blanks and subtle gold logos. They feature alignment dots color coded by line weight, premium grade cork with burled accents, and oversized stripper guides.

New anodized reel seats with braided carbon fiber inserts make these rods as forgiving on the eyes as they are in the hand. Each rod comes with an attractive logoed rod sock so you can add our optional tube or customize your own.

Other features include

  • Smooth and powerful, medium fast rods
  • Black matte finished blanks, gold logos for style
  • Anodized reel seats with aluminum inserts
  • Premium grade cork with burled accents
  • Comes with a TFO-logo red rod sock for optional customization

Pros

  • High quality, comparable to more expensive brands
  • Good choice for a beginner
  • Unconditional lifetime warranty
  • Works well for bass and other hard fighting fish
  • Fast and accurate action
  • High sensitivity

Cons

  • Middle section can start to separate after heavy usage
  • Must pay $35.00 when filing a warranty claim
  • It is difficult to get a broken rod replaced under the warranty

See Prices >


Best Cheap Fly Rod

Piscifun 4-Piece 8-Feet 6-Inch/9-feet Graphite Fly Fishing Rod

Sale
Piscifun 4-Piece 8-Feet 6-Inch Graphite 3/4 wt Fly Fishing Rod
  • Precision Rolled Japanese 30-ton Toray Carbon...
  • Chromed Stainless Steel Snake Guides provide a...
  • Advanced Ceramic Ring Stripping guides reduce...

Piscifun is a popular name in fishing gear and they do not disappoint with this fly fishing rod.

Features include

  • Precision Rolled Japanese 30-ton Toray Carbon Fiber Blanks generate smooth-loading performance.
  • Chromed Stainless Steel Snake Guides provide a lifetime of corrosion resistance.
  • Advanced Ceramic Ring Stripping guides reduce friction and heat to a bare minimum.
  • Sensitive Tip Flexes offers ultra accurate short casts
  • Powerful Butt Section provides the backbone needed for longer casts

Pros

  • Medium to fast action
  • High sensitivity and feel
  • Holds up well to larger fish
  • Very lightweight and comfortable to use

Cons

  • The reel seat can come unglued
  • Rod tip can break under minimal pressure
  • Threading the rod can be difficult

See Prices >


Best Ultra Lite Fly Rod

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Ultra-lite Fly Rod

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Ultra-lite Fly Rod for Streams Panfish/Trout Fishing 1/2/3 Weight (3-Weight 7ft 4-Piece)
  • Medium-fast action rod made of IM8 graphite for...
  • Four-piece lightweight rod perfect for traveling,...
  • Ceramic stripping guides, chrome snake guides for...

Medium-fast action rod made of IM8 graphite for durability, accuracy, and increased performance make the Maximumcatch Maxcatch ultra-lite a great choice because of performance and affordability on a budget.

Other features include

  • Three-piece lightweight rod perfect for traveling, with alignment dots for fast setup.
  • Ceramic stripping guides, chrome snake guides for smooth gliding fly lines
  • Nature wood insert CNC Machined aluminum reel seat
  • AA-grade half-well cork grip to improve casting accuracy.

Maximumcatch offers a quality fly fishing rod at an affordable price, that is comparable to more expensive rods.

Pros

  • Heavy duty travel case
  • Lightweight, good to use in small streams
  • Works well on windy days
  • Replacement tips are affordable
  • Great price and quality

Cons

  • Not suited for larger fish
  • Assembly dots can be out of alignment
  • Spool lock can break easily
  • Rod tip can break easily

See Prices >


Best Advanced Fly Fishing Pole

Orvis Encounter 5-weight 9′ Fly Rod Outfit

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Orvis Encounter 5-weight 9' Fly Rod Outfit
  • Free Standard Shipping on all Orvis Products!

Built for the hardcore angler, yet priced with frugality in mind, the Encounter rod series combines state of the art rod design with a smooth, crisp performance, packaged with a large arbor Encounter reel, weight-forward floating line, backing, and leader.

The 9′ 5-weight Encounter rod outfit is easily the best value-priced outfit of its kind. This is the perfect backup for an experienced traveling angler or for a new angler who plans to spend most of their time on bigger trout waters.

Orvis is a highly recognized name when it comes to fly fishing gear. The encounter offers everything you need in one package, that is designed by Orvis to go together.

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • Very durable carrying case
  • High sensitivity in the rod
  • Lightweight and easy to cast

Cons

  • Rod tip can break easily
  • Not suited for larger fish
  • Rod is long for small streams
  • Reel handle can come loose after a short time

See Prices >


Best Moonshine Rod

The Drifter

Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod (Matte, 6WT 9' 4PC)
  • High Performance, Medium-Action Graphite
  • 4 Piece Rod with Hard Canvas Case and EXTRA Tip...
  • High grade AAA cork grips with burled ends &...

We saved the best for last. If you want a rod that stands above the rest, then you’ll need to give Moonshine a shot.

Not only are their products made in the USA, but their customer service is second to none.

Give them a shot! It might just be your new favorite rod.

See Prices >


Fly Fishing Rod Final Thoughts

Fly fishing is a sport that can be a very rewarding experience. It allows you to explore and see sights you may not ordinarily see.

When fly fishing, you are just about as close to the action as you can get. Whether you are wading in a small stream or a river, it will no doubt be an adventure you will never forget and definitely want to do again.

A few final reminders before going out on your fly fishing adventure. Be sure to have the following items to make your trip more enjoyable and rewarding.


Fly Fishing Rods FAQ

Man Fly Fishing River

Q: Who makes Cabelas fly rods?

A: Sage and Loomis

Q: Who makes Cabelas fly reels?

A: Prestige Premier and the WLX are made by Lamson; the Prestige Plus and RLS are made by Okuma.

Q: What size fly rod for bass?

A: Most anglers agree and 8 weight works well for bass

Q: What size fly rod?

A: Most fly fishermen agree a 10 weight works best as an all around

Q: What size fly rod for salmon?

A: It is recommended to use an 8-10 weight for salmon

Q: What size fly line to use?

A: Match line weight to conditions as a good rule of thumb

Q: What does the weight of a fly rod mean?

A: When referring to fly rod weight classifications: “the bigger the weight, the bigger the rod” (e.g. a 9 wt. rod is bigger than a 6 wt.)

Q: What length fly rod?

A: 9 feet is the average and more commonly used

Q: What does fly fishing mean?

A: The sport of fishing using a rod and an artificial fly as bait. Casting a nearly weightless fly or “lure” requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting.

Q: What weight fly rod for trout?

A: 4-6 weight

Q: What size fly rod for trout?

A: 8-9 feet

Q: When was fly fishing invented?

A: History records show to be around 200 AD

Q: How to select a fly rod?

A: This will depend on where you will be fly fishing and the size of fish you will be going after. 9 foot in length is considered common and 8-9 weight will handle an assortment of fish.

Q: How do you set up a fly rod and reel?

A: Attach your reel to the rod, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, the reel slides onto the rod and locks in place.

Retrieve your backing, and pull off about 20-30 years (100 feet or so). The amount will vary depending on your spool size and reel weight. The reel manufacturer will suggest the amount of backing to use.

The trick is you want to spool enough backing so that the backing and line fill the arbor.

Pull off about 2-3 feet of your fly line and tie the fly line to the backing using an albright knot.

Then pull off another 30 yards of fly line and clip it. To get the right amount of backing, spool the fly line and backing onto the reel, but do it in reverse initially.

Start with the fly line first. You want about 30 yards of fly line if using the general use Rod/Reel combination we recommended.

Keep the line taut as you spool it, and make the line/backing go evenly across the spool/arbor.

The line spools from the bottom of the reel. Keep spooling the line until it gets close but not touching the outer rim. Once it’s close, trim off the extra backing.

Remove the backing and fly line. Tie the backing to the arbor using an Arbor Knot.

Again, keep the line taut, spool it evening spreading the line across the reel. Remember, spool from the bottom.

Make a loop at the end of the fly line using a braid knot. This loop will allow you to attach the leader loop to the fly line easily, so you can quickly change out leaders. Attach the leader using a loop to loop knot.

To attach the tippet to the leader, use a double or triple surgeon’s knot.

Finally, use an improved clinch knot to attach a fly to the tippet.

Q: What is the best fly rod for beginners?

A: Redington Crosswater Outfit Fly Combo.

Q: What is the most expensive fly rod?

A: Oyster Bamboo Fly Rod – $4,600.00

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