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5 Best Saltwater Fly Rods (2022 Buyer’s Guide)

Every angler knows the importance of a fly rod to their fishing experience. With a reliable fly rod, you can be sure to enjoy fast and accurate casting of your fly line.

For saltwater anglers, picking the best saltwater fly rods goes beyond choosing the first product that you come across. A freshwater fly rod is not suited for saltwater fly fishing, due to the difference in conditions.

As such, you must ensure to choose a saltwater rod that can withstand the elements, which include salt and wind. We have put together a list of the 5 best saltwater fly rods as well as tips on how to choose one. 

Our Top Picks

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Best Mid-Range
Thomas & Thomas Zone Fly Rod - 9' 8wt
Best All-Around
SAGE Maverick Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod, 9'0", 10WT
Best Budget
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod 9ft 8/9/10wt Graphite IM10 Fast Action(9ft 8wt)
Feature 1
Has a natural carbon appearance
Quick shots presentation
Anodized aluminum reel seat
Feature 2
Anodized premium aluminum hardware
Designed with konnetic technology
Corrosion-resistant stripping guides
Best Mid-Range
Thumbnail
Thomas & Thomas Zone Fly Rod - 9' 8wt
Feature 1
Has a natural carbon appearance
Feature 2
Anodized premium aluminum hardware
Best All-Around
Thumbnail
SAGE Maverick Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod, 9'0", 10WT
Product Name
Feature 1
Quick shots presentation
Feature 2
Designed with konnetic technology
Best Budget
Thumbnail
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod 9ft 8/9/10wt Graphite IM10 Fast Action(9ft 8wt)
Feature 1
Anodized aluminum reel seat
Feature 2
Corrosion-resistant stripping guides

5 Best Saltwater Fly Rods

1. Zone Thomas & Thomas Fly Rod

Best Mid-Range Saltwater Rods

Thomas & Thomas Zone Fly Rod - 9' 8wt
  • 3wt-4wt Medium/fast action 5wt-10wt fast action.
  • Natural finish carbon appearance.
  • Clear anodized premium aluminum hardware.

Key Features

  • It has a natural carbon appearance
  • Anodized premium aluminum hardware to keep saltwater out
  • Titanium frame stripping guides
  • Made with Strother Resin technology

When it comes to durability and performance, the Zone Thomas & Thomas Fly Rod stands out. It is a reliable fly rod that is specifically designed for the best performance in saltwater.

With its natural carbon appearance and durable blank, this saltwater rod can be used in different fishing conditions. With its Strother Resin technology, you can also be sure to enjoy top-notch responsiveness.

The anodized premium aluminum hard and titanium frame stripping guides keeps the fly rod safe from salt. 


2. Sage Maverick

Best All-Around Saltwater Fly Rod

SAGE Maverick Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod, 9'0", 10WT
  • Quick-Shot Presentations
  • Increased Pulling And Lifting Power
  • Oversized Guide-Set To Help Reduce Tangles Of Larger...

Key Features

  • Quick shots presentation
  • Designed with konnetic technology
  • Comes with corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum reel seat

The Sage Maverick Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod is designed to help you meet the demands of fishing in saltwater. With its quick shots presentations, you can be sure to cast your rod quicker for better results.

For the protection of your rod from the wind and salt, it comes with a corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum reel seat, matte black aluminum rod tube as well as oversized ceramic stripping guides. Its extended full wells cork handle allows for easy and comfortable handling.


3. Maxcatch Salt Pro IM10 Saltwater Fly Rod

Best Budget Saltwater Fly Rod 

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod 9ft 8/9/10wt Graphite IM10 Fast Action(9ft 8wt)
  • SALTWATER BIG GAME ROD with EXTRA POWER and LONGER DISTANCE...
  • EXCLUSIVE MAXCOMMAND BLANK TECHNOLOGY - Pure 40T carbon...
  • LONG DISTANCE and ACCURACY – Advanced fast action rod for...

Key Features 

  • Anodized aluminum reel seat
  • Corrosion-resistant stripping guides
  • Cordura rod tube

If you are looking for a saltwater fly rod that is inexpensive yet efficient, you should check out the Maxcatch Salt Pro IM10 Saltwater Fly Rod.

One of the best qualities of the Maxcatch Fly Rod is its ability to cast heavy saltwater flies with fast action.

The rod is designed with features that ensure its durability. These features include an anodized aluminum reel seat, corrosion-resistant stripping guides, a chameleon pearlescent finish as well as a Cordura rod tube.

The AAA cork handle gives you a firm and comfortable grip when operating the rod. 


4. St Croix Imperial Saltwater

 Best Entry Level Saltwater Fly Rod

St. Croix Rods Imperial Salt Fly Fishing Rod
  • Premium, high modulus SCIII carbon
  • Sea Guide PVD coated guides
  • Uplocking, machined-aluminum reel seat

Key Features

  • Made with high modulus SCIII carbon
  • Comes with PVD-coated guides
  • Has a premium-grade cork handle

If you are a beginner saltwater angler, the St Croix Imperial Saltwater Fly Rod is a great option to start with. It is designed to be durable and sturdy while giving you balance and precision.

The premium-grade cork handle makes it easy to hold while casting. The fast action feature ensures that you can catch heavy saltwater species with this rod.

It comes with a machined-aluminum reel seat and PVD-coated guides for protection against oxidation. 


5. G. Loomis NRX+ Saltwater Fly Rod

Best High-End Saltwater Fly Rod

Key Features

  • It has titanium SIC guides
  • Designed with industry-grade resin
  • Anti-corrosion features

If you are a seasoned saltwater fly angler looking for a reliable fly rod, you should check out the G. Loomis NRX+ Saltwater Fly Rod. It is a sophisticated fly rod that is versatile and flexible, enabling anglers to fish without trouble.

It is designed with Dynamic Recovery Technology which allows you to enjoy fast action. The fly rod also has anti-corrosion features such as its taper build as well as the titanium SIC guides.


best saltwater fly rods
Source: Canva Pro

Things to Consider When Buying Saltwater Fly Rods

When it comes to fly fishing for saltwater, it is important to get a fly rod that suits your saltwater trip. As such, you should consider the features of the fly rod before buying one.

Below are things to consider when buying saltwater fly rods. 

Material

Saltwater fly rods come in different materials, with each one having its own unique benefits. Some of these materials are bamboo, graphite, and fiberglass.

Fiberglass are soft but firm, providing you with all the flexibility that you need while casting your rod. Graphite is a popular choice for saltwater anglers due to being an all-purpose fly rod.

Fly rods made of graphite are usually flexible and lightweight while still being durable. Bamboo is a great choice if you need a durable fly rod.

Weight

The weight of your fly rod directly impacts your drag control and accuracy in casting. If you are targeting heavy saltwater fish on your fishing trip, then you need heavier rods.

For casting small saltwater flies, an 8-weight rod is an effective option. 9-weight is the all-purpose option that works with different saltwater species from triggerfish to permit, golden dorado, and bonefish.

A 10-weight rod is perfect for tarpon, milkfish as well as tarpon. Heavier rods from 11-weight to 15-weight are used for the bigger saltwater species. 

Length

Length is another thing to consider when choosing saltwater rods. The landscape of your fishing destinations is a determining factor for the perfect rod length.

When casting in big streams or in windy conditions, a 9-ft rod is your best option. For smaller water bodies, an 8.5-ft rod is reliable. 

Rod Action

The rod action of your saltwater rod is determined by a couple of features which include the rod blank and length. There are three major types of rod action when it comes to saltwater rods. These are fast action, medium as well as slow action.

A fast-action rod is best suited for longer lines and fishing in windy conditions.

Medium action rods on the other hand provide great flexibility, making them reliable for different fishing conditions. Slow action rods are best for beginner saltwater anglers.

Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Fly Rods

For a lot of beginner saltwater anglers, using their freshwater fly rods for saltwater fishing is an option that they consider.

It is however important to get fishing tools specifically for saltwater fishing, as the demands for both sports are different. This is why it is important to understand the difference between freshwater fly rods and saltwater fly rods. 

There are two major differences between freshwater fly rods and saltwater fly rods which are performance and durability. Saltwater fly rods are designed to fight big fish.

They are usually capable of fast action, enabling you to make minimal false casts to make a good catch. Freshwater fly rods, on the other hand, are not designed to target species typically found in saltwater habitats.

Salt can damage the rod quicker if the right features are not put in place to protect it. Anodized reel seats and guide wraps are two protective features that are distinct from saltwater rods.

These features keep the rod safe from salt thereby ensuring its durability. Freshwater fly rods do not come with these features. 

Conclusion

Choosing your saltwater fly rod should be a straightforward task if you follow the tips highlighted above.

Check to be sure that your rod is suited for saltwater fishing before using it. Also, be sure to take care of your rod after every fishing outing to ensure its durability.

Simply rinse off the salt and dirt using clean fresh water. Be sure of your destination and how to get there, be polite to the locals and other anglers as well.

In conclusion, make sure to wear proper clothing and sunglasses to ensure your safety on the trip. 


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Daniel O’Neill
Fishing Expert

Aubrey Cayanan
Researcher

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler

Johanes Godoy
Fishing Editor

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Articles » Techniques » 5 Best Saltwater Fly Rods (2022 Buyer’s Guide)