Best Fly Fishing Rods: Reviewed, Rated & Compared
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Fly fishing is no doubt one of the best ways to connect with nature and de-stress. But there is more to that. If you capture a few fish, you can have a great time even as you share the photos of your conquests for your buddies to marvel at.
One thing you need to know, though, is that the right kind of gear can make a major difference between success and failure. And in particular, today, we’d like to talk about what goes into choosing the best fly fishing rod for the money.
Just to give you a rough idea of what you need to keep in mind, we’d say that the following are the three key factors that come into play as far as fly fishing goes.
- 1Casting Abilities – You want a rod that’s powerful and accurate
- 2Controllability – Line control matters a lot, so never compromise
- 3Flexibility – You need the rod to be flexible yet strong
With those three factors in consideration, we’d like to delve into the specific details that you need to pay attention to. We’ll also provide you with top 10 reviews along with the buying guide details.
Psst! The reviews below are quite long and detailed. Don’t have the time to read through them? Here’s a shorter comparison list for you.
5 Feet 9 Inches
8 Feet 6 Inches
Temple Fork Outfitters Professional
9 Feet 0 inches
DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365
12 Feet 0 Inches
9 Feet0 Inches
5 Feet 0 Inches
Fenwick AETOS A905-4
9 Feet 0 Inches
ANGLER DREAM Archer
7 Feet 6 Inches
Orvis Clearwater 905-4
9 Feet 0 inches
9 Feet 0 inches
10 Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviewed
This combo package comes with the necessary fly fishing gear including a fly fishing line, fly reel and a fly fishing rod. And there is extra, you still get a carrier bag and a fly box. It is a great package for beginners because it is a fly fishing full kit. The good thing is that there is an option to purchase just the rod if you already have a reel.
The rod has a composite graphite and carbon body for sensitivity and durability. It is 8 ft long and it is fitted with a cork grip for a good grip. The rod is thin and light in weight to prevent hand fatigue during extended fishing hours.
The rod is also flexible for smooth casting. Additionally, the rod is fitted with high-quality stainless steel chromed guide rings for a smooth line flow without any kind of friction or heat. Besides that, it is designed with a sensitive tip for accurate casts. The reel seat is constructed to accommodate the reel firmly. The reel has an aluminum spool and stainless steel guide rings that are constructed for durability.
2. M Maximumcatch
If you are looking for a well-performing fly fishing rod at a bargain, price, then consider this piece. The good thing is that the rod can be used in both fresh and saltwater fishing. It has a length of 9 ft which is a substantial size. The rod is a four-piece unit, making it easy to transport around. It is constructed from IM7 Graphite and 30T carbon fiber for flexibility, strength, and sensitivity. This rod is designed with a big tip which makes casting smooth.
For ergonomics, the rod has a cork handle that is comfortable to grip. The guides are made from chromed stainless steel for smooth line gliding, the construction also makes the guides saltwater corrosion resistant. The reel seat is made from machined aluminum for a sturdy component.Most significantly, it is competitively priced and it is covered by the manufacturer’s one year warranty. The manufacturer also offers lifetime repair services for the rods.
Noteworthy the rods are constructed to have at least 20% more strength than regular rods. The rods are constructed with the company’s blank technology. Blank technology makes the rods light in weight, which makes handling them for extended periods of time easy and also carrying them easy.
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3. Temple Fork Outfitters Professional
- Smooth and powerful, medium fast rods
- Black matte finished blanks, gold logos...
- Anodized reel seats with aluminum...
- Premium grade cork with burled accents
You can rely on this rod for fly fishing in different types of waters including rivers, creeks and large distances too. This rod is designed as a medium-fast action rod. It is strong and it can be used in different weather conditions. This rod is constructed from an IM6 Graphite which is a reliable lightweight rod making material. In addition, it has a matte finish for a good looking rod. The reel seat is constructed from anodized hardware and braided graphite and carbon inserts for a sleek looking rod.
It is a four-piece rod which is much more convenient than two piece rods. It is easy to store it when it is not in use or transport it to your fishing spot. The rod can be conveniently carried in your backpack. The good thing is that the rod is fitted with dot alignment which makes assembling them easy. It is lightweight which increases its sensitivity to fish bites.
Apart from that, the tip is sensitive. While the cork handle is of a standard size to fit in the hands comfortably for a good grip the stripper guides are oversized to reduce line friction and improve speed. To top it all up, the manufacturer has provided 14 different sizes of rods, in different weights and lengths to meet various fishing needs.
4. DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365
- HIGH QUALITY ROD - The Shadowfire 12-ft...
- COMPLETE STARTER PACKAGE - Includes...
- SET UP IN UNDER 3 MINUTES - Tenkara fly...
- CLASSIC TENKARA ROD - The Shadowfire is...
Experience Tenkara fishing using the Dragontail Tenkara-Shadowfire 365 12'. This is a unique combo package that emphasizes on Tenkara fishing and not the regular fishing style. Tenkara is a minimalist Japanese fishing style that does not require a reel to fish. If you are new to Tenkara fishing, it is advisable to start with small to medium sized fish first as you develop Tenkara fishing skills.
This order comes as a complete Tenkara fishing package that includes a line, tippet, a line holder a fly box, a rod sock, and a storage tube. The manufacturer also gives you the option to purchase the rod only if you have the other fishing gears. This rod is constructed from IM 10 graphite for a lightweight and yet strong rod that can comfortably handle medium sized fish. It is quite easy to set up the fishing gears for fishing, it takes about 3 minutes.
It is a 12 ft road which is quite long and it weighs 2.9 oz. It is light in weight making it convenient to fish with it for extended hours. What’s more, it is a breakable rod to 23.25 inches, making storing and transporting it a breeze because it can easily fit in a backpacker.
5. Orvis Encounter
This combo package from Orvis combines performance and affordability. It is a great fly fishing start-up kit. The combo includes a fly fishing rod, fishing line, backing, and a fly fishing reel. You only need to get a fly box and you are good to go fly fishing. The rod is constructed from a graphite material. There are various lengths and weights to suit different fishing needs.
It is designed as a four piece rod which makes it convenient to transport and carry it around. Actually, when collapsed they are much smaller in size than two piece rods. In addition to that, the rod has a premium cork handle that is ergonomic which enables you to battle big fishes effectively. The length of the rod is 9 ft long, making this a versatile rod.
The reel is made with a composite material of hard plastic. Worth noting is that the reel is sturdy and delivers although it is made of a plastic material. The reel suits both left hand and right-hand anglers because it can be converted easily. The reel comes with a stainless steel disc drag for longevity. Worth noting is that the rod, reel and fishing line come when they are already assembled and ready for action.
6. Okuma SLV
Fly fishing is a multi-skill fishing experience that requires good gear to be successful. You will appreciate this rod if you are looking for a versatile rod that can perform in salt waters and fresh waters. You can use it for moderate to fast actions.
The rod is crafted from IM-8 graphite which is lightweight and sturdy. It is a four-piece rod that comes with advantages of storage and portability, it can be conveniently packed in a backpack. In addition to that, a package includes an Okuma storage bag.
There are various lengths and weights making them suitable for beginner anglers and seasoned anglers alike. What’s more, you can buy different sizes to suit different fly fishing styles. Moreover, the guides are stainless steel snake and titanium-oxide stripper guides for durability while the reel seat is constructed from aluminum pipe for sturdiness.
It is designed with a cork grip that offers a firm grip to put you in control especially when doing extended fly fishing hours. What’s more, it is competitively priced and it is also covered by the manufacturer’s warranty although the warranty period is short.
7. Fenwick AETOS A905-4
- Fast-action blank for ideal performance...
- Artfully crafted with a lightweight feel
- 4-section deep blue fly fishing rod with...
- AAA-grade cork handle for a firm yet...
This fishing rod lets you enjoy your fly fishing experience. The manufacturer has many rods of different weights and lengths to meet different needs of fly fishing anglers. You can always pick a long length in case you need more casting power.
That is not all, there are various models to choose from including Spey, switch, saltwater, and freshwater. The rod is a four-piece rod meaning that it is easy to transport it and also easy to store it. In comparison to other fly fishing rods, this rod is constructed as a high-end rod and yet it comes at a very competitive price. The package includes a bag and a hard rod tube.
The rod has a handle that is aluminum anodized AAA-grade cork. AAA are premium quality handles usually reserved for high-end rods. The handles are comfortable providing a secure grip. It also has a sleek design. The elegance of the rod comes from the deep blue color which has carbon flake accents.
The Fenwick-Aetos Fly Fishing Rod is a fast action rod for fishing situations that demand effective rods because the rod is designed to flex at the tip. Moreover, it features gunsmoke stripper guides and gunsmoke snake guides. The guides have a large diameter in comparison to most other rods in the market which helps to reduce friction and ultimately it improves the speed at which the line moves.
8. ANGLER DREAM Archer
- Graphite IM10 / 36T Carbon Fiber Blank -...
- Hard Chrome Stripping Guide and...
- Alignment Dots - makes sections fit tip...
- AAA Grade Cork Grip Handle - adds the...
You can go after any species of fish with this rod including pike, panfish, bass, trout., thanks to the versatility of the rods provided by the manufacturer in different lengths and weights. The versatility also makes the rod suitable for newbie and seasoned anglers alike. The rod is constructed from IM10 graphite and 36T carbon fiber blank for a fast action rod that is elastic, ultra light and very responsive.
The rod is a four piecer for portability and ease of storage. To add to that, it comes in a Cordura rod holder that can work as a travel bag too. The reel seat is a CNC Machined Aluminum construction for corrosion resistance and durability.
The rod features hard chromed stripping guides and stainless steel snake guides for friction-free smooth casting, and durability because they are corrosion resistant. Most significantly, the rod is fitted with AAA cork handles which are usually for high-end rods. The cork handles are comfortable for fishing for extended hours without experiencing fatigue. It is fitted with alignment dots that make assembling the four pieces easy.
9. Orvis Clearwater 905-4
- 2019 Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfits...
- Cutting edge engineering, design, and...
- Clearwater Rod is perfectly balanced...
- Each 2019 Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod...
If you are looking for an affordable fly fishing reel and rod you can consider this combo package. You can use this rod for fishing different species of fish. It is a mid-flex moderate action fly fishing rod. It is quite affordable, considering that you get a fishing kit, what’s more, the reel and rod have a 25-year warranty.
The reel comes already loaded with a floating fly line and backing line. The reel has an aluminum construction. It is a large-arbor reel which is characterized by picking of lines fast and smoothly. Apart from that, you also get a Cordura rod and reel case, which is crafted hard for protecting the rod.
The rod is elegantly designed in olive. It is light in weight for easy handling for extended periods of time. The rod is a four piece rod and therefore it is easy to store and also carry it around. It is 9ft in length. The cork handle has a smooth finish and it is designed to fit well in the hands. It provides a good and comfortable grip making it ideal for fishing for long hours. The reel seat is anodized aluminum with graphite inserts.
10. Redington Classic
The Redington-Classic Trout Fly Fishing Rod is a specialized rod that is competitively priced. The unit is a moderate action rod designed to be used in fresh waters. Because it is a moderate action rod, both beginner fly anglers and seasoned fly anglers alike can use it effectively. The good thing is that there are various sizes(weights and lengths) to choose from to suit your fishing needs.
It is sleekly designed with a blank that is dark clay brown. Just as importantly, it is manufactured from graphite for a lightweight rod that is highly sensitive to fish bites. The lightweight also enhances the fishing experience by preventing hand fatigue The rod is suitable for trout fishing because of its progressive taper construction. It means that the diameter of the rod and its stiffness increases progressively from the tip to the butt. Besides that, it also features a soft tip.
It is a four piece rod which makes storage of the unit easy and also makes it very portable. It features a custom machined reel seat. The titanium oxide stripping guides are for smooth line flows. The rod has a premium cork handle for ergonomics.
How To Select A Good Rod For Fly Fishing
Before we get into the gory details of these rods, let us first understand the key functions these tools play. Remember, a good rod is supposed to play three roles.
The first role is that of casting. So, a good rod is one that makes it possible for the line and the fly to be presented accurately. You don’t want to end up spooking the fish and that’s why accuracy is quite important in our view.
The second role of a rod used for fly fishing is to control the line. Indeed, once the casting has been done, you need a good rod to control everything that happens on the water.
Lastly, an ideal rod is one that provides you with a good fighting chance once the fish bites the bait. You don’t want to end up with a rod that easily snaps under pressure.
Whew! That was quite a mouthful. So, let us now break free from all the confusion. And here now is a detailed buyer's guide that you can refer to as you shop.
What Do You Want The Rod For?
The best way to make a good decision is by asking yourself why exactly you need this rod. What kind of fish are you targeting? Do you plan to fish on freshwater or saltwater?
If you’re planning to explore the saltwater bodies, your best bet is to go for a rod whose parts are made from non-corrosive parts. Also, the rods should be powerful enough to withstand the pressure from the saltwater monsters.
Typically, freshwater fishing rods are lighter, delicate, and cheaper. They are, however, less versatile and so you need to be judicious when going for them.
There are three types of action as far as all rods are concerned i.e. slow-action, medium-action, and fast-action. It is worth appreciating the fact that each one of these three has its fair share of merits and demerits.
They, however, demand quite some skills to operate. And, therefore, if you’re just starting out, we’d recommend that you avoid them. Also, they fare terribly when it comes to making short casts.
The Best Rod Material
They come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. So, it’s quite important that you understand what to expect. The most common materials we’ve come across so far are bamboo, fiberglass, and graphite.
Most common fly rods fall within the 6 feet to 10 feet range in length. So, what’s the best kind of length to settle for? You might be wondering. We’d like to say that short rods work best when you need to make short casts. As such, we’d recommend such for fishing in streams.
However, if you are fishing in large water bodies and rivers, it would be ideal to invest in a rod that enables you to make a long cast. Indeed, a long rod can come in handy in helping you avoid branches and snags. If you’re looking for versatility, we’d suggest going for a rod length of 7 to 9 feet length. But if you’re after something short, stick to the 6-foot family.
This is actually a very important factor to consider yet most people tend to overlook it. Normally, line weight is measured on a scale that runs from 1 to 12. The higher the rod is on this score, the stronger it is. This once again brings back us back to the first question of this buyers guide – what do you want the rod for? If you’ll be hunting for some large bass, you are better off going for a rod with 9wt and above.
But if you are planning to be fishing on small streams with your target mainly being panfish and stream trout then you’re better off going for something lower the scale. For instance, a 3wt would be a great choice in such instances. Still not sure which line weight is best for you? We’d recommend going for a safe bet and that’s anything that falls within the 5wt to 6wt range.
Which One Is The Best?
Although all the rods included on this list are great, we choose to settle for the M Maximumcatch-Maxcatch Extreme Fly Fishing Rod. At 9 foot in length, it performs quite well for river bank fishing. It has a really well-made and stable reel seat which is further backed up by some extremely smooth guides.
If you look closely enough, you are bound to notice that each one of the fly fishing rods included here has its good and bad sides. So, whatever you settle one, always keep an open mind. Do so, and chances are that you will be quite satisfied with your purchase.