Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Saltwater Fly Rods Reviewed

We have reviewed and compared the best saltwater fly rods. Find a top-rated model for your next fly fishing adventure for all budgets.

by Andrew

Buyer’s Guide & Information

Best Saltwater Fly Rods Reviewed

We have reviewed and compared the best saltwater fly rods. Find a top-rated model for your next fly fishing adventure for all budgets.

by Andrew

by Andrew

Saltwater fishing is a lot of fun but requires very specific equipment. If you intend to cast lures into heavy winds and oceans and seas, you'll need a suitable fly rod. Using the wrong rod will simply land you with no fish, and you risk ruining your fishing tackle due to corrosion from the water. Luckily for you, we’ve reviewed some of the best fly rods on the market at a range of price points, so you can get a better idea of what you can get for your buck.

Preview

Product

Rod Length

Line Weight

Rod Action

Check Price

Moonshine Rod Co. The Outcast Series...

Moonshine Rod The Outcast

9’

8wt

Fast

Fenwick AETOS Fly Rods

Fenwick AETOS

11’1”

5.50wt

Fast

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme Graphite Fly...

M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch

10’

7wt

Fast

Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod Graphite 4...

Piscifun Sword Graphite

8’6”

4wt

Slow

Temple Fork: Professional Series Fly Rod, TF...

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh

8’9”

5wt

Medium-fast

Sage Fly Fishing Foundation Rod

Sage Foundation 790-4

9’

7wt

Medium-Fast


Why Saltwater Fly Fishing Requires A Specific Rod

One of the biggest challenges saltwater anglers have to endure is the wind. Heavy winds are prevalent in almost all saltwater environments, and your rod is too light, it will snap under pressure. Fly rods were designed with these weather conditions in mind, so they're longer, sturdier, and can cast further than typical fishing rods.

Most fly rods have corrosion-resistant features to protect it from the saltwater, too. Some brands consider this more in the manufacturing process than others, and this is where your money will matter. Higher priced rods tend to have better corrosion-resistant properties. But don’t worry, there are great rods at a range of price points, so you'll find your perfect fly rod for saltwater fishing in no time.


What Makes A Great Saltwater Fly Rod?

Frame Quality

The first thing you'll need to consider when picking your new fly rod is the quality of the frame. You'll use this rod in harsh winds and strong tides, so the blank needs to be constructed with high-quality materials. Stick with high-modulus graphite for if you want more strength and durability. Some carbon fiber rods are pretty strong, but these materials excel more by being lighter in weight. So, consider these if you’ll be carrying it over long distances to new shorelines.

Casting Ability & Distance

Casting long distances is what makes fly rods so fun, but this will require a lot of practice. Most fly rods between 7-8.5 feet will cast anywhere between 10-50 feet. Longer rods with a higher level of experience will be able to cast up to 100 feet. The more you practice with your new saltwater fly rod, the more accurate your casting will be.

Rod Length

Fly rods come in all sizes and line weights, but the most versatile and higher produced length is 9-feet. The well known "9-footer" is the perfect length to catch most saltwater fish species, as long as you've got the correct line weight. It's the universal and standard size in fly rod fishing, but longer and shorter rods are available, as you'll see from our reviews below.

Line Weight

The line weight on a fly rod is incredibly important as it determines the size of your catch. You’ll need to match a fly rod’s weight to a fly line's weight as well. Here's a good guideline for fish you can catch with some specific line weights for faster action fly rods.

Line Weight

Type of Fish

7-8 WT

Bonefish, Redfish, Permit

9-10 WT

Striped bass, Roosterfish, False Albacore

10-14 WT

Sailfish, Tarpon, Giant trevally

Rod Action

The action of a fly rod is measured by its flexibility when casting. There are three different types of fly rod actions that you'll be considering- slow, medium-fast, and fast-action. They are differentiated by the amount of flex in the fly rod and in which section it bends. Most fly rods are fast action and can cast into deep waters with ease. If you know you'll be casting in less than 50 feet of water, a slower action could be your rod of choice.

Other Features

The more you spend on your new piece of equipment, the more added features and bonuses you’ll receive. Consider some of the following when choosing your fly rod:

  • The number of pieces
    Typically 4-pieces, any more may become difficult to assemble. If the blank is marked, then you'll have the guides perfectly in-line.
  • Construction of the reel seat
    Does it have a double lock? Is the material corrosion-resistant?
  • Handles/Grip
    Full cork handles are better for saltwater
  • Rod line guides
    Make sure they are corrosion resistant. Fuji is always best.
  • Rod cases
    Often comes with a soft or hard tube for easy transportation

Price & Warranty

Whether you’re spending $40 or $400 on your new fly rod, having a warranty will give you good peace of mind. Generally, the more you spend on your fly rod, the longer the warranty. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check if you’re covered on a low priced rod. You could have a one-year, or lifetime warranty with any reputable brand. We’ve listed warranties in our pros and cons section to make your process of picking a rod go by smooth sailing. Check them out!


6 Best Saltwater Fly Rods Reviewed

1. Moonshine Rod The Outcast

best saltwater fly rod

Rod Length

9’

Line Weight

8wt

Action

Fast

Pieces

4 Pieces

Key Feature

Fast action and taper offers a lot of butt end strength

Moonshine’s mission is to “imagine, create, and distribute unique well-built fly fishing rods." The Outcast Series is no exception. This saltwater-hybrid fly fishing rod has some of the best action and sensitivity you've ever felt and left us in awe when shooting large lures into long distances. It’s constructed of high-performance graphite material that bends just at the tip, so you’ll notice every twitch of the line with this 9’ fly rod.

The Outcast Rod has to be one of the best all-around saltwater fly rods on the market today. It’s built to withstand the harshest conditions and has saltwater resistant components. It’s a perfect match against the feistiest of saltwater fish, and it also doubles as an excellent stripper and musky fly rod.

The series comes in 3 sizes: 6 wt, 8 wt, and 10 wt, all measuring 9 foot long. We believe the 8 wt fly rod was the perfect size for most experience levels. Our final thoughts are all positive for this series. From its classical design, two tip sections, and high-quality, AAA-grade cork grips, it’s hard not to call this a perfect rod for saltwater fishing.

Pros
  • Packs a punch and can reel in heavy catches
  • Comfortable cork handle
  • Matte finish with a classic design
  • Embroidered 5 compartment fly rod tube included
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Only available in 1 length
  • Setting up the rod for the first time may take some practice

2. Fenwick AETOS

runner up

Rod Length

11’1”

Line Weight

5.50wt

Action

Fast

Pieces

4 Pieces

Key Feature

Carbon flake accents in the blank for design and durability purposes

Our runner up model for the best saltwater fly rod has to be the AETOS Series by Fenwick. There’s a total of 7 models available in this line, but we particularly loved the 11’1”, 5/6wt fly rod with fast action. This model is a high performing, beautifully crafted piece of equipment. It may not look too fancy from afar, but you'll see Fenwick's attention to detail up close.

For starters, the deep blue fly rod has carbon flake accents along the blank. It also has larger diameter gunsmoke stripper guides, with double foot gunsmoke snake guides so your line will run along the blank with ease. You won’t have to worry about using this rod in saltwater either, as it comes loaded with corrosion-resistant materials. The reel seat is constructed with anodized aluminum.

Finish this rod with an AAA-grade cork handle for a secure and comfortable grip, and you’re all set to go to any lake, shore, or stream. And if you’re traveling long-distance with your rod, there’s a cloth-covered rod tube and bag included. The rod is also very lightweight, making it even easier for you to get your 4-piece rod from the rack to the water.

Pros
  • Simple design, excellent performance
  • Gunsmoke stripper guides
  • A range of sizes available
  • Versatile and durable
Cons
  • The rod’s power isn’t a problem, but line control and the level of sensitivity could be improved

3. M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch

Best 10-foot Saltwater Fly Rod

Rod Length

10’

Line Weight

7wt

Action

Fast

Pieces

4-Piece

Key Feature

IM7 24T plus 30T carbon fiber blank - Great for its price point

As we mentioned before, most beginner fly anglers start with a length between 8.5 to 9 feet long. So, most fly rods being released are made with this in mind. It's becoming more and more challenging to get a good-quality 10 foot fly rod. It may be hard, but we've proved it's not impossible. The M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Fly Fishing Rod proves to take on the task. This 4-Piece rod has an IM6 Carbon blank that’s rarely seen in this price range. It looks and weighs like a fly rod that’s triple the price.

This smooth and powerful fly rod has fast action and excels at launching heavy lures into strong winds, thanks to its slim-taper design. You’ll also see the brands’ MaxSelect Stripping Guides and ultra-lightweight hard chromed stainless steel snake guides accompanying this rod. These materials will tolerate saltwater, but they're not the most dependable. With the right maintenance, a novice angler will have fun with this fly rod for many years.  You'll also see that the tip loops are oversized so you won't have any problem feeding your line though, or getting the smoothest casts.

MAXIMUMCATCH has said they aim to design “Premium entry level at an outstanding attractive price." And that's what they did for this rod. It's a perfect 10-foot fly rod for novice anglers, and also works reliably for the experienced angler for a back-up rod.

Pros
  • Lower priced rod
  • Full cork handle for comfort
  • Great for long distances
  • Perfect long rod for novice anglers
  • 1-year limited warranty
Cons
  • Designed with entry levels anglers
  • Not a great fit for experienced anglers

4. Piscifun Sword Graphite

Best Budget Saltwater Fly Rod

Rod Length

8’6”

Line Weight

4wt

Action

Slow

Pieces

4-Pieces

Key Feature

Perfect slow actions for catching smaller species

We've mentioned some fly rods with some great features or materials for the price, but our top pick for the best budget saltwater fly rod has to be the Piscifun Sword Fly fishing rod. This is because the Sword fly rod has a perfect slow action, an action that's hard to come by with new saltwater fly rods. It's an ideal match for anglers hoping to catch sunfish, small trout, and is well suited for small streams. This fly rod is available in faster action ratings, but it loses its power once it's over 9-feet long, keeping the action slow and the length shorter for the best results.

It sure has a ton of premium materials for a rod that's at a low price point. For starters, it's blank is constructed of IM7 Graphite for durability, accuracy, and overall excellent performance. It has a machined aluminum reel seat with double lock rings for a sturdy reel attachment. You can also purchase the Piscifun Sword fly reel, which we’ve already reviewed on our site. It would be the perfect match for this fly rod.

The length of this rod is 8'6" so if you're short in height and looking for a shorter fly rod, this one is ideal. It also comes with handy white-dot markings, so assembling this 4-piece rod will be a breeze. Fish for a couple of hours or a weekend with this fly rod, because even though it's a steal in price, the handle is still constructed of half wells cork handle, making it extremely comfortable to hold. 

Pros
  • Comes with a PVC rod tube for easy transportation
  • Well balanced fly rod
  • White dots along the blank for easy set-up
  • One-year warranty
Cons
  • Faster actions in this series aren’t very powerful

5. Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh

Best Saltwater Fly Rod for Travellers

Rod Length

8’9”

Line Weight

5wt

Action

Medium-fast

Pieces

4-Pieces

Key Feature

Incredibly lightweight and easy to assemble.

Fly rods are notoriously long, so many anglers who like to travel stay away from them for that reason. Nowadays, brands keep these fishermen in mind and create lightweight, easy to assemble fly rods, and the Lefty Kreh Professional Series by Temple Fork Outfitters excels in all of these areas. It’s the best saltwater fly rod for travelers seeking new shores to fish.

Weighing a mere 3.1 ounces in total, this rod is perfect for carrying and assembling by the water. An attractive logoed rod sock accompanies it, so you can add their optional tube or customize your own. The blank is a little less sturdy than our other fly rods as it is constructed of IM6 Graphite instead of IM7, but TFO focused more on the operation and placement of everything on this rod, and it paid off. 

The rod features alignment dots that are color-coded by line weight for easy assembly and a premium-grade cork handle with burled accents and oversized stripper guides to feed the line through. Finished in a matte black finish, this medium-fast rod is great for casting accurately over a short to medium distance. Consider one of the other 14 models if you’re hoping for longer casts.

Pros
  • Great for traveling anglers
  • Accurately casts in shallow to medium-deep waterways
  • Anodized reel seats with aluminum inserts
  • Lifetime no-fault warranty
Cons
  • Not great for long-distance casting

6. Sage Foundation 790-4

Best 7wt Fly Rod for Saltwater

Rod Length

9’

Line Weight

7wt

Action

Medium-fast

Pieces

4-Pieces

Key Feature

Perfect weight for salmon, smallmouth bass, pike, and more

Last but certainly not least, our top pick for a 7wt saltwater fly rod is the Sage Foundation 790-4. Many anglers love this line weight as it’s designed with the big game angler in mind. It’s capable of catching pike, salmon, or steelhead, and more without having too high of line weight that it loses its sensitivity. The Foundation 7wt 9'0" is the perfect choice for flat saltwater fishing when the winds are calmer.

This fly rod is built on a high-performance Graphite IIIe blank, delivering a smooth, crisp medium-fast action that provides excellent casting power and effortless control. The rod loads deep and can hold many medium-heavy lures. You'll also see this blank is accompanied by Fuji ceramic stripper guides that are very corrosion resistant. It's even finished with a gloss-black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat, so your reel will fit securely on any saltwater fishing adventure.

The very foundation of what defines a Sage rod is “performance and taking your game to another level," and the 7 wt Sage fly rod is perfect for this purpose. Beginner or intermediate anglers will have a lot of fun with this Handcrafted fly rod, and it will help you improve on your game fishing capabilities.

Pros
  • Handcrafted in the USA
  • High performing graphite blank
  • Smooth casting power
  • Versatile fly rod
  • Backed by the Sage lifetime warranty
Cons
  • A little heavier than previous models by Sage

Saltwater Vs. Freshwater Fly Rods

If you have a fly rod sitting in your garage, don't expect it to perform well in saltwater, if it's not marked suitable for this environment. As you've seen from our reviews above, these fly rods all have corrosion-resistant features, making them saltwater friendly.

Many brands have created freshwater fly rods with more backbone and are perfect for large lakes and streams. These rods won't suit saltwater and will get significant wear and tear over time. In contrast, in-shore and off-shore fly fishing consists of different baits, lines, and of course, materials in the rod.  


Saltwater Fly Rod Setup

When you’re first setting up your fly fishing rod, be sure to read the guidelines accompanying your rod. This will give you a set-by-step guide to make the process a little easier. Once each piece is assembled, you’ll need to add your reel, line lure, and leader.

Pay attention to your reel seat when you’re purchasing your new fly rod. A double lock reel seat will guarantee your reel won’t come off and will help you when setting up your rod and reel. Your lure choice is essential, too, as it could determine which species you will catch. Some versatile saltwater lures for fly rods are jitterbugs, woolly buggers, and Mepps Aglia.


How To Use Saltwater Fly Rods - Tips & Techniques

The biggest challenge with saltwater fishing is going against the wind and tides. For this reason, casting is a little different. You’ll need to ‘whip’ the line around, rather than cast directly forward. This unrolls the line from the reel and through the guides smoothly and in a straight line.

A good tip to better your chances of catching a fish is to choose your bait wisely. Use bigger flies in high water and smaller lures for shallow areas. It may seem like common sense, but lures matter when saltwater fishing. Consider watching this video for a visual representation of casting and different techniques.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What other essential fly fishing tools are required for saltwater fishing?

Apart from your fly rod and reel, you’ll need the perfect lure, line, and leader. A leader is needed for saltwater fishing because it provides you with the ability to keep a big, strong, and often toothy fish from biting through the line near the hook. A Rio tapered leader would be a perfect match for fly fishing.

How do I clean and store my saltwater fly fishing rod?

As you're fishing in saltwater, it makes cleaning more of a commitment. You'll need to rinse down your rod with clean, fresh water so that corrosion won't occur over time. Always check the guides aren't damaged and dry the cork handle with a towel before storing, so it doesn't start to smell.

What is the most versatile fly rod weight?

We believe the most versatile fly rod weight for saltwater fishing is 7-8wt. This is perfect for large fish species and can still cast accurately into strong winds. If you're new to the sport entirely, then a 7wt, 9-footer is a great match and perfect for many fishing environments.

Where is the best place to buy saltwater fly fishing rods and accessories?

You can check your local tackle shop to see if they’re the model you’re hoping to buy. Otherwise, there’s always Amazon. You can read other angler’s opinions, and ask questions before you buy. You could have your new saltwater fly rod at your door within days.


Conclusion

From sensitive tips to sturdy end butts, we’ve covered some of the best features on saltwater fly rods that are on the market today. Our recommended model, the Moonshine Rod The Outcast, was the perfect blend of precision and strength. It was a blast reeling in saltwater fish with this rod, and we hope you find it just as fun, too.

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