The Buyer’s Guide To The Best Fly Fishing Rod
There’s a good reason why fly fishing is enjoyed by millions of people around the world every day; it’s fun, exciting, and challenging all at the same time.
If you’ve never tried fly fishing for yourself and are just getting started in the sport or are thinking of upgrading your fishing gear, choosing the best fly fishing rod is the first and most important thing you’ll do.
Upon first glance, getting the top fly rod isn’t actually that important when you consider finding the right fishing spot of equipping your line with the right flies. However, this one piece of gear will have an impact on every other part of the fishing experience, so it’s a very serious part of getting your fishing supplies in order.
The purpose of the fly fishing rod is threefold; it helps you cast, control the line, and strike and land your fish, so once you realize just how much it does then its importance will begin to get clearer. Therefore, shopping for one that suits your skill level, the type of fish you’re looking for, and where and how you like to fish is crucial to your success.
This comprehensive guide has been created to help you achieve just that so that you walk away with the very best fly fishing rod for your needs. Once you have this important piece of gear ready to go, the rest of the fishing experience will be more enjoyable and easier than ever.
Our Top Picks For Top Rated Fly Rods
The world of fishing gear is an extensive and often confusing one, with literally thousands of options out there from fly rod brands that claim to be the best. Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for your and scoured through countless fly rod reviews to find those that anglers loved best, and show you exactly what it is about them that makes everyone so happy.
Winner: Wild Water Fly Fishing Starter Package
When you’re completely new to fly fishing and really have no idea what you’re looking for in terms of equipment, something as comprehensive and high quality as the Wild Water Fly Fishing Starter Package is the best place to turn.
This starter kit has everything you need to begin your lifelong passion for fishing, but most importantly one of the best fly rods that have a lifetime guarantee.
The rod in question is a slow action, mid flex IM8 graphite rod so it’s perfect for lots of different types of fishing and is easy enough to use for beginners.
Even some experts mentioned they keep this rod in their car or backpack for whenever the mood might strike, and because it’s got easy guides for alignment and breaks down into four separate bits it couldn’t be easier to set up.
There are so many features packed into this one package so if you’re looking for the best fly rod for the money, this is it. Not only will you get the quality rod, you’ll also get a diecast aluminum fishing reel, waterproof and floating fly box, rod bag and case, starter booklet, and gift packaging should you want to give this amazing set to another beginner angler.
A few of the online reviews have stated that although the rod is quite good quality, they’d likely upgrade the rest of the gear over time. The flies were a little small and some found the gearbox to not be up to scratch, but these probably will be inconsequential for those who are new to fishing.
One of the best things about this rod is that you can break it down to four pieces and store it away in the carry bag they’ve provided and when it’s time to set it up again there are handy guides you can use to align the rod in no time at all.
You’ve got everything you need to start fishing from anywhere you are, and if you’re an absolute beginner you’ll find their instruction manual especially helpful.
If you’re someone who’s shopping for their first fly fishing rod or you want to have something that’s well made for a backup, the Wild Water Fly Fishing Starter Package is definitely our number one pick. Even if you end up only taking the quality rod away from the entire kit, it’s still well worth the money.
Runner-Up: Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod
Piscifun is one of the up and coming angler brands we’ve seen here in the United States, and it seems that what they make best is fly fishing gear. Their Sword Graphite Fly Fishing Rod is another great pick that we’ve found for the best fly rod on the market because it ticks all the boxes that the average fisherman would look for.
Their fly rods come in different weights and sizes to suit everyone, so whether you’re after something strong and sturdy for saltwater or a lighter rod that will suit small streams, they’ve got you covered. All of their rods are reasonably priced and have such a great reputation already for being well made and reliable.
The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod has ceramic stripping guides that allow you to have smooth gliding fly lines, and it breaks down into four pieces so you can travel with it. However, there were a few reviews that questioned how good the carry case was that came with it, so you might want to invest in your own.
This rod is made with a high-quality cork handle that’s resilient and comfortable to use all day long, with a feeling that most fishermen prefer. The reel seat has been crafted from machined aluminum which gives it even more power and durability, so there’s no need to second guess whether or not it will be able to handle the bigger catches you get.
There are so many happy reviews that seem surprised you’re able to get a rod of this quality for such a low price, but Piscifun has managed to deliver. They’re really thought of everything when designing it but managed to keep it simple enough for anglers of all skill levels to enjoy.
Alternative: Plusinno Fly Fishing Rod
Plusinno is quite a respected name among anglers, and they make rods that usually sit about mid-range in terms of price and quality. The Plusinno Fly Fishing Rod has been made specifically for this unique type of fishing and is another one of our top picks for the best fly rod out there.
This is another rod that comes with a full kit, so it would more suit someone who’s just starting out in fishing and wants the entire package ready to go. In addition to getting the rod, you’ll also receive a reel, line, lures, and carry case, and because it only costs a little extra that the rod itself it’s better value for money to go with this option.
When you’re out fly fishing you want something thin and lightweight, so the Plusinno Fly Fishing Rod can offer exactly that. Their rod is made from roller 30-ton carbon fiber blanks and a high-grade wooden handle, and as soon as you pick it up you’ll notice that it’s one of the lightest that you’ve ever felt.
The Plusinno Fly Fishing Rod does come with some downfalls, though, as a few of the reviews said that the reel wasn’t up to the same standard as the rod. However, you can easily swap these out for something better quality and still get to enjoy the lightweight feel of the rod, but it will end up costing you a little more in the long run.
There were some customers that mentioned their rods either turned up faulty or broke shortly after, however after some contact with their customer support team they were able to get brand new ones from Plusinno sent straight away. Although it’s not favorable to get faulty products it’s comforting t know that they’ll be replaced by the manufacturer.
If you’re looking for a cheap rod to get you started then you’ll love the Plusinno Fly Fishing Rod. This is one of the most lightweight and slender rods on the market, without sacrificing anything on strength, so it’s definitely worth your consideration.
Best Professional Fly Fish Rod
When you consider yourself an expert at fly fishing, you don’t want to settle for just any old rod. Professional anglers need a little more from their gear in order to meet their heightened skills, and so there are rods out there to best suit your skills. We’ve found the best professional fly fishing rods on the market so you can choose a premium accessory.
Winner: Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod
When you take your fishing very seriously and only want to use the best of the best, you likely already know that Orvis is a brand that can deliver. Their Clearwater Fly Rod is one of their best sellers and it’s easy to see why when you read just how many happy customers there are and how many fish they’ve managed to catch with ease.
This is the best five weight fly rod on the market, hands down, and that’s evident by the length warranty that Orvis offers. You’ll get 25 years of guarantee that this rod will serve you well, so although it might cost a little more to get a premium product you’ll have something that will last for years and years to come.
Some reviews claim that it’s overpriced for what it offers, due to the fact that there are so many other affordable rods out there, but you’re truly paying for what you get with Orvis. It’s extremely lightweight and flexible which is what you need for fly fishing, and regardless of your skill level, you’ll find so much joy from this professional fly rod.
A few anglers said that the entire outfit is good but they were able to create something better using other parts of gear, but if you’re looking for the complete package this is one of the best. The four pieces you’ll find in this rod certainly deliver and there were plenty of happy anglers who claimed it helped them catch the biggest fish of their career.
There’s no need to guess about what you’re getting when you purchase something from Orvis so if you’re looking for a professional-grade fly fishing rod then this is it. If you have the extra money to spend then it’s certainly worthwhile getting something higher quality, especially if you consider yourself an expert angler.
Runner-Up: Sage One Series Fly Fishing Rod
Coming in at the more expensive end of the scale is the Sage One Series Fly Fishing Rod, delivering nothing but quality for the professional angler. This rod is made to work for all types of conditions, species of fish, and anglers, which is why they called it the One Series, so if you’re after versatility in your fly rod then this is the choice for you.
This is a fast action fly rod that incorporates a ‘sweet spot’ so it’s perfect for those who have never fished a day in their lives and those who consider themselves experts. If you’re completely new to fishing though, you likely don’t want to spend such a high amount on your first fly rod, so keep that in mind.
The Sage One Series Fly Fishing Rod comes with a lifetime guarantee on its quality, so although the initial cost might scare you off you have to consider that you’ll never need to buy another rod again. This nice thought coupled with the unique and reliable materials used including stainless steel, ceramic, aluminum, and walnut make it one of the best for sure.
Sage makes their rods by hand and their One Series uses the Konnetic Technology which improves your accuracy to levels that you’ve never experienced before. The reviews vouch for this with people claiming it was their best outing to date, however with such a high price tag it’s out of the reach of many average anglers.
Although priced a lot higher than the competition, there are some that are willing to pay this cost especially if it means more power and accuracy in their fishing game. Sage One Series Fly Fishing Rod is a serious contender for the best professional fly fishing rod if only you can afford the exuberant price tag.
The Difference Between Fly Rods and Other Rods
People often think that if they have a standard fishing rod they can easily use this for fly fishing, but the opposite is actually true. Fly fishing rods have been designed specifically for this unique sport, and it all comes down to the purposes they are made to serve the angler.
- Casting: The fly rod is the key to casting your line, whether it’s a fly or spin style. The fly and the fly line need to be presented correctly in order to get a successful catch, and your rod is what will help you do this during the casting stage.
- Line control: This refers to once the line has been cast and the fly is on the water, as you’ll still need to control it from this point. The fly rod will help you control the line which in turn controls the fly as it sits on the water.
- Striking and landing fish: This is a key area of difference between fly rods and other rods and it comes down to their lightweight feel and flexibility. The fly rod must be able to move and set the hook on the fish before landing it, and as fish are known to fight and bend the rod, it has to be flexible enough to not break.
Another key difference between fly rods and spin rods is how they’re classified. A spin rod and fly rod both use the length and weight they have been designed to cast but when talking about a fly rod, it’s actually referring to the weight of the line. The line is used to cast the fly and since these items are lightweight themselves, it’s the more important weight to consider.
What To Look For When Buying A Rod
It can be easy to get scared away when buying a fly fishing rod as there are so many features and specifications to read over, but there are really only a few key features you have to concern yourself with.
A fly rod weight will usually range between 0 and 14, with 14 being the heaviest. Generally, the lighter the weight of the rod the lighter the fish will be they are intended to catch. Lighter weights are great for species like panfish and small trouts whereas larger weights are great for marlin and swordfish.
Sometimes the weight is used to show where they perform best, with light weights being ideal for small streams and heavier for saltwater fishing.
This simple number shows you how long the fly rod is, with the most common size being 7-8-9 feet. This length makes them versatile enough for most styles of fishing, whereas shorter rods are better for small streams and longer ones better for fishing in the ocean.
There are three categories used for action: fast action, medium action, slow action. The slow action will bend the most towards the bamboo whereas the fast action rod is quite stiff.
Some rods have adjustable butts that allow you to use them for more than one purpose, giving greater versatility to the rod. For the most part, though, these rods are stuck to the one size.
There are a few popular materials used for fly rods, with the earliest being bamboo. However, today it’s more common to find rods that are man-made or use composite materials including graphite, fiberglass, and carbon.
Depending on what price you paid for the rod, you’ll want a warranty period that seems reasonable.
Even the best cheap fly rod will have at least one year of warranty covering it, but there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars just to get more. Some brands offer a lifetime guarantee on their rods which means you’ll never have to replace the rod again, so keep an eye out for this feature.
There’s certainly something special about fly fishing, and when you begin to look into what accessories are needed to make it happen you’ll see why. By far the biggest difference between this and standard fishing is how the rod is made, but without the flexibility and lightweight feel this type of fishing just wouldn’t work as well as it does.
There are many things to consider when looking for the best fly fishing rod, but before you can begin your search you need to know more about yourself as an angler.
What are your goals? Are there specific fish you’re searching for? Will you be fishing in just one spot? Are you hoping to build your fishing skills or are you already a professional fisherman? All of these questions must be answered to lead you in the right direction.
With the best fly fishing rod in your arsenal, you’ll be ready for action and can pick up and head off for a spot of fishing whenever the mood strikes you. As your fishing career progresses and you learn more about yourself as an angler, you might even want to upgrade your rod in the future, and now you’ll have all the knowledge you need to make the right choice.