No cast is like a cast made from a high quality fly fishing rod.
But, picking a fly fishing rod that meets all of your needs isn't an easy task. On one hand, you don't want the search for a good fishing rod to end over budget, but on the other, you need something that won't break under pressure and let your catch get away.
The good news is that we've put together an easy-to-understand guide that tells you everything you need to know about the best fly fishing rods. We also review the top five rods available on the market, making your decision that much easier!
Quick Top 5 Fly Fishing Rods:
*Keep reading for full reviews or jump straight to them
Factors to Consider When Choosing Fly Fishing Rods
Before you go paying good money for a fly fishing rod, it's important that you understand the features to look for. Some factors will be harder to figure out, and as such, you will need more in-depth information.
In this section, we break down the considerations to make when making a purchase and explain their significance.
Type of Fishing to be Done
The type of fishing you will be doing helps determine the right fishing rod to invest in. For recreational fishing, obviously, you can opt for something that isn't as sophisticated as what you'd choose for competitive fishing.
The type of fish also affects your choice in a fishing rod. For instance, you need a different type of fishing rod for small panfish or huge bass than you do for trout. Likewise, a saltwater fishing rod will prove a lousy choice for freshwater fly fishing.
Fly line weight
Line weight refers to the weight of the fly line used to cast the line. The weight of the fly line is usually measured in units known as grains. Many manufacturers use a numbering system that runs from 1(ultralight) to 14 (heavy) to label how light or heavy a fly fishing rod is.
The right fly line weight depends on the types of flies, and if you choose the wrong one, you will be dealing with casting precision and control problems for a long time.
For instance, if you use a fly line weight of 7 with a 14 dry fly, you will lose control, and the heavy fly line will pull down the fly harder. As such, the fly will hit the water with a splash. If you attach a heavy fly to a light fly line, then the fly will land in a destination of its own.
This is why it's so important to ensure that the fly rod mates up with the size of flies as well as the fly line you intend to use. But how do you know what fly line weight to use? Below is a chart that you can use to match up what you will be fishing for.
|Fly line weight||What to fish for|
|1-3||Ideal for fishing for tiny fish such as most panfish, brook trout and other small trout|
|4||Good for tiny fish like panfish and medium-sized species|
|5||All round fly line weight that works for small fish, all trout and average sized bass|
|6||Not good for small fish but handy for trout fishing. Can also be used for small salmon, bass and other fish of similar size.|
|7||Use this weight for all bass fishing and monster trout. Also popular for small to medium-sized salmon as well as steelhead. It's a hopeless overkill for panfish and average trout.|
|8 and above||Ideal for larger and stronger species, particularly saltwater fish.|
Knowing the right fly line weight to use helps you determine the right fly rod weight and fly reel weight to use. The general rule of thumb is as follows:
Fly Line Weight = Fly Reel Weight = Fly Rod Weight
Length of fly rod
Determining which fly rod length is a straightforward process. It all comes down to what type of fishing you plan on doing, and the ideal choice ranges from 8 feet to 9 feet. If you frequently fish in the wind, need to make long casts or use a heavy fly line, a 9-feet long fly rod is your best bet.
An 8.5-feet long fly rod is good for all-around fishing in a variety of conditions while 8-feet long fly rods or shorter ones are suitable for precise and short casts when fishing in small streams.
Fly rods are made from a variety of materials. While it is the traditional choice, bamboo is not supplest. It is suppler than fiberglass, a manmade material that is ideal for close quarters fishing and slower casting. Graphite is extremely supple, light, strong and the most modern fly rod material.
Bamboo fly rods heavy and require constant care to maintain their usability. Their old and natural feel makes them quite beautiful. They are recommended for experienced anglers. Fiberglass rods are preferred for their durability and low cost. They are often used by beginners.
Types of Fly Fishing Rods
Fly fishing rods are broadly categorized into three depending on the action. The action of a fly rod refers to the flexibility of a fly fishing rod. It is measured on the backcast, and the more a rod bends on the backcast, the more flexible it is. Each of the fly rod action types has a unique set of benefits and drawbacks.
Fast action fly rods
Also known as tip-flex fly rods, fast action rods usually have a slightly bent tip at the end of the backcast. The rest of the rod is straight. Their stiffness allows for more power during long casting. It also makes it easier for one to cast on windy days.
Tip-flex fly rods are less physically demanding due to their inherent power. On the downside, these rods are a little too powerful for beginners. They are also not ideal for short casts.
Mid-flex fly rods
These are most versatile rods and perform well in a variety of conditions. It's easier to learn how to use them compared to fast action rods. The rods bend from the beginning from halfway down on the backcast. If you only need one rod for trout fishing, you should consider purchasing a mid-flex fly rod.
Slow-action fly rods
They bend from about ¼ of the way down and almost arch into a shallow 90-degree angle at the backcast. Slow action fly rods are best utilized in small streams. Their flexible nature makes them easy to cast while and learn on. However, they lack the utility that comes with mid-flex rods.
Tips to cast fly fishing rod
There are a few things you should look out for to know whether or not you are casting correctly.
- The cast should unroll parallel to the ground
- Loop should be narrow, with about 2-3 feet between the top and bottom
- Loop should unroll straight from beginning to end such that the leader and entire line stretch out before falling into the water.
The overhead cast is a base technique upon which other casting variations are built. You need a large open space to practice this cast as well as a fly fishing outfit. If you don't have much room, you can utilize a forward cast or back cast.
Designed as a fast action rod, the Tailwaters Outfitters Toccoa boasts IM8 graphite construction. This material ensures durability, performance driven functionality and accurate casting. It is a four-piece implement with alignment dots that allow for quick assembly.
The chromed snake guides and ceramic stripping guides reduce friction and abrasion, thus preventing line breakage. The machined aluminum reel seat features double lock rings for sturdy reel attachment.
This fly rod comes with a half-wells cork handle that ensures accuracy during casting and prevents hand fatigue. You also get a four compartment rod for easy storage and organization of rod segments.
It has adjustable shoulder straps for hands-free trekking. The Tailwaters Outfitters Toccoa provides a reliable backbone for aggressive fish.
This is a no nonsense fly rod that breaks down into four segments for easy transportation. Plussino utilizes high compression molding to deliver reduced weight and increased fiber density without compromising durability.
Being a mid-flex fly rod, it is quite versatile and can be used for a variety of techniques. The durable, 30-ton carbon fiber blanks are a welcome feature as they deliver top notch performance.
Another notable feature of the Plussino fly rod is the stainless steel snake guides that provide a lifetime of resistance. The reel seat is made from an aluminum alloy and features a super large arbor spool design.
It's important to note that while you can purchase it alone, this rod is also available as part of two types of combo kits. The fly rod is designed to keep friction and heat at low levels while the wooden handle provides a good grip.
Eagle Claw is a brand known for its top quality gear, and the Featherlight fly rod is one of their best products. It is an amazing fishing fly rod that's designed to deliver unparalleled reliability, durability and strength.
The rod is made using fiberglass, a material that's popular among bass anglers who love its softer action. Its two piece construction allows for hassle-free transportation while the stainless steel guides have superior corrosion resistance.
The guides also ensure reduced heat and friction. The slightly fast action eliminates floppiness and makes it an excellent rod for all round fishing. The wood insert, two tone cork grips and hardware combine to give the Eagle Claw Featherlight a modern look.
Not to mention, it's backed by a 1-year warranty. Overall, this rod is affordable and offers plenty of durability at an affordable price.
The Shadowfire Tenkara rod is a great choice for fishing in waters where the fish are under 17 inches. It will help you cast precisely and accurately. The handle is designed to provide a good grip, reduce hand fatigue as well as casting control.
This 12 feet rod is made using IM8 graphite, a strong and lightweight material that's suitable for medium-sized fish.
What we love most about it is that it is offered as a starter package with everything you need to get started. This includes three soft hackle flies, tippet, ultra-premium American-made furled Moonlit line, storage tube, an EVA foam line holder and a rod sock.
It only takes three minutes to set up as there is no reel. The rod offers plenty of play and is strong enough to handle larger trout. Its lightweight and compact design makes this a suitable choice for backpackers who love fishing during their trips.
Available in various sizes, the Redington PATH Rod offers an incredible bang for your buck. It is a medium-fast fly fishing rod that is designed for novice and experienced anglers. Its versatility is remarkable, to say the least as it handles small and large fish.
You can also use for short and long casts in streams, rivers, lakes and saltwater depending on the chosen rod size. The alignment dots allow for easy and quick setup while the Lifetime Warranty serves as an assurance of quality.
Another notable feature is the durable anodized aluminum reel seat, which can be used for saltwater and freshwater applications.
The rods come with a black cloth rod tube for safe storage and portability. Users loved the fact that the PATH reel is pre-spooled with RIO Mainstream WF Fly Line.
Want up to date fishing tips, tricks and reviews?