Best Fly Fishing Rods

Fly Fishing Rods - Reviews & Guides For 2024

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Fly Fishing Rod Buyers Guide

Fly fishing is completely different expertise that has unique requirements of skills than conventional fishing styles. You can't use traditional or ordinary rods for fly fishing. There is a completely different array of features and physical build. You need the right fly fishing rods to get optimum results.

There are many sizes available for the rods, even as small as a couple of inches to as long as fifteen feet and more. Therefore, it comprises a vast range of options. It may sound exhaustive, but this guide simplifies all of the considerations you have to make.

Forget about going in too deep. This guide keeps it easy, according to the type of angler you are. You can choose the right fly fishing rod according to the purpose with immediate considerations. Breaking the confusion and marketing barriers at once, you will get some essential tips to enlighten you about fly fighting rods further.

How is a fly fishing rod different from regular fishing rods?

Fly fishing is a fairly straightforward method you use to fish on the water's surface, primarily. However, the fly can very well sink in the water and tempt the fish to take a nibble. This nibble helps the hooks in the fly bait stick against the fish and offer you a perfect opportunity to pull the fish out.

Fly fishing is a great change of pace for traditional anglers who are looking for something different. It is also an old practice that is fairly straightforward. Similarly, fly fishing rods tend to bring you the ease of indulging in this technique.

The fly fishing rods are built to provide apt momentum for you to cast the bait in the distance and control its direction even from great distance or depth. Due to the lightweight of the bait (fly lures), the fly fishing rod is relatively thin and highly flexible to provide proper backup. It enables you to shoot the bait easier without compromising the distance or velocity.

Often, fly fishing rods come in fiberglass, bamboo, and graphite materials. There are carbon versions, but those are not worth the investment. Apart from their build and design, fly rods support a single line casting that comes with small loops integrated to help you control the line efficiently.

The movement for fly casting requires you to throw or sling the bait. Thus, it has a handle with a supporting grip around the length of the fly reel. Unlike many other fishing styles, you can use a single hand to cast the bait due to the lightweight rod, line, and bait.

Here are some benefits of using a fly fishing rod that makes it different from the conventional rods:

Proper casting

The right fly fishing rod makes it easier for you to cast the line. It will provide you with the right level of power and accuracy. Depending on your skill, it will assist you in casting the bait in the distance. The primary aspect of fly fishing is the silence and casting without disturbance. Thus, as you present the fly line properly, you will eliminate any risk of alerting the fishes. It elevates your chances of catching the fishes, efficiently.

Remarkable line control

The most prominent task for the fly fishing rods is to provide proper line control. This task can range from simply balancing the line to moving it around. Conventional fishing doesn't require you to move it around the water much, but fly fishing is different. Once you learn how to have better line control, you can use it to your advantage to catch the right fish.

Single function rod

Other rods allow you first to cast the bait and wait for the hooks to set before you have to fight the fish. However, a fly fishing rod brings you a fast-paced experience. The moment fish nibbles the bait, it's game-on. Therefore, the rod's flexibility and durability play a vital role to fight and land the fish. If you get the right fishing rod, you will notice a remarkable difference in landing the fishes.

Factors to consider when buying fly fishing rods

Once you understand the purpose of the fly fishing rods and the sports associated with them, it becomes clearer what type of rod you need. As mentioned earlier, fly fishing rods are completely different compared to conventional rods.

Therefore, you don't consider the combination of action, power, and length. It's more than that. The rod seems baseline straightforward, but even the tiniest of alteration in its build and significantly affects your overall maneuvering ability.

Before we move to the initial guide, there's a quick overview that can help those who are in a rush to buy a fly fighting rod. It would give you some guidance and work as a general area we're going to cover in this article. Once you get it, we can move further.

Quick overview

This is a shorter version and a quick overview guide for you to make a decision. Think of these as tips. When you're looking for the best fly fishing rods, get the one that has a perfect combination of action, with proper length and apt weight.

Don't forget to consider the type of fish, the bait, and the water you're going to use the rod in before moving further into the considerations.

According to the line

Make sure to get a fly fighting rod that is compatible with your line. The thickness, weight, and strength should complement the rod and vice versa. Many people think that they can use any rod with their line, that's not the case. As a general rule of thumb, first, buy the rod and then the line.

Remember that shorter fly fishing rods will support lighter lines, while longer ones could work with heavier ones. A seven-foot-long rod would support two to four ozs while 12 feet can support up to 15 oz.

Choosing the right length

Fly fishing rods range from seven feet to 12 feet in length. If you're looking for a versatile fly fishing rod that could adhere to various conditions and fishes, an 8 to 9.5 ft would be a perfect choice. For larger games, go longer and for delicate casting, go shorter. That's how you will get an ideal size.

Similarly, if you want to use heavier lines to work against the winds, use longer rods. Medium (8-8.5 ft) rods would remain a versatile choice. Shorter rods are overall better for small streams and fishes.

The material of the rod

For anything longer than 8.5 feet, consider a graphite rod over fiberglass or other choices. Bamboo is a traditional material and perhaps a great option if you want to enjoy fly fishing's authentic appeal. However, if you're going to consider serious performance and longevity for your rod, graphite is the best choice.

Fiberglass is getting replaced by the versatility and proficiency of graphite. However, if you're worried about the damage or seek to teach children or teens how to fly fish, fiberglass could be the right choice. It's more challenging to find fiberglass rods. Similarly, carbon lines are becoming very common for professional fly fishers.

Traveling requirement

Finally, consider the portability of your fly fishing rod. It won't be good to get a single or double piece fly fishing rod if you travel frequently. Mainly because they are more prone to damage and don't offer ease while traveling. A fly fishing rod that splits into four or moves pieces for an easy package would be better for travelers.

However, if you're a solo traveler with a vehicle and like to go by yourself, you can choose a single or double piece. Those offer firm construction and are less likely to go loose. In the end, it depends on your personal preference. For ease of use, lesser parts are better, and for ease of portability, more parts.

Action always matters

There is a mention that this rod doesn't need the combination of power, action, and length. However, as a standalone, action is a critical determining factor for the fly fishing rods. There are many complicated explanations, but it is the rod's flexibility to keep it simple for you, just like the conventional rods. So, that terminology didn't change.

As a general rule, you can use the backcasting method to determine the flexibility of the rod. If the rod bends too much, it has higher action. Here is the expansion of the rod's action:

Tip-flex flies fishing rods.

It's a fancy name for a fast action rod. If you check out the backcast, you can probably see it bending at the ending tip. Apart from that, the rod will be straight. A fast-action fly fishing rod is a better choice if you want more power for casting in an extended distance.

Higher action also supports better line weight and provides good power for windy days. The wind is the primary adversity of fly fishing. Thus, it will grant you the ease of casting with less requirement from you. You don't have to put too much effort into the task.

However, tip-flex fly fishing rods have their fair share of drawbacks. This is a choice for more skilled and adept fly anglers. IF you're a beginner, it will be very challenging for you to precisely cast by using a high action rod. Getting the right sense is vital for casting in fly rods, which isn't easy in fast action rods.

Of course, it isn't suitable for short casting requirements. You won't benefit from it in shorter streams of water.

Mid-flex fly fishing rods

If you're aiming for a well-versed fly fishing rod, then a medium-action would be the right choice. Like the medium length in the rod, it brings you balanced performance for various casting requirements. You can use it in any condition, and if you are a beginner, you will have an easier time learning fly fishing by using a mid-flex.

A tip-flex is completely straight, but mid-flex, similar to its name, starts bending from the rod's middle to the tip. If you don't want to invest in more than one fly fishing rod, this could be a great choice, especially to catch trouts.

Full-flex fly fishing rods

A slow action fly fishing rod will bring you an arch of up to 90 degrees at the backcast. The rod is bent around 3/4th from the beginning to the tip; the part of the tip isn't bending. As mentioned in the tip-flex fishing rods, this one's better for small streams.

It is also a beginner-friendly rod if you want to learn casting. However, these are fairly restricted in application or versatility. If you are seeking to catch small fishes, a full-flex rod is a better choice overall.

Type of handle

Next to the action, the handle is the most prominent aspect of a fly fishing rod. After all, it's all about casting with accuracy, and the handle plays a vital role in that. There are three types of handles with their merits and drawbacks. Here's a quick overview:

Split cane

If you want to keep a firm hold on the reel and get better control for the fight, a split cane handle would be suitable. It offers you a straightforward approach of slinging the cast, catching the fish, and slinging it back out. If you can learn to use the force of fish against itself, you can become an expert in quick catching. This handle is suitable for running water.

Half-wells handle

Next, you have half-wells that are perfect for catching small fishes. It can support a six number line maximum with optimum resistance and rigidity. Anything more than that runs the risk of damaging the rod. These are also lighter and shorter than other handles, offering ease of cast, perfect for a single-arm fly fishing rod.

Full-well handle

Finally, you have a full-well handle that would be an ideal choice for longer fishing rods. It brings you a firm grip and proper endurance to withstand throwing force. Thus, you can swing the rod better and cast at a longer distance without worrying about sustaining damage. It is also a great choice for heavier lines.

Pro-tips for buying the fly fishing rod

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you go searching for a fly fishing rod. These points were extensively researched and advised by experts around the globe. Take them as the fundamentals or a general rule of thumb to get the best fly fishing rods.

Always consider the line first.

Another important consideration before you buy a fly fishing rod is the type of line you plan on using. The lines have ranting from 1 to 15 or even higher. It depicts the weight of the line. You need to have the fishing rod's perfect combination, fly, and line in weight to get the best results.

It's better to get the line between one to eight. One is great for small trouts and other similar fishes. Four and five offer balanced performance and up to average-sized bass and trouts. From six to eight, you can capture monster trouts and other bigger fishes fairly easily. This is where you don't have to worry about the durability of the fish's line or weight. The primary consideration would be the length and support of the rod with the right action.

Check out the reel seat

A reel seat for fly fishing rods varies greatly according to the rod's application and overall weight. If you get a lightweight rod, you will get a seat with rings that require you to slide the reel to equip it. It looks simple, but you are also compromising better fitting. This is to keep the rod light, after all.

For the medium weight fly fishing rods, you might find threaded rings. It secures your reel with a screw and provides additional support with the recess of the handle. These reels seats are better than lightweight, especially to support lines and proper casting.

If you get a heavier seal, you will see an interlocking system with at least two rings. There may be more rings for security. As you might know, lighter rods and reels are better for freshwater, so the material isn't reinforced or considered too much.

However, for heavier reels, you might get aluminum rings and reels to ensure saltwater protection and proper support to fight the heavier fishes.

Looking at the guides

The material of guides can vary from steel to ceramics. Once again, it depends on the type of fishing you need to perform. As guides are evenly distributed, there's a stripping guide at the lower end that is more composed and provides better stability. As you move along, the guides get larger for better flexibility.

Alternatively, you can get a snake guide that is easier to use with a single piece of control of steel. Make sure that all of the guides are integrated into your fishing rod. There should be a pear-shaped ring for the proper support in the ending tip of the rod. If you find any of these missing, then change the rod.

FAQs: Best Fly Fishing Rods

Q: How to pick the right fly for fly fishing rods?

A: There are three types of baits in the 'fly' category. You will find streamers that look more like leeches or other similar insects. Then there are nymphs that are the standard insects found around. If you want to fish in the shallow waters, dry flies are a better choice.

A pro-tip to get the best fly for fishing is to examine the area and find the type of fly design that could be identical to those present in the natural environment. Fishes are less-likely to attack a fly bait that stands out. They will prefer the ones that blend into the natural habitat.

Q: What's the difference between fly casting and spin casting?

A: Fly casting is a fast-paced activity that anglers and many adventurers indulge in for the sport. The aim isn't to catch many fishes, but to challenge yourself. Often, you can do it on the upstream waters. It's a great way to hone your instincts, senses, and reflexes. Alternatively, fly fishing is great in calm waters, as well.

If you want to catch bigger fish with enough time to invest, then spin casting is what you need. It is the traditional fishing method that allows you to catch plenty of fishes. However, some people are known for catching plenty with fly casting.

Either way, it comes down to the kind of person you are and what's your fishing preference.

Q: Why should you consider a bamboo fly fishing rod?

A: Many experts claim that bamboo fly fishing rods are better for beginners and intermediate anglers, both. It has a natural flexibility. Bamboo is an eco-friendly option to other materials available in the market. However, it is very costly due to the manufacturing process and lack of availability.

Q: Can you use other rods for fly fishing?

A: While it's not an ideal choice, other rods can support fly fishing as long as you use the fly lines. However, the action for other rods is different from fly fishing rods. Thus, you will have restricted options with conventional rods. Additionally, fly fishing rods are built to cast at a longer distance while providing ease of throw.

Q: How to maintain a fly fishing rod?

A: Make sure to clean the rod before you store it away. Properly wipe the water. If you used it in saltwater, the rod might require proper rinsing. After that, you can let it dry or use an air dryer for quick dry. The rod's tube can accumulate moisture.

Therefore, it is vital to confirm that the rod is completely dry before storing it away. Use a cloth to wrap around the rod before storing it to prevent dust build-up, among other things.


Now you understand that getting the right fishing rod requires you to combine action, length, and line support instead of power. Now you can always find the best fly fishing rod. Remember, the line is the most vital aspect of the fly fishing rod. If you have any confusion, you should conduct additional research.

Other features like the material of the rod and waterproofing don't matter as much. What you need is the right rod according to the purpose. From beginner-friendly to intermediate anglers, you can now choose the best fly fishing rods! / - © Copyright 2020