Best Fly Rods: 15 of the Best Highlighted
Introduction to Fly Rods with 15 of the Best Highlighted
Whether you already enjoy fly fishing or are new to the sport, you might be wondering what a fly rod is. A fly rod is a special type of flexible rod used for fly fishing that uses an artificial fly as a lure. You can’t use any rod to fly fish, it has to be a specialist one. They are available in various weights, lengths, and speeds for casting. Fly rods are made up of either three or four segments that are put together and then dismantled when you’re finished for the day.
Fly fishing is suitable in both freshwater and saltwater. It’s quite specialist and people can take some time to get their rod perfect. With fly fishing, you can still catch a variety of fish depending on your location but your rod and line will need to be the right weight to catch specific fish. If you are fishing in saltwater, you could potentially catch tuna. You can catch sunfish, salmon, and trout from rivers and streams and smallmouth bass in lakes.
Fishing is a hugely enjoyable outdoor sport and there are many options when it comes to types of fishing. If you currently enjoy a different style of fishing, like trolling or bait fishing, you might be looking to try something different. It’s a good idea to try out various rods to see which suits you best, so if you have a family member or friend who already enjoys fly fishing, then see if you can arrange to tag along and have a go.
So what is fly fishing and how does it compare to other types of fishing? In this article, we find out and take a look at some of the best fly rods available on Amazon at the moment.
What is a Fly Rod?
A fly rod is a lightweight rod used in fly fishing. This rod has an artificial fly attached as the lure so relies on the weight of the line to send it sailing out towards the fish you’re aiming to catch. Although it is lightweight, they are still available in a variety of weights depending on the fish you want to catch. The weights of the rod and lines are also chosen depending on the size of the fish you wish to catch. The higher the number, the heavier the line.
Fly rods also come in a variety of lengths which is important depending on where you are fishing. A lot of the skill in fly fishing is in casting your line, so if you have a lot of overhead vegetation, such as in a narrow waterway, you’ll want a shorter rod. However, if you’re fly fishing in the middle of a lake, you might prefer to use a longer rod.
There are lots of variations for fly rods. You can get a fast action rod to get you a good distance, although the majority of fly rods are medium-fast. Slow-action rods can increase your accuracy in small streams. A fly rod needs to be flexible and not break when bending because a lot of the fun with fly fishing is hooking and reeling in the fish!
What Makes a Fly Rod Different from Other Rods?
The main difference between a fly rod and other fishing rods is that in other rods, the lure is what causes the line to travel toward the fish. With a small artificial fly on the end, you’re not going to be able to use its weight to cast it, so the weight comes from the line instead. A low number class of fly rods will be light and a higher number is used to catch heavier fish.
It needs to be flexible and not snap when reeling in a fish. The best thing to do is decide where you’d like to try fly fishing and what fish you would like to catch. You can then choose a rod that is right for you. The most flexible rod from one end to the other is the slow-action rod which is used to cast a fly a shorter distance such as in small streams and brooks.
A middle or medium-fast action is a nice all-rounder that’s great for casting and going to give you a great fly fishing experience. A fast-action or tip-action rod will give you great casting ability, it’s got some speed and will send your fly much further. These types of reels are ideal in open lakes with plenty of room. They also suit windy conditions and are great for catching challenging fish.
You can get additional support for helping you reel in faster harder fish like salmon, this is called a fighting butt. You should be using a heavier weight rod and line for large fish like salmon as well.
Another difference with fly rods is that the reel is often right at the end of the rod, this helps with balance. When choosing a fly rod in a store, make sure it has a good balance at the end as this will enhance your fly fishing experience. Fly rods are generally made of carbon fiber and may have a cork handle. You can get rods made of aluminum to use in the ocean as this is a much better material to withstand saltwater.
Fly fishing rods usually come in 3 to 4 pieces that you put together to make up the rod. Then you dismantle it at the end of the day. They have a grip made of cork and a place to attach your reel.
Is a Fly Rod a Good Choice for Beginners?
A fly rod is possibly a good choice for beginners. It’s quite a skill to get the casting right for anyone. Even someone who is used to a different type of fishing. It’s a case of asking yourself if you’re prepared to put in the time to practice because fly fishing is a skill that takes time to master. It is worth it though and you will be glad you tried it.
Some suggest you choose a slow/through or soft action rod if you’re a beginner. These tend to be a lower budget as well. Others suggest a medium-fast action as a beginner rod because they are a good all-rounder. Try to also choose a medium-length rod and a medium-weight line. You can always become more specialist as you gain more experience.
Can you Use a Fly Rod for Saltwater Fishing?
Yes, you can use a fly rod for saltwater fishing. Several of the rods we highlight below specify that they are suitable for saltwater fishing. Fly rods are made of a variety of materials so it is worth purchasing one that states it is suitable for saltwater to ensure the longevity of your rod.
Fly rods suitable for saltwater are generally made from aluminum because this is a more durable material for ocean fishing.
When to Use a Fly rod?
You will need to use a fly rod for fly fishing. A fly rod is specifically designed to have an artificial fly attached to the line as your lure. You then also need a weighted line and a reel to be able to cast your fly and attract your fish. The rod is cast using a range of techniques from slow to fast action rods and you can purchase rods depending on the speed of cast you want.
Fly fishing is ideal for catching small fish in brooks and streams to larger fish in rivers and lakes. There are fish that are suitable to catch fly fishing in the ocean. Trout is one of the most commonly sought-after fish with fly fishing from small trout in brooks to larger trout in lakes. Salmon, bass, and carp are also commonly caught with fly fishing.
One advantage of fly fishing is that instead of just a few options of bait, you can adapt the artificial fly to specifically mimic the prey that a particular species of fish is most interested in. This makes it more successful for catching the type of fish you are after. Fly fishing is much lighter than other types of fishing with a rod, especially in comparison to using a spinning lure which is significantly heavier.
Which is the Best Fly Rod?
This is a difficult question to answer. The best thing to do is to consider what type of fish you’re after and where you’re going to be fishing for them. Then you can narrow down your options. Consider how committed you are to the sport and also decide on your budget.
You can get some quite affordable, mid-weight, standard-length rods with a medium-fast action that are good all-rounders that you can’t go wrong with. Some of the rods come with all the accessories you need which can be a nice addition and makes for an excellent gift.
We have lots of options for you below, decide what you’re interested in fishing for and then see which rod below best matches your specifications. You could put together a list of essential features and a list of likes but non-essentials and this will help you narrow down your options.
15 Best Fly Fishing Rods Review
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit
This fly rod set makes a great gift option for a beginner. It is quite a medium-length rod at 10ft and comes in 4 pieces that are put together and then dismantled again at the end of the day. It’s suitable for catching game fish such as trout and comes with everything you need to get started including the reel, line, leader, and a carrier for both the rod and reel.
This is quite a basic rod that comes with the weight-forward floating line essential for fly fishing but is not as specific as other rods. It is made of graphite with a cork handle. It has a one-year guarantee and is enough to get started.
- A basic rod suitable for beginners.
- Comes with everything to get started.
- Made of graphite.
- One-year guarantee.
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Boxed Outfit
This aluminum fly rod comes with a 25-year warranty, so the manufacturers are fully backing the quality of this rod. It’s a nice gift option that comes boxed and is suitable for fly fishing in a variety of places from small streams to freshwater lakes. You can use this rod to catch small fish in streams to larger game fish such as trout.
This is a 9ft rod, a fairly average length. This set doesn’t come with as much as the first one. Just the fly rod, reel, line, and Dracon backing.
- 25-year warranty.
- A nice gift option.
- Suitable for a range of fish.
- A 9ft rod.
Redington Path II Fly Rod Combo
This is a nice little kit that would again suit a beginner or someone experienced in fly fishing. It’s a medium-fast action rod made of graphite with a wooden reel seat. The Redington Path II Fly Rod is available in a variety of weights from 4 weight through to 8 weight.
The set includes the rod, pre-spooled reel fly line and a convenient tube carry case. Like all fly rods, it breaks up into four pieces for handy storage and ease of transport.
You’ve got plenty of options with this kit because it’s available in several weights and is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater depending on the weight you purchase. This is styled as a classic kit suitable for those who are just wanting to have fun out on the water to those who also want to catch trophy fish.
- For beginners and experienced.
- Available in a variety of weights.
- Comes as a set.
- Comes with a tube carry case.
Redington Fly Fishing Classic Trout Rod
This is a nylon fly rod and is a medium-action rod for fly fishing trout on both streams and rivers and lakes. It can be used from the water’s edge or on a boat. It has a stylish and classic-looking rosewood reel seat insert. This rod separates into four pieces like all fly rods, this rod has alignment dots to make it quick to go together and get you straight on the water fishing.
With a lightweight blank you are less likely to get so tired after a long day’s fishing. When you’ve finished a fantastic day on the water the rod can be disassembled and packaged into the carrying case.
The Redington Fly Fishing Classic Trout Rod comes with an amazing lifetime warranty so if there is any defect in either the materials or workmanship, then they will either repair or replace your rod for you.
- A great rod for trout fly fishing.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
- A stylish rosewood reel seat.
- Medium-action rod.
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series II Fly Fishing Rod
This is a 10 ft carbon fiber rod with an anti-glare finish and a cork handle. Usefully, this rod comes with an extra rod tip so you have a spare which is useful, especially for beginners. If you damage the tip of your rod, for example, it gets snapped after being caught in overhanging foliage then your day out fishing isn’t ruined because you have a spare tip with you.
The Moonshine Rod Co. Drifter Series II Fly Fishing Rod is a moderate fast fly rod with four parts as standard with alignment dots to get you quickly set up and out on the water. When you’re finished, the rod can be packed up into the Cordura tube that comes with this set. There are nice burl wood and double-locking reel seats. This rod has medium flexibility, it isn’t the most flexible on the market but it will provide you with a medium experience and enough flexibility to enjoy a day fishing.
This rod comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
- Carbon fiber rod with anti-glare finish.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Comes with a spare rod tip.
- Comes with a Cordura tube to store your rod.
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod
This rod is a little more expensive than the basic offerings. This is just the rod and carrying case and all Moonshine rods come with the spare tip section in case this gets damaged while out on your fly fishing trip, which is a nice little extra. The rod breaks down into four pieces like all standard fly rods and comes with a canvas tube to transport the rod in.
It’s slightly heavier at 7 weight, so suitable for casting big flies to entice bigger game fish in lakes and rivers. Being heavier means you can use this rod in windier weather as well. It’s a 10-foot, so it’s a fairly average length. It has a nice hand-turned burl and a traditional cork grip. This fly fishing rod is designed for both professionals and beginners.
A lifetime manufacturer’s warranty is provided with this rod.
- A 10-foot rod.
- Comes with a spare rod tip.
- Comes with a canvas tube.
- Suitable for windy weather.
Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod 4 Piece 9ft Graphite
This is a cheap, basic rod that will be a good option for trying out fly fishing to see if you enjoy it because it provides you with lots of options. It can be used with a low-weight line for slow-action fishing to catch small fish such as sunfish in streams. A medium weight can be used for trout and then a 9 weight for faster, heavier fish like salmon and saltwater fish. This is a graphite rod with an aluminum reel seat and is suitable for saltwater. The cork handle will help reduce fatigue.
It comes with a PVC rod tube which is going to be easy to keep clean, especially when put down on a muddy river bed! The Piscifun Sword Fly Fishing Rod assembles from four pieces like most fly fishing rods which makes it easy to transport. It has alignment spots so you can get fishing straight away. The guides allow for a smooth fishing experience.
The rods from this brand are designed for the family so they are suitable for all abilities. This fly fishing rod offers great balance and is comfortable to use.
- Suitable for all abilities and the whole family.
- Store in the PVC rod tube which is easy to keep clean.
- Graphite rod with aluminum reel seat.
- Available in a range of weights.
Sage Fly Fishing - FOUNDATION Outfit
This is a premium rod, significantly more expensive than the others. This fly rod is available in a range of weights. It comes as a rod, reel, and line set, and the rod is handcrafted in the USA from graphite. The tip and guides are made of chrome with ceramic stripper guides.
It comes with a nylon rod and reel case.
- A premium rod
- Handcrafted in the USA.
- Ceramic stripper guides.
- Comes with a nylon rod and reel case.
PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo 5/6
This is a nice combination set with lots of accessories. It’s very affordable and a great set for fly fishing. It’s a 5-weight, so towards the lower weight end for fishing in streams and rivers for smallish fish. Though it’s made of aluminum so could be used in saltwater.
It comes with a waterproof fly case with 20 flies, and an arbor reel with the line already installed. This will make a great gift with the accessories and also comes with a zip case.
The PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is a great rod to avoid fatigue and is suitable for an accurate cast.
- Comes as a great set with lots of accessories.
- Made of aluminum.
- A great gift.
- Boasts an accurate cast.
PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo, Starter Kit
This is a great complete fishing set that’s medium-fast, and medium weight so suitable for both beginners and more experienced fly fishers. It’s an all-rounder type of rod that can be used for mid-sized fish in rivers and lakes. The rod is made from graphite and is very light. You can get great accuracy with this rod with practice over time.
The fly reel comes with the line already installed and this set has been put together so you have everything you need ready to get fishing and it all goes well together. The set also comes with a tackle box with 12 fishing flies.
The PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo come with a portable storage case so you can transport all your fishing gear safely and keep it clean from mud and water. As standard, the rod is constructed in 4 pieces that are assembled when you get to your fishing location and disassembled at the end of the day.
Fatigue is reduced by the cork grip in a Western style. This rod is sleek and stylish and has a great feel to it. This set would make a great gift and is quite affordable.
- Medium- fast, medium weight rod.
- Suitable for all abilities.
- Comes with a tackle box and 12 fishing flies.
- Comes with a storage case.
Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod
The Echo Carbon XL Fly Rod is more expensive than some of the other rods on this list but it looks nice. It’s an all-rounder medium-fast action rod with lightweight ceramic stripping guides. This rod is suitable for catching a range of fish and for use in a range of waters and conditions. It’s great for bass and trout.
It comes in four pieces like all fly rods and it stores in a practical and stylish tube. This rod also comes with a lifetime warranty so is a sound investment. This is a popular rod that gets lots of enthusiastic reviews.
- An all-rounder.
- Lightweight ceramic stripping guides.
- Can be used for bass and trout.
- Lifetime warranty.
Echo Fly Fishing Lift Fly Rod
This is a more budget-friendly rod than the XL. It’s still a medium-fast action rod. It’s a 3-weight rod so will be suitable for catching small fish in streams and brooks. This is a great rod for beginners. It comes in four pieces that are convenient for traveling like all the other fly rods and comes with a fabric rod case. The stripping guides are made of chrome with a black anodized reel seat.
- Suitable for streams and brooks.
- Great for beginners.
- Comes with a fabric case.
Thomas & Thomas Sextant 9'0" 8wt 4pc Fly Rod
This 9 ft rod is a top-budget fly rod. Thomas & Thomas rods are handmade in the USA. This rod is suitable for saltwater fishing and for the windy weather often encountered at sea. This is an 8-weight rod so good for casting to catch heavier fish, including trout in freshwater. The Thomas & Thomas Sextant range is designed to be powerful and reliable with a reinforced construction offering great accuracy when casting.
This is just the rod so you will have to purchase the additional items you need separately. It also does not come with a case. What you do get is a rod with heritage with a lifetime warranty.
- Handmade in the USA.
- Suitable for saltwater.
- Manages windy conditions.
- Reliable, accurate casting.
Winston Pure Fly Rod
This is another rod at the higher budget end of the fly rods available. It’s made of boron and is a medium-fast action rod that can be used in a variety of wind conditions. It boasts ‘true Winston progressive action’. There are also guidelines for putting the sections together accurately.
The Winston Pure Fly rod offers a good grip and is great for casting an accurate loop. This is quite a light rod at 4 weight and shorter than other rods so suitable for catching smaller fish.
- Made of boron.
- Good for a variety of wind conditions.
- 4 weight so suitable for smaller fish.
- One of the shorter rods on this list.
Douglas LRS Fly Rod
The Douglas LRS Fly rod is a mid-priced rod that is available in a variety of lengths and weights. So you can get the right weight rod to suit the fish you wish to catch and your fishing location and conditions. It’s made of stainless steel and is designed to provide high-end performance for your fly rod fishing adventures. This fly rod is suitable for both beginners and those already experienced in fly fishing.
This is a stylish, good-looking rod in nickel blue. With stainless steel stripping guides and a cork grip for a comfortable and durable fishing experience. The Douglas LRS Fly Rod also has fine tips and a carbon fiber reel inset. All Douglas fly rods come with a lifetime warranty because they want the Douglas LRS Fly rod to be your go-to rod for years to come.
- Available in a variety of weights and lengths.
- Stainless steel stripping guides.
- Comfortable cork grip.
- Lifetime warranty.
Aventik Whisperer Ultra Light Fly Fishing Rod 6’1”
This is an ultra-light, super compact fly rod set. The fast action presentation is aesthetically appealing and the carbon fiber rod allows you to have the strength you want for your fishing excursions at a weight that is easy to carry, move and store.
The rod boasts a fast action with a smooth power transfer that will delight all experienced and beginner fly rod game fishermen and women every time. You will be able to achieve long-distance casting with perfect casting.
The Aventik Whisperer Ultra Light Fly Fishing Rod is guaranteed for twenty-five years, allowing you to fish in peace, knowing that your rod is going to take the strain of an active fishing session. The rods are tested by the manufacturer to ensure quality.
- Excellent rod set for fast action fly fishing.
- Guaranteed to last for 10 years.
- There is a repair option available on the rods.
- Easy to transport and store.
SF SF-001 Fly Fishing Rod Combo Starter Outfit
This set is the perfect beginner fly rod. It includes a 5 or 6wt 9-foot fishing rod, the carry case, ⅚ weight aluminum alloy fly reel pre-loaded with a fly line, a backing line, and a tapered leader. There are also fly flies included in a charming waterproof fly box, a 3-piece zinger, and a line nipper. The set is perfect for beginners of all ages, even young anglers will appreciate the set.
The fly rod is a 5/6 weight and is 9 feet long. The medium-fast action fly rod body has been manufactured from pure black carbon fiber which has strength and durability. The aluminum alloy reel seal has two lock rings for secure reel mounting. And the set includes stripping guide inserts and chrome guides for better, more smooth gliding of fly lines. To ensure you have a comfortable grip, the rod is fitted with a cork handle.
The rod comes with a five-year warranty.
- Perfect for beginners of all ages.
- Strong and durable design that can last for five plus years.
- Better grip comfort.
- Medium-fast action rod.
Eagle Claw, Featherlight Fly Rod
This is a fiberglass blank with a two-piece design that is forgiving and perfect. The cork grip allows you to have a comfortable feel that allows you to fish all day without getting too many blisters or sores on your hands.
The line on the rod is great for flowing freely through the aluminum-oxide guides that are included with the eight-foot rod. The reed seat is made from aluminum with cherry wood. And this is a great light power rod, a rarity online as most people sell a medium-fast rod and not this light option.
The line weight is 5/6. For those looking for an excellent starter rod that isn’t going to break the bank, then this is a great option.
- Made from fiberglass and includes a cork handle for comfort.
- Easy to use, even for those who’ve not fly-fished before.
- Light power rod, something that can be harder to get hold of.
- Excellent starter rod.
Is a high-end fly rod worth it?
Typically, people who enjoy fly fishing do choose to spend a lot on a rod. So there may be something in the high-end fly rod. They are made by specialists and are a great piece of equipment. Good-quality craftsmanship is always worth paying for. Many of the high-end rods are handmade in the US and come from brands with heritage behind them. A lot of these manufacturers offer lifetime warranties and guarantees as well.
It might be worth trying out a cheaper rod, to begin with, and then if you find you get into fly fishing you can then upgrade to a dearer rod and see how that works out for you. You could always pass on your rod to your kid for them to join you on your fishing trips.
What is the best length for a fly rod?
Fly rods come in a variety of lengths. To simplify fly rod lengths, the longer your rod the greater the distance you’ll be able to cast your line but this is dependent on the weight of your reel and line as well. If you plan to fish in small streams and brooks, especially with overhanging vegetation you should look to get a shorter rod.
If you plan to fly fish on large lakes and rivers or even in saltwater you should look to get a longer rod to get a larger casting loop.
The most widely available rod is a 9 foot, and this will give you a rod that is an all-rounder that can be used to catch a variety of fish in a variety of locations. You could get a shorter rod if you plan to only fish in a small stream or brook like in your backyard.
What is the best weight fly rod for trout?
Many fly rods available are suitable for trout fishing, and quite a few mention trout specifically. You should look for a rod that is either 4, 5, or 6 in weight. The size you choose will also depend on the size of the trout you plan to catch and, therefore, the time of year you’re fishing. It will also depend on where you will be catching them. If you plan to fish in small streams and brooks catching small young trout, then the lighter weight rod will be better, such as a 4, or even down to a 3 weight.
If you’re looking to catch larger trout in rivers and lakes, then you’ll want a heavier-weight fly rod such as a 5-weight or even 6-weight. This weight of rod will also be more suitable for windy weather. This is generally seen as an all-rounder weight for trout fishing, so if you can only purchase one rod, this is probably the best weight to get. Unless you plan to only fish in your local small brook or stream and are not likely to catch any larger trout.
Many of the rods available are medium-fast action and suitable for trout fishing. Some of the rods do specify their suitability for trout fishing in their descriptions. In terms of length, a fly rod that is 9 feet is ideal for trout fishing. Many of the rods on the market are available in this size so you will have lots of choices.
Final Word: Introduction to Fly Fishing with 18 of the Best Highlighted
Fly rod fishing will provide you with a great fishing experience. You might be experienced at fishing and looking to expand your fishing skills or new to fishing and want to get into fly fishing.
In the article above, you have all the information you need about the difference between fly fishing and other types of fishing. It is a great skill to master. There are also some of the best fly fishing rods for you to consider. We hope you enjoy your new hobby.
If you are looking for the best baitcaster combo read our 12 best review
Fly line glossary
AFTMA: Association of Fishing Tackle Manufacturers and Merchants. This is an organization that rates fly lines according to their grain weight. The AFTMA system goes from 1-16, with 1 being the lightest and 16 being the heaviest.
Bevel: The bevel is the cutting edge of the hook. It can be either concave or convex in shape.
Bite: When a fish takes your fly, it is said to take a “bite” out of the fly line.
Braided line: Braided line is made up of multiple strands of material that are braided together. This type of line is robust and durable but can be more challenging to manage than other types of line.
Butt: The butt is the thickest part of the fly line. It is designed to help you cast heavier flies and sinking lines.
Concave: A concave shape has a depression in the middle. This type of shape is often found on hook points and blades.
Convex: A convex shape has a raised area in the middle. This type of shape is often found on fish scales and insect exoskeletons.
Cutting point: The cutting point is the sharpest part of the hook. It is used to puncture the flesh of the fish when you set the hook.
Double taper (DT): A double taper fly line has two different diameters along its length. The thicker part is in the middle, and the thinner portion is at the ends. This line is easy to manage and cast but can be more challenging to control in windy conditions.
Flipper: A flipper is a small piece of material attached to the back of the hook. It helps keep the fly line from tangling around the hook when casting.
Grain: The grain is a unit of measure for fly lines. It corresponds to the weight of the fly line in ounces. For example, a 5-grain fly line would weigh 5 ounces.
Leader: The leader is a length of monofilament or fluorocarbon attached to the end of the fly line. It is used to help keep the fly line from tangling around the hook when casting.
Monofilament: Monofilament is a single strand of material used to make a fishing line. It is solid and durable but more challenging to manage than other types of lines.
Point: The point is the sharpest part of the hook. It is used to puncture the flesh of the fish when you set the hook.
Sinker: A sinker is a small weight attached to the end of the fly line. It helps keep the fly line from tangling around the hook when casting.
Taper: The taper is the gradual change in diameter from the thickest part of the fly line to the thinnest. This taper helps the fly line to cast more smoothly and with less resistance.
Turnover: The turnover is the point at which the fly line changes direction when casting. This point is typically at the end of the forward cast, just before the backcast.
Wash: When a fish takes your fly, it is said to “wash” the fly line. This term is often used when describing how a fish reacts to a poorly-presented fly.