If you haven’t bought a fly rod before, all the choices and features can become overwhelming, especially as fly rod technology continues to evolve. It’s important to find a high-quality and durable fly rod that offers you the casting and action you need as a beginner. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you choose the best fly rod for beginners.
Best Fly Rods for Beginners
|Orvis 2019 Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit : 9’0″ 5wt
|Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 4-Piece, 5/6 Weight Fly Rod/ Reel Combo Package
|Redington Fly Fishing Combo Kit 590-4 Vice Outfit with I.D Reel 5 Wt 9-Foot 4pc
|Temple Fork Outfitters Lefty Kreh Professional Series II 6Wt. 9′
|Sage Fly Fishing 590-4 Foundation Outfit 5WT 9′ (4 Piece)
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod
Standard for bigger eastern water and western rivers, the Orvis clearwater fly rod outfit has the length you need to control drifts and is powerful enough to reach those far banks. With the line weight you need to handle light bass and big trout, this nine-foot fly rod is affordable and a great value. Every rod features a purpose-built profile and enough action that you can handle the kind of fishing the rod was designed for.
Ideal for beginners, the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rods are lightweight fly fishing rods that allows first-time anglers to catch a large trout. This aluminum rod has a lightweight feel but is still durable and strong. With its four-piece design, this 5-Weight fly rod is easy to cast and carry with you.
Featuring great fly rod action, the Clearwater Fly Rod isn’t too slow or too fast making it easy for beginners to use. With its tapers build and profile, this fly rod allows you to cast with precision and power no matter whether you are throwing small or large flies on a windy day. This is a great fly rod for when you are fishing in a lake or river.
- This is an easy to cast fly rod
- It is very durable and lightweight
- It comes with line, a reel, backing, and a leader
- The action is slower than any other rod
Wild Water Starter Package
Ideal for fishing larger game, the Wild Water Starter Package is equipped with a line capacity between five and six. This rod and reel can be used in both saltwater and freshwater, so you don’t have to worry about changing rods when you go from one to the other. This package also includes a rod sock that keeps the link from getting tangled or abrasion when you tie the lure onto the reel and also protects the rod’s fragile guides and tips.
The slow action of this rod is super impressive along with its wide range of choices as you handle a variety of fish targets. The Wild Water Starter Package offers tons of versatility for an angler that plans to catch a lot of different types of fish. This graphite composite rod has a high sensitivity that lets you detect fish strikes quickly.
Equipped with aluminum oxide guides, you get smooth casting that offers the medium flex need for beginner angling techniques. Easy to use, portable, and lightweight, the Wild Water Starter Package mixes its lightweight with the strength to let you cast more precisely. This ¾ weight rod can accommodate mono-lines and has a Western-style cork handle that features compressed cork accent rings.
The Wild Water Starter Package is a 4-piece rod with a machined aluminum reel seat and double lock rings. This nine-inch rod comes with a hard tube rod case that includes a reel pouch and a side storage pouch. Equipped with a carry strap and hang ring, this case can hold the reel, rod, fly box, and all its accessories.
Ideal for use in small to medium ponds and streams while fishing for small bass, panfish, and trout. The reel on the Wild Water Starter Package comes with a left hand retrieve, but all the Wild West fly reels are easy to change from left to right-hand retrieves. And the included fly box is waterproof and comes with a custom box design that can hold up to 372 flies.
- This is an easy to cast
- It’s super affordable for a starter kit
- This is a great choice for a beginner
- It isn’t very durable
A medium-fast graphite fly rod, the Redington Crosswater is easy to cast and perfect for a beginner. Available in two and four-piece models, this fly rod is flexible enough for anglers that travel a lot with the option to buy a single rod or a total outfit. Offering a longer casting distance than a standard fishing rod, the Redington Crosswater has plenty of hook-setting power that makes it perfect for use with recreational baits like spinnerbaits as well as treble hooks like topwater lures and crankbaits.
Featuring graphite construction and chrome stripping guides, the Redington Crosswater is fitted with a reel seat that provides great tensile strength. This lightweight rod is super sensitive to a fish strike than similar fishing rods on the market. This is a great value thanks to its durable anodized aluminum seat ant and laser-etched reel seats.
Made with wood and aluminum, the Redington Crosswater is less like to rust or stain. Featuring great tip action, this rod also comes with a cotton rod sock.
- This rod is a great value
- It is durable but lightweight
- The laser-etched reel seat is very effective
- The reel will come off easily
- The frame is fragile
Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Rod
Ideal for someone just starting out, the Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Rod comes with a setup designed for high-performance and for shortening the learning curve to developing awesome fly fishing skills. Included in this kit backing, a leader, line floating line, a rod, and rod sock. Constructed out of graphite, this a high-quality, durable rod that is also lightweight.
Equipped with a very durable composite cork handle, the Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Rod also includes aluminum oxide stripping guides, a reel seat made of anodized aluminum, and stainless-steel snake guides. With its fast action, you can catch all types of fish with this rod including trout. Plus, this rod can easily bend half-way providing great control.
Made in four pieces, this rod can easily be disassembled for packing and storage and then quickly reassembled when it’s time to hit the water. Providing a lightweight feel as you cast, the cast aluminum reel is also very durable. The smooth operating spool gives you hassle-free casting when you target game.
A great value, this is a very forgiving rod that also offers progressive and fast action that is with powerful and smooth casting. The Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Rod is a great choice for any skill level. This rod also includes an attractive rod sock or you can choose to customize your own tube for storage.
- It has great action when you consider the price
- It features a spool design that is interchangeable
- The compact design of this rod is easy to carry
- In comparison to other rods, it’s a little fragile
Sage Foundation Fly Combo
Using a high-performance graphite blank, the Sage Foundation Fly Rod offers fast action, effortless control, and incredible casting power. Allowing you to take your fishing experience to the next level, this fly rod has a lot of feel and lets you fish your best when catching trout and using mayflies in both small and large bodies of water. It can also go sub-surface when you are using large dry flies with dropper and heavy nymphs.
Operating like any other typical fast-action rod, the Foundation Fly Rod is efficient when casting and offers control that is effortless. It comes equipped with a locking reel seat made of black-anodized aluminum, hard chrome snake guides, and ceramic stripper guides. The cork handle provides comfort and security while the high weight feature of the rod is perfect for fishing in saltwater.
You will also find a rugged nylon tube with a divided liner in this fly rod package, backing, tapered leader, and RIO Gold fly line. The Foundation Fly Rod is handcrafted in the United States.
- It’s a great value for the money
- It’s one of the most durable rods on the market
- This rod has a super smooth transfer of energy
- It’s on the expensive side
Considerations When Choosing a Fly Rod for a Beginner
A fly rod is weighed using a scale measurement between 1wt and 12wt. The rod’s weight needs to match the fly line’s weight. So, the heavier the fly rod’s weight, the larger the fish you can catch and the larger the body of water you can fish in.
With a rod weighing between 2wt and 4wt, you can fish in a small stream with short distances and expect to catch small fish like trout and panfish. The most popular rods feature a weight between 5 and 6wt that can be used to catch both small and medium fish, plus you can use it in pretty much any type of water. A rod between 7 and 12wt is ideal to catch larger fish like salmon and bass out in the ocean. However, beginners should stay around a 5 to 6wt since you can upgrade as you get experience and you probably won’t be out in the sea fishing.
The rod’s length will determine how you cast, which is typically five and 10 feet high. If you are fishing in a small stream, you won’t have as much room to cast, so you want a rod between six and eight feet. When you are on a prominent river, you will need more control for longer casting distances, so you will require a longer rod.
Beginners should choose a rod between 8 ½ and 9 feet. A rod length is a versatile choice, but, if you know you’ll be fishing in a small stream, look for a rod with a shorter length. Many rods are designed in several different pieces that you put together to fit the typical range making it easier to store and move. For anyone that travels a lot, it can be hard to transport longer rods since they can break easily. Piece rods tend to be more expensive, but it’s worth the extra cost to ensure you don’t break the rod.
The rod’s action tells how much the rod will bend when you cast. It’s important to match the rod’s action level to your skill level. When it comes to rod action, there are three types that each have its own advantages and disadvantages, which depend on what you are fishing and where.
Slow Action – Of all the actions, this is the most flexible and is designed for someone who needs short, accurate, and gentle casts that are required for rivers and small streams. The flexibility of this rod gives you better control of the line, which will increase its accuracy. Plus, they are pretty forgiving, but it is also hard to control when your backcast.
Medium Action – Bending in the middle, a medium action rod offers a fast load with lower black strength and stiffness giving you longer casts. You can also use a medium action rod to handle more dominant fish. This type of rod also gives you the flexibility to make accurate and quick range casts. Super versatile, you can also use a medium action rod with nymphs, dry flies, and streamer. A great choice for a beginner, medium action rods are easy to learn and control.
Fast Action – Known as a tip flex fly, a fast action rod is the stiffest option that gives you very little flexing. This sturdy action rod is ideal for an extended cast that needs you to have the right time or right technique making it a great choice for advanced casters. The rod’s stiffness makes it easy to cast on a windy day. Plus, it’s more powerful thanks to its inbuilt power, which also makes it less demanding.
Made with different materials, fly rods are often constructed out of graphite, bamboo, and fiberglass. Each material has its own weaknesses and strengths.
Bamboo is a class material for fly rods that are naturally slow but need more maintenance. They are not suggested for beginners and are often preferred by advanced anglers. Bamboo has a faster rate of recovery in comparison to fiberglass, but it’s slower than carbon-fiber. Plus, it’s more expensive than the other materials since it can’t completely machined.
Durable and cheap, fiberglass fly rods are being produced less. Offering the same flexing action as bamboo, it also has the same abilities when it comes to casting dry flies. More lightweight than bamboo, fiberglass does weigh more than graphite. Super affordable, this is a good choice for beginners and anyone on a tight budget.
Most popular and also the newest on the market, graphite fly rods are lightweight and offer the most accurate casts. Graphite is a good choice when casting heavy lines long distances, plus it has better elasticity than bamboo and fiberglass.
When describing graphite rods, the term “modulus” is referring to the weight to stiffness ratio of the graphite fibers that run through the rod’s length. Some users believe that the higher the modulus is, the better the rod. While not completely true, the rod’s performance is affected by the modulus and the fiber strength, resin toughness, and how much fiber is used in the rod. Graphite rods tend to be more forgiving, so they are better for beginners and also provide a more precise, extended cast.
It’s always important to consider where you will be fishing. For those that travel a lot as they fish, it is easy to transport the rods if you can break them down into several pieces. If you don’t need something very portable, then you should consider buying a whole fly rod, or one in just two pieces. This will lessen the need to assemble and disassemble your rod at the fishing site.
When you are a complete beginner, buying a fly fishing combo kit suitable for beginners is usually the best choice in providing sufficient action. If it isn’t your first-time fly fishing, so you aren’t a true beginner, you may want something with faster or slower acton, which can also depend on what fish you are catching.
Things to Remember When Choosing a Fly Rod for a Beginner
Usually, beginner fly rods are pretty inexpensive, which is good since you want to make sure you really like fly fishing. Once you have learned the ropes, you can invest more money in a better quality rod.
However, when you buy an inexpensive rod, you have to remember that it typically won’t be the highest quality. It can be difficult to find a really good high-quality rod for a low price. Typically, they won’t be as durable and won’t last a very long time unless you take care of them, which will help it last you longer.
The control of your first fly rod won’t always be easy. It might be difficult at first, but after a little practice, you will be sure to figure it all out. That’s when the fun begins.
When you go fly fishing for the first time, it’s important to wear glasses. As you learn to cast, it’s possible that the fly can come back and hit you in the face. If you aren’t wearing glasses, the fly could hit you right in the eye. A cheap pair of sunglasses can help prevent severe damage to your face and eyes.
Flies can be lost pretty easily, especially when you are first starting out and when you are fly fishing around trees. It can be helpful to practice your cast in an open area, so you don’t have to worry about trees, which can prove to be an obstacle that will only increase your learning curve.
Even after you have mastered your fly fishing technique, you will still lose flies. It’s pretty common for them to get caught on logs and rocks or even just fly off as you cast.
What’s the best weight for a fly rod when fishing trout?
The best weight all depends on what species of fish you are trying to catch. When you are fishing for panfish or small trout, you need a fly rod weight somewhere in between 0 and 4. For average-sized trout fishing, loom for a fly rod that has a weight anywhere from 4 and 6. That will allow you to cast the line to a doo depth in order to catch this type of fish.
Do you need a tippet?
Typically part of a fly rod combo, tippets help to make your flies go deeper under the water. It is what helps give you more contact with the fish. So, you do need a tippet making them important to both advanced and beginning fly fishermen. Just make sure that you get a good quality one whether it’s part of a combo or bought separately.
Do I need a fly fishing combo?
A fly fishing combo is a whole pack of the necessary items you need to start fly fishing. This type of set is very helpful since fly fishing does require a bunch of accessories, which can make it less expensive and reduce the hassle of buying everything separately.
A fly fishing combo is only recommended for a beginner since it comes with all the basics that you need. Advanced anglers will be more interested in customizing or adding to their existing equipment.
What is the basic gear that you need for fly fishing?
When you go fly fishing, you will need the following basic equipment:
- Fly rod
- Fishing flies
- Fly reel
- Fishing line that includes backing, leader, and tippet
You may to feel the need to invest in other pieces of equipment that aren’t a necessity when you are fly fishing, but you can get them after learn more and have advanced in your technique. You also want to make sure that you are wearing the right clothes for both the weather and to fish in.
Why is it important that you get a quality fly rod?
Some users wonder why it’s so important for you to invest money and time in a good-quality fly rod. Similar to other types of sporting equipment, a good-quality fly rod can give you great benefits like effectiveness and strength when fishing. When you have a good-quality fly rod, there isn’t the worry about performance or about it breaking. Plus, it will give you the durability you need to have a fly rod that will last several years with intense usage.
Fly fishing can be an exhilarating and fun past time. If you are just starting out, look for a rod that has both strength and power that can also give you the action and casting ability you need when you are a beginner. Make sure you don’t become overwhelmed from all the fly rod choices and features out there and just focus on the basics for your first fly rod and reel.
Be sure to also check out some of our other fishing gear guide blogs as well.