Many of the attributes you should consider in choosing the best beginner fly rods and reels are similar to the metrics for traditional bait casting rods. However, some of the most important characteristics of fly rods are quite different. Here are the most important considerations in choosing a style and configuration for your equipment.
What Is The Best Fly Fishing Rods and Reels for Beginners?
|Wild Water Fly Fishing|
|PLUSINNO Fly Combo|
Other Fishing Experience
|Wild Water Fly Fishing Deluxe|
|Maxcatch Extreme Fishing|
|Martin Fly Fishing Kit|
1. Wild Water Fly Fishing — Best Beginner’s Fly Fishing Combo
This combo comes ready to go fishing, with a carrying case and preinstalled line on the attached reel along with several accessories and flies. This is a slow action rod made of graphite with a comfortable cork handle.
This 5wt/6wt combo includes an aluminum die cast reel and matching fly line installed. “Wild Water” maintains consistent casting while its four-piece construction allows it to fit nicely in its compact case. Combo has proven to be durable and long-lasting.
“Wild Water Fishing” has stainless steel line guides and produces good line flow for beginning fly casters. The combo comes with a detailed set of instructions for use and maintenance of the equipment.
This is a nice kit that comes complete with everything a beginner will need to go fly fishing. It is also a nice backyard trainer for practice and developing casting skills. This is a nice middle of the road rod that should last a new fly fisherman for a long while.
- It is extremely portable in the sturdy case included.
- The included accessories provide everything needed to go fishing.
2. PLUSINNO Fly Combo — Best Value Beginning Kit
PLUSINNO comes as a complete kit with an arbor reel and preinstalled fly line. This is a medium action 5wt/6wt combo that has graphite four-piece construction. The kit also comes with an extra rod tip.
PLUSINNO has a compressed cork handle that is very comfortable over extended casting sessions. The included aluminum reel is loaded with good fly line that is front-loaded for easier casting. The carrying case is durable and makes for easy transport to remote fishing waters and backpacking.
The graphite construction of PLUSINNO is very lightweight and is ideal for practice and lots of fishing without fatigue. The finish and design of the entire kit is well done.
PLUSINNO is known for using high-quality construction materials, and this combo is a great value for a beginner who wants quality and durable equipment. This kit is ideal for travel and with some practice, a beginner will enjoy fishing with this PLUSINNO while building skill.
- This is a very durable and good-looking kit.
- Beginners have success fishing with this combo.
- The guides are rough on the included line, which does not last very long.
- The handle is not as comfortable.
3. Wild Water Fly Fishing Deluxe — Best Combo For Beginners with Other Fishing Experience
This combo kit comes with a 7 foot four piece rod and an aluminum cast reel. The Wild Water Deluxe is made of graphite and has slow action. “Deluxe” and line are 3wt/4wt, and the kit includes a number of useful accessories. The manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty on the entire kit.
The kit comes with detailed instructions for use and maintenance of the entire kit. The case included allows for the safe transport of the combo kit in your vehicle and while camping or backpacking.
The weight and action configuration of this combo sets up well for stream fishing in windy conditions. With practice and experience, an angler will be able to use the combo in all sorts of conditions.
The slightly more advanced combo might be well suited for anglers who have previous fishing experience and are beginners at fly casting. The combo comes with everything needed to go fishing and is durable and will travel well. This kit is well suited for smaller waters and trout and panfish.
- The slow action and lighter line weight of this equipment will provide for long-lasting use after a beginning fly fisher has gained experience and skill.
- This kit includes quality accessories that normally must be purchased separately.
- This combo is not the best choice for a true beginner.
- The preinstalled line is not as durable.
4. Maxcatch Extreme Fishing — Best Matched Combo Beginning Fly Rod
This combo kit includes an aluminum reel and a dozen nice hand-tied flies. “Maxcatch” is a 4-piece 9-foot rod. It is 6wt and the reel is preloaded with the decent fly line.
“Maxcatch” is made of carbon fiber material and has moderately fast action. The carbon construction allows for superior casting with faster action and is more durable than normal graphite construction while providing similar whip and sensitivity. “Maxcatch” provides a longer casting range than others of similar configuration. The manufacturer has matched the rod, reel, and line together well for excellent balance for a beginner.
This is a versatile combo that an angler will want to keep and continue using even after advancing in skill and obtaining more advanced equipment.
This combo is a very good trainer configuration for beginners. The carbon construction provides consistent and soft casting while providing a somewhat faster action than other beginning rods.
- It is made of excellent carbon fiber material.
- The flies and accessories that come with this kit are better than most kits provide.
- It is probably not the best trainer for a true beginner to fly fishing.
- The weakest feature of “Maxcatch” is the line guides, which are not as smooth.
5. Martin Fly Fishing Kit — Best Kit for Youngsters
This combo includes a 5wt/6wt 6 foot rod with matching fly line and includes several flies. It does not include a travel case, but the rod makes for an excellent backyard practice rod and a panfish fly rod in about any type of water.
This combo is ideal for use around campsites and at the lakeside. It is also great for use from a canoe, kayak, or other small boats around brush and structure near lakeshores and the edges of ponds with panfish and small bass.
This combo is very affordable and makes for an excellent training kit for novice anglers. It allows beginners to have fun while training and catching fish. Younger beginners especially enjoy learning about fishing while actually catching fish, and this combo is set up well for catching small panfish around a lake or pond.
This inexpensive kit is an excellent choice for younger beginners who are interested in learning overall fishing skills in addition to developing fly casting ability. For fun around ponds and lakes catching panfish and small bass, this combo is hard to beat, and it makes a great rod and reel handy for spontaneous fishing trips on the road or on the trail.
- This is a great kit for beginners to have fun around local ponds and lakes.
- The shorter casting distances and action of this rod allow for enjoyable fishing while learning and developing casting skills.
- It is only going to work well with smaller species, and fish under 4 pounds or so.
- It does not come with a carrying case.
Beginner Fly Rods Shopping Guide
Fly fishing remains the fastest growing type of sport fishing in North America. Fly fishing is not like bait casting or any other type of freshwater fishing and requires special skills and physical conditioning. It also requires thought and planning. The prime rivers and streams where fly fishing is most productive are usually picturesque locations off the beaten path, and a spirit of adventure is tied closely to fly fishing. An angler does not catch fish with a fly rod by accident–it takes practice, dedication, careful thought, and the right equipment.
Fly fishing centers around successful and consistent casting of the fly line carrying the fly lure to the desired spot where wary fish are located. Standard freshwater casting is based around casting a lure from the rod. Flies are far too light to be cast from a rod. Instead, the fly line carries the weight from the rod to the target, and the fly travels along with the fly line to the target. Fly casting involves the technique of whipping the entire fly line from the rod through a loading at the back of the cast through a whipping wave going forward to the desired casting area.
The production materials and technologies of fly rod construction have seen great advancement in recent years. In this guide, we are going to look at the equipment that is suitable for beginners who are ready to develop their skills and train for this fascinating and exciting sport.
Fly rods have a specialized weight ranking, ranging from 1-weight through 12-weight. The rank is usually shown as “6-wt” or “6W” for example for a 6-weight.
The weight describes the size (also described as weight) of the fly line the rod is designed to use. It is very important that the fly line you use matches exactly the weight of the fly equipment you select. Combos are a great choice for beginners, as they come with a fly reel and the correct weight fly line for your rod pre-installed and ready to go.
Larger fish require heavier weights, and the type of fishing and water conditions an angler expects determine which rod and line weight is best. Weight from 2wt to 4wt is designed for smaller panfish and shorter distance casting in smaller waters. Weight from 5wt to 6wt is the most common fly rod and line weights. These are the most versatile weights and can be used for trout, panfish, and other medium sized fish and most freshwater rivers, streams, and lakes. Weight from 7wt and greater is used for larger fish like salmon, steelhead, and larger bass.
As casting is the primary function of fly fishing, a length is important.
Fly rods typically come in lengths from 6 feet up to around 15 feet. Equipment shorter than 7 feet is usually considered only useful for close up casting in compact areas, and equipment longer than about 10 feet is used for heavyweight fly fishing at long range on big reservoirs or saltwater uses. Very short rods are especially difficult for beginners to use effectively while learning how to fly fish.
Learning and practicing casting skills work best with 7 to 9 feet. These middle sized rods are also the most versatile for typical fly fishing waters. Beginners will usually find these length rods cast more naturally and allow for greater line control around vegetation or other obstacles during the backswing of the casting stroke.
Many rods come in multiple pieces. Multi-piece construction provides easier travel with your rod with less chance of rod damage. However, most experienced anglers prefer single or two-piece construction for casting performance and consistency.
Action describes how a rod bends and flexes while casting. There are three general action categories, and each has advantages and disadvantages for different uses.
A slow action rod produces relatively slow rod tip speed and is usually the best choice for beginners. Slow action allows for precision casting at shorter to medium casting distances. This action also allows for more gentle placement of the fly on the target. Learning casting skills with a slow action rod forces the angler to focus on the backcast, which leads to greater muscle memory and advanced casting skills.
Medium action rods can also be suitable for some beginners, as this equipment also produces moderate tip speeds. This action rod flexes further down the rod blank and loads more quickly than a slow action rod while remaining more rigid nearer the handle to allow greater rod control. Medium action is also useful with all casting and fly techniques and allows for effective training for beginners with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers.
Fast action rods allow for accurate casts at longer distances for more advanced anglers. Fly fishers with experience find that their advanced timing and line control allow for greater accuracy and softness with these rods, especially in windy conditions.
Fly Rod Materials
Modern fly rods are made from a variety of materials, and each type has its own pros and cons.
Bamboo is a classic material. They are usually slower action rods and need greater care than more modern materials. Bamboo is used mainly by expert anglers and is not the best choice for beginners.
For many years fiberglass was the industry standard for fly rod construction. It is cheaper and much more durable than other materials and generally produces a slower casting action. Fiberglass weighs more than graphite but is lighter than bamboo.
It is less common today than graphite and other modern composites for fly rod construction. Fiberglass is fine for a beginning fly fisher, although graphite is now competitive in cost.
Most modern fly rods are constructed from graphite, and graphite is the most popular material today. Graphite is light and produces accurate and consistent casts. It is durable, light in weight, and sensitive. Graphite allows for translation of casting skills to longer and longer rods, allowing for greater casting distance and control over time.
Graphite also is the best material for high fly rod performance in windy conditions. The lighter weight and greater consistency of graphite allows for extended and productive training and practice. Graphite is more fragile than fiberglass and requires care in use and transport.
Fly fishing is like all other hobbies. It can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want it to be. If you buy top-of-the-line gear, you could spend thousands of dollars on the hobby. However, if you are looking at introductory gear, expect to spend around $200 for your rod and reel along with a dozen flies. You will need some waders and boots and other accessories. Expect the cost to hit around $400 or $500.
The answer depends on the conditions you are fishing in. Usually, fly fishing leaders will go between six feet and 12 feet. If you are unsure, we recommend starting with a nine foot tapered leader. You may want to add a tippet length if the fish in your area spook easily. If you are going after aggressive fish, like bass, a 7.5 foot leader is recommended.
It is pretty much universally accepted that a nine foot rod and a five weight line are your most versatile options. If you are looking at fishing in lakes, rivers, and creeks, then this set up is a great beginning rod that is versatile.
New fly fishers will benefit from training and fishing with a medium action fly rod. This action is the most versatile for practice and training and the most adaptable to differing water and weather conditions. Beginners should look for a rod 9 feet or shorter for learning and developing casting skills. The best rod weight for training and beginning fly fishing is a 4wt, 5wt, or 6wt rod. It is very important that the fly line you use matches the weight of the rod you choose.
We hope this guide has been useful. Please leave any comments below.