Selecting the Right Fly Rod for you

Whether you’re a novice or an advanced level angler there comes a time to pull the trigger on buying your very first rod or adding a specialty rod to the quiver. A new fly rod can cost anywhere from $100 all the way up to $1000+. When looking into buying a rod there are a few things to consider. First, for most, the obvious consideration is budget. Fly fishing can get expensive fast, so budgeting for a entry level rod helps to buy the other necessities to get on the water. The second consideration is about the technology that goes into the rod. As an advanced angler, the latest and greatest technology will help further improve your casts and fishing. When continuing your research, a topic that is pertinent for both the novice and advanced angler is what action or flex pattern does the rod have. Do you need the fast action to fight wind, or will a medium action rod help hone your cast when starting out? Knowing what you are looking for and having a understanding of what you’re seeing makes the purchase process easier and less stressful.

Prior to setting a budget though, you should do some homework so that you’re setting a realistic number that you intend to spend on your new Fly-rod. Getting a idea of the where, what and how much are questions that factor heavily in the final decision on what rod to purchase.

Where are you going to be doing most of your fishing? What species are you going to target? And lastly, how much do you plan on fishing? These are all important factors in your decision making process. Once you have answered those questions then it’s onto the process of finding the best rod that’s going to match your skill level and needs.

  1. Where you’re going to spend the majority of your time fishing is going to determine the size fly rod you want to buy. For instance, if you are going to fish predominately small trout creeks and streams, a shorter length rod will be more suitable. Something in the neighborhood of a 7- 81/2 foot rod is going to work better then a 9 or 10 foot rod in the same line weight. If your going to fish larger trout rivers or lakes then a longer length rod is going to make roll casting and mending a lot easier, because you’ll be fishing longer sections of fly-line and larger flies. I started fishing nothing but 10 foot rods when I’m nymph fishing on rivers and lakes just for that reason.
  2. Knowing your prey is going to big the biggest factor in choosing the right line weight rod you want to buy. Fly rod weights start from 0, being the size of a car antenna to 14, being the size of an piece of lumber. Typically here in the Rocky Mountains we start clients and customers with a 9 foot 5 weight rod because it is the most versatile trout rod. If you’re a mid-western small mouth bass angler then a 6-8 weight rod is going to more suited to fighting bigger fish. When saltwater fishing for Bonefish, Permit or Barracuda then 7-9 weights are going to be best. The bigger the prey the bigger the rod.
  3. Rod action is another factor to consider. Fly-rods come in what we call different flex(action) models. Slow action rods are great when fishing for trout in small creeks where presentation of a small dry fly is crucial to success. Medium action rods are by far the most versatile for fishing everything from dry flies to small streamers or poppers. Medium action rods are highly recommended for beginning anglers cause of the ease of casting. A medium action rod allows the new angler to feel the rod load on the back cast and is more forgiving so there aren’t as many bad casts. Fast action rods are better suited for fishing larger flies to larger fish that most likely will require a much longer cast. Fast action rods are very good to use in windy conditions, but are not forgiving when you make a lazy cast.
  4. The how much is going to determine how many times you’re going to fall on or close your rod in the car door. I can’t even begin to count how many rods I have broken in my 30 years of Fly-fishing. So the manufacturer’s warranty is a VERY, VERY important factor in your rod purchases. Every rod company has a different warranty and return policy. Please do your homework when it comes to warranty and repair. Some very high end manufacturers sell a great product, but might not have the best customer service after you’ve broken the rod. Some lower end rod makers have a fantastic warranty/repair or replacement program, just not the high end technology in their rods.

Before walking into your local Fly-shop and get barraged with a 100 different choices, doing a little detective work is going to keep your head from exploding. In our shop, even though we are an Orvis outfitter, we sell a few different rod makers offerings. The one factor that determines if we carry a companies rod in our shop, is how well that manufacturer is going to take care of our customer after the purchase.

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