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To Choose a Fly Rod

There is no end to how much money you can spend on a fly rod these days. The market is saturated...super-saturated, rather, with fly rods that run the full spectrum of prices, options, and species. Here are few tips to narrow it down:

1. Stick to your budget: There is a fly rod for everyone and every species. The notion that fly fishing is for the rich and or elite is simply not true.

2. Determine "what": What species will you be fishing for? What size species?  What size flies will you be casting? What size water will you be fishing? What cover will you be casting in? Low over-hanging tree or shrub canopy and you'll want a shorter rod. This dips into tip #3 below a little, as you'll want a slower action rod, or a rod that flexes easily so you can roll cast a little easier. No canopy? Well, then it is up to your preference but a 9' length is typical in that situation. Fly fishing from a boat? If it is my boat, we're not casting far so a 9' rod is sufficient. Flat water? A 10' rod my be your ticket. At any rate, these "whats" can help determine what length and weight fly rod to purchase. Here is a basic guide to fly rod length and weights by popular species:

  • Trout - Length: 7' - 9'; Weight: 0wt - 6wt
  • Steelhead and Salmon - Length: 9' - 14'*; Weight: 5wt - 9wt
  • Bass and Carp - Length: 8' - 9'; Weight: 6wt - 8wt
  • Pike - Length: 8' - 9'; Weight: 6wt - 9wt
  • Muskie - Length: 8' - 9'; Weight: 10wt - 11wt
  • Bonefish - Length: 9'; Weight: 6wt - 8wt
  • Permit - Length: 9'; Weight: 9wt - 10wt
  • Tarpon - Length: 9'; Weight: 9wt - 12wt
  • Stripers (striped bass) - Length: 9'; Weight: 8wt - 10wt
  • Other saltwater species - You're probably covered with the salt species mentioned above with the exception of marlin or tuna.

*Anything longer than 11' for these species is usually a two-handed rod, to be discussed in another post.

Note, there is some crossover in this basic list, and this list is not meant to be taken as chapter and verse as there will always be an exception.

3. Understand and respect your casting technique: This will help determine the amount of "flex", or, the "action" of your new fly rod. If you're a beginner, you may think you're a blank canvas. However, try to imagine how fast you will be able to move the fly line while casting, especially for several hours of fishing. Typically, a slower action fly rod, or, a fly rod that flexes easier is easier for beginner fly anglers to cast, though, modern fly lines can mitigate this, which, we will not get in to in this post. Stay tuned for more on that. This is just a general rule of thumb. If you're a casting expert, you'll know the answer to this.

In all, choosing a fly rod is not that difficult. Follow this link to see our fly rod collection.

We hope you find this basic guide useful. Please feel free to reach out to us with questions or comments. We can help and always love the feedback.

Tight lines!