Fly fishing is a method of angling in which you use a weighted lure to catch fish. The fly is cast using a reel, fly rod, and a specialized weighted line, and the lighter weight requires casting techniques that are very different from other traditional forms of casting.
If you are looking to get into fly fishing, you will need the proper equipment. But with so many different choices from so many different brands to choose from, finding a good product - let alone one that works for you - is a significant challenge. So, let's take a look at some of the best fly fishing combos for beginners.
Beginner Fly Fishing Combo Reviews
1. Wild Water Complete Fly Fishing Rod & Reel Starter Package
This Wild Water fly combo is worth it for beginners and even experienced fly fishers on a budget. It is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into the hobby for an affordable price.
One of the biggest reasons that so many people love the Wild Water complete fly fishing combo is that it includes everything you need to start fly fishing right away. It comes with a fly rod, case, reel, backing, floating line, flies, tapered leader, a fly box, and nippers. This is a lot of fishing gear for not that much money at all.
Of course, at such a low price point, there will be some drawbacks, and in the case of this starter package, those drawbacks appear in the accessories. The leaders are fine but you are likely going to need some new flies. The package comes with nine flies, and they are pretty decent as well.
It doesn't take much to lose a fly - one gets caught on a branch, another beneath a rock, and another on a fish. However, when it comes to performance, the Wild Water fishing rod and reel are quite good. The reel is nice and smooth and can be adjusted to fit both right-handed and left-handed people.
One of the major pros that the Wild Water fishing rod and reel have is that the rod is relatively easy to control and has excellent accuracy at short ranges. Beginners are not likely to be fishing at long distances anyway, so this is a great feature.
The low price tag is also another great reason for picking up this package. It is very affordable, and at that price, any young beginner would be able to purchase it after saving up their allowance for a little while.
Unfortunately, long distances are another story with the Wild Water fly fishing starter package. The rod is barely ever accurate and simply doesn't have the necessary power to reach far distances. Still, considering the price tag, this isn't that big of a deal. While this isn't the most powerful combo, it makes up for it by being very easy to control.
2. Redington Crosswater Fly Fishing 590-4 Combo Kit
The quality and looks of the Redington Crosswater rod are super impressive, especially considering how affordable the kit is. Not only are there no cosmetic blemishes to speak of, but the rod is generally very pleasing to look at.
The cork grip on the Crosswater reel is of good quality, and while it does have some visible filler, it is still very comfortable and smooth in the hands. Below, there is a simple reel seat, and a singular locking ring in blue with a corresponding slide band can be found connecting the reel to the rod. It would be nice if there were something such as a gasket between for a better feel when tightening down, but it's not a significant issue.
The blank comes with a high-gloss, vibrant blue finish, with threaded lime accents at every ferrule. All in all, this is a fantastic-looking rod, and you'll also find a stripping guide as well as chrome snake guides. These things are bound to the blank using wraps that are one or two shades lighter than the blue for a bit of contrast.
The reel is made of polymer, and most of it is smooth to the touch, though we did find a little more texture to the surface. The reel is not the most refined thing in the world, but then again, these 'imperfections' are barely noticeable and won't affect your fishing at all.
Thanks to its medium-fast action, the rod that comes in the Redington Crosswater set is fantastic for folks who are just learning to cast. The rod doesn't feel remarkably lightweight when casting, and the tip could be slightly softer for a closer feeling, but the castability overall is very nice, particularly for beginners.
Like the previous entry on this list, the Crosswater reel performs its best at close ranges, though it has no problem handling long distances. The rod is pleasant at those more 'realistic' fishing distances, but you'd be surprised at how easily you can cast it at long distances.
Unfortunately, the rod is not an overachiever when it comes to the durability department. It is made from a somewhat fragile material, and if you're constantly dropping it, it will crack eventually. This shouldn't be a problem if you're careful.
3. Echo Base Fly Rod Kit
The Echo Base fly rod kit features a medium-fast action rod and it is one of the most versatile fly fishing rods on the market. The kit features a stylish black design that gives it a simple and sophisticated appearance that anyone would love.
The Echo Base rod can handle anything from size 10 nymphs to 2/0 hollow flies. Only when you try to stretch your casts with the heftiest of flies will it feel like the Base is laboring, and it's going to take a pretty large fish for you to lose faith in the strength of this rod.
When it comes to appearance, the graphite Base is a deep ocean blue that is accented with silver and black wraps. It features an anodized reel seat, chrome guides, and two options for grips. You'll also be getting a lifetime warranty and excellent customer service, which is a great bonus that you don't get often.
The Echo Base fly fishing starter kit is a highly affordable kit that is great for beginners. It costs under $100, so if you give your kid a monthly allowance, they'll be able to save up for it in no time, and we believe that it is well worth the price. You're getting a highly durable, attractive rod capable of working at long and short distances.
If you or your kid enjoys being able to catch larger, more challenging fish, then you're going to love the Echo Base rod. It is more than able to withstand some of the more challenging fish out there, and as we mentioned earlier, it's going to take some seriously powerful fins for you to find the rod struggling to keep up. Other than that, the Echo Base has to be one of the most powerful rods out there.
One of the best things about the Echo Base fly fishing starter kit is its attractive appearance. Most people don't give two thoughts about how their fishing rods look, as long as they do a good job of helping them catch fish. However, it's difficult not to notice just how good these rods look, with their all-black, sleek and stylish design.
The one major downside that the Echo Base rod does suffer from has to do with its weight. It is a pretty heavy rod, and if you aren't strong enough, you might find it challenging to maintain control of it.
4. Orvis Encounter 5 Fly Rod Outfit
The Orvis Encounter can best be described as an entry-level fly rod of excellent quality that is fantastic for anglers that are just starting to learn the art of fly fishing. If you are a more advanced fisherman, then you might prefer a more advanced rod.
This fly rod is another premium-quality product from the fishing giant Orvis manufacturers, a company that is well known for coming out with highly effective and innovative fishing gear. The Encounter is an inclusive set for fly fishing that comes with all you need to start with the hobby. Picking up a completed rod outfit is a good idea for any beginner angler since you won't have to get each item separately.
The Encounter rod outfit comes with the Encounter rod as well as an Encounter reel, backing, and line - all you need to get out on the water. The set is available in various line weights and sizes, representing some of the most popular choices on the market right now. Most importantly, for fly anglers working on a budget, you can pick it up for an affordable price that will not leave you bankrupt.
The Encounter is a well-constructed fly rod. It delivers excellent performance and excellent quality, and the finish and construction are completed to the highest standard - you won't find any shoddy, rushed work from Orvis. This rod is superior to many other beginner fly fishing rods on the market thanks to its graphite material, which gives it a lot of flex in the tips while still offering an impressive feel and flexibility when you are fishing.
With its anodized seat, the composite plastic reel is of fantastic quality and even comes preloaded with a leader, fly line, and backing. The combo features a good rod case that allows you to carry the rod around with ease.
One of the greatest things about the Orvis Encounter fly fishing combo is that it comes with everything you need to get started with fly fishing right away and boasts some incredibly high-quality construction. We also love that it comes with a carrying bag.
The only real gripe we have with the Encounter is that it's not the most affordable set on the market right now. Sure, it comes at an entry-level price, but it is still pretty pricey compared to other models.
5. Temple Fork Outfitter NXT Black Label Fly Rod & Reel Kit
This medium-fast action fly rod and reel kit from Temple Fork Outfitters is a fantastic option for anyone looking to get into the hobby of fly fishing. It is suitable for freshwater and saltwater fishing and is one of the most attractive rods on the market.
Temple Fork Outfitters designed the NXT Black Labels series to make fly fishing affordable and simple so that more people could get into the art of angling. Because the NXT series is the gold standard for fly fishing schools and educational programs throughout the United States, it is one of the most important products they make - that, of course, means that it is also one of the best products they produce.
Whether it's a gift for anyone who wants to become a fly fisher or a good backup option for the angler who already has all that they need and more, the NXT Black Label offers the best price to performance ratio of any fishing outfit on the market. Additionally, it is also covered by Temple Fork Outfitters' no-fault lifetime warranty, guaranteeing your satisfaction.
This high-performance fly fishing kit aims to help flatten the learning curve by making it easier and far more rewarding to get started in the art of angling. The NXT Black Label's foundation is that of the TFO Pro I medium-fast blank, which offers more than enough forgiveness for cushioning light leaders and delicate presentations while still offering easy loads for long casts in the direction of the wind.
The rods are super pleasing to look at, with their matte black finish and grips made using reconstituted cork for additional durability. Anodized aluminum, chromium-impregnated stainless-steel snake guides, aluminum oxide stripping guides, and up-locking reel seats make this series a fantastic option for catching fish in both salt and freshwater.
By far, the best thing about the Black Label kit is its outstanding quality. Nobody makes fly fishing equipment quite like Temple Fork Outfitters. There's a reason they are the go-to for manufacturing kits for educational programs and schools across the country.
Unfortunately, this quality comes at quite a steep price - a price that almost pushes it out of the beginner-friendly range. Still, if you are looking for a truly premium beginner fly fishing kit and you're willing to fork out the money, we highly recommend this product.
Before purchasing a fly fishing combo, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. Below we will walk you through all you need to know.
Types of Fishing Rod & Reel Combos
There are several kinds of fly rods that are made to be used for different types of fishing. We recommend that you choose your choose your rod in the fly fishing starter combo of your choice based on the species of fish that you plan on fishing for. Alternatively, you can select it based on the type of water you'll be in, like small streams, rivers, saltwater, or freshwater.
As you can see from the products mentioned above, different fly fishing rods are suited for different fishing environments. Some perform better when fishing at short distances, while others excel at both long and short distances. Most, however, are great for both fresh and saltwater fly fishing.
There are three primary materials that are used to make fly fishing rods: graphite, fiberglass, and bamboo. Let's take a closer look at them.
Graphite is the most modern material used to make fly fishing rods on the market today, thanks to it being one of the most readily available materials. It has the distinct advantages of being incredibly lightweight and versatile while still being durable enough to withstand wear and tear.
Fiberglass fly fishing rods are currently seeing a resurgence in their popularity in the market today. These lightweight and modern rods are not the same as their vintage cousins. As you might expect, they are more fragile than their counterparts, but they have the advantage of being very flexible and versatile.
Finally, there are bamboo fishing rods. Bamboo is the most traditional material used for making fly rods. They are unique in their flex, their feel, their presentation, and how they catch fish. They are also generally the most expensive rods out there.
Determining what fly rod length you should get is a pretty simple process. Depending on where you plan on fishing and what you plan on fishing for, get something about 8 to 9 feet in length.
If you need to make long casts, use a heavy fly line, or frequently fish in the wind, you should pick up a 9-foot rod. For general fly fishing in a variety of conditions, you should get an 8.5-foot rod. And finally, if you are looking to make the short and precise casts needed when fishing in small streams or chasing after panfish with a light fly line, you should purchase an 8-foot fly fishing rod.
As a general rule of thumb, you will want to choose a fly fishing combo from a brand that offers you a warranty on its products. There's no telling how a product might perform in any given situation, especially when ordering online, so it helps to have a product covered by a warranty to ensure that you can be satisfied.
Most beginner fly fishing combos are pretty budget-friendly. We don't recommend getting anything that is over $250 because you're likely entering the intermediate and advanced market, which you shouldn't be in if you are a beginner. Most affordable combos have everything you need to get started with fishing anyway.
How to set up a fly fishing rod and reel?
First, you will need to attach the rod to the reel. The manufacturer will include the instructions on how to do this, but you can also ask a shop to do it for you.
Next, you will need to get your backing line and pull off about 100 feet. Attach the reel and the line using an Arbor knot.
For the next step, you will want to remove about 4 feet of the fly line, then tie the line to the backing. Do this using an Albright knot.
Next, pull off and clip an additional 90 feet of the line. When you are spooling the fly line, keep putting the line on until it nearly touches the reel's outer rim.
Use a braided knot to create a loop at the fly line’s end, then use the loop to attach the leader to the loop knot.
Finally, use a triple surgeon's knot to connect the tippet and the leader, then connect the tippet and the flyline with an improved clinch knot.
How to care for a fly fishing rod and reel?
To care for your combo, you will want to take extra care when stringing it. Avoid placing or transporting the rod against an abrasive object, and be sure to take the rod apart when you are done fishing to avoid stuck ferrules. Be sure to dry the rod out completely before storing it in a bag to prevent swelling reel seats.
Be sure to reduce the drag pressure to the lowest setting when you are not using the reel, and clean the reel with cool fresh water. Finally, it's important to let this dry completely as well.
How to balance a fly rod and reel?
To balance a fly rod, you will need to choose a reel that counteracts its weight. There is some debate regarding the best point of balance, but the most common point is one inch below the very top of the rod's grip, where your thumb would rest during a typical cast.
Fly fishing is a gratifying sport to get into for anyone who loves the outdoors and water. If you are looking to get into the art of fly fishing, be sure to check out one of the beginner combos mentioned in this article.
Looking for more product reviews? Check out our Buyer's Guide to the Best Fly Fishing Gear.