Best Fly Fishing Rods – Complete Reviews with Comparison

Fly fishing is a form of fishing that has stood the test of time. It is more popular today than ever before, with people falling hook, line, and sinker for the activity. Due to the fun twist on angling that it offers, it has grown in popularity and there are countless fly fishing rods available on the market today.

However, choosing the correct fly fishing rod to fit your needs can be a challenging experience. So, we are about to open a can of worms and dive in deep, exploring the best fly fishing rods that money can buy.

Comparison Chart

Piscifun Graphite Fly Fishing Rod 4 Piece 8’6″- IM7 Carbon Fiber Blank – Accurate Placement – Ingenious Design – Chromed Guide and Durable Rod Tube 4wt

Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod (Matte, 3WT 7’6″ 4PC)

Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod Grey, 6′ – 3wt – 4pc

Recon Orvis 5-Weight 9′ 4-Piece Fly Rod

Sage Fly Fishing X Rod

Fly Fishing Rods Reviews

1. Piscifun Sword Graphite Fly Fishing Rod 4

When it comes to fly fishing, having a rod in your hand that is lightweight has endless benefits. This great rod isn't only easy to manage but surprisingly affordable, making it an absolute steal.

This rod is the current bestseller on most online platforms. Why is it such a great rod? This rod is an excellent tool for any person who is interested in fly fishing. It is easy enough for a beginner to use and yet advanced enough to put a smile on a professional's face.

Review

The rod is also trendy due to its low price compared to other fly fishing rods on the market today, especially when it comes to graphite rods. Another fantastic feature that users appreciate is that it can be compacted into four small sections, making it simple to pack for any trip.

Made with IM7 Graphite, this rod is made to last. Added features include ceramic striping guide inserts and chrome guides, plus white alignment dots to make assembling the rod a snap.

The rod is available in five sizes: 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9-wt. The size you choose will depend on the fish you intend to catch and the size of the streams you plan to fish in. For example, the smallest rod will be suitable for small trout in a small stream, whereas the 9-wt model is perfect for catching large fish in saltwater. This rod is extremely lightweight, with the smallest model weighing 3.9 oz and the largest 4.9 oz.

The Good

This rod is the current bestseller on most online platforms. Why is it such a great rod? The rod is an excellent tool for any person who is interested in fly fishing. It is easy enough for a beginner to use and yet advanced enough to put a smile on a professional's face.

The rod is also trendy due to its low price compared to other fly fishing rods on the market today, especially when it comes to graphite rods. Another fantastic feature that users appreciate is that it can be compacted into four small sections, making it ideal for transporting anywhere. There are more great features that add to the rod's appeal. They are:

  • Made with highly durable quality materials
  • Alignment dots that help to assembly the rod correctly
  • Reasonably priced
  • It is a flexible rod that is a fantastic option for all anglers, from beginners to professionals

The Bad

The rod's tip can become weak with use. Fishing with a weak tip might make anglers feel that they don't have as much control as they would like.

PROS

  • Made with highly durable, quality materials
  • Alignment dots that help to ease assembly
  • The rod is reasonably priced
  • It is a flexible rod that is a fantastic option for all anglers

CONS

  • The tip of the rod can feel weak with use

2.Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod

Moonshine Rod Co. has a loyal and large following, mainly because they offer an excellent rod at an affordable price that includes a lifetime warranty. In addition, assembling and disassembling the rod is quick and easy, leaving anglers to focus on the task at hand, getting their hands on some fish!

Review

The Drifter series rod is available in seven models, each with its unique feature. The seven models are:

  • 3-wt, 7'6"
  • 4-wt, 8'6"
  • 5-wt, 9'
  • 5-wt, 10'
  • 6-wt, 9'
  • 7-wt, 10'
  • 8-wt, 9'

These great rods have been made with copper anodized components for durability. All rods come with beautiful wood reel seats and high-quality cork grips. As a bonus you also get a second rod tip just in case you happen to break one.

The Good

The Moonshine rod is an excellent option for anglers who want a rod that is compatible with freshwater and saltwater fishing. It is compact enough to fit into any traveling space. The fact that it has a lifetime warranty offers peace of mind for anyone who owns or wants to buy one of these fly fishing rods.

The rod is excellent value for money since all elements have been made with durable materials. Another great thing is that the rods have a large selection of sizes, so there is a rod out there for every angler.

The Bad

Anglers who have been using this rod boldly state that there are no cons to The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod. It is no surprise that people are getting hooked on these rods.

PROS

  • This rod is excellent value for money
  • All the elements of the rod are well made with durable materials
  • Large selection of sizes
  • A lifetime warranty on all models
  • Not too heavy or bulky, so easy to cast
  • Great for fresh and saltwater use

CONS

  • None

3. Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod

Fenwick fly rods have been around since the 1950s when they debuted their fiberglass rods. The rods have an extremely loyal following, and it is now possible for a grandfather to take his grandson fishing while using a rod he bought back in the 1950s because these rods are built to last. Although the brand has changed its rods through the years, one thing remains: Fenwick fly rods are game-changers in the fly fishing industry.

Review

This rod is made from graphite with a gorgeous silky black satin finish that makes it not just functional but a piece of art, too. The AETOS series of rods has stainless steel guides and features an AAA-grade cork for solid grip and fantastic accuracy. The rod has an anodized aluminum reel seat with a carbon insert.

The rod is available in a variety sizes and styles include single-hand, switch and two-handed spey style rods that run the gambit from a 6' 3-wt up to a 11' 8-wt.

The Good

The Fenwick company has been successfully delivering fly fishing rods since the 1950s, and they made their transition to graphite in the 1970s.  The rods also come with a lifetime limited warranty, which is always a sign of a confident product.

The rod has added features that make it even more extraordinary. They include:

  • Fast casting ability even over great distances
  • Offers accurate performance
  • Great power when casting
  • The new rods pay homage to the classic 1950s rods with beautiful colors that draw the eyes

The Bad

The good outweighs the bad when it comes to this rod. However, it isn't flawless. The alignment spots and lines can be inaccurate, and the sliding ring doesn't have a central marking.

PROS

  • Fast casting ability even over great distances
  • Offers accurate performance with great power when casting
  • Lightweight and easy to use with little effort
  • Solid grip allowed by the AAA-grade cork handle
  • Comfortable grip
  • Lifetime limited warranty

CONS

  • The alignment spots can be inaccurate
  • Sliding ring doesn't have a central marking

4.Recon Orvis 5-Weight 9' 4-Piece Fly Rod

Orvis has worked hard to improve its predecessor rods, offering a lighter weight, faster, and more user-friendly rod. Unfortunately, the company has faced harsh backlash based on the price they ask for some of their rods. However, this new model has been well received and users are delighted that it is in a similar price range to the rods before it but with much better features.

Review

The rod is very versatile and is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Although it is seen as a step up for beginners, it is easy for any fisherman to use, including beginners.

The rod is made with a unique blend of graphite and resin, making it durable and light. The blanks of the rods are olive and charcoal colored. There are five sizes with different weights available:

  • 10′0″ 3 wt
  • 8′6″ 4 wt
  • 9′4″ 5 wt
  • 9′0″ 6 wt
  • 9′0″ 8 wt

The Good

This rod is a more advanced model than most entry-level rods. It is a step up at a reasonably affordable price. As far as mid-range rods go, this rod is perfect for any fisherman, whether you are a beginner or experienced.

The adjustment time for anglers to get used to this rod is speedy since it is a very lightweight and user-friendly rod. The fact that the rod comes with a very generous guarantee of 25 years adds to its appeal.

The Bad

This Recon rod is a fast action rod that isn't very accurate up close, making it more suitable for significant streams or open water than small streams. 

PROS

  • A versatile rod that is suitable for any angler
  • Great as a fast-action rod
  • Fantastically strong build with a 25-year guarantee
  • Lighter than some other rods
  • Comfortable grip and getting used to the rod takes little effort

CONS

  • Not very accurate for short casts

5. Sage X Fly Rod

Sage is a company with lots of experience and dedication regarding fly rods. The company has been making fly fishing rods for more than 30 years. They have stayed with the times as the years have ticked by, always giving us new and exciting rods.

All those years of expertise led to designing and releasing one of their most popular fly rods, the Sage X Fly Rod, in 2016. The expectation and excitement among fly fishers was extreme and still is today.

Review

The rod is very versatile and is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Although it is seen as a step up from beginner rods, it is easy for any fisherman to use, including beginners. This is a graphite rod with metallic trim wraps. The rods come with fully ceramic stripper guides from Fuji. The rod comes in an impressive range of sizes and weights. They are:

  • 7′6″ 3 wt
  • 9′0″ 3 wt
  • 8′6″ 4 wt
  • 9′0″ 4 wt
  • 10′ 0″ 4 wt
  • 8′6″ 5 wt
  • 9′0″ 5 wt
  • 9′0″ 5 wt
  • 9′6″ 5 wt
  • 10′0″ 5 wt
  • 9′0″ 6 wt
  • 9′0″ 6 wt
  • 9′6″ 6 wt
  • 10′0″ 6 wt
  • 9′0″ 7 wt
  • 9′6″ 7 wt
  • 10′0″ 7 wt
  • 9′0″ 8 wt
  • 9′6″ 8 wt
  • 10′0″ 8 wt
  • 9′0″ 9 wt
  • 9′0″ 10 wt
  • 9′0″ 10 wt

The brand also makes the Sage X Switch and Sage X Spey rods that go up to 15 ft.

The Good

This Sage rod is a great rod to use in both fresh and saltwater. It is versatile and suitable for all kinds of anglers, whether they are professional or just starting. It offers a solid grip that makes any angler feel confident. The fact that the rod packs up compactly makes it a good option for anglers who like to explore several areas. In addition, the rod comes with a lifetime guarantee, which is always a nice bonus.

The Bad

The rod is highly durable but this can lead to it feeling stiff for some. Therefore new anglers might find the rod slightly challenging at first.

PROS

  • A flexible rod suitable for fresh and saltwater fishing
  • Great grip
  • Light and easy to cast
  • Easy to take on trips and great as an all-rounder rod
  • Cork and reel seat are high quality

CONS

  • The rod can feel stiff to some and takes time to get used to it

BUYER'S GUIDE

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to fishing around for the perfect fly fishing rod.

Types of Fly Rod

When it comes to selecting your future rod, you should keep in mind what type of fishing you'll mostly use it for. There are three types to choose from, all with their benefits. They are:

  • Slow action fly rods: These rods offer a slow casting stroke and it is a good option if you are throwing larger flies.
  • Medium action fly rods: Great as all-around rods.
  • Fast action fly rods: These are great for wind-resistant flies. These rods offer a robust and speedy cast, but they can be difficult to cast for beginners.

Material

There are several different options of rods made with different materials these days, including fiberglass, graphite and a variety of composite materials. Avid anglers recommend graphite rods for beginners because they tend to be more affordable, lighter, and easier to use.

Length and size

Most rods are between 7 and 10 feet, with 9 feet being the most common rod. Shorter rods are good options for small creeks that are crowded with trees and bushes, whereas longer rods are great for big open rivers. For the best all-around rod, look at rods that are 9 feet or close to it.

Weight

Experienced anglers agree that the perfect weight rod for trout fishing is a 5-wt. In fact, they say the most versatile rod for any beginner angler will be a 9-foot, 5-wt rod.

F.A.Q.

How to Choose a Fly Rod?

Selecting a fly rod can be a tough decision to make. Fortunately, we can keep some information in mind to make the selection process a little simpler and less painful.

Your budget is probably an essential factor. Look at what you can afford and start there. Your rod will develop your skills so you don't want to overspend on a reel and settle for a cheap rod. Instead, spend half of what you paid for your rod on your reel. When it comes to budget considerations, you can also keep in mind which rods fit your budget offer a guarantee.

The place that you intend to fish at most matters greatly. Although a versatile rod is the best choice for a first rod, choosing a rod appropriate for the place you intend to use it will make it easier for you to start.

Not all rods offer the same action. When looking at rods, focus on whether they are medium, fast, or medium-fast action rods. It is a good idea to skip on slow-action rods if you are looking for a versatile rod.

It is better to invest in a rod that has four pieces than two. This is because a four-piece rod makes it so much easier for you to travel with it.

Let the rod do the talking. A fly fishing rod should inspire you to head to water right away. However, if you are looking at a specific rod and don't feel like going fishing, you haven't found the right rod yet.

How to Cast a Fly Fishing Rod?

Hold the fly rod in a way that is comfortable for you. Experts will say that there are several ways to hold a fly rod, but a relaxed and comfortable grip is what you need at the end of the day.

When you are ready to cast out, pinch your line. To lift a line,  place your index finger down onto the handle's cork. When you are first starting, keep your strips short, less than 20 feet. A short distance offers better control and easier manageability.

It is essential to check that your line is straight out when you start your back cast. Now you'll need to stop the rod once you have a straight line. It is recommended to stop your line at 2 o'clock if 12 was your central point.

How to Use a Fly Fishing Rod?

A few things need to be done before you pick up your fly fishing rod for the first time. These include:

  • You need to find out what the requirements for fishing licenses are in your area.
  • If possible, borrow gear the first couple of times and see if you enjoy the activity before heading to the shops.
  • Now that we're ready to start our first angling adventure, we must follow the steps of fly fishing.

1. If it is possible pick a location that has plenty of room to cast.  

2. Start out on a stillwater like a small rather than heading right to the river.

2. If you don't have much room behind you, stick to a roll cast.

3. Once you have cast your line out, make your fly look realistic. You can do this by moving your rod slightly so the fly is moving in the water.

4. When you get a bite, it will be time to hook a fish. If you don't hook the fish correctly, it will get away. Follow these suggestions to hook your first fish with ease:

  • Keep the tip of your rod close to the water.
  • Try to keep the line as tight as possible.
  • Set the hook properly in the mouth of the fish. To set the hook, with one hand hold the rod and pull on the line with the other.
  • The fish will get tired if you continue to strip the line away.
  • If you are reeling in a big fish, you need to palm the reel by applying pressure to the reel with your palm.

5. Once your fish is tired, reel it to shallow water. Once it is in shallow water, net it.

6. After examining the fish, you need to decide whether you want to keep it or release it back into the water. If you decide to set it free again, make sure you remove the hook carefully without hurting the fish. Do this quickly so the fish is still alive when you put it back into the water. 

What is a Fast Action Fly Rod?

The type of action rod you have determines how much the rod flexes. A fast-action fly rod does not flex as much as a slow-action fly rod,  Although this might sound like something trivial, it offers excellent benefits:

  • A fast action rod is pretty stiff, which provides a powerful cast
  • Windy days can be painful with a softer rod, but it is more manageable since the fast-action rod is stiff
  • Since the rod is stiffer than slow-action rods, it is easier to manage

As with all rods, there are drawbacks when it comes to fast-action fly rods. They include:

  • Casting with a fast-action rod could be more challenging for beginners
  • When it comes to short casts, there are much better options than fast-action rods

How to Determine a Fly Rod's Weight?

An unspoken rule exists in the fly fishing world when determining your fly rod's weight. It is said that your fly rod's weight is equal to your fly line's weight and that, in turn, is equal to your fly reel weight. Therefore, if you have a 6-weight fly rod, you'll need a matching six-weight line and reel.

Conclusion

Fly fishing is alive and kicking, with more people joining this exciting form of angling. It is excellent that we have such an extensive selection of terrific rods available on the market today.

Ken Sperry

About the author

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.

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