The Best Fly Rod for Bass – A Buyers Guide

Whenever you go bass fishing, there are several things you need to remember. The first and most common mistake that novice anglers make is assuming that bass are all the same.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass are quite different, even though they belong to the same fish species. They even prefer different types of water. What this means is that when you are out looking for the best fly rod for bass fishing, the first thing you need to pay close attention to is the kind of bass you prefer to catch.

This review will take a close look at fly rods that are ideal for people who prefer to fish for largemouth bass. Not only does this species require you to have a reliable fly rod, but they are also quite strong, which means that they can put up a good fight. You will need a fly rod that is strong, accurate, and comfortable.

Here are a few good options you could consider.

Bass Fly Rod Reviews

1. Sage Payload Fly Rod - Best Fly Rod for Relaxed Casting

Sage Payload Fly Rod - Best Fly Rod for Relaxed Casting

In many cases, you will find that saltwater fly fishing and warm water bass fishing call for big flies if you want to land bigger fish. This Sage Payload Fly Rod is a wonderful option for anglers who want to cast heavier lines and catch the coveted big fish. This is a highly fine-tuned fly rod that is powerful and strong. It has an extremely strong tip that works well for picking up heavy lines smoothly off the water.

There's a lot to love about this fly rod from Sage Payload. To begin with, it has a powerful mid-section that joins with a forgiving butt to allow for a more relaxed casting action and experience. This means that you can enjoy your fishing for a much longer period before fatigue or tiredness begins to set in.

Furthermore, the soft midsection allows you to have a much stronger grip, which means you have a better chance of fishing for stronger and more resilient fish.

Pros

  • Strong enough for casting wind-resistant or large surface flies
  • Has a sturdy and robust build for fighting stronger fish and big bass
  • Comes with a heavy-duty aluminum reel seat which is perfect for fishing in rugged environments
  • Features excellent handcrafted workmanship

Cons

  • Isn't as sensitive as some anglers would prefer
Thomas & Thomas Exocett SS Series Fly Rod - Best Fly Rod for Fish-Fighting Power

The Thomas & Thomas Exocett SS Series Fly Rod is designed for anglers who love to take their fishing on the road. This is a 4-piece fishing rod that is highly portable, making it ideal for transporting. Traditionally, Exocett SS rods are ideal for use in fishing conditions that require you to overcome the challenges that occur when casting ultra-compact floating lines.

The rod comes with an extremely versatile tip that works well to pull the sinking lines toward the surface smoothly. The Thomas & Thomas fly rod is uniquely designed to dampen the excess shock that often comes with using weighted flies or heavy lines thanks to the steep multi-modulus blanks. This means you can easily generate better distance, precision, and fewer false casts.

This fly rod for bass is unique because it features Strato-Therm resin construction. This allows the rod to provide you with the power to angle huge fish from greater depths. Furthermore, it features a Flor-grade cork with reinforced grips and a high-density rubberized composite that gives you excellent friction.

Pros

  • Offers extremely accurate casting
  • Excellent fish fighting power ideal for bass, bonefish, redfish, trout, and striped bass
  • Premium cork offers high friction, which is ideal for better grip

Cons

  • On the higher end of the price spectrum

3. Templefork Outfitters (TFO) Mangrove - Best Budget Fly Rod

Templefork Outfitters (TFO) Mangrove - Best Budget Fly Rod

The Templefork Outfitters (TFO) Mangrove is a fast-action rod designed for serious anglers who love to go after large fish. The fly rod works well with heavy lines, which means you can easily throw bigger flies. Featuring TFO's proprietary TiCr blank coating, this rod is best known for its resilience, making it one of the least likely rods to splinter under heavy lines.

Finally, it has lightweight snake guides, which essentially reduce the overall weight of the rod, making it ideal for fishing in any water (salt or freshwater) with just as much ease.

Pros

  • Extremely strong rod
  • Comes with lightweight yet durable guides
  • Highly affordable
  • Features full-well grips, which are comfortable and ideal for fighting large fish

Cons

  • Takes a while for anglers to get used to using the rod, especially those who are new to angling

4. Orvis Helios 3D Fly Rod - Best Accurate Option

Orvis Helios 3D Fly Rod - Best Accurate Option

If money isn't an issue and you want something strong and offers fast action, the Orvis Helios 3D Fly Rod is an excellent option. Designed and manufactured by one of the most trusted brands in the industry, this premier rod is ideal for those who would like the freedom to haul in whatever they want and cast however they want.

Not only is this Orvis Helios fly rod strong and highly durable, but it's also quite accurate. If you have been looking for a rod that allows you to do things like place a cicada fly in the right spot next to that submerged tree, this rod will get the job done without any complications. 

Pros

  • Extremely accurate
  • Quite strong
  • Very durable
  • Designed and manufactured by a trusted brand

Cons

  • Quite expensive

5. Temple Fork: BVK Series Fly Rod, TF 07 90-4B - Best Lightweight Option

Temple Fork

This Temple Fork: BVK Series Fly Rod, TF 07, 90-4B is a fast action rod designed for hyper-fast responsiveness and feel. Even though the rod is light in weight, it has extreme power, which allows you to fish for larger species in almost any water. It's not only powerful but also versatile.

Furthermore, this BVK Series fly fishing rod comes with stripping guides made of ultra-hard-chromium-impregnated anodized steel. These are not only extremely durable but also quite easy to use.

Finally, the contoured and comfortable Flor grade grips make fishing with this fly rod a joy even when you have to hold it for hours on end.

Pros

  • Fast action rod that offers you a great experience
  • Ideal for both salt and freshwater use
  • Allows for easy throw and fast loading, which makes it perfect for people who prefer rods with quick transitions

Cons

  • The grip has durability issues

A Buyers Guide for the Best Fly Rod for Bass

Even though it's true that every angler has their own preference when it comes to the kind of rod they use when fishing for bass, certain factors simply must be considered when shopping for the best fly rod for bass.

Here are some of the most important features you need to consider when buying the best fly fishing rods.

Length

The rod length you choose will be determined by the kind of water in which you intend to fish. Nine feet is the ideal length, mostly because it's in that sweet spot of not being too long and not being too short. This makes it versatile and ideal for pretty much any kind of fishing you want to do in any water.

You could, however, choose to go shorter, which is ideal for fishing in waters that don't offer much room for backcasting. On the other hand, you could decide to go longer. This is especially beneficial if you intend to cast further or if you want to get the best kind of drift when using subsurface flies.

Material

Manufacturers tend to use materials that offer their rods the best advantages over competitors. However, every material has its strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these pros and cons will allow you to determine what kind of material will work best for the kind of fishing you intend to do. That being said, the best fly rods for bass tend to be made out of graphite resin or nano-silica.

Graphite is durable, on the lighter side, and extremely sensitive to touch. These are all qualities good anglers look for when choosing a rod. On the other hand, nano-silica is an improved version of graphite-based rods. It's stronger, more powerful, and even more sensitive. As you would imagine, it's also more expensive.

Number of Pieces

Rods tend to come in several pieces. Some are single-piece rods, and then you have rods that go all the way to four pieces. The biggest advantage offered by rods that have multiple pieces is portability. You can break them down into three or four pieces, making them very easy to transport.

On the other hand, single-piece rods tend to be sturdier and more reliable. They are, however, more cumbersome to transport. If you are going to go for a single-piece rod, it might be best to consider one that comes with a rod vault, or at the very least, buy a rod vault for your rod. This makes it easier and safer to transport when fishing in locations other than your local lake.

Action

The action of your fly rod determines how it bends and behaves when you are fishing with it. There are three main actions any given rod could have:

  • Fast
  • Medium
  • Slow

If you choose a fast action rod, it will bend at the top, making it extremely sensitive and accurate but harder to cast. On the other hand, medium rods tend to bend in the middle, making them ideal for beginners.

Medium-action rods are the ideal all-around rods and what most anglers choose to use because they don't require you to have extensive fishing skills or experience to master. Slow action rods bend at the handle and are ideal for fishing in small water bodies.

Finally, there are other issues, such as price and balance. As far as balance is concerned, there’s an ongoing debate on whether or not it’s an important factor. Some anglers don’t think so, while others swear by it. The idea is that as long as the rod isn’t extremely off-balance, it doesn’t have to be perfectly balanced to offer you a good fishing experience.

FAQ's

If you have questions lingering after reading this, check below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

What is the best size fly rod for bass fishing?

Bass flies are typically large and wind-resistant. For that reason, the ideal size fly rod falls somewhere around a 6 to 7-weight rod with medium action. This kind of rod loads deeply into the butt or mid-section, which allows you to launch your poppers into thick cover with minimal difficulty.

Do dry flies work on bass?

While poppers and streamers are by far the most exciting and effective when fishing for largemouth and even smallmouth bass, these fish still rise to dry flies. In fact, you can use the same kinds of flies and fishing strategies for bass as you would for trout.

What is the ideal size leader for fly fishing?

While the length of the leader should be determined by the type of fishing you intend to do as well as the conditions, the general rule of thumb is to stick with a 6–12-foot leader.

Looking for more product reviews? Check out our Buyer's Guide to the Best Fly Fishing Gear.

Ken Sperry

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.

Get Directions to the Best Places to Fish in America!

Check out our interactive map of over 30,000 of the best places to fly fish in the US. Get directions to access points, boat ramps, and real-time USGS stream flow data. 

Get App

Install
×