Let’s talk about fly fishing rods for beginners and what you need to get started to enjoy your time on the water.
Fly fishing requires a fair amount of gear to get started. Then, it’s really downhill from there. When you get bitten, hooked, however you wish to phrase it, you may need to dedicate a whole room in your house to fly fishing gear. You’ll find yourself with multiple fly rods for different scenarios, fly boxes stacked 10 deep, waders and boots, and if you really get down into the rabbit hole, fly tying equipment.
But let’s back up for a second and start from the beginning. Choosing the best fly fishing rods for beginners can sometimes be a difficult task whether you’re looking for yourself, a friend, or family member. There are many fly rod companies turning out some good options for beginners who aren’t quite ready to invest the whole house. Avid fly anglers, too, might find something they like here.
Fly Fishing Rods for Beginners
What should you look for in a fly fishing rod? To start, and this is only human behavior, is price. I wouldn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of equipment for anything that I may not even enjoy. In fact, if you know an avid fly fisherman, see if you can borrow a rod. Or head over to your local fly fishing shop where you may be able to rent a few rods to get an idea for the weight and length that feels best to you.
The universal size that you can use most anywhere is a 9-foot, 5-weight fly rod. As a huge bonus in our research on fly fishing rods for beginners, we’ve found that a lot of companies are throwing in a reel as well. More bang for your buck and a convenient step in getting you closer to the water.
The Prestige gave me my start. Which is why I feel compelled to mention it first. Here’s what I love about this setup and why I think as far as fly fishing rods for beginners go, it’s a win. You can purchase the Prestige Fly Outfit, which includes a rod, reel, fly box, a rod case, and a reel case, as well as several other accessories, for less than $200. They even throw in a few flies. I’m pretty sure I still have a few.
In one fell swoop this kit provides you with all the tackle you need to get on the water. Or in the backyard to practice casting. Either way, it’s a good price for gear of fair quality that will last you for some time. The only things you’ll really need are more flies, some tippet, and an extra leader or two.
The Orvis Encounter is another rod-reel combo. Again, rather than just the rod, you can get it with a reel too. It’s fairly priced at $169 and provides a certain level of convenience with the included reel.
As you progress as a fly fisherman and get more into gear, you’ll find there are two camps: those who love Orvis and those who feel the opposite. That you can decide for yourself. The smooth action of the Encounter is great for the beginner whether you’re fishing trout rivers or bass ponds.
Echo Lift Fly Rod
There’s a little company up in Washington State called Echo that’s turning out some really good fly rods. The Echo Lift is one of the great fly fishing rods for beginners that stands out. While we’re talking about rod only, don’t let that deter you. The Lift is less than $100 (though taxes and shipping may pull you over the mark), which allows you to budget a little more for a reel. Plus, it’s a four-piece travel rod that stores easily.
L.L. Bean’s Quest
You can get the Quest in either a two- or four-piece rod. The two will run you around $129 while the four is priced a tad higher at $149 (you’re paying for the convenience of a more packable rod). But they also come with a reel, as well as floating line, backing, and a leader.
This is a rod and reel combo that can last you well past your novice phase. L.L. Bean also caters to the southpaws who’d prefer to have a right-hand retrieve. All you have to do is call.
We’d be remiss not to mention Redington. The Path is a graphite rod priced at just under $150 that has the capability to become your fly fishing mainstay for years. The wood reel seat on 6 weights and below gives it a good look you won’t find on other fly fishing rods for beginners.
From the outset, when I began fly fishing back in college, it has been a wonderful experience. I didn’t catch much in those early days (not that I claim to now), but I was able to further my relationship with the outdoors in a way I never imagined. Standing in a river with the water flowing around your body on its way to wherever really provides a perspective you don’t get in the woods or on a lake. Not better or worse. But what you make of it and what it means to you personally.