How to Choose a Fly Fishing Rod

How to Choose a Fly Fishing Rod
A fly rod can make the difference between catching a few fish and catching lots of fish. Fly rods come in a variety of materials including graphite and bamboo. There are several different aspects to consider during the selection process, however, many times it comes down to a matter of personal choice. Take the time necessary to evaluate a fly rod and make a decision, as some rods can cost hundreds of dollars.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sporting good or specialty fishing store
  • Manufacturer's brochures
  • Internet access
Step 1
Research the current fly rod industry. Determine new products and innovations that you may want to consider. Access rod manufacturers websites (refer to the resource section below) to familiarize yourself with their products and materials. You may also request literature and catalogs from many companies. Locating a store with a well stocked fly rod selection and a knowledgeable staff is an enormous help.
Step 2
Consider the type of fishing you will be doing. There is a big difference between small brook trout and large mouth bass. Also consider the type of water on which the rod will be used. The distance that the fly line must be cast can determine rod length. If you fish more than one species, it may be possible to purchase one rod that allows for more than one type of fishing.
Step 3
Refer to the rod weight and length to narrow your search. The weight symbol (#) indicates what type of fishing the rod is designed to handle. Small mountain trout, for example, may require a 2 or 3 weight rod while a large mouth bass will require a 7 to 9 weight. The smaller the number, the smaller the fish. Also consider the rod length. A rule of thumb is that a longer rod, such as a 9 foot, is easier to cast and control than a short rod. However, many situations such as stream fishing require a shorter rod in the 6 to 7 foot range.
Step 4
Choose a comfortable grip. Most fly rods will feature grips made from cork or even foam. There are various shapes for fly rod grips including cigar and reversed, however, this is a personal choice based on your hand size, weight of the rod and rod length. It is important to actually hold the rod in this instance.
Step 5
Hold the rod and test the action. Stand in an area with enough room to extend the rod in front of you. Make a line mending or other motion with the rod and observe the action. How quickly the rod tip stops moving is an indication of the rod's action. The rod action is, once again, a matter of personal choice in regard to the type of fishing you will be doing.

Tips & Warnings

Use the recommendations of manufacturer's and others as a starting point for making your own decision.
Many people are brand loyal and will only buy from a specific manufacturer. Thoroughly research what is available from a company to make sure you are making the best choice.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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