How to Pick a Fly-Fishing Rod to Fit

How to Pick a Fly-Fishing Rod to Fit
Deciding how to pick a fly-fishing rod to fit your fishing purpose can seem like a daunting task. The market is full of fly-fishing rods, and anglers rarely have the opportunity to go fishing with the rod before making a purchase. The numerous styles, tapers and designs in the rod market also add to the equation, so the rod you choose should be thoroughly researched. Ignore fly rods with specialty tapers for general fly-fishing purposes unless you are looking for a rod suited to a single type of water. Rods with versatile applications are ideal for the majority of fly-fishing applications.


Difficulty: Moderate

Rod Weight, Length and Action

Step 1
Choose a rod large enough to handle the species of fish you typically target but small enough to feel the fish. Trout fisherman typically use a 5 or 6 weight rod for rivers and lakes with fish over 12 inches. A 3 to 4 weight rod is ideal for fishing small streams and for catching bluegill. Bass fisherman should choose a rod that can cast wind resistant flies and handle heavy fish. Rods in the 6 to 8 weight range are ideal for smallmouth and largemouth bass. Salmon and steelhead anglers will also use heavy rods in the 7 to 10 weight range. Saltwater depends on the species, but rods in the 8 to 12 weight range can handle most species.
Step 2
Choose a rod with a length appropriate to the water you fish. The length of the rod makes a major difference to the angler. For those who do the majority of their fishing on small streams, the rod should be between 6 and 8 feet for tight casts. Medium-sized rivers justify the use of a rod between 8 and 9 feet for longer casting and reach. Fisherman who tackle large rivers should consider a 9 to 12 foot rod for making long casts and extending the reach of the rod. Stillwater and saltwater anglers should consider a rod of at least 9 feet for making long casts.
Step 3
Choose a rod with an action that fits your casting experience. Beginning anglers should choose a medium-action rod that is forgiving to the caster while intermediate and advanced anglers will want a medium-fast or fast-action rod for shooting line, casting large flies and making accurate presentations. Fast-action rods are also ideal for stillwater and saltwater anglers who make numerous long casts throughout the course of a day.

Finding the Best Rod

Step 1
Choose a rod that you have cast before and are confident about casting in the future. Test cast the rod at the store before making the purchase. Make as many casts as possible to feel the grip and action of the rod.
Step 2
Choose a rod that is in your target price range. Cheap rods are low-performance rods but the market offers several value rods of high quality. Experienced anglers can consider a more expensive, high-performance rod.
Step 3
Choose a rod that has a warranty. It is common for rods to break from wear and tear and accidents. Rods with a lifetime warranties are investment thats can be replaced numerous times.

Tips & Warnings

Find a friend who owns a rod that you are interested in purchasing. Ask if you can use the rod for a day to see if it is the right fit. Consult with local fly shop employees and guides about the equipment they use on local waters. Fly shops are full of knowledgeable employees who can point you in the right direction.

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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