A Comprehensive Guide to Fly Fishing Rods For Beginners

Man Fly Fishing in Colorado

If you are interested in taking up fly fishing, then there are a few tools you’re going to need in order to get started. Perhaps none is more fundamental though than the fly fishing rod itself.

Fly fishing rods for beginners can be a little confusing, seeing as they come in a variety of different form factors and materials and can be purchased for a variety of different prices too.

Different Kinds of Fly Fishing Rods on a Shelf

The objective of course is to get the best fly fishing rods possible while not breaking the bank and not limiting yourself to specific types of fishing. This is the ultimate guide to fly fishing rods for beginners and will help you to get started.

Different Rods, Different Materials

The first thing you might notice when shopping around for fly fishing rods, is that they come in a variety of different materials. It’s common to find fly fishing rods made from a wide range of materials but the three most popular by far are:

  • Graphite
  • Bamboo
  • Fiberglass

The main differences between these are in the flexibility, the weight and the price and in those regards you’re likely to ‘get what you pay for’.

Piscifun Graphite Fly Fishing Rod

Graphite rods tend to be the most popular and the most expensive in many cases. They are incredibly light but manage to be very light too. Be wary of rods that are incredibly cheap, as the quality of graphite can vary a lot.

At the cheaper end of the scale are fiberglass rods. Fiberglass rods make good fly fishing rod setups for beginners, thanks to their affordability and the fact that they’re virtually indestructible. They do make fishing a little harder though, as you’re dealing with more weight.

Finally, if you have a lot of money to splash around, then bamboo rods look beautiful and have amazing specifications. But here you run the risk of spending a lot of money on an expensive rod, only to discover that you don’t enjoy fly fishing as much as you thought you would! Start with something basic instead then.

Matching The Weights

The key thing to consider when choosing fly fishing rods for beginners, is that everything matches up well. In other words, it’s essential that your fly line weight match up with your fly fishing rod and reel.

Redington PATH Fly Rods Lifetime Warranty w/ Case Package

The weight of your line can vary from 0 up to 9+. This tells you how heavy the line is and how heavy the fly etc. you intend to use at the end is. What’s crucial, is that your rod should be able to lift the weight with relative ease, while flexing enough to transfer energy for your cast.

So if you have a fly line weight under three, then you’re going to need a fly fishing rod that is the same weight and this will allow you to use light flies. The same also needs to apply to your tippets and leaders too. Specifically, with this fishing rod setup, you’ll be able to effectively fish for small trout and other very small fish.

Conversely, if you want to fish for medium sized trout and other fish around that size, then you can look for fly line weight 4+.

What’s the best fishing rod and reel for beginners? You’ll want to aim for a weight of around 5-6. This is the most versatile choice and will allow you to use both longer and shorter casts and to fish for a range of different sized fish.

Fishing Rod Action

But you’re not done yet! Another factor you need to take into account when you are fishing is the ‘action’. Here, you have slow action, mid-flexy fly rods and flexy tip rods. As you may have guessed then, action basically refers to how flexible the rod is and this is important because it is going to impact heavily on the energy transfer.

When casting out, you will do so by jerking the rod upwards, pausing, and then jerking it forward. The energy then travels down the line and eventually ‘whips’ it back forward.

Fly Fishing Rods Made Out of Fiberglass

But in order for you to do this, you need some flex. While fast action rods will tend to be very light, bendy and quick, the ‘flexy tip’ rods will only really be that flexible at the very tip. This means that they’ll be slower to use and heavier – but they’ll also be able to cast out considerably further. Flexy tip rods are great for long casts and for windy conditions.

But again, the best bet for most fly fishing rod setups will be found right in the middle. The best fly fishing rods for most people will be the medium action fly rods which allow for the most varied range of different applications.

Fly Fishing Rod Made out of Bamboo

They can be used to catch the biggest variety of fish (fast action rods make it much rougher to reel in big fish) and they will allow you to cast at different ranges.

What to do With All This Information

Of course there are many other things to think about when choosing your fly fishing rod and reel too. You’ll want to think about the price for starters and you might also want to consider the portability. Some people like rods that can be broken down into multiple parts, as this way they can store a long rod in a bag.

Some of it might also come down just to personal preference, so have a think and try holding a few rods to decide.

Fly Fishing Rod Line

If this all seems like a lot to learn, then don’t worry! You can easily find start packs that contain not only fly fishing rods but also lines and flies to match and these will help you to get started without worrying about making multiple purchases.

Of course you can find these fly fishing rod packs in our reviews where we’ve looked at some of the best models on the market. Check those out and let your fishing journey begin!

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