Choosing a Rod

Choosing your first fly rod can be a daunting task. There are so many variables, materials, and price points. It can actually be one of the biggest barriers to new anglers. We’ve discussed choosing lines and leaders in the past, so it’s time for a post about picking a rod. There are a couple of questions you need to ask. First, what will the rod be used for? Mostly trout? Bass? Salt? Bream? Most people primarily want to fish for trout, but then you need to decide if you will primarily fish large rivers or small creeks. Seem like a lot to think about? Well we’ll try to walk you through it.

I want to fish for trout, and maybe some bream and bass.
That’s pretty easy. You probably are going to be best served by a simple 8′ 6″ or 9′ 5wt rod. This is by far the most common rod configuration and the most practical. You have enough length to fish large rivers, enough backbone to throw some moderately large flies, and enough finesse to throw smaller stuff.

I mostly fish for bass and bream, but I want to fish for trout some too.
In this case you should probably pick a little bit heavier rod, like a 9′ 6wt. The heavier line weight will make throwing bass flies a little more manageable, but a 6wt is still light enough for throwing indicator rigs for trout. You probably won’t be throwing many small dry flies, but you can always buy another rod for that later.

I want to fish for bass and some saltwater.
You probably want a 9′ 8wt. It’s a pretty common configuration and covers most fly fishing applications with large flies. You probably aren’t going to be doing much trout fishing with this rod, unless you decide to throw some really big streamers for trophy brown trout.

I want to fish for trout, but I mostly fish really small streams.
If your local water is really small, you might be better off buying something shorter. A 7′ 6″ 4wt is pretty standard for small trout streams. If you have doubts about whether you should go with the shorter rod, it is probably wise just to get a 9′ 5wt. You can always find a deal on a shorter rod later. There are some great budget rods for small streams.

In general you want to stick with graphite rods. Bamboo and fiberglass are phenomenal materials for trout rods, but you want to have a little bit more knowledge before you buy one. Of course after you buy a rod, you’ll need some flies. We can help you out there too. Check out our Match the Hatch subscription to make sure you have the right flies for the water you fish.

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