How To Select You First Fly Rod

How To Select You First Fly Rod


You may have recently been on a fly fishing trip, maybe you have a friend that fly fishes, a stream near your home or business, or you could be new to the area and never had the opportunity to fly fish. Maybe you saw it on television, read about fly fishing on line or in a magazine or just saw someone fly casting and thought it was cool.  In any case you now feel you are ready to purchase your first fly rod.

To save you time and money in the long run, visit your local fly shop for a professional appraisal of your requirements.  Fly Shops like Vail Valley Anglers, Edwards, Colorado have a deep selection of fly rods for all species and water types.and will offer the most important item a beginner can get when buying a new fly rod-The Guarantee.  In addition, advice from an experienced expert is crucial when deciding what fly rod is best for you.

All customers want great value and streamlined knowledgeable service but the fly rod guarantee is something to consider when looking at a fly rod.  When purchasing fly rods, the initial low investment may not turn out to be your best investment because low cost rods generally do not come with an unconditional guarantee.  Economy rods only come with a workmanship or satisfaction guarantee.

My past experience of operating a fly shop and guide service for almost twenty years has led me to the following conclusions about the investment for your first fly rod.

  • Always purchase a rod you can use now and will not grow out of eventually. This way you will have a rod selection you may add to rather than replace. 
  • Spend the $200 and up on your initial rod purchase from any major rod manufacturer and you will most likely receive the unconditional guarantee.
  • Buy the rod that is right for your location, type of fly fishing you do most, enhances you’re your casting abilities and not the most expensive technology you can afford.  Remember it’s the archer not the arrow when you reach a certain price point in the rod market.   Unless you have some casting ability, a $1000 fly rod will not help you catch more fish and may not even allow you to cast any further than a mid- entry level fly rod.
  • Your fly rod, unlike your reel, is used on every cast so if you choose an economy brand you will eventually do one of two things; first, you will have to purchase a new rod because you have out grown the first new rod you just bought because it was poor quality or secondly you may have given up fly fishing because a cheap rod and fly line spell disaster for a novice fly caster.  Make sure you try to visit a local well stocked fly shop with a number of different brands you can choose from.
  • Casting the fly rod prior to you buying a rod may or may not help you much if you have never cast but is always a great way to get a short casting lesson.  If you have fished before try a different rod action, length, weight, price point or manufacturer to compare when you cast.

Some rod selection mechanics to consider:
First consider where you will be fishing most. This will lead you to answer what length and weight fly rod would best fit your needs.  Length runs from six and one half foot rods for children to large spey rods that are over fourteen feet long. 

Either eight and one half or nine foot rod length is best choice for the novice.  Five or six weight rods are best for starters, especially for trout fishing.  This is a standard way for fly fishing manufacturers to match your reel and line to the rod and not the actual weight of the rod.
Next, consider the type of fishing you do most this may have an impact on the action rod you select.  Actions to consider are slow action for short casts and nymphing, or, on the other spectrum a stiff,fast action for longer casts and more power used when dry fly or streamer fishing.  Beginners usually belong in the middle of this range. If you have casting experience or have a particular style, sometimes a certain action will often help you to make better presentations.

Do not consider anything but a four piece fly rod.  You can travel on airlines or hikes hassle free.  The action on the rods now mimics the action on two piece rods.  The cost is the same and the advantages are many.

Lastly, it is always nice to support local businesses and develop a friend in the fly fishing business for advice when you move forward in the sport. You will always receive better advice and free information when purchasing a fly rod from a shop like Vail Valley Anglers rather than from an internet warehouse.
Bill Perry
Guide and Content Writer