Best Fly Fishing Rods For The Money (2019)

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By Bryan Rucker •  16 min read

In order to have a better chance at catching a fish, a quality rod is one of your best bets. Fishing with a poor quality rod will not only affect your casting and reeling, but it could also tangle up easier and make it that much more difficult to be able to reel in a fish. It is important to make sure that you are using the right fishing rod for your circumstances as different rods are meant to be used at different times.

If you don’t know too much about fishing rod’s this guide will help to teach you all of the various differences that you will come across in your search for a quality fly fishing rod and help to explain why the benefits and drawbacks in some of the many features that you may find.

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Things To Consider Before Buying


One of the major things that you may not be aware of, that can have a large impact on your fishing, is the length of your rod. If you have a shorter rod which will normally be in the range from around six to eight feet long, you will generally be a lot better off fishing in smaller creeks and rivers. With a smaller rod you have a much lower chance of catching your hook or the end of your rod on tree branches and other debris which is definitely something to keep in mind. Unfortunately, you will generally not be able to get as much leverage on your cast and will have to put more effort into it in order to throw a long distance. There are longer rods available that range anywhere from eight to ten feet in length as well. These types of rods are great for open areas of water where you have lots of room to cast and they are ideal for casting longer distances allowing your line to stay in the water for a longer period of time and possibly giving you a better chance to catch a fish as a result.


Today’s fishing rods are made out of all kinds of different materials. Some materials are definitely better than others and some of them are pretty rare as they are older technology and not used as much anymore as a result of better rod making materials being more widely available on the market. Today’s fly fishing rods will generally be made out of graphite, which is a light weight, strong design that offers the fisherman a very good sense of their line and any tension on the line. Another common type of material used in fly fishing rods is boron. Boron is applied to a lot of rods in combination with graphite and it allows the rod to be a bit lighter in weight, more durable as well as more sensitive to any changes to the line. Other things that you may find fishing rods made out of are materials like bamboo, sticks and even fiberglass.


Generally speaking there are three different parts of the rod that flex while you are fishing. The tip of the rod is the most sensitive and will bend the most no matter whether there is current or a fish pulling your line around. The next part of the rod that is going to flex is the middle of the rod, generally this portion of the rod will flex a little as you cast your rod and it will also flex when you get a fish on, or when you are in heavy current. If your rod is fully flexed all the way to the grip, you likely have a fish on the line or you are fishing in some pretty heavy current or you are caught on some kind of a snag in the water. If you go to a store and you are looking for a rod you will notice that the rod has some kind of a classification attached to it. The classification will tell you how fast the rod is capable of loading and unloading. Essentially what this means is how fast your rod is. If you have a fast rod then it will have less flex and allow for a further cast; if you have a slower casting rod it allows for a slower, sometimes more accurate cast. It is hard to be able to recommend a particular flex to someone as this is definitely something that is a person preference.


The weight of a rod is certainly something that you should think about before you make a purchasing decision. You really need to think about the weight of the fish that you plan on catching so that you can be sure that the rod will be capable of supporting this weight. Another thing that you should consider is the weight of the line that the fishing rod is capable of holding. Generally speaking you will be safe to go a bit over on the recommended weight of the line, but you won’t want to go a ton over as your rod may have a difficult time casting, reeling etc. Generally speaking, the larger the fish that you are trying to catch, the larger, more heavy duty line and rod that you are likely going to need in order to be able to successfully catch a fish. It is important to note that a lot of fish, especially ones that are smaller in size will notice thicker line in the water easier than thinner line and thin line can definitely give you an advantage, however, it definitely is more prone to breaking especially if you happen to get your line caught on something in the water while you have a fish hooked.  If you only fish for one particular kind of fish there are lots of guidelines online that you can look at in order to find the right type of line for that particular fish and this may be a good idea to take a look at if you really don’t have a clue what to do.


Some of the most expensive rods that are available on the market will have more adjustment options than that of the cheaper rods available. You will be able to find a wide range of sizes and a wide variety of collapsible pieces. The thing about having the ability to collapse into a bunch of pieces is that it allows you to be able to store the rod with ease, even if you are stuck storing the rod in some sort of a tight area. The only problem with having so many pieces is that it can definitely make it a little bit more of a challenge to put the rod back together again afterwards.


There are lots of different grips available on the market, some are definitely more preferable than others to some people. Depending on the price that you pay for the rod, the quality of the grip is likely to change. If you just buy yourself the cheapest fishing rod available you are going to probably find that the rod grip is made out of cork or covered in some sort of thin foam. Over time you will notice, especially on the cheapest rods that the grip starts to wear out and the rod becomes less comfortable to use. One thing that you often won’t find on a cheaper rod is called a fighting butt. This section of the rod allows you to hold the rod against your body rather than purely holding the rod with your arms; this feature is great for longer battles and almost necessary if you are going to be fighting against larger fish.


A good quality fly reel can make your whole fishing experience that much easier. No matter how large of a fish you are fishing for, being able to change the drag accordingly is essential to getting the fish in. There are all sorts of different reels that you can choose from. It is important to make sure that you have a large enough reel for the area that you are fishing in. The larger the reel you have, the larger the fish you are fighting has room to run as you will be able to fit more line on the reel. There are three different main types of reels available in today’s marketplace. These reels include: a click and pawl system which incorporates gears with teeth which are slowed down by a clip which is spring loaded. Another type of drag available is a disc system. A disc system is one of the more sophistically advanced systems available today and it incorporates the use of two or more discs which get pressed against each other creating friction.

Reel Seat

Beyond the actual reel, one thing that could potentially pose a problem for you or make fishing easier is a reel seat. Depending on the rod that you purchase, a rod can be more effective at working in certain environments. If you buy a rod ion order to be able to fish in salt water you are going to want to make sure that you buy something that is salt water resistant. Rods that contain things like carbon fiber, titanium as well as aluminum are the most ideal type for these kind of situations. If you are in a freshwater environment you can use things like steel rods or wooden rods without issue, just be aware that using these in a salt water environment can cause them to wear out at a faster pace. Another thing that will differ for the real seat is how the reel actually locks into the reel seat. Generally there are three different types of reel seats that you will come across. The first type being an uplocking method. In this case the nut turns towards the grip of the rod therefore leaving more room between the bottom end of the rod and the reel which makes the end of the rod longer. Another type of locking method that you will come across is a downlocking method. In this case the nut turns towards the bottom of the rod rather than towards the grip. Since this way works with gravity rather than against it, it is less likely to slip on you. The last method that you will most likely come across is slip rings that hold the reel in place. This design has two rings that go over the top of your reel to hold it in place, over time this method allows for the cork to adjust to the bottom of the reel allowing for a secure fit.

Fly Fishing Rod Reviews

Redington PATH Fly Rod Review

Redington PATH Fly Rods Lifetime Warranty w/ Case

If you want to get yourself a high quality rod then this could be the one for you. Unfortunately quality does come with a higher price tag, but it also comes with a wide variety of features that help to make up for the higher price. This is a fairly fast action rod allowing it to be able to be quite sensitive to things like current as well as when you have a fish on the line. The rod is available in a wide variety of sizes and comes in a freshwater as well as a salt water design in order to suit your individual needs. Probably the best thing about this rod/ case combo in particular is that you get a lifetime warranty on the rod with your purchase in order to give you some peace of mind.

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Fenwick AETOS 5 Wt Fly Fishing Rod, 9 Feet Review

Fenwick AETOS 5 Wt Fly Fishing Rod, 9 Feet

This is another high end reel in the marketplace. This is a very high quality rod and it even comes with a rod tube as well as a bag to make this deal that much better. The rod itself has a cork handle combined with an aluminum reel seat which uses an uplock in order to hold the reel in place.

This rod is nine foot in length and comes apart into four separate pieces making it relatively easy to be able to piece this rod back together after taking it apart.

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K&E Outfitters Drift Series 8wt Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Complete Package Review

K&E Outfitters Drift Series 8wt Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Complete Package

This is another high end fishing rod available with a black or a silver reel in order to suit your personal tastes. This reel comes in a very nice case with a shoulder strap to make carrying easier and it even comes with a small waterproof fly box that you can use as well.

This rod is fairly large at nine feet in length and has an eight weight, four piece design that is relatively easy to put together and use. This rod has a nice aluminum reel that helps this rod be light weight and capable of casting a long distance.

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Maxcatch Ultra-lite Fly Rod for Streams Panfish/Trout Fishing 1/2/3 weight Review

Maxcatch Ultra-lite Fly Rod for Streams Panfish/Trout Fishing 1/2/3 weight

If you are looking to get a relatively cheap rod and you don’t want to sacrifice too much quality in order to get one then this rod may be a good option for you. This rod comes in five different sizes in order to suit your personal tastes.

The rod offers a fairly fast action design and is made out of graphite which offers pretty good sensitivity. The design is capable of breaking up into four pieces which makes putting it together relatively easy, especially thanks to dots located on the unit for this purpose.

The rod has a nice aluminum reel seat and cork grip design in order to offer the user a combination of pretty good durability as well as comfort and control.

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Adamsbuilt HO2 Fly Rod Combination Package Review

Adamsbuilt HO2 Fly Rod Combination Package

If you want to get a middle of the line rod for the average price range then this combo could be a good option for you. This rod comes with a very nice rod case and a reel holder that you can use while you are out fishing.

The rod is nine foot in length and is a fairly fast action graphite rod resulting in fairly high sensitivity to movement in the water. The rod uses a lightweight aluminum reel and the line comes pre-loaded onto the reel so that you aren’t stuck doing it yourself.

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No matter the fly fishing rod that you choose to purchase, you always have a chance to catch a fish when you have a line in the water. It is important to incorporate your fishing techniques as well as a good quality rod in order to increase your chances, but it is important to stay within your own means. Fishing rods can definitely get pricey depending on the quality that you are looking to purchase and it is important to stay within your own financial means, but it is also important to consider how much time you spend fishing and the enjoyment that you get out of it before making a final purchasing decision. Another thing that you should consider before making your purchasing decision is how long the warranty is on the unit, especially if you are buying yourself a more expensive rod. Companies do throw a lot of terms and conditions in warranties these days and it is a good idea to read them over so that you know what kinds of things you are covered for. Another thing that you should check out before making your final decision is the kind of return policy the company has that you are buying from. If you get the product, only to find out that it doesn’t work for you, it is nice to know that you will be able to return it without too much hassle. Hopefully this guide has helped to inform you about the many options that you have available to you, so that you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your rod. Good luck with your fishing and hope you catch the big one!

image: Pixabay

Bryan Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things wildlife. His concern grew astronomically during the previous tensions between the United States and other nations. He also has grown a substantial interest in survival and sustainability due to the current shape of the world over the years. He believes that preparation triumphs all things.