Gunning for the best available fly fishing rod is a somewhat complex issue.
Each angler presents slightly varying preferences and requirements.
But you can always start with the fundamental details that every rod should have in order to make it a proper fishing device.
To that end, we have come up with a list of what we believe to be the best fly fishing rods currently available in today’s market.
They have been selected based on a comprehensive buying guide which we will get to in a bit.
The Fly Fishing Rods We Reviewed
How Did We Choose The Best Fly Fishing Rods
Individual preferences aside, there are indeed some requirements that every fly fishing rod should have to make it a worthwhile investment. So let us get right into what those requirements/features are and how they contribute to a successful fishing trip.
We Checked The Material
Traditionally, fly fishing rods were made predominantly out of fiberglass.
However, they have since moved onto materials like carbon fiber and there are some very good reasons for that. It is more durable, lightweight, and stronger and allows for a faster action. You might think then that any rod made of carbon fiber would occupy the higher end of the price range. But as it turns out, that title goes to the very traditional split cane rods which are expertly crafted by hand. These don’t perform quite as well as the carbon fiber rods. However, for some anglers, that simply is not the point. It is just to do things the old fashioned way.
We Examined The Length Of The Rod
The length of the rod you are looking for is directly related to whatever style fishing you want to use it for.
For fly fishing, you want a rod that is short and tender to lift and suited to the small scale fish that fly fishing is intended for.
We Tried The Rod Action
There are different rates at which a rod will recover its original form after being bent under force.
This is what is described as the rod action. With fly fishing rods, there are three categories of actions: fast, medium and slow. The action also affects the distance at which the rod can cast a line. For instance, with slow action rods, a fly line cannot travel far but it does not require a high skill level to be used well and is relatively more flexible.
Fast action rods can cast their lines a lot further. But, you need precise timing and skill to get it right. Also, they have a stiffer construction to make them rebound quicker which is not the best news for the line.
A lot of anglers will go for the medium action fly rod simply because it balances the properties of two extremes. It is a lot more versatile as it provides a decent amount of casting length as well as flexibility.
Fishing is not a short and sweet activity.
Oftentimes, it requires a lot of patience and endurance. So it follows that the less energy you spend maneuvering and holding the rod, the less exhausted you will be by the end of the run. Thanks to carbon fiber, most fly rods these days are very light so they do not take too much out of you while fishing.
We had a 360° inspection on handles, reel seats, guides and rings
A fly rod typically has a cork handle which may have a plastic cover which ought to be removed to prevent the trapping of any moisture that could end up rotting the handle. There are various shapes for the handle but they are usually a design element rather than a functional one.
The reel on most fly rods is screwed in for a secure fit. The main functions of the rings and guides are to direct the line out from the rod and keep it apart to avoid sticking.
Reviews of the best fly fishing rods 2018
Based on our buying guide, we have selected the best candidates that are commercially available to be among the best fishing rods you can buy.
The PLUSINNO lightweight ultra-portable fly fishing rod is designed to be lightweight, slim and bearing a good amount of elasticity as any good fly fishing rod should.
Not only is it, therefore, easier to handle, it also sucks out less energy from you so you can keep at it for longer. However, its slim proportions do not make it in any way flimsy. The blank is made of carbon fiber. It uses guide rings made from a high grade of chrome stainless steel. However, they will not damage the fishing line as they generate minimum friction and heat. You get a good feeling off of the high-quality wooden handle. The sensitive tip makes short casts plenty accurate.
The design and materials all look good on paper. But how does it all come together in the real world? It does not take an angler very long to realize what a joy this rod really is. It is amazingly easy to accurately position the tiniest flies. That suggests it has great balance. There is real practicality as well. While the lightweight and balanced construction make for easy fishing, it can also be split into 4 pieces making it easier to store.
The only complaints you are likely to hear about this rod are minor defects that could happen in transit or in the manufacturing process. In that case, you can always contact customer support and get a full refund.
The Sougayilang Fly Fishing Rod is made from carbon fiber graphite making it incredibly strong, lightweight and elastic.
This rod can deadlift up to 10 pounds. For a fly fishing rod, that is impressive. It is good enough to reel in tough game like salmon or pike. It can be carried around quite conveniently in 4 sections so it is not troublesome when packing. The fishing guides are made of stainless steel and feature ceramic inserts to block out any risk of corrosion occurring. Not only is the design corrosion free, it also manages to keep friction and heat to a minimal level helping the line maintain torsional strength. The components for the reel seat are all CNC machined aluminum.
As you would expect, the practicality is the main focus with this rod. Thanks to its 4-part folding design, it will not spoil the preparation time you spend before hitting the water. And dare we say it looks rather good, good enough, in fact, to make a lovely gift for your significant other if they like to fly fish. That said, it certainly is not all mouth and no trousers. The balance is tremendous and the unique design of the cork handle fits your hand like it was made for it.
One tiny criticism we have is regarding the reel seat. For a piece of aluminum, it does feel a tad heavy.
The Fenwick AETOS Fly Rods is lavished with high performance features all round.
It has fast action blank and gunsmoke stripper guides which have a large diameter. The blank is comprised of 4 sections so it is easy to store away. It is also fairly rigid thanks to the addition of carbon flake accents. Thanks to high-performance tapers that are fast recovering and well crafted, the overall feeling of the rod is incredibly light but just as strong. It is a tradition of high performance and build quality proudly embraced by the Fenwick brand. It is an impeccable fishing device for all kinds of freshwater and saltwater conditions.
We are certain that many anglers are going to be very happy customers if they get one of these. It is as adept with the Scientific Anglers Mastery MPX line as it is with double tapered lines. Just that action of slinging the line is an elegant and graceful sight to behold.
As much as we would love to say it is absolutely perfect, unfortunately, we cannot. For instance, the dot and line indicators that assist with getting proper alignment are not always spot on. They are off by a few degrees. Also, if you use it for extreme sessions, over time the cork may become unsettled. But apart from that, no complaints whatsoever.
The Maxcatch Premier Fly Fishing Rod is an IM8 carbon medium fast action rod.
And straight away, that lets you know that it carries high performance, is very accurate and highly durable. Twin locking rings have been fitted to the K-carbon tube connected to a rigid aluminum reel. The rod is comprised of 4 sections and features tip-over-butt ferrules dotted and ceramic strips to act as guides for proper alignment. The line travels through chromed stainless steel guides which are tough and resistant to corrosion. There is further corrosion resistance at the reel which is made of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. Not only does the material eradicate corrosion, it can also sustain high impacts repeatedly. Good balance and a rapid line pick-up are achieved thanks to a mid-arbor design. The drag system features a Teflon disc, stainless steel, and a single route clutch bearing making the drag instant and smooth. The whole design has been largely based off of customer feedback from previous products.
And the results speak for themselves. You definitely feel a difference from the drag offered by other rods. So is the response. Combine that with some very good value for money and the results are absolutely superb. For all intents and purposes, this combination is a winner. But we assumed that would be the case with a manufacturer that values customer satisfaction as this does. And to top it all off, you get a year’s worth of warranty.
We cannot find anything wrong with it.
On first impressions, we reckon the DRAGONtail Tenkara Shadowfire 12′ Tenkara Rod should cost more than it actually did.
But it turns out to be quite a bargain. It is made of IM 10 graphite so it retains impeccable qualities of lightweight and high strength. The rod itself stretches up to 12 feet. Included in the package are 3 soft hackles flies, an EVA foam line holder, rod sock, storage tube and a furled Moonlit line. There is no reel to deal with here, which means less time with the set up. The weight has been kept down to just 2.9 Oz but you can still rely on it to reel in a decent sized trout. It is also plenty practical, collapsing into just 20 and a half inches so it can be slotted into your backpack like an ultra-slim umbrella.
The quality of this rod is apparent right from the get go. It is a tough sturdy instrument but it is also remarkably sensitive relaying, a real gift compared to the relatively pricey competition. It comes equipped with everything you need to complete a good fishing trip. You might say the only things that are not readily available are the fish. Few anglers can resist this kind of a bargain.
However, there are a few anglers that do. This is mainly down to faults in the design, or rather the execution of it. In some units, the rod does not collapse into its 4 segments as gracefully as it should, and that is a real shame. It would mean sticking out of your backpack like some a weird fragile antenna. A bad mark for Tenkara there.
The Pinty All-in-one Fly Fishing Combo is an easy to handle rod and comes with its own meticulously organized travel bag.
So it is easy to learn how to use and easy to take with you. Whereas manufacturers previously had to choose between the mutually exclusive properties of graphite and fiberglass, this rod hits two birds with the same stone. There are two words to explain this: carbon fiber. In addition to keeping the weight down, it also retains properties like durability and flexibility. The reel is made from aluminum alloy that is CNC machined. Snake style guides made of stainless steel line the rod and make it extremely sensitive. A smooth power delivery is achieved by including K-foot ceramic inserts in the strip-market guides. Handle is fully cork with an EVA fighting butt and is remarkably sensitive to the hand as it is comfortable. The surface is also resistant to corrosion. To lure the fish, you get 8 commonplace flies, 2 ants with black wings, 3 nymphs, and 3 parachute adams.
For all that it offers, this rod is exceptional value for money. It is an encouraging start especially for beginners. As an angler, you can feel free to go straight into the deep end of fly fishing and not at all worry about any signs of weakness. Carbon fiber does not lie. A fish will soon realize that they are better off being hooked than trying to break it.
If we have a criticism, it is that the box of flies it comes equipped with seem a bit cheap but they certainly are not insufferable.
So let’s sum up then.
Our top recommendations for top notch commercially available fly fishing rods deliver on a high standard and are consistent with our buying guide.
While there may still be some room for improvement, overall, they are as close to perfect as the modern market gets right now.
Last update on 2019-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API