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Ranking the Best Fly Fishing Rods of 2021

Best Overall Choice
Scott Sector Fly Rod – Best Overall

Scott Sector Fly Rod

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Best Premium Choice
Sage Foundation Fly Rod Combo – Best High-End Combo

Sage Foundation Fly Rod Combo – Best High-End Combo

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Best Budget Choice
Maxcatch Extreme – Best Budget Option

Maxcatch Extreme – Best Budget Option

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Kyle W by Kyle W Updated on February 25, 2021. In

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A fly rod is one of the most valuable fishing gears in an angler’s collection. Luckily, it doesn’t take too much to care for them and make them last a lifetime. Whether you want to add a few rods to your rig or try to get your feet wet, you can be sure there is a perfect fly rod for you.

We’ve done some extensive research and found some of the very best fly fishing rods. You can save yourself some considerable time by checking out the options in this article. Remember to read the section on choosing a fly rod, especially if you are entirely new to the game.

The Best Fly Fishing Rods

Here are some of the best fly fishing rods in the market, from high-end options to unbelievably affordable rods and everything between.

Comparison Table

Product Best For Latest Price
Scott Sector Fly Rod Best Overall Check Price
Orvis Clearwater Best Value Option Check Price
G Loomis NRX+ 890-4 Best Saltwater Fly Rod Check Price
Sage X 690-4 Fly Rod Outfit Best Pro-Level Combo Check Price
Maxcatch Premier Fishing Outfit Best Beginner Fly Fishing Starter Kit Check Price
Redington Classic Trout Best Trout Fly Fishing Rod Check Price
Sage Foundation Outfit Best High-End Combo Check Price
Echo Trip 8-Piece Travel Fly Rod Best Travel Rod Check Price
Orvis Adirondack Full-Flex Bamboo Fly Rod Best Bamboo Fly Rod Check Price
Maxcatch Extreme Best Budget Option Check Price

Best Overall Choice

1. Scott Sector Fly Rod

Scott Sector Fly Rod – Best Overall

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Scott replaced their cherished Meridian fly rod series with the Sector, and for good reasons. This rod features innovative technology, making it one of the best fly fishing rods any angler would want to add to their collection.

Although Sector feels very light in the hand, it offers strength and tremendous accuracy due to Scott’s new carbon fiber technology known as Carbon Web. You can expect very fast, accurate, and effortless pickup with the line during casting.

The new Sector series features durable titanium snake guides coated in a PVD finish for low reflectivity and increased strength. While the black anodized aluminum reel seat might not be as flamboyant as other rods, the attribute helps it to hold up in saltwater environments.

For protection during travel and transportation, Sector comes with an aluminum rod tube labeled with the brand’s logo to make identification easier.

Action: Fast action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 6 – 15

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Very quick and highly accurate
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Might develop whining noise

2. Orvis Clearwater – Best Value Option

Orvis Clearwater – Best Value Option

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Looking to get the best bang for your hard-earned cash? You might find it in this 5-weight rod from Orvis Clearwater, one of the industry’s biggest fly rod brands. This is your choice for fishing in bigger western and eastern water, fitted with the line weight to handle light bass and big trout.

Orvis is constantly coming up with new designs, but the Clearwater 5-weight is not a mere cosmetic upgrade. Instead, it is a completely revamped fly rod with significant improvement in performance and looks, too. This is the weapon of choice when big flies and big water are on the offing.

You can expect incredible accuracy with this rod. But besides the performance upgrade, buying this rod will leave you with plenty of travel money for your adventure.

Sometimes, the cheapest gear isn’t necessarily the best, even if you are new to fishing. If you want to spend on a reasonably-priced rod without compromising quality and performance, you definitely want to consider Orvis’ offering.

Action: Medium action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 3 – 12

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Graphite material
  • Solid 25-year warranty

Cons

  • Slightly stiff

3. G Loomis NRX+ 890-4 – Best Saltwater Fly Rod

G Loomis NRX+ 890-4 – Best Saltwater Fly Rod

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When the odds are stacked in nature’s favor, you will need fishing tools designed to level the playing field. That’s where the G Loomis NRX+ 890-4 comes into the picture. This fly rod is forged to conquer a variety of unsteady conditions, especially in saltwater environments.

The rod is significantly lighter than previous iterations. It is also stronger and smoother, plus it with an improved dampening capability. NRX+ comes in a new design that combines GL8 Resin, multi-taper design, and mega modulus+ graphite. The result is an ultra-lightweight and extremely durable fly fishing rod.

Any professional angler who has used the NRX will quickly agree that G Loomis did an amazing job with the new NRX+ series, notably with the precision and the accuracy with which you can present a fish. On top of it all, the modern fast-action rod does not compromise finesse and feel, regardless of conditions and casting distance.

As you may have already guessed, the price tag for this option is a bit steep, but it is worth every dime. Consider buying the NRX+ 890-4 if a few dollars shy of $900 is within your budget for a fishing rod.

Action: Fast action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 4 – 7

Pros

  • Outstanding line speed and great loop stability
  • Uses Dynamic Recovery Technology (DRT)
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Slightly overpowering for smaller flies
  • An expensive option

4. Sage X 690-4 Fly Rod Outfit – Best Pro-Level Combo

Sage X 690-4 Fly Rod Outfit – Best Pro-Level Combo

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If you are scouting for the best professional fly rod outfit, you might want to check out this option from Sage, the industry’s multi-award-winning brand. The combo comprises Sage X fly rod, floating fly line, fly reel, tapered leader, Dacron backing, rod sock, and aluminum tube. In a nutshell, all you have to do is tie on and fly!

Your fishing will noticeably improve with this intuitive outfit, thanks to the superior loop control. Sage X rods come with innovative technology that introduces an entirely new era of first-rate performance, allowing anglers to gracefully and effortlessly throw tighter loops with better accuracy.

Action: Fast action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 5, 6, and 8

 

Pros

  • Intuitive operation
  • Great accuracy, regardless of condition
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • A bit heavy

5. Maxcatch Premier Fishing Outfit – Best Beginner Fly Fishing Starter Kit

Maxcatch Premier Fishing Outfit – Best Beginner Fly Fishing Starter Kit

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The best thing any beginner angler can do is eliminate the guesswork involved in buying individual components for their fishing outfit. However, many combo sets are expensive and designed for experienced anglers. Luckily, you can get a great price with the Maxcatch Premier Fishing Outfit, and it comes with literally everything you need to start fishing right away.

The package includes a fly rod, reel, fly line, tippet, backing, snippers, pliers, a fly box with flies, strike indicators, and more. This set is by far the most cost-effective way to get into fly fishing. There is no disputing the fact that the Maxcatch Extreme is the best budget fly rod, but if you want a complete outfit from the same brand, you may as well choose Maxcatch Premier Fishing Outfit.

Action: Medium action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 3, 5, 6, and 8

 

Pros

  • Includes everything for fly fishing
  • Very affordable
  • Travel rod bag with reel pouch included

Cons

  • Not the best rod

6. Redington Classic Trout – Best Trout Fly Fishing Rod

Redington Classic Trout – Best Trout Fly Fishing Rod

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Fishing trout is a lot easier if you have the right tools. Redington specifically designed the Classic Trout for anglers who primarily fish trout, so you can be sure the rod is engineered to perform that function pretty well.

Although the rod excels in small streams and spring creeks where delicacy is called for, it still packs enough power for boat fishing on big rivers. It is notably more snappy and accurate than similar rods in the same category.

If you plan to spend a long day on the water, you should definitely consider this lightweight rod with its forgiving action that significantly reduces fatigue.

Action: Medium action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 3 – 10

Pros

  • Durable rod with supper accuracy
  • Moderately-priced
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Reel seat tends to come loose easily
Best Premium Choice

7. Sage Foundation Fly Rod Combo – Best High-End Combo

Sage Foundation Fly Rod Combo – Best High-End Combo

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Sage fly rods are generally expensive, but they are also first-rate products. While Sage Foundation Outfit doesn’t have the unmatched accuracy as the Sage X, it does include everything you need to start fishing right away. The combo comes complete with rod, line, reel, flies, snips, net, and more for a price far less than some expensive rods alone.

The fast-action Foundation provides effortless control in addition to excellent casting power, a blend that can take your game to a whole new level, even if you’re relatively new to fly rod fishing. Furnished with a superior Graphite IIIe Technology, stealth black blank, and ceramic stripper guides, there are only a few outfits that can rival this set.

Action: Fast action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 5, 6, and 8

Pros

  • High-quality rod
  • Stealth black blank color
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Reel is cheap die-cast aluminum

8. Echo Trip 8-Piece Travel Fly Rod – Best Travel Rod

Echo Trip 8-Piece Travel Fly Rod – Best Travel Rod

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If you enjoy traveling around the country fishing, you will want to have the best travel fly rod available. Most experienced anglers agree that the Eco Trip 8-Piece Travel Rod fits that bill more than any other fly rod. The set comes in an ultra-portable design that measures only 18 inches when stored in its tube, making it fit nicely into briefcases or backpacks.

The problem with multi-piece rods is their lack of accuracy, and some of the flex is usually lost. But that’s far from being the case with Eco’s fly fishing rod. This one is designed to eliminate most of the accuracy issues found in segmented rods.

Trip 8-Piece Travel Rod is a smooth blend of power and action carefully crafted to handle just about any fishing condition. Unlike other multi-piece rods that creak when bent, shaken, or flexed, this design doesn’t have any of those negative impacts.

Action: Medium action

Pieces: 8

Available weights: 5, 6, and 8

Pros

  • Ultra-compact design
  • Highly versatile
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Faintly inaccurate because of the number of pieces

9. Orvis Adirondack Full-Flex Bamboo Fly Rod – Best Bamboo Fly Rod

Orvis Adirondack Full-Flex Bamboo Fly Rod – Best Bamboo Fly Rod

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Anglers who prefer the traditional and rewarding feeling of fishing with a bamboo rod will be lucky to find anything better than the Adirondack Full-Flex Bamboo Fly Rod from Orvis. A swelled butt design, crisp feel, and delicate tip action combine to make this option one of the best fly fishing rods any expert angler will want to have in their collection.

The versatile 2-piece split bamboo rod has excellent accuracy, great action, and incredible performance that make for a perfect presentation with every single cast.

One thing, though; you need deep pockets to buy this rod. In fact, the price tag on this traditional bamboo fly fishing rod can easily buy two brand new fishing kayaks, and you’ll still have enough change left for other gear.

Action: Fast action

Pieces: 2

Available weights: 5

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Impeccable bamboo design
  • Unbeatable crisp feel

Cons

  • Very expensive
Best Budget Choice

10. Maxcatch Extreme – Best Budget Option

Maxcatch Extreme – Best Budget Option

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It makes sense to test the waters (literally) with an inexpensive rod if you are a beginner angler. But whether you’re just getting started, on a tight budget, or an experienced angler looking for a back-up rod, the Maxcatch Extreme fly fishing rod might be a perfect choice if you want something insanely affordable.

But just because the price is easy on the pocket doesn’t make it cheap. In fact, expert anglers agree that this rod is more accurate than some more expensive options, and it tends to last more than many fly rods in the market. Heck, you can even use it for saltwater fishing, and it will hold up, which is quite impressive for a fishing rod its price.

Maxcatch Extreme has everything you need to get into fly fishing, including rod, line, backing, reel, case, line snippers, and more. Try to imagine ultra-lightweight, hard chromed, stainless steel smooth guides combined with a pure cork handle and reel seat, and you’ll get a fair picture of what this fly rod would feel like in your hands.

Action: Fast action

Pieces: 4

Available weights: 3 – 10

Pros

  • Graphite material
  • Very affordable
  • 1-year warranty and lifetime repair warranty

Cons

  • Slightly heavier and stiffer than more expensive models

How to Choose a Fly Rod

We recommend thinking about the following considerations when buying a rod. Of course, you will already know these things if you an expert angler, but if you’re not or if it’s your first time shopping for fly rods, you will want to pay particular attention to this section. Here are the important things to understand and look for.

Line Weight

Getting the right line weight is important because the wrong type will compromise your casting accuracy and may even break the fly rod. Consider what you plan to use your rod for, and then follow this simple chart.

  • Line weight 1 – 3: This weight is ideal for tiny fish. Brook trout and most panfish are prime examples of what you can use this line weight to catch.
  • Line weight 4: This is a popular line weight that is good for fishing small to medium-sized fish.
  • Line weight 5: This is a good all-round line weight that works great for average-sized freshwater bass and all types of trout. It can work for small fish, too, but it won’t all that fun.
  • Line weight 6: This is most suitable for all trout fishing. It is excellent for small salmon, bass, and fish of similar size.
  • Line weight 7: This is your choice for hassle-free monster trout and bass fishing. The line weight is also popular for fishing steelhead, but it is overkill for the average panfish and trout.
  • Line weight 8 and above: Line weights in this category are best suited for fishing larger and stronger fish, especially those found in saltwater.

We recommend buying a complete set (rod and reel combo), especially if you are a first-time angler. That way, you won’t have to worry about selecting the correct line weight because the manufacturer will do the matching for you.

Fly Rod Length

Fly rods are available in various lengths, and that might be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. Here’s a general rule to help you decide what best suits your purpose. The longer the rod, the better it is for hitting flies at great distances; and the shorter the rod, the more suitable it is for shorter casts.

However, a more specific approach is to get a 9-foot fly rod if you want to make particularly long casts, if you often fish in windy conditions, or if you use a heavy fly line. An 8.5 feet rod is ideal for all-around fly fishing, and an 8 feet rod length (or less) is ideal if you need to make short and precise casts, especially when fishing in small streams.

Material

To the onlooker, all fly rods are the same or at least made from the same material, but anglers know better. The construction material can significantly impact flexibility, durability, and accuracy during fishing.

When it comes to materials, your choices include:

Bamboo

This is the most expensive fly rod material. It is extremely durable and flexible, making it the most preferred natural material for bend, spring, and pop.

Graphite

This material is the commonest among all fly rod materials. It is durable, lightweight, and incredibly strong. Graphite rods make for easy casts.

Fiberglass

The most affordable fly rods are made from fiberglass. They were once very common before graphite and are starting to resurface among some anglers. Rods made from fiberglass materials are heavier, stiffer, and have slow-action.

Action

Action with regard to fly rods can be a bit confusing. In simple terms, the action of a fly rod refers to its flexibility. There are three major actions to think about when choosing a rod:

Fast-Action (Tip-flex fly rods)

A fast-action or tip-flex fly rod uses a lot of kinetic energy during casts and is most suitable for long casts and fishing in particularly windy conditions. Using a tip-flex fly rod is usually less physically demanding, but it can be tricky for beginners. It is also not the best choice for short casts.

Medium-Action (Mid-flex fly rods)

If you prefer a more versatile rod, your best bet is to buy a medium-action or mid-flex fly rod. This type of fly rod works great in various conditions and is a lot easier to learn with than tip-flex fly rods. Anglers who don’t have a collection typically opt for the medium-action fly rod.

Slow-Action (Full-flex fly rods)

A slow-action or full-flex fly rod has a flexible tip, making it the ideal choice for use in small streams. While it doesn’t have a mid-flex rod’s utility, it is very easy to learn, and its flexible nature makes it significantly easier to case and have excellent presentation. A slow-action fly rod is your best bet if you primarily fish for smaller fish.

Number of Pieces

Fly rods come in different configurations from 2-pieces to 8-pieces. Having few or more pieces have their pros and cons, but it is better to stick to fewer pieces if you are not yet an expert angler. The fewer the pieces you have in your set up, the fewer chances of things going wrong when you are out fishing. A good, portable choice would be a 4-piece rod, which is the common configuration, by the way.

Combo Sets

The standard recommendation is to buy a combo set because manufacturers already do the work of paring the correct rod, line, and reel weights for you. Plus, sellers are willing to give attractive discounts when you buy these full outfits as a whole.

However, if you already have a fly reel that suits your purpose and only need a rod to complete your rig, buying a rod makes sense.

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