How to Pick a Fly Rod – Generally, shorter rods are used on smaller bodies of water like small streams, spring creeks and gathering pools and ponds on side runs of rivers. Conversely, longer rods are used on larger rivers, bigger bodies of water, big lakes, and from the banks of salt water venues. Also, rods for lighter lines (0 to 6 weight) are for smaller flies and smaller fish. Heavier lines (7 to 14 weight) are for larger flies and large fish.
It is recommended that you work through some basic questions to determine a rod that is right for your needs. Do you require a pack rod? (Today’s pack rods are every bit as good as a standard 2 or 3-piece rod.) Are you an adventure traveler? What kind of rod action do you like? (Action is the speed at which the rod snaps back; Slow, Medium, Fast, etc.) What size fish will you be looking to catch? All these factors are involved in picking out the rod that is right for you.
Once you’ve answered some of these questions, try a few different rods to see which you prefer. Try to go to a store and ask the staff to rig the rods for you so you can go outside in the parking lot and test cast the rods. Nothing demos a rod better than being able to test cast it. Get a good feel for it to help you decide which rod to buy. A good fly shop should let you demo the rods if you feel the need to, in fact, they should encourage it!
What to Consider When Buying a Fly Rod
Selecting a fly rod is one of the most important decisions an angler must make when he or she decides it is time to put down that spinning rod and try their hand at fly fishing. If the beginning fly fisher chooses correctly, they may experience the joy and satisfaction that so many of us have come to know and crave. If he or she chooses poorly, it may lead to frustration and an empty pocketbook when they go back to purchase the right rod. In order to make the right decision and buy the perfect rod for you, there are some things to consider.
- What types of fish am I going to fish for?
- Where will I be fishing: in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, or the ocean?
These two questions directly relate to what line weight you will be using. A quick break down of which lines are for what species:
|0-3 weight||panfish/small trout||streams/ponds|
|6-9 weight||larger freshwater and saltwater species||large rivers/ocean|
Now that you have chosen a line weight, you match the rod weight (designated by the manufacturer) to the line weight that fits your situation.
Another consideration when selecting a fly rod is the length of the rod. Fly rods vary in length from six feet to fifteen feet; this is also due to the wide variety of fishing situations. As a general role the shorter fly rods (6 to 8 ft.) are used in tight fishing areas. For instance, a small stream shrouded in low hanging trees . The medium length fly rods (8 to 9ft.) are used in normal fishing areas, where you have room to work. The long fly rods (9 to 15 ft.) are used when long casts or fly repositioning is needed.
Fly rods also come in different actions: the action of a fly rod is the amount of flex in the rod when it is stressed. The action of the rod is determined by the manufacturer, it can be categorized as fast, medium, or slow. A fast action rod is stiff and flexes near the tip of the rod. A medium action rod flexes more easily in the top half of the rod, where a slow action rod tends to flex through the rod from tip to butt. When choosing the action of your rod it is best to try all three; one is sure to fit your casting stroke better than the other two. The action of the rod can also be important in helping with certain fishing conditions. Fast action rods help punch your fly into the wind, where slow action rods help with delicate presentations to spooky fish.
How much should you spend on a rod? It depends. In my experience I have found that there are some good quality rods for $100 to $200. I have also found that the rods that sell for $500 to $600 not only look better they also perform better. The best advice I can give is to spend what you can reasonably afford.