Fly Fishing For Beginners: What Is The Best Fly Rod Length?

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If you’re a beginner fisherman it can be pretty tough to figure out the best fishing rod for you, especially when it’s a fly rod. There are many different options to pick from and in this post, I’m going to be talking about the best fly rod length for beginners.

The best fly rod length for the beginner fisherman would be an 8.5-foot rod. It’s going to be the most versatile size, pretty easy to learn on, and it’ll still work really well as you get better. You’ll also want to get a medium-fast action rod that’s a 5-weight. These again are the most versatile rods that are great to learn on and can be used for a lot of different fish.

I’m not saying this will be the case for every single person out there but it’s what I did myself. Some people are only fishing in narrow creeks and going after smaller fish, and if that’s the case, they might be better off with a smaller rod. For the majority of people though, an 8.5-foot medium action rod will do the job in a bunch of different situations.

Best Fly Rod Combo Under $500

My favorite fly rod combo under $500 is the Sage Foundation 690 (check the price on Amazon). I don’t really think you need to spend this much on a rod if you’re a beginner but you might have a bunch of money to spend or know you’re going to be fly fishing a lot.

With a fly rod, you’re going to get what you pay for and I think you should buy something that’s middle of the range. You can spend thousands of dollars but that’s not necessary, in my opinion. You can also spend a hundred bucks but the quality just isn’t worth it.

Sage makes my favorite fly rods and the 690 is a great rod for when you start to get more comfortable. It is a fast-action rod which is a little bit harder to use but you’ll be able to cast a good distance with it and it’ll handle bigger fish.

Slow-action rods will bend throughout the entire rod and are more for smaller fish (medium are obviously in the middle and is why they’re recommended).

It is a 9-foot 6-weight rod which is a little bit more than what I’d recommend for a beginner, but if you want one rod that can handle just about anything, this could be perfect for you.

It’s a full kit so it comes with your rod, reel, backing, leader, and carrying case. All you have to do is toss on your fly and you’re good to go.

Pros

  • The rod and reel are high-quality.
  • You can use it for bigger fish as well.
  • It performs just as well as some of the more expensive rods I’ve used.
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • The price is getting a little high for a beginner.
  • It’s a little longer and harder to use.

Best Fly Rod Combo Under $300

Another one of my favorite entry-level fly rods is the Orvis Clearwater 905 (check the price on Amazon). It’s going to be cheaper than the Sage rod but it’s still super high quality and will make a perfect rod if you’re a beginner.

The thing that might make this slightly better for you to learn on is that it’s a medium-fast action rod. It’s still a 9-foot rod but I think the medium action will be quite a bit easier to learn on. Plus, it’s still strong enough to handle bigger fish.

It’s also a 5-weight rod which will most likely give you a bit more versatility. I really don’t think there’s a better rod under $300 (that I’ve used) and that’s why I think it’s a great starters rod.

Again, it comes with a rod, reel, backing, leader, and carrying case. All you have to do is attach your fly and start casting.

Pros

  • The reel is one of the smoother in this price range.
  • It’s an easy rod for learning how to cast.
  • It comes with a 25-year warranty.

Cons

  • It won’t be able to handle as big of fish as the Sage.
  • The extra length will make it a little harder to use (but not that bad).

Best Fly Rod Combo Under $200

If you’re somewhat on a budget but still want a high-quality fly fishing rod then I’d recommend the Redington Crosswater 586 kit (see it on Amazon). It’s over 100 bucks cheaper than the Orvis but it’s probably going to be easier to learn on.

It’s an 8.5-foot 5-weight fly rod which is the perfect option in my opinion. It does come in a bunch of different sizes and weights as well. It’s not going to be as smooth as the Orvis and it’s not going to be able to handle bigger fish like the Sage, but I haven’t been able to find anything better in this price range.

It’s going to come with everything except the fly itself. Just take it out of the packaging, tie on your fly, and you’re ready to go. The case was surprisingly well made and everything feels super balanced. It’s still a decent chunk of change but at least you’re not going to be as nervous to mess something up as you would with the Sage.

Pros

  • The price is pretty reasonable for an entire kit.
  • The quality of the rod and reel is very good.
  • The reel is smoother than any other reel in this price range.
  • It’ll be the easiest of the 3 for learning how to cast.

Cons

  • The warranty isn’t as good as the others (only 1 year).
  • It won’t handle as big of fish as the other 2.

I’m not saying these 3 rods are the best possible rods out there because I haven’t tried them all. I have used a bunch of different ones (these 3 included) and they have been my favorite for beginners. You’re going to mess up often if you’ve never used a fly rod before and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend something too expensive. These are great all-around fly rods that will be easy to learn on but you can still use them in a bunch of different situations. See our favorite fly fishing gear here.

Happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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