How to Choose a Fly Rod

How To Choose a Fly Rod

.
Temple Fork Professional Fly Rod – Click to View

| The right fly fishing rod can make fly fishing an absolute pleasure or turn it into a frustrating hassle. This is why, when you first get into fly fishing, it is extremely important to make the correct selection so you don’t wind up so frustrated that you end up quitting altogether. To make things more complex, the rod should fit the species you are fishing for, the size fly you are casting, and the conditions. As a beginner, there are some rods that are great choices – check five of them out by clicking here. There are several things it is important to know when choosing a fly fishing rod – weight, length, action, pieces, and the warranty it is covered under.

Weight

Weight in this case refers to the “weight” of the line that the rod is designed to cast easily. Some lines are thicker and heavier, and thus designed for bigger fish and flies, and others are lighter and thinner and thus designed for lighter flies and smaller fish. Each rod is designed specifically to cast a certain weight of line – basically, the spine and flex of the rod are engineered perfectly to have the perfect amount of power to get that line out as efficiently as possible.

If you have too light of a rod for the line you are using, the rod will struggle to cast the line and you won’t get the natural cast that makes fly fishing fun. If the rod is too heavy of an action, it won’t transfer enough power to the line to cast it well either, as it will be too stiff and not springy enough to keep the line moving.

This is extremely important and perhaps the number one item to remember when buying fly rods. Here is a chart that will help you decide which weight of rod to look for.

Panfish, Smaller Trout in Smaller Creeks0-4
Grayling3-5
Average Sized Trout4-6
Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass5-8
Carp6-10
Steelhead7-9
Bonefish and Redfish7-9
Salmon8-10
Northern Pike and Muskie8-12
False Albacore, Striped Bass, Peacock Bass, Golden Dorado8-12
Tarpon10-12
Mahi-mahi10-14
Bluefin12-14
Sailfish and Marlin14-15

Additionally, you can read more about the weight of fly fishing setups here.

Length

Fly rods for an average fish species generally come in an 8 to 9 foot range. The longer rods have a little more casting power and work well for bigger fish as well. 8 foot rods are a pretty good middle ground for rods, and anything less is perfect for small stream fishing or fishing for small species like panfish.

Action

.
The Redington Classic Trout Fly Rod, a Moderate Action – Click to View

Fly rods are like any other rod when it comes to action, which refers to the spine of a rod. They range from fast to slow action, and basically the slower the action, the further down towards the butt of the rod it bends when casting or fighting a fish.

A fast action rod will have a slight bend in the very tip when casting or when fighting the size fish the rod is designed for. It feels stiffer and has more casting power to cut through wind or cast further. These rods are a great choice when fishing a larger river or lake in order to cast far and pull the fly back over the fish. The fast action tip will also save your arm, as they don’t require so much work to push the line since they are stiffer.

A medium, or moderate, action rod bends almost midway down the rod when fighting or casting. This flex makes these rods a solid all around choice for finesse casts, yet still having the power to make distance, though not as much as the fast action.

A slow action rod bends most of the way down the rod when casting and is very springy. Since these don’t have much spine, they don’t cast far or hard, but this makes them a good choice for finesse casting at close distances. These would be great for stream fishing or any other close distance fishing where you want a great fight.

The action plays a large role in how a rod feels, but if you adhere to the conditions each rod excels under, you will be well off. It is noteworthy that rods can come in either medium-fast or medium-slow actions, which is merely the middle ground of each action.

Pieces of the Rod

Fly rods can come in many different pieces due to their length, ranging from one piece to seven or eight. The difference between these is how many sections the rod can break down into, which primarily affects traveling and storage. The eight piece rods break down into many small sections to fit easily into a small suitcase, while obviously a 9 foot long single piece rod won’t travel well on an airplane or long car ride.

People do have preferences as far as sensitivity and performance go. For many, it isn’t possible to fish with a one piece, but it would perform the best since the whole spine is fully attached. It is said that the more pieces you get, the less sensitivity and performance you will get out of your rod. For many, 2 to 4 pieces are optimal as they break down small enough to travel well without being broken, but still don’t have a very noticeable difference in performance.

Warranty

The warranty varies widely from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some will warranty the rod for it’s entire lifetime, while others only warranty for a year against manufacturer’s defects. Companies like Temple Fork Outfitters offer a lifetime no fault warranty, so if it breaks for any reason, you would send in 30 dollars and the broken rod and will get a repaired or new rod. This is something important to watch for, as it may not mean much now, but in a couple years when your buddy accidentally slams your rod in his tailgate, it becomes of utmost importance.

Conclusion

Each fly rod has it’s own distinct characteristics, and hopefully this list has helped you learn more about what to look for. I have compiled a list of the 5 best fly rods under $200 dollars here if you are looking for a solid rod on a budget. Thanks for reading!

 

How to Choose a Fly Reel

.

How to Choose a Fly Reel

A quality reel is important for properly utilizing your rod, the line, and fighting the fish. It must have enough power to guide the fish in without breaking, while being smooth enough to strip line off while casting. It should also have a smooth drag system that can be used to tire the fish without breaking the tippet. I have compiled a list of the best fly fishing reels under 200 dollars here if you are interested.

Many people may overwrite purchasing a quality reel, but when it comes down to the actual business of fighting a fish, no one wants to be caught with a faulty reel or one that under or over performs. That is why it is so important to choose the right fly reel. A few properties that should be looked at are: weight, drag, aesthetics, and construction.

Weight

Weight applies to the strength and stiffness of a fly fishing setup. Read more here about this type of weight. It is imperative that this number match up with the rod and the line, as this means that the setup will be able to work together to pull in fish – there won’t be a weak or overly strong link. For example, a 6 weight rod should be paired with a 6 weight reel and therefore 6 weight line. The weights start off at 1 and go up to 15, getting stiffer and stronger as the number goes higher. Therefore, higher weight combos are designed for bigger fish.

Drag

The drag on a reel is there to help you fight fish, wearing them out as they have to work to pull line off your reel. This helps keep the rod fully loaded without snapping it or your line when a big fish makes a tremendous run. Instead, that beautiful “click” of the drag comes into play, and there is no better music to a fisherman’s ears than this noise.

Fly fishing reels come with two different types of drag – the click-and-pawl system and the disc drag system. The click-and-pawl system is as basic as a spring that applies pressure against the spool. When the drag is tightened or loosened, this spring pushes harder or lighter on the spool, thereby allowing it to spin more freely or less freely. This is the traditional type of drag and is only recommended for smaller fish because it has less stopping power for larger fish.

The disc drag system is the higher end type of system that is basically two discs that create friction depending on how tight you have the drag set. As you can imagine, these would have far more power than a click-and-pawl drag system. However, it is important to get a sealed disc drag system if you are going to be fishing harsh environments or risk getting sand in your reel. This is because unsealed drags can let sand get in between the discs, creating a terrible grinding noise and compromising your drag.

As far as setting your drag, on most reels there is a knob on one side you can tighten or loosen, which adjusts the drag. Many people set their drag lighter for casting, then as a fish runs, they tighten it down. Another option is to palm the spool to slow the fish down if for some reason you’re not able to get to the drag knob.

Aesthetics

For many, this may be the most important thing they look at in a reel. Does it look good and catch the eye? Some people may prefer a more traditional reel like the Orvis Access Mid-Arbor, while for others, the Redington Behemoth is a thing of beauty. Click on the pictures to view these products.
.
.
Both of these reels are highly functional, and at this point, it may boil down to whichever one you think looks better.

Construction

Depending on what type of environment you are fishing, the construction can make a big difference. Saltwater and freshwater reels are often different materials, and are coated differently as well. There are also machined and pre-cast reels. Machined are made from a solid piece of metal and therefore are stronger than pre-cast, but are also more expensive. Machined are also lighter. As you read earlier, a sealed drag system also helps keep dirt and particles out of your drag.

The coating on the reel helps prevent against scratches but also salt. If you fish saltwater, ensure that the reel is anodized to help prevent it from breaking down from all the salt. A tough reel will last for years if you make sure the one you are purchasing fits your needs.

Conclusion

Good fly fishing reels should last you for years if you select the right one off the bat. Hopefully this list has opened your eyes to the different things to look at when choosing a fly reel. You can view a list here of the best fly fishing reels under $200.

Weight of Fly Rods, Reels, and Lines

.

What is the “weight” of fly fishing gear?

The weight of your gear is one of the main considerations when buying fly fishing equipment. In this case, “weight” doesn’t refer to what the setup itself weighs – instead, it is referring to the thickness and weight of the line, which in turn will affect the stiffness of your rod and then the performance of your reel. Basically, the heavier the line weight, the more stiff and strong the rod will be, so you will have to have a stronger reel to pull in the fish that this setup is geared towards.

Weights start all the way from 1 and goes up to 15 weight, with 1 being the lightest and 15 the heaviest. Following is a chart giving you an idea of what weights would be ideal for your style of fishing. Once you know which fish species you will primarily be fishing, you can start off by purchasing a rod, reel, and line that all match up in weights. For example, if you intend to primarily fish for trout and also may fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass, a 6 weight setup may work for you. It is fairly important to match these up so that way you get the optimal performance out of the setup rather than having a reel that struggles to play the rod to it’s advantage or that overpowers a rod, or rather than having line that is simply too heavy for a rod to cast easily and smoothly.

You can find a list of 5 of the top fly fishing reels under 200 dollars available on the market by clicking here. This list shows reels that would pair with a 4-6 weight system. However, most of these reels are available in a series and so can be purchased larger or smaller.

Panfish, Smaller Trout in Smaller Creeks0-4
Grayling3-5
Average Sized Trout4-6
Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass5-8
Carp6-10
Steelhead7-9
Bonefish and Redfish7-9
Salmon8-10
Northern Pike and Muskie8-12
False Albacore, Striped Bass, Peacock Bass, Golden Dorado8-12
Tarpon10-12
Mahi-mahi10-14
Bluefin12-14
Sailfish and Marlin14-15

Fly fishing gear weight is probably the first consideration you should look at when deciding upon which gear to use. Once you know this, you can then decide which rod length, type of line, type of leader, and more will work for you in most situations.