Reviewed: The Best Fly Fishing Rods of 2021 with Buying Guide

Best Fly Fishing Rods

We spent several hours researching the internet, contacted experts, and here is a top collection of best fly fishing rods for you to have the best fly fishing experience. Here are the top fly fishing rods for 2021.

Best Fly Fishing Rods 2021 🎣 (In a Nutshell)

A fly rod is a classic piece of gear. Being given a basic regimen of care and with enough handling, it would last a lifetime. Nonetheless, technology advances, rods get more advanced, and there is still the one rod you wish you had in your armoury.

If it is to diversify your existing skills, acquire a rod before setting off for that dream destination adventure to the salt flats or mountain lakes, or simply upgrade yourself up to a better gear, we have brought together the best fly fishing rods for 2021. In addition, we’ll help you choose the right fishing rod for your level of expertise and action and help you get started with the action you’re interested in pursuing.

Best Fly Fishing Rods Reviews 2021

We’ve compiled a list of the best fly rods, ranging from high-end premium models to all-rounders and budget-friendly choices. And our selections include a broad range of fishing, from small lakes that need sensitive projections to large bodies of water where power and range are hypercritical.

 Best Overall Fly Fishing Rod 

Scott Sector Series

😃 Discounted Purchase

The Sector Series combines power and precision with a featherweight feel in the hand. This is possible because of a modern carbon fiber invention known as Scott’s Carbon Web, which is composed of continuous-strand graphite.

This modern composite displaces microfragments in the rod, enabling it to maintain precision over time. It has rapid retrieval and precise pickup, giving you fast and simple line pickup when casting.

It is not all hollow talk.” This product was recognized as the highest-scoring fly presented at the International Fly Tackle Awards in October. And customers are in favor so far. Its line of 18 exclusive length and weight combinations has garnered extensive acclaim from Telluride Angler’s pro workers and Trident Fly Fishing.

Although this rod is incredibly expensive, it is the crown jewel for a wide variety of situations including saltwater fishing.

Pros
  • Accurate casting
  • Comfortable handling
  • Ideal for professionals
  • Fast pickup
Cons
  • Very expensive

 

 Best Value Fly Fishing Rod 

Sage X Fly Rod

😃 Discounted Purchase

One of the most venerated rod makers, Sage recently retired its One and substituted it with the X series as its top-of-the-line model. The black-colored rod is finished to the highest specifications with looks that are practical and modern.

Most notably, the rod has almost no droop or side-to-side rotation, resulting in tremendous strength and casting length. Apart from its extreme precision, the rod is well accommodating – throws good firm loops regardless of how you cast, making it an excellent rod for all skill levels (although it’s difficult for a middle-class parent like me to let their children play with one of these considering the high price tag).

But the Sage X’s isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.

It isn’t a soft-touch rod, to be sure. When at small rivers or lakes, I had to keep turning the rod and reducing power on my end to be able to overcome the rod’s strong current. Due to its power, it can be challenging to hold casts small, as well as to lay flies gently on the surface of the water.

However, on larger bodies of water, where power and transmission are critical, nothing outclasses the Sage X. It casts more accurately, and more beyond anybody I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Pros
  • Nice flexibility
  • Lightweight and handy feel
  • Tight loops
  • Excellent connection to the rod tip
Cons
  • Not ideal for small casts
  • Involves a bit of learning curve

 Best Affordable Fly Fishing Rod 

Orvis Clearwater

😃 Discounted Purchase

The five-weight nine footer is a reliable and effective all-around fly tier, particularly on small to medium streams. The fast-action, high-power workhorse is also extremely reasonably priced, particularly considering its build quality and Orvis’s 25-year guarantee. If I could just get one fly rod, the Clearwater five weight will be on the top of the list.

This fly fishing rod doesn’t fall short of Orvis standards. Its scale and strength are right where you want them for medium-sized fresh rod fish, and its cost won’t matter.

The rod comes with a twenty-five-year guarantee, which means it’s protected for a quarter-century. Almost no other producer comes near to that, demonstrating Orvis’s incredible confidence in their goods.

I’m not alone among anglers in my appreciation for the Orvis Clearwater. It was named the Best Inexpensive Power Rod in Yellowstone Anglers’ Annual 5-Weight Shootout. Totally agreed. This rod is capable of swinging.

This fishing rod features some particular features such as a cork handle and an enticing paint combination of greens. The whole thing seems to be styled for the idealized fly fishing in rivers and streams, and that’s only an added benefit on top of being a massively practical rod. This isn’t the finest of Orvis’ products, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better for the price.

Pros
  • Robust Rulon disc drag system
  • Smooth, lightweight feel on your hand with great connection
  • Instant line pickup thanks to the large arbor
  • Protected by 25-year Orvis fly reel warranty
  • Easily adjustable drag
Cons
  • Built quality isn’t up to the mark
  • Some fly fishers may find it too simple for the job

 

 Best Dry Fly Rod 

R.L. Winston PURE

😃 Discounted Purchase

R.L. Winston PURE is absolutely stunning. Every single detail is impressive, from the nickel and silver and plated reels to the chrome-striped nanolite guides.

However, the R.L. Winston PURE is not just for show: it casts just as well as it appears. Simply placed, the R.L. Winston PURE is a soft-touch expert who lays down dry flies more softly than about anyone else on the market.

Furthermore, Winston’s new generation of boron/graphite composite is around three times as powerful as the majority of other rods in the category. You won’t be winning any casting distance competitions, but you won’t need to—the rod is powerful enough to hit almost any fish you have a fair chance of hooking.

The R.L. Winston PURE does have a slight flaws. Most importantly, because of the rod’s responsiveness, it takes some time for newer anglers to really master the feel of the strength of the swing and get the timing right. Furthermore, it is so fragile that when fishing heavily dries and nymphs it can seem a little powerless. Overall, the R.L. Winston PURE is our favorite fly rod for smaller water.

Pros
  • Does an excellent job of fishing tiny dry flies
  • Strong backbone to throw bigger bugs
  • Casts nice with supreme accuracy
  • Slow action for small water fishing
  • Premium build quality
Cons
  • Does not work well in the wind
  • Loses accuracy and strength on distances large than 40-feet
  • Feels a bit powerless when fishing large underwater species

 Best High-End Fly Fishing Rod 

Scott Radian Fly Rod

😃 Discounted Purchase

In the past, fishers were confronted with a choice between fast, powerful, long distance rods that could send large flies, and slower, sensitive rods that could softly put them on water. While Radian is impressive in this regard, it manages to accomplish both of these tasks with ease. This fast-action rod has a strong line speed and feels light and flexible thanks to ReAct graphite, which reduces vibrations and enhances recovery speed. The Radian is a rare luxury choice if you’re searching for a single rod that can handle most scenarios.

We haven’t placed the Scott Radian on our No.1 position since it’s under-expanded in power and control. It’s not the most strong or fine-tuned type of rod on the market, but it’s as close to perfection as we can get. It works well in all departments, providing a reasonable compromise to those who need just one go-to rod. And if the price is big, you will be sure that you won’t be getting several expansion packs – just one edition will suffice. The Radian is manufactured in the United States, as are all Scott rods.

Pros
  • Fast action rod
  • Bends well for hook setting
  • Premium and long-lasting build quality + finishing
  • Four-piece construction allows for compact storage and easy portability
  • Throws tight loops across all ranges
  • Lifetime warranty
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not suited to beginners

Process of Choosing a Fly Fishing Rod

Our experts @BestFishingViews have put up a detailed fly rod buying guide. Those new to fishing, must go through this guide for the best purchase on their dollar!

1). Take into account your budget and then get the nicest rod you can afford.

Spend about twice as much on your rod as you do on your reel. If you want to spend $60 on your rod, you should spend $120 on your reel. Your fly rod should assist you in improving your abilities. We often meet anglers who are battling their gear, typically because the fly rod was overlooked during the equipment purchase process. A high-quality fly rod is beneficial to both beginners and professionals. This is the physical link between you and the sport. All Scott and Sage fly rods come with an Everlasting Lifetime Warranty, giving you peace of mind when making your first purchase.

2). Where will you spend the most time fishing?

Your first rod should be adaptable, as well as suitable for the kind of water you’ll be fishing. Almost every fly fishing guide in the world agrees that a 9′ rod with a 5-weight line is the most adaptable trout rod available.

➜ A 9′ 5-weight rod is an obvious first choice if you want to fish a combination of lakes, streams, and rivers.

➜ If you’re not sure where you’ll be fishing, choose a 9′ 5-weight.

➜ Consider an 8.5′ 5-weight or a 9′ 4-weight if you usually fish smaller water.

➜ Anglers who live near streams often use 8.5′ 4 and 5-weight rods as their first rod.

➜ A 9′ 8-weight is a top-selling saltwater rod, especially for bonefish, redfish, sea trout, and tiny striped bass.

3). Choose a fly rod that has a medium, medium-fast, or fast casting action to suit your needs.

Your all-rounder shouldn’t be a slow-action rod or an ultra-fast rod. Rods with medium, medium-fast, or fast actions are in the center of the action range, not excessively stiff or soft.

4). Medium-fast rods, such as the Scott Series, are a pleasure to throw and fish.

Choose a fast action rod if you plan to fish a lot on bigger, windy rivers. This goes hand in hand with what we said in the earlier section on rivers of various sizes. If you want to mainly fish smaller rivers, for example, those between 20 and 50 feet wide, select a medium action rod, which bends more deeply with less line being used.

In conclusion, if you keep things moderate – you’ll get good results with a medium, medium-fast, or fast action rod.

5). Rather of purchasing a 2-piece rod, get a 4-piece one.

Scott, Sage, Loomis, and other manufacturers have spent a lot of time and money developing 4-piece rods that feel exactly like 2-piece rods. You’ll never be disappointed if you go for a four-piece set. Also, the travel assistance is really there.

Fly Fishing Rod Dimensions & Actions

Length Weight Action
8-ft 3 Medium
9-ft 5 Medium-Fast
9.6-ft 6 Fast
OR
7.7-ft 3 Medium
9-ft 4 Medium-Fast
9-ft 6 Fast

A Look Into Different Fly Rod Materials

As fly-rod technology improve, new materials are being utilized in their development. Each kind of rod material has its own set of benefits.

Graphite Fly Rods

In the early 1970s, graphite’s debut to the fly-fishing industry changed everything. This made it possible for the manufacturers to produce light, robust, highly sensitive and long lasting rods. Over the course of the following decades, manufacturers have worked to enhance graphite rods, and now graphite rods are among the highest-performing available.

Nano-Silica Resin Fly Rods

With the invention of Nano-Silica Resin, the advantages of carbon fibers (graphites) are pushed up to new heights. The epoxy that fills the spaces between the carbon fiber cross sections is filled with millions of tiny silica particles. By turning the resin into a support structure of the rod, rather than a filler, the resin increases the material’s structural integrity and physical power.

Born Fly Rods

It was first utilized in aircraft design and has subsequently been successfully adapted to fly rods. When combined with graphite, boron strengthens, lightens, and increases the sensitivity of a rod.

Fiberglass Fly Rods

Fiberglass rods were almost worthless for a while due to the graphite revolution. However, during the last several years, fiberglass rods have come back into fashion, having made a prominent contribution to the industry as a whole. Fiberglass rods, by nature slower than graphite rods, accommodate a slower casting motion. They can fish extremely effectively in close quarters since they use less line out. Many fishermen believe that using fiberglass rods to target tiny fish in small streams is not only more successful, but also more fun, since an 8″ brook trout on a fiberglass rod may feel like a 14″ cutthroat on a graphite rod, according to the manufacturer.

Bamboo Fly Rods

Bamboo rods, being the originating rod material, will always have a privileged place in the fly-fishing world. Although bamboo has a quicker recovery (action) rate than fiberglass, it still produces slower rods than carbon-fiber materials. Some people enjoy bamboo because it reminds them of their childhood. Others like it for similar reasons to those who prefer fiberglass. Bamboo rods are usually heavier than graphite and fiberglass rods, but a well-crafted bamboo rod is a joy to throw.

Recommended Fly Rod Weights for Different Fish Species

Fish Variety Fly Rod Weight
Panfish 0-4
Average-Size Trout 4-6
Smaller Trout in Small Creeks 0-4
Smallmouth Bass 5-8
Largemouth Bass 5-9
Carp 6-10
Steelhead 7-9
Salmon 8-10
Northern Pike and Muskie 8-12
Grayling 3-5
Bonefish and Redfish 7-9
Striped Bass and False Albacore 8-12
Peacock Bass and Golden Dorado 8-12
Tarpon, Roosters, Giant Trevally 10-12
Mahi-Mahi Fish 10-14
Bluefin 12-14
Sailfish and Marlin 14

Line Weight & Fly Rods

A fly line’s weight is now measured in grains, a small unit of measurement. Fly line makers came up with a numerical system that identifies how heavy or light a specific fly line is, which is very useful. This numbering system begins with 1 (ultralight) and continues up to 14 and beyond (heavy).

That is great, but what difference does it make? This topic is really essential to understand. Remember that the weight of the fly line is what throws the fly in fly fishing. When an angler selects the incorrect fly line weight for the flies he or she is throwing, a slew of issues with casting accuracy and control arise.

Let’s say you tie on a small size 14 dry fly to a line that is 7-grains in weight. The fly will splash because of the heaviness of the line (which pulls the fly down harder). Attaching a heavy fly to a light-weight fly line, on the other hand, will cause the fly to be blown away by the wind or swing in a wrong direction of its own. Control will be tough, and the fly may fall into the water once again.

It is essential that whichever fly rod you purchase must be built to “match up” with the fly line and the sizes of flies you intend to employ.

How do you know what fly line weight to use? That, thankfully, is straightforward. Simply match the chart below to what you’ll be fishing for.

Fly Line Weight 1-3: Use this weight if you’re targeting little fish like brook trout or most panfish.

Fly Line Weight 4: This is an excellent all-around fly line weight for tiny fish like panfish and small to medium-sized trout.

Fly Line Weight 5: This is an excellent all-around fly line weight. It’s OK for tiny fish, but it loses part of its appeal. On the other hand, it’s good for small bass and almost all trout.

Fly Line Weight 6: For tiny fish, a fly line with a weight of 6 isn’t much pleasure to use. However, it is excellent for any trout fishing. Bass, tiny salmon, and other species of comparable size respond favorably to this technique.

Fly Line Weight 7: If you want to fish for bass without any concerns, use this line weight. It’s also great for catching big trout, steelhead and upto medium-sized salmon.

Fly Line Weights 8 and Above: These line weights are employed for big fishes. This type of fly rod is unnecessary unless you’re going to be in a large ocean, catching some monstrous fishes!

You should now see why it is critical to first identify what you want to fish for before proceeding with any other activities. Knowing what you’re going to do helps you to choose the appropriate fly line weight for the situation. And once you know what fly line weight to use, you can figure out what fly rod weight (as well as fly reel weight) to use as a result of that knowledge.

Keep this simple formula in mind:

Fly Line Weight = Fly Rod Weight = Fly Reel weight

Just make sure that everything is perfectly equally balanced. While failing to match everything will not result in your inability to fish, following this basic method can undoubtedly improve your fishing experience, particularly if you are a novice.

Therefore, if you use a fly line with 5 weight, you are most likely to use a 5-weight fly rod and a 5-weight fly rod as well.

In principle, moving “up or down” one level will not harm you or your stuff. However, there is a decrease in performance. Thus, unless you are bound to, there is no need to “welcome” poor performance.

Other Important Factors To Consider:

Weight

Weight level is one of the most significant aspects to consider when selecting a fly rod. It’s not its real weight in pounds or kg, but a ranking that matches a fly rod to a suitable line. It is even in the case, for example, a rule whereby a rod of a certain weight can only cast a line of that weight, or lighter. For instance, a four-weight rod is built to cast a four-weight line, and if you use line that is too light for the rod, it may not completely load or cast properly.

Generally, a 5-weight fly rod would serve a traditional fisherman quite well. Sure, on smaller creeks and in the shallows it can sound underpowered, but it will do the job.

A fly angler who mostly fishes smaller dry flies will benefit from a light 3 or 4-weight rod.

If you intend to fish larger dries, such as salmon flies or huge, meaty stones, a 4- or five-weight rod would be more fitting, as it will provide you with the necessary strength to lift those bigger flies.

A 7-weight rod is ideal for powerful deep nymp.

And if you’re going to shoot massive streamers to the opposite bank of a channel against swift currents, you’re going to need a 6- to 8-weight rod.

Length

You’ll have a preference of length, just as you do with the weight of a fly rod. Many rods come in lengths of 7 and 9 feet; however, there are shorter and longer rods as well. The longer the rod, the more strength you’ll get from casting, which can come in handy while attempting to strike a far-off hole or nymphing with a long handle.

However, longer isn’t necessarily better: on short, brushy creeks, a longer rod will get in the way and create all sorts of problems. If you’re the kind of fisherman who wants to hunt the out-of-the-the-way streams sorties, you are most definitely drawn to the 7 or 8 foot models. A 9 or even 10-foot rod would do for larger bodies of water with fewer foliage.

Shaft Material

Most current fly rods are constructed of graphite. This marvelous material was applied to fisheries in the late 1960s, developed constantly over subsequent decades, and changed the industry drastically. Longer, stronger, and stronger casting rods have been made possible thanks to graphite’s blend of power and low weight. Without a question, graphite rods of today are exceptionally strong and sturdy.

There are a few cases where fiberglass rods are manufactured, but that is different from old days when they were widely available. It can’t contend with graphite’s dynamism.

Bamboo is another kind of rod stock, and it’s in a league of its own. Bamboo rods are real pieces of art. We deeply admire the charm, tradition, and workmanship of bamboo rods, and, however they’re quite difficult to handle. Furthermore, a well-crafted bamboo rod is extremely pricier.

Conclusion

Scott Sector Series is 2021’s best overall fly fishing rod. The equipment offers everything a fly angler needs – power, precision, comfort, and handling.

Sage X Fly Rod offers the best value for money – thanks to its tremendous strength and casting length. It is well-accommodating for all skill levels and casts tight loops.

Orvis Clearwater does not cost a fortune, yet packs in all the important features needed for a satisfactory fly fishing experience. And oh yeah! It’s protected by a 25-year warranty!

R.L. Winston Pure is the best dry fly rod, thanks to its soft laying down and soft action for fishing tiny dry flies.

Scott Radian Fly Rod is a whole shebang – packing state of the art innovation. You can cast both long and short distance lengths, with controllable casting power.

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