fbpx
Best Fly Rods for the money

Hello fishing buddies and welcome to Outdoor Stuff Guides.

If you are looking for the best fly rod for the money, you came to the right place! Undoubtedly, it is an essential tool and probably the most important part of your fly fishing arsenal. You need a good rod to control the distance, direction, and force of your cast.

Honest confession, the right rod makes you a better fly angler and I will tell you my personal story. So, I decided to fish a spot on the river and I had to choose the right cast direction. Salmon and trout always look ahead for prey as it comes downstream and you want your lure to do the same thing.  I tried to cast straight upstream and throw it about 45-degree angle up current and drift my fly down to the key area but with no success.  I could not control the fly line because I’ve chosen a wrong weight rod! Badly balanced tackle could be a huge problem. 
baitcasting rods
Steve
Avid Fly Fisherman

When you are choosing a fly rod it is essential to understand how fly rods are categorized and which one works for you according to your needs. Just to start out with, we are going to take a look at the variables that go along with selecting the right rod. 

  • Weight
  • Action
  • Material
  • Length
  • Handle Type

 

There are ample choices on the market and it might be quite tricky to make the right decision. Don’t worry fellow fly anglers! We prepared a detailed list with the 10 best fly rods for the money that will bring you to the next fishing level!

Additionally, we will go through some basic features you should take into consideration.

Let’s dive into the details….

Table of Contents

How to choose the Best Fly Rod for the Money - The Ultimate In-Depth Guide -

Best Fly rod Buying Guide

Fly fishing appeals to many because it is relaxing, exciting and it is a great way to connect with nature. However, some people believe that fly fishing is really technical and far too difficult to learn, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It goes without saying that a successful fishing trip requires a perfect balance between right fishing conditions and patience. Along with that, another challenging thing is that of selecting the best value rod. We tested multiple fly rods in Alaska, Montana, and even headed to New Mexico.

It is really quite simple to master the art of fly fishing if you have the right fishing tackle.

Our Ultimate Guide is sure to prove helpful. 

Fly Rod Weight

The most significant feature that identifies fly rods is weight. Specifically, all fly rods are rated by weight and this indicator ranges from 0 up to 15. You can see these weights if you look on the rod shaft so you know exactly what rod you are getting.

Weight depends on two things, target fish and fly size. Please do not forget that for example a 6 weight fly rod is designed to cast a 6 weight fly line. (The main rule is: 6-weight rod= 6-weight fly line)

  • Target Fish

To make things clear, a small fly rod would be a two or three weight and a huge fly rod would be 15 weight. You cannot fish small size fish and giant fish with the same rod! Therefore, you will have to figure out which fish you want to target the most and select the right weight.

The bigger the fish typically the heavier the size rod you want to use. We would suggest 1,2,3,4 weight fly rods if you target small trout or panfish like bluegill. For bigger trout, you will need a 5 or 6 weight rod.

  • Fly size

Additionally, consider the fly you are going to use. A large fly is definitely wind resistant and when you trying to make that cast you will not be able to cast accurately and it will slow you down. If you cannot decide which is the right weight rod for you, just take a look at the helpful graphic below!

fly fishing rod weight guide

Rod Action

Whether you are an expert or a newbie fly angler, you should know that every type of rod comes in different actions, which are slow, moderate, fast, and extra fast. In fact, action describes the flexibility of the rod. Some people call it tip flex.

I think this is the most confusing part of selecting your fly rod, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Unbelievably, as far as fishing industries are concerned, they have completely screwed this up!

 

Consequently, nobody knows what action means because it is highly confusing, especially for beginners. I deal with these questions every day!  

You will also, find an easy-understand overview of fly rod actions below.

Fly rod action explained

  • Slow Action

A slow action fly rod is super flexible and commonly used for small fish and short distance casts. It bends from the rod handle up to the tip and it is perfect if you are going to fish in a stream.

  • Moderate Action

Basically, most fly anglers choose a moderate action fly rod that means the rod action flexes in the top one third to one half of the rod. Therefore, the section below the midpoint of the rod becomes much stiffer and powerful.

  • Fast Action

On the other hand, when you are fishing in saltwater environments, you will need a fast action fly rod. A fast tip flex means the flex point of the rod is concentrated more heavily towards the tip. For example, if you cast aggressively in windy conditions or just want to perform a long distance cast, the rod has more power in the middle section.

Fly Rod Action

Fly Rod Material- Fiberglass vs Graphite Vs Bamboo

Graphite vs Bamboo vs Fiberglass

Another major question is what fly rod material would be best for my fishing style. Excellent fishing knowledge and suitable fishing gear are the two keys to success and land a really big trophy fish like a pro. The point is that the material determines your fly’s performance and castability.

Continue reading our article and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each type of fly rod material.

The main materials are fiberglass, graphite, and bamboo rods and each of them serves a different purpose. However, there are many rods that combine different materials.

  • Bamboo

I would like to start with the traditional old-school bamboo rods. You don’t see them that much in the industry. Although there is a kind of core group of folks out there who love to fish with bamboo fly rods! There is only a handful of companies that are making bamboo rods.

Generally speaking, bamboo rods have a very slow action, they are smooth and very traditional as well. Surprisingly, a lot of folks do still love them and use it for trout fishing and dry fly fishing.

We would not recommend them for a beginner because they are not practical for some fishing applications today. For example, I would never take a bamboo rod to the saltwater or peacock bass fishing.

  •  Fiberglass

According to fishing rod manufacturers, fiberglass is the cheapest material, which is a good alternative to traditional bamboo blanks. During the 50s, 60s, and 70s it was the most popular material for fly rods, and for some reason fishing companies stopped using fiberglass.

However, in the last ten years, they started to reintroduce fiberglass, this material gained in popularity again, and they feature slow action. They bend way down to the handle and used for dry fly fishing. Personally, I wouldn’t throw a big streamer or use a sinking line on a fiberglass rod.

On the other hand, fiberglass is extremely durable! You can take a fiberglass rod tip and touch the tip to the butt and it’s not going to break! This is the main advantage of fiberglass.

Another advantage is that they are super sensitive and you can feel every bite into the handle.

  • Graphite

Undoubtedly, today’s modern world anglers use graphite fly rods especially for bass, muskie, pike, and other big fish. There is a specific reason why most manufacturers make the rods out of graphite. A graphite rod casts better, performs perfectly and it is a lightweight tool.

Typically, graphite rods are faster but they come in a variety of different flex profiles. Graphite dominates our industry.

However, graphite fly rods could be not as affordable as fiberglass rods especially if they are made of high-quality graphite. 

fly rod material

Fly Rod Length

Whether you are a beginner or advanced fly angler, most of your fly rods are going to be 8 ½ to 9’ in length. Generally speaking, the fly rod is just a flexible lever! If you remember, back from physics class, the longer the lever, the easier the cast.

The length mentioned above is the perfect length for three reasons. Firstly, the rod will perfectly balance in your hand, secondly, it is not going to be tip heavy, and finally it will give you the best leverage and control of your fly.

The number one selling fly rod is 9’ and it is perfect for almost all flies, nymphs and streamers.

To my way of thinking, if you came to me and said to me, I want to be a trout fisherman and I need a fly rod for this purpose. I would recommend that you buy an eight and a half foot, 4-weight fly rod.

This would be your best all-around fly rod and you can use flies, nymphs (below the water surface), and dry flies (they float on the water).

If you are intrigued by all the smallmouth fishing and basically medium-size fish, then I would recommend a 9’ foot fly rod.

On the other hand, if you are an avid bass guy and not interested in trout, the best option for you would be a 9’ foot and 6-weight rod.

Short vs Long Fly Rod

Fishing in limited area environments like a small stream requires the use of a short rod. You will not use it for long casts. A short rod is everything below 8-foot.

On the other hand, a long fly rod will definitely give you more power, but it will be much heavier. Long fly rods are typically used for saltwater fly fishing to fight big and aggressive fish. You should have a special reason to buy a long or short rod. 

short vs long fly rod

 

Build Your Own Rod

Handmade Fly Rod vs Factory Fly Rod

If you are an avid and experienced fly fishing angler, you may have thought that a rod made by hand could be better than a machine-made common rod. We would recommend this step only for experts!

diy fly rod

  • CUSTOM MADE ROD ACCORDING TO YOUR NEEDS
  • YOU CAN GET BETTER COMPONENTS
  • UNIQUE DESIGN
  • NOT AFFORDABLE
  • HARD TO BUILD
  • YOU NEED A LOT OF TOOLS LIKE A DRYING MOTOR

Undoubtedly, a homemade fly rod is a unique piece and it is constructed for special occasions. However, it is quite difficult to achieve the right measures, weights and balance and could be expensive.

We have found some helpful videos where David shows you how to build a fly rod or you can read a book which gives you clear guidelines about this topic. 

 

 

Fly Fishing Tippet and Leader

fly fishing leader

Whether you are fly fishing for bass, trout, salmon or pike, you should have the correct tippet and leader. The fly fishing leader and tippet makes your line invisible in the water and improves the energy transition.

The leader is the line that you attach on the butt section of your fly line. The tippet is the lightweight line which you have will have to attach on the end of the leader line and finally on your fly.

You can use two leader and tippet line types, monofilament or fluorocarbon. We recommend fluorocarbon, because it is almost invisible in the water.

fly line

Fly Line

The selection of the right fly line is a major concern of all anglers because it is the only connection between you and the fish. You should have many line types in your fishing bag because you cannot use one line for all situations.

The fly line should match the line weight of your rod, but it is not a necessity! There are two fly line types, sinking and floating. The type depends on the water conditions. For example, if you are fishing in weedy and deep lakes, you should select a slow sinking fly line.

On the other hand, floating lines are good for small streams and generally speaking it is the most popular line type.

Additionally, all fly lines have a specific taper, which means that in some parts it is slightly thicker or thinner. These small adjustments transmit the energy and improve your casting action.

The WF weight-forward taper is commonly used by the majority of anglers. The WF Taper lines are thicker in the first yards and you can perform long-distance casts without putting much effort.

10 Best Fly Rods for the Money

best budget fly rods

Want to cast your first nymph in the river? Want to enjoy the picturesque mountain tops and crystal-clear streams? If the answer is yes and you love mountain landscapes, you should read this detailed review and take some notes.

Luckily, you found the experts and we would be really happy to show you the 10 best affordable fly rods.

1. Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod

The Moonshine Rod is the best budget fly rod that you go to when fly-fishing starts to become a lifestyle and not just a hobby. Firstly, one thing that we liked about this rod is its portability and style. It is a 4-piece rod with a matte vintage brown finish, which comes to stay many years in your fishing tackle collection.
It comes in different sizes, but we would like to recommend the 7’6″ 3-weight because it is a good choice for small trout, salmon and panfish. What is not to love about this rod?

Although it is slightly shorter than the standard fly rod length, we suggested above, it’s still the number one rod for many occasions. If you are looking for a well-balanced rod, moderate action, which you can pair with almost all fly reels, the Moonshine drifter is exactly what you need.

 
 
  • Portability-breaks down into pieces
  • Sturdy Graphite
  • Well-Balanced 
  • Vintage Finish
  • Copper Anodized Guides
  • Rod handle made of cork for extra convenience 
  • Aesthetically, it is the nicest rod
  • Cannot be paired with a thick fly line
  •  The connection parts are sensitive and could break if you apply to much pressure

2. Piscifun Sword Graphite Fly Fishing Rod 4 Piece 9ft

Most anglers search for a fly rod which they can quickly grab and throw it in their kayak. It’s no secret that Piscifun always designs practical gear which will never let you down.  Undoubtedly, this carbon-fiber rod is the most inexpensive option for the beginner fly fisherman. 

It comes in a plastic tube and it is a fast action rod for big trout, salmon, or even saltwater fish. If you take a closer look at this rod, you will notice these high-quality chromed guides. This is a heavy-duty material which minimizes the friction of the fly line. 

Most importantly, it has so much power, if you want to cast long distances and it is also saltwater corrosion safe.  

  • Right length for big fish
  • The package contains a PVC transportation tube
  • Affordable price
  • Long casts with heavy bait
  • Unique carbon-fiber construction
  • Compatible with fly line weights 8-10
  • Sensitive and easy to brake tip

3. Aventik Z 2in1 Fly Fishing rod

If you are looking for the best fly rod for the money and cannot decide which is the perfect length for you, hold on! Although you can get two rods for different target fish, there is one versatile rod that will fulfill your fishing dreams. The Aventik is a perfectly designed rod for those who want to “transform” their rod length and weight according to their needs.  

Certainly, it is a good investment for many reasons. Firstly, it will last a lifetime as it is made of graphite and its tip is titanium coated. Secondly, the position of the reel seat is super convenient. Lastly, yo buy a 9ft long rod which you can easily make it a 10ft fly rod as well. 

All in all, it is a must-have fly rod for all level fly anglers. We tested this rod both on the water and in our backyard, and there is one thing that surprised me! I first paired it with a 5-weight fly line and when I added the next section to make it longer, I also tried a 6-weight line. 

You could feel the balance in your hands and the casts were extremely accurate. You should not be skeptical of this stiff multi-purpose fly rod. 

  • 9ft and 10ft fly rod in one
  • High-quality Graphite blank
  • Durable guides – Titanium Coated
  • Ergonomic Grade A Cork Handle
  • The only drawback here is that you might find the handle too thick

4.Wild Water Fly Fishing Combo

 

This combo not only does it come with the rod itself, but also with a durable rod case, fly reel, flies with plastic fly box, leader, and a line cutter. Don’t let anyone discourage you from getting a ready-to-start combo fly fishing set. Generally, it is not true that you have to spend a lot of money to get a good set up.

In this package, you basically have everything to get yourself out on the water and catch fish right away. This is the set that you’re gonna be able to go out to the river, have a buddy cast it and he is gonna be impressed! Nobody will think that it is an under 200$ combo set.

Just to start out with, the graphite rod is a slow action rod suitable for small bass, small trout and other small fish. The aluminum reel seat features a double reel lock and a sturdy butt cap to protect it from dust and water. The only complaint is that the included leader is a simple monofilament line and not a fluorocarbon line.

Since it is a slow action line, you will probably fish in small clear streams and a fluorocarbon leader is absolutely necessary.

  • Ready-to-start fly combo
  • Comes with comfortable pouch
  • SIC guides with stainless steel anti-corrosion inserts
  • Affordable
  • The included leader line should be a fluorocarbon or fluoro-coated line, instead of a monofilament

5.St. Croix Mojo Bass Graphite Fly Fishing Rod with Cork Handle

St Croix is a legendary rod company which a reputation for constructing high-performance rods. It might not be an easy-for-the-wallet choice, but worth every dollar, you will spend. In addition, this 7’11” fly rod is extremely lightweight and sensitive to bites.

If you are looking for the best fly rod for the money and need a high-quality rod that will last a lifetime, the St Croix is exactly what you need. Furthermore, it has a 5-year warranty, so you can fish worry-free for some years.

Simply put, it is a good fly rod for pike, musky, and smallmouth bass and you will be able to cast heavy streamers and flies smoothly.

  • Perfect for casting heavy streamers, heavy lead eye streamers and flies
  • Special Kigan Master Hand 3d Guides
  • 5-Year Warranty
  • St Croix offers excellent customer service
  • Sturdy and lightweight Graphite body
  • This rod has no drawbacks except for the fact that it could be slightly longer

6.Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod

 

Orvis is the brand that my father always trusted! If you want a trout killer rod, you don’t have to look further. This 3-weight fly rod is not just a simple fly rod. It is a tool that you buy only once in your life because it is able to withstand any harsh circumstances.

This rod has everything you want to see in a high-quality rod that will be your best fishing friend for many years. You can use it with nymphs, small streamers, and dry flies. It offers incredible line control and the most important thing that distinguishes this rod from other fly rods is the 25-year warranty.

Another thing that you will definitely love about this rod is the 4-piece design, which is really convenient if you are backpacking or don’t have enough space in your car. If there would be a casting accuracy contest, this fly rod would definitely be the winner.

  • Performs accurate casts
  • High-End Lock Reel Seat
  • 25-year warranty
  • Good Reputation Company
  • Lightweight
  • Provides excellent line control

Although it is a great rod, it does not come in a great price.

7.Berkley Fenwick World Class Fly Rod

Surprisingly, this rod is sensitive and features a smaller reel seat, which is super comfortable and helps you get your hand closer to the rod blank. These rod series have 29 models, which cover every fishing style.

This is a 3M power lux resin blank for added durability and the company used innovative technology to construct such a masterpiece. Moreover, it is a fast action, 8ft, and 4-weight fly rod that comes with a lifetime warranty. No wonder that many fly anglers characterize it as the king of the fly rods.

Aesthetically, it is a nice rod with blue wraps and a high-quality cork grip. The minimalistic design gives you a nice feeling that will bring you to the next fishing level.

  • Innovative engineering
  • 3M Resin body
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • High-performance casts
  • Well-balanced Reel Seat

 

  • Expensive option
  • Some fly anglers may find its action too fast

8.Eagle Claw Featherlight Fly Rod

 

We put this rod through a lot of use in order to test it because we could not believe that a 25$ fly rod could be so good! From now on, this rod will be always the all-around option for us. You can leave this rod in your car, take it with you when you camp, or bring it along on your weekend hikes!

This rod can take a lot of abuse because it is made of fiberglass and we can ensure that it is durable and hard as a rock. This 2-piece does not look like a 25$ fly rod and you can target bluegill, yellow perch etc.

If you just started fly-fishing or you are looking for a nice gift for someone, the Eagle Claw Featherlight is a good choice. We highly recommend using it with wet and dry flies.  

  • Extremely Affordable Budget Fly Rod
  • Pefect Beginner Fly Rod
  • Cork Handle
  • Flexible rod
  • Not suitable for long casts
  • Exclusively a small streamer rod

9.Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod

 

First of all, the Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly rod is 9ft and 5-weight. This fact makes it a great all-around value fly rod to fit a variety of fishing situations. Moreover, it is made of IM 8 graphite, which makes it strong and durable.

There is plenty of power behind every cast! It comes with a hard tube where you can store the rod safely. I found this rod impressive because we tried different flies and streamers and it performed like an expensive high-end fly rod.

Lastly, if you take a closer look at the reel seat, you will see that it features a double lock for extra stability. A 5-weight rod fits perfectly for almost all fish! Undoubtedly, it translates into the best fly rod for the money, which you can use for bass, trout, salmon, etc.

The tube case utilizes four compartments for each rod section. You can assemble the rod quickly thanks to the alignment dots placed on each section.

  • Easy to carry rod with a hard case
  • Perfect weight for different target fish
  • Quick assemble
  • Double-Lock Reel Seat
  • Could have better guides with stainless steel inserts and not ceramic
  • Too much flex (could be difficult for a beginner)

10.M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme Graphite Fly Fishing Rod 

 

The M Matchcatch is the best affordable fishing rod for the angler who looks for a durable rod. It is well made and composed of 5 layers to increase its strength and make it reliable. It is affordable for everyone without sacrificing and performance.

We can confirm that it is 20% more durable than other fly rods we’ve tested and gives you a smooth fishing feeling thanks to the high-quality cork handle.

You may not know about this brand, but M Maximum Catch came to stay.  There is no doubt that it is a reliable brand as it offers one year warranty and lifetime repair for all their rods. Besides, it loads line quickly for long casts.

Overall, you can compare the workmanship of this rod with expensive rods like Sage, St Croix, or Orvis and the customer service is excellent. We bought this rod for our tests and the company contacted us via email if we had any questions and if we are satisfied with the rod!

  • Innovative 24T plus 30T Carbon
  • 5 Layers
  • Indcredible Customer Support
  • Mid-range fly rod
  • Affrodable
  • Personally, I didn’t like the plastic case
  • It is a bit heavy for me

FAQs

Fishing FAQs

Q: When matching a reel to a rod how important do you feel rod balance is?

A: Balance does matter, but it does not matter as much as the fishing tackle industry would like you to believe. A simple trick is to grab a rod, put on the reel, and balance it on your hand. Maybe an inch and a half of the grip end. You should be able to put your finger there, balance the rod, and reel.

Of course, if you put backing on the reel the balance changes slightly.

Q: I am a newbie fly angler and I have no idea about the fly fishing industry. Do I really need expensive equipment?

A: The answer to this question no and yes. Look, it would be a great idea to invest in good equipment, but there are ample options on the market. You can find great value rods for a great price!

Q: Which is the best fly rod for me? I am a weekend fly fisherman and I need a simple fly rod for small trout or salmon.

A: We highly recommend the Aventik fly rod for you! It is a graphite rod and you can easily make it longer or shorter according to your fishing situation. 

Best Fly Rods for the Money

Experience fly fishing with the best avid anglers sharing their experience and secrets with all fly fishing enthusiasts here at outdoorstuffguides!

Fly-fishing is a philosophy and it is the greatest activity to spend some time in the Great outdoors. Grab your fly fishing waders, fly rod, and flies and hit the water!


Stay tuned....
😀