Unlike most outdoor activities, fly fishing isn’t a sport of necessity it leans more towards an artistic endeavor. So when it comes to a fly rod, you just need one that will work for you. It is a matter of preference as to the type of action the rod has, but we do have some quality guidelines for you to follow.
There are few things you may have to consider while hunting for the most suitable fly fishing rod for you. This post is a practical fly rod selection process while explaining some of the crucial design variables like rod action, line weight and rod length, among others.
Before Anything Else
Although you may want to dive into the details of the selection process directly, it would be crucial first to understand what purposes fly rods serve. Therefore, here are three important purposes:
- Casting: The fly rod allows you to cast your fly line with accuracy and power. When you combine excellent fly fishing skills and a great fly rod, you will get excellent fly and fly line presentation. This means that you won’t be spooking the fish.
- Line control: After casting, you will use the fly rod to exercise control over the fly line. If you’re a beginner, you may have to do this repeatedly to get the hang of it.
- Striking/landing fish: A fly rod is instrumental in setting and hooking fish and fish out of the water despite the fight they might put up. Thus, your fly rod should be strong and flexible enough for this to happen.
Steps on How to Choose the Best Fly Rod
Step 1: Determine your fishing needs
It is important to ask yourself what type of fish you are looking to strike. The answer to this question will be very instrumental to everything that follows. For instance, you would need different rods for fishing different fish species like the huge bass or trout or fishing in freshwater over saltwater among other considerations.
Step 2: Understand the fly rod action
The concept of fly rod action can be very confusing, especially for beginners in the sport. Essentially, fly rod action is just how flexible your fly rod actually is. Therefore, it is basically a measure of the flexibility of your fly rod.
Keeping that in mind, beginner anglers should concern themselves with three aspects when it comes to fly rod action:
- Tip-flex fly or fast action fly rods: At the end of the backcast, the fast action rod is slightly bent with the rest of it being straight. The design makes it great for long casts with more power, going out for fly fishing on windy days since the stiffness is what gives so much power and they are less physically demanding. However, these rods can be very tedious to use for beginners and not very ideal for short casts.
- Mid-flex or medium action fly rods: These are very versatile fly rod options since they are suited for a wide range of fly fishing conditions. Therefore, it is easier for beginners to learn using these rods than the fast action ones. It is characteristic with bent form from the backcast to halfway the rod.
- full-flex or slow action fly rods: Like the name suggests, thee rods are fully flexible. The backcast is bent about ¼ way from the beginning while the whole length will be arched into a graceful 90 degrees angle. They are ideal for small streams of slow action fly fishing. They are very forgiving; thus, the best for beginners.
Step 3: Considering the line weight
Typically, the line weights on fly rods run from ultra-light (1-14) to heavy (beyond 14). These labels indicate just how heavy or light a fly rod is. When you choose the wrong fly rod line weight, you can have it rough when fly fishing in certain conditions since you won’t have more control and precision.
To make things a bit easier for you, match your line weight with the information below:
- Line weight 1-3: ideal for fishing tiny fish like brookies.
- line weight 4: An ideal all-round line weight for fly fishing all small fish like panfish and medium-sized trout.
- Line weight 5: Also a great all-round line weight for small fish. However, it can be a bit tedious for small fish but great for average-sized bass and all trout.
- Line weight 6: Not the best option for small fish but a great option for all trout and bass.
- Line weigh 7: Ideal for fishing all bass, monster trout, medium-sized salmon and steelhead.
- Line weight 8: The best for stronger and larger fish.
Step 4: Choose the right rod length
It is pretty simple to figure out the fly rod length ideal for your fishing needs. However, it is always best for something from 8 to 9 feet.
- 9 + feet: Ideal for long casts with heavy fly lines.
- 8.5 feet : the best for all-round fly fishing activities in different conditions.
- 8 feet or less: Use this length for short and precise casts on small streams.
Bottom-line, when you consider all these things plus the number of pieces you need, the type of construction and the fly fishing reel, you will get the best fly rod for all your fly fishing needs.