Don's Home Recreation Fly Fishing Contact
There are many considerations in selecting a rod. Some advice on web sites: Try before you buy. Cast the rod and get a feel for how it performs. Everyone has their own casting style, so pick the rod that best fits your style and casting ability.
  • Fast, tip action or tip flex -- main flex is in the top 1/3 to 1/4 of the tip section depending on manufacturer.  This action loads very fast and requires precise timing and control.  (Usually reserved for advanced or expert casters)
    This allows for longer casts, and crisper casts as well, which helps in windy conditions.
  • Medium or Mid-flex -- rod bends in the middle 1/2 to upper 1/3 of the rod.  This action is good for beginners to advanced casters who just like a "forgiving" feel.
  • Slow or Full-flex -- rod bends from tip to butt section.  While very forgiving of casting mistakes, this type of rod action produces a slow rod recovery rate.  In my opinion, a slow action can be so slow that it can interfere with hooking fish.
  • Progressive -- No noticeable difference between the stiffer and more flexible parts of a rod.
    This makes casting more accurate, a plus in close ranges and in making delicate presentations of your fly.
    The downside is the adjustments needed in your casting technique if you switch flies
Most trout are caught at distances under 20 feet from you and occasionally up to 40 ft, so you don't need a long rod wich will cast out 60 feet.
An 8 to 9 foot rod is a good choice to begin with.
6 1/2 to 7 1/2 are better for small streams
A 5 wt. 8 foot rod is a good size for most trout fishing. Other Weights:
  • 1 to 3 weight - panfish and small trout, small flies, short casts
  • 4 weight - small to medium trout, small to medium flies, short to medium casts
  • 5 to 6 weight - excellent all around trout or smallmouth bass rod. Handles small to larger flies and short to longer casts
  • 7 to 8 weight - brown and lake trout, largemouth bass, steelhead, large flies and streamers, long casts and windy conditions.
  • 9 to 14 weight - salmon and salt water fishing, large flies and long casts in open areas.

Determining Your Fly Rod
Intended useDry fly sizeStreamer fly sizeTippetsLength ftLine weightCompositionAction
Delicate fly presentation14 - 18Up to 84x - 8x7' - 8'2 -4 fiberglass, graphiteslow to medium
Delicate cast & for distance12 - 22Up to 43x - 7x7' - 8'5 fiberglass, graphiteslow to medium
For various fish under varying conditions8 - 20Up to 20x - 7x8' - 9 1/2'6 - 7 fiberglass, graphiteslow to medium
For larger game fish4 - 3/0Up to 4/04x & larger8 1/2' - 9 1/2'6 - 7graphitemedium to fast
For the largest fish2 - 4/0Up to 6/00 x &9' - 12'10 - 15graphitefast
Source: Dick's Sporting Goods

Graphite rods are the most popular now:
Type Pros Cons
Graphite performance, durability stiff
fiberglass strong, durable, and flexible heavy
Bamboo light, flexible, nice slow action expensive

Fly Fishing Site Lists at: Google
Fly Fishing 101 - For Beginners
Fly Fishing 123
Most Recommended: [xx] - Number of world records caught as of 2007

Sage [75]
G. Loomis [24]
Orvis [14]
Thomas & Thomas [18]
Winston [4]
St. Croix
Other rod manufactures: Redington [7], Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) [3],
Cabelas (may be Powell rods) [3], L.L.Bean, 
    Scott, Wright & McGill, Powell, Fenwick, Cortland
Cabelas All
Hodgman (Waders, Hip Boots)
Top 10 Fly Rods (based on number of world records)
Fly Rod Reviews
Selecting a Fly Rod at
The Best Fly Fishing Rods - John Gibb eZine article
Fly Fishing For Beginners at
Top Gear Picks at Cabella's

Popular Fly Fishing Destinations
Tahoe Area

Care of Equipment:
Protect your rod investment with 8 easy tips at

Best fly fishing places
Basic Insect Entomology
Essential Fly Fishing Gear at
New Jersey fishing
Rise Form Studio NJ and W. PA fly fishing videos and information by John Collins and Mike McAuliffe
Fly Fishing Terms at: Orvis

last updated 13 Apr 2009