I was asked recently by a new convert to fly fishing about choosing the best fly rod. Even with my years of experience ̶ and I do like to share my opinions ̶ I thought it best to refer him to the staff at Minturn Anglers. I know they can be depended on to provide expert guidance and up to date information.
My friend will quickly realize it will pay off to listen to their friendly advice. He’ll hear a rundown of tips for choosing a rod that is just right for him:
There are many rod manufacturers, and most of them offer fly rods of different lengths. However, it is generally accepted that the best overall rod length is 9 feet. This length is considered to be the most versatile for all fishing conditions. Later, he may find it useful to buy a shorter rod for fishing very small streams.
The next important rod characteristic to consider is its weight. This is a term referring to the type and size of fish he’ll try to catch. If he’s going to fish for bass, trout, bluegill, crappie or other fish of similar size, then a 4-6 weight rod is best. As this weight rod will likely break with larger fish, choose a 7-9 weight rod to catch steelhead, salmon, redfish, muskie or stripers. An even heavier weight rod would be used to catch even larger fish like tuna. If he’s looking for versatility, then an 8 weight rod would be best.
The third important factor to consider is the flex or action of the rod. Rods are designed to bend at different points along their length. A rod which bends at its tip is referred to as a fast action or tip flex rod. These rods help improve casting speed and distance, but need more power so are often difficult for beginners to use. If the rod is designed to bend about half-way from the tip, it is called a full-flex or slow action rod. These rods are generally difficult for beginners to use. A better version is the rod that bends about ¼ of the way from the tip. They are the medium action or mid-flex rods, and are easiest to cast, provide good accuracy and distance, and are effective with smaller fish.
This brief review of the basic of choosing the right rod will arm my friend with the terminology, knowledge and confidence he needs to make his first fly rod purchase. Depending on your needs, you can review on selection of fly rods in our online fly shop. Our selection is primarily geared towards the western angler.