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Fly Fishing Things

Fly-Rods                Back to Categories

Choosing a fly rod.  The right choice produces longer cast
with less effort.

Go directly to comparison list.  [link] Fly rod manufacture's compared are: Cortland, Fenwick, G.Loomis, Orvis, Redington, Sage, Scott, St.Croix, Temple Fork, Thomas, and RL Winston. Bamboo fly rods.

flyfishingthings.com/fly fishing rod Orvis banner for rods

I only show this rod because it represents arguably the best trout rod available today. 

Choosing your first fly rod is not a task to be taken lightly.

In fly-fishing, the rod, reel and line is chosen according to the size of the fish you'll be catching; combined with the conditions under which you will be fishing. For example; the rod for trout fly-fishing is going to be different than that of bonefish fishing,  and a  bass fly-fishing rod is going to be different yet again.  There is a science and logic to matching up a rod, reel and fly line. Weight class is used to categorize fly-fishing rods, reels and fly-lines.The theory goes, the higher the weight number the bigger the fish the rod can handle. For example a 2wgt would be ideal for small brookies, a 4 or 5 weight for regular trout, and 8, 9, or 10 weight for salmon(depending on which species of course).

This website is going to assume the rod to be chosen will be used to
fly-fish for trout in the mountain west; mainly, in Colorado, Wyoming Montana, Utah and New Mexico.  I have been fishing those waters for over 40 years, and can confidently say; most of the fish that are caught will be in the range of 13 to 18 inches; (one to three lbs), and more often than not the wind will be blowing.  There are places where you can catch trout (and lots of them) from 20 to 26 inches;( three to eight lbs).  Once in a while, if you’re really lucky; you might even hook up with a trout over 10 lbs. However, to do that would mean a guided trip and/or a specific location where the fish are known to reside(a private lake or river section for example). So, for selecting a fly fishing rod we're going to assume you're going to be fly fishing for trout, in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, or generally the western mountains.

There are three types of fly rods : bamboo, fiberglass, and graphite.

Bamboo
rods are wonderful for spring creek fishing. They were the first of the
fly rods and are still highly prized as fly fishing rods today.
   However, bamboo rods are the most expensive of all the fly-fishing rods; ranging in cost from $1200 to $2400 hundred per rod.  I could be wrong but I don’t think a bamboo rod should be your first choice as a fly rod.  Fiberglass rods on the other hand, are still being made. However, the market for fiberglass fly-fishing rods is relatively small. Fiberglass has some advantages over graphite: they're less expensive, and  they're very strong rods.  You can actually lift a heavy fish out of the water with a fiberglass rod, but I wouldn’t try it with a graphite rod.  A good fiberglass rods will cost about half as much as a comparable graphite rod.

Graphite.  As a rod type, graphite rods are the rods of choice for most fly fishermen. They’re exceptionally lightweight and powerful.
  For example; The Helios rod from Orvis [link] weighs just a ounce.  The material properties of a graphite fly-fishing rod make for superb long distance casting.

Rod performance
is described in terms of “action” and/or flex and relates to how the fly-fishing rod bends. Rod flex and rod action are one in the same. You can use the terms interchangeably.I’m going to refer to the bend of the rod as rod flex because I think it’s more intuitive to understand as apposed to rod action.
 
There are three basic flex’s in fly-fishing rods”: slow, medium and fast.


“Slow”
rods flex from the butt to the tip.  They load slower and because of this they are very easy to learn to cast for the beginner. The disadvantage of a slow flex rod is they do not generate the power needed to cast into wind. However,  they’re great for short and delicate cast like those needed dry fly fishing.

Medium
flex rods flex from the center of the rod to the tip. It loads faster and is adequate to cast in the wind. A medium flex rod is very versatile. You can
make delicate presentation and/or generate the power needed to cast into a stiff breeze.
 Medium flex rods are a good choice for beginning fisherman.

Fast action
(flex) rods, are powerful and load very quickly.  The flex comes in the upper 1/3 of the rod with the lower 2/3's being very stout.  This combination allow for easy casting into the wind.  Additionally, fast actions rods are the rods of choice for fishing sinking lines.

Rod weight.
   Rods are classed by “weight”; not their physical weight but the weight of the lines they cast.  Fly lines are measured in terms of grains. Hardly anybody knows how things are measured in grains so manufactures devised a system to apply to their fly lines beginning with the lightest lines to the heaviest.

Matching the fly line to the fly rod.

Manufacture's number the line according to the grain weight; that is 1 thru 14.
 
A #1 line begins the lightest line weight; and onward and upward to the heaviest  #14 line weight.  The heavier the line weight the more powerful the rod has to
be to deliver it. That means, the bigger the fly being fished; the heavier the line needed to cast it.
  Additionally, the stronger the wind the more powerful
the rod has to be along with a heavier weight line.
  To repeat, the rod is
matched to the line according to the line weight. For example, a #5 weight rod would take a #5 weight line.

Moving on to
rod balance.  When you pick up a well balance rod, you can feel it.  How? Well, because it’s balanced.  For me this has to do with the “feel” of the rod in combination with the reel (loaded with the line).  Rod balance has nothing to do with the flex of the rod but more with the weight distribution along the rod's length. If the rod is bottom heavy because of the reel, you won’t be able
to feel the load of the line as well,
  and conversely if the rod is top heavy because the reel is too light; it’s going to effect the timing of the cast.  The goal of good rod balance then is to feel the performance of the rod from butt to tip.

A word about fly lines.

Fly lines are designed to deliver the fly to its intended target in a specific way. For example:  If I were going to fish dry fly's, I would use a 4wgt or 5wgt double taper floating line. Why? Because a tapered line will transfer the energy of the cast through the line in such a way as to cause the line to unroll to the end, and deliver the fly softly--on the water(provided of course the leader and tippet combination is correct).  

When choosing a fly line you must decide what style of fly-fishing you’re going
to do. Basically, there are three kinds of fly-lines: floating lines, sinking lines or sink tip lines ( front section sinks while the rest of the line floats).
Now combine a style with various sizes of water, and the size of the flies you’ll be fishing, then throw in the wind factor along with other weather conditions,
and you can see the implication regarding style of fishing.
  Therefore, there are many combinations of rods and lines one can choose from. 

To sum it up I’m going to make it simple and tell you your first fly-fishing rod should be a 5 weight rod.  Match a reel to the rod loaded with a double taper
high visibility floating line. If you have the budget for it, buy an extra spool loaded with a #1 sinking line and another spool loaded with a #3 sinking line. That will give you one rod that you can fish all the styles in all conditions.

The rod I have fished for years is a Sage #5 weight, fast action, 8’6” 2 piece rod. As for the appropriate reel to choose; go to the “fly-reels "page and choose a matching reel.  Most all of the reels listed there will work. However, there is a great range in price and quality.


Fly rod comparison list.

The fly rod comparison list of
  #5 weight fly rods shown below is self-explanatory. The list is ordered by: Price, Flex, Length, # of Pieces, Series and Model.

I have also included a list of all the manufactures and their 5 weight rods.  It shows the average price of #5 weight fly rods.
  It will give you a quick idea for general price points. There is of course, many retails outlets where you can purchase fly rods; your local fly shop would be a good place to start.   However, just to keep the shop honest you might want to compare prices with a major retailer like Cabela's [link] for example; especially if you're purchasing your first fly rod.

All the rods in the tables below are Graphite rods. However, I did throw in some
information on bamboo rod pricing just for curiosity’s sake.

Average price per rod by manufacture.

$168.57 Cortland
$168.57 Fenwick
$170.68 Redington
$179.27 Temple Fork
$240.48 St.Croix
$457.50 G.Loomis
$475.38 Orvis
$553.89 Winston
$647.78 Scott
$675.56 Sage
$716.43 Thomas

Manufactures listed in alphabetical order. 

Fly rod comparison.

Back to top. Cortland
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$119.95 med/fast 8'6" 2 Pro-Cast Pro-Cast 865
$129.95 med/fast 9' 4 Pro-Cast Pro-Cast 905
Go to website $169.95 Didn’t say 8'6" 2 Precision 661400
$169.95 Didn’t say 9' 2 Precision 661608
$179.95 Fast 8'6" 4 Brook Brook 865-2
$179.95 Didn’t say 9' 4 Precision 661417
$229.95 Fast 9' 4 Big Sky Big Sky 905-4
Total $1,179.65

Back to top. Fenwick
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$89.95 Fast 8'6" 2 Eagle GT EGTF 865-2
Go to website $89.95 Fast 9' 2 Eagle GT EGTF 905-2
$169.95 Fast 8'6" 2 HMX HMXF 805-2
$169.95 Fast 9' 2 HMX HMXF 905-2
Total $519.80

Back to top. G.Loomis
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$215.00 med 9' 2 Phase One Entry Level FR 1085-2 neptune
$285.00 Fast 9' 4 Xperience FR 1025-4
$285.00 Fast 9' 4 Xperience FR 1085-4.
$315.00 med 9' 2 Classic Fly Rod FR 1085-2 GLX
Go to website $320.00 Fast 8' 4 Shore Stalker FR 965-4
$415.00 Fast 8'6' 4 EastFork FR 1025-4
$425.00 Fast 9' 4 EastFork FR 1025-4
$600.00 Fast 9' 2 Classic Fly Rod FR 1085-2 GLX
$655.00 Fast 8'6" 4 Stream Dance FR 1025-4
$655.00 med/fast 9' 4 Whisper Creek FR 1085-4 GLX
$660.00 Fast 9' 4 Stream Dance FR 1085-4
$660.00 Fast 9' 4 Max GLX FR 1085-4 Max GLX
Total $5,490.00

Back to top. Orvis
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$169.00 mid 7'9" 2 Clearwater II 795-2
$169.00 mid 8'6" 2 Clearwater II 865-2
$169.00 mid 9' 2 Clearwater II 905-4
$198.00 Fast 8'6" 2 Clearwater II 864-4
$198.00 mid 9' 2 Clearwater II 905-4
Go to website $198.00 Fast 9' 4 Clearwater II 905-4
$495.00 Fast 8'6" 4 Hydros 865-4
$495.00 mid 9' 4 Hydros 905-4
$495.00 Fast 9' 4 Hydros 905-4
$495.00 mid 8'6" 4 Hydros 865-4
$675.00 Fast 9' 4 Big Water 905-4
$750.00 mid 7'9' 4 Helios 795-4
$775.00 mid 8'6' 4 Helios 865-42G
$775.00 Fast 8'6' 4 Helios 865-4 2G
$775.00 mid 9' 4 Helios 905-4 2G
$775.00 Fast 9' 4 Helios 905-4 2G
Total $7,606.00

Powell
Go to website Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
  $450.00 Fast 9' 4 Tiboron XL TBN 905-4

Back to top. Redington
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$80.00 med/fast 8'6" 2 Cross water CS 8652
$80.00 med/fast 9' 2 Cross water CW 9052
$110.00 med/fast 9 4 Cross water CW 9054
$130.00 Fast 8'6" 2 RF2 RF2 8052
$130.00 Fast 9' 2 RF2 RF2 9052
$130.00 Fast 8' 2 RF2 RF2 8652
$130.00 Fast 9' 2 RF2 RF2 9052
$160.00 med 8'6" 4 CLASSIC TROUT CT 8654
$160.00 Med 9' 4 CLASSIC TROUT CT 9054
Go to website $169.00 Fast 9' 2 RS4 RS 49052
$169.00 Fast 8'6" 2 RS4 RS 48652
$180.00 med 9' 6 CLASSIC TROUT CT 9056
$180.00 Fast 8'6" 4 RF2 RF2 8654
$180.00 Fast 9' 4 RF2 RF2 9054
$199.00 Fast 8'6" 4 RS4 RS 48054
$199.00 Fast 9' 4 RS4 RS 49054
$259.00 Fast 9' 2 CPX 6 CPX 952-2
$299.00 Fast 8'6 " 4 CPX 4 CPX 8654
$299.00 Fast 9' 4 CPX 5 CPX 9054
Total $3,243.00

Back to top. Sage
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$630.00 Fast 8'6" 2 Z-Axis 586-2
$635.00 Fast 9' 2 Z-Axis 590-2
$675.00 Fast 7'6" 4 Z-Axis 576-4
$675.00 Fast 8'6' 4 Z-Axis 576-4
Go to website $690.00 Fast 8'6" 4 Z-Axis 586-4
$690.00 Fast 8'6" 4 Z-Axis 586-4SG
$690.00 Fast 8'6' 4 Z-Axis 586-4SG
$695.00 Fast 9' 4 Z-Axis 590-4
$700.00 Fast 9'6" 4 Z-Axis 596-4
Total $6,080.00

Back to top. Scott
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$295.00 med/fast 9' 2 A3 A 3905
$335.00 med/fast 8'6" 4 A3 A 3855-4
$335.00 med/fast 9' 4 A3 A 3904-4
$695.00 Fast 8'6" 4 S4 S 4855-4
Go to website $695.00 Fast 9' 4 S5 S 4905-4
$695.00 Fast 9' 2 S6 S 4905
$695.00 Med 8'4" 4 G2 G2 845 4
$695.00 med 8'6" 4 G3 G2 885 4
$695.00 med 9' 4 G4 G2 905 4
$695.00 ? 8'4" 5 Classical Concepts G 845-5
Total $5,830.00

Back to top. St.Croix
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$100.00 med 8'6" 2 Rio Santo RS865-2
$100.00 med 9' 2 Rio Santo RS905-2
$120.00 med 8'6" 4 Rio Santo RS865-4
$120.00 med 9' 4 Rio Santo RS905-4
$170.00 Fast 8' 2 Imperial I805-2
$170.00 Fast 8'6' 4 Imperial I865-4
$170.00 Fast 8'6" 2 Imperial I865-2
$170.00 Fast 9' 4 Imperial I905-4
$190.00 Fast 8' 4 Imperial I805-4
Go to website $190.00 Fast 9' 2 Imperial I905-2
$240.00 med 9' 2 Avid A905-2
$250.00 med 8' 4 Avid A805-4
$260.00 med 8'6" 4 Avid A865-4
$270.00 med 9' 4 Avid A905-4
$310.00 Fast 9' 2 Legend Ultra U905-2
$320.00 Fast 8' 4 Legend Ultra U805-4
$330.00 Fast 8'6" 4 Legend Ultra U865-4
$340.00 Fast 9' 4 Legend Ultra U905-4
$370.00 Fast 9' 5 Legend Ultra U905-5
$430.00 Fast 8'6" 4 Legend Elite EFW 865-4
$430.00 Fast 9' 4 Legend Elite EFW 905-4
Total $5,050.00

Back to top. Temple Fork
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$109.95 fast 8'6" 2 LeftyKreh Signiture TFO 0586 2
$109.95 fast 9' 2 LeftyKreh Signiture TFO 0590 2
$149.95 med/fast 8'6" 4 LeftyKreh Professional TFO 0586 4P
$149.95 med/fast 9' 4 LeftyKreh Professional TFO 0590 4 P
$149.95 med/fast 8'6" 4 Recover & Hope Benefits TFO 0586 4CFR
$149.95 med/fast 9' 4 Project Healing Waters TFO 0590 4 PHW
Go to website $179.95 med 7'9" 4 LeftyKreh Finesse rod TF0 0579 4 F
$179.95 med 8'9" 4 LeftyKreh Finesse rod TF0 0589 4F
$199.95 med 9' 4 Fly Rod Chronicles TF0 0590 4FRC
$199.95 Fast 9' 4 LeftyKreh TiCr TFO 0590 4T
$199.95 Fast 9' 4 Jim Teeny TFO 0590 4J
$209.95 med/fast 9' 6 LeftyKreh Professional TFO 0590 6 P
$224.95 Fast 8'9" 4 Clouser TF0589 4x
$224.95 Fast 9' 4 LeftyKreh TiCr TFO 0590 4 TX
$249.95 Fast 9' 4 Axiom TFO 0590-4a
Total $2,689.25

Back to top. Thomas
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$685.00 fast 8'6" ? Paradigm PA 865
$700.00 med 8'6" 4 Whisper Lite WL 865-4
$705.00 Fast 9' 4 Horizon II H II 905-4
Go to website $705.00 med/fast 9' 4 Helix HE 905-4
$710.00 med/fast 9' 4 Helix HE 905S-4
$720.00 Ultra fast 9' 3 Vector VE 905-3
$790.00 Progessive action 9' 3 Paradigm PA 905-3
Total $5,015.00

Back to top. Winston
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model
$225.00 fast 9' ? Ascent Ascent
$315.00 Fast 8'6" ? Vapor Vapor
Go to website $315.00 Fast 9' ? Vapor Vapor
$650.00 med/fast 8'6" ? WT WT
$695.00 med 8'6" ? Boron ii T Boron II T
$695.00 Med 9' ? Boron II T Boron II T
$695.00 Fast 8'6" ? Boron II X Boron II X
$695.00 med/fast 8'9" ? LT-5 LT-5
$700.00 Fast 9' ? Boron II Boron II  Mx
Total $4,985.00

Bamboo rods
Price Flex Length Pieces Series Model MFc
$1,499.00 slow 6',7',7'5" 2 Legacy 4-5 Wt Powell
$2,650.00 slow 7'10" 2 SC SC 7105 Scott
$1,850.00 slow 7'6" 2 Classic Bamboo CB 765 Thomas
$1,850.00 slow 8' 2 Classic Bamboo CB 805 Thomas
$2,750.00 slow 7-8'6" 2 Bamboo 5-wt Winston