If you’re a novice in the world of fly fishing, you may find it challenging to identify which brands you can trust. With fly fishing gear ranging from rather expensive to quite affordable, it’s difficult to know if you’re getting your money’s worth without prior experience. But fret not, my fellow angler! I’m here to guide you through this labyrinth of fly fishing brands, ensuring you always opt for durable, top grade equipment. Quality does come at a cost though, so be prepared to invest a bit at your local fly shop.
G. Loomis takes the top spot on my list of favorite fishing brands. The superior quality of their products sets them apart from the competition. Their meticulous attention to detail, profound knowledge, and the fly rods they manufacture are simply unmatched.
This might seem like a bold claim, but if you were to ask any seasoned fishing guide about their preferred rod brand, G. Loomis would be the common name. They specialize in producing high-quality, fast action fly rods tailored for experienced fly fishermen. These rods are not intended for beginners, and their price tag reflects this. However, the investment is worth it, as their rods are robust and designed for all kinds of environments – be it freshwater or saltwater, calm or stormy weather.
Among the numerous fly rods G. Loomis has crafted, the Asquith, the NRX, and the Crosscurrent stand out as some of the best ones ever made. They are lightweight, versatile, and virtually unbreakable, even under intense pressure. Ranging from a 2 to a 14 weight, there’s a G. Loomis rod for every angler out there.
Sage is another brand that has my seal of approval. They offer a broad range of fly fishing gear, from fly reels to fishing apparel, and of course, their exceptional quality Sage fly rods. Sage prides itself on being one of the few manufacturers to produce their rods in the USA, a factor that’s appreciated by many anglers.
Having owned many Sage fly rods myself, I can vouch for their longevity and performance. From a lightweight 4 weight freshwater rod for trout to a robust 12 weight saltwater rod for larger species, Sage has a rod for every situation and skill level. The rods are a joy to use, and the large selection ensures every angler can find a suitable rod.
Their other fly fishing gear, particularly their reels, are of commendable quality as well, at least for those labeled as 10wt and under. I would caution against purchasing a Sage reel above a 10wt, as the sealed drag may not handle the runs of larger fish based on my personal experience.
Scott Fly Rods
Scott Rods is a brand that has consistently produced high-quality fly rods. I still remember when they first entered the market and I started noticing their rods at the lodge I managed in the Bahamas. The feel of a Scott fly rod immediately spoke of quality.
These rods are handcrafted in the USA and cover a broad spectrum – from trout to sailfish, there’s a Scott fly rod for every species. However, due to their higher price bracket, they may not be the best choice for beginners. But for those willing to invest in quality equipment, Scott rods, which come with a lifetime warranty, are definitely worth considering.
Echo Fly Rods
Echo is an excellent entry-level brand for fly fishing equipment. They offer high-quality gear and apparel at affordable prices, making them an ideal choice for those new to fly fishing. Their main product line consists of fly rods, with a diverse selection catering to both beginners and pros alike. The rods are robust, affordable, and come with a lifetime warranty, making Echo a top choice for budget-conscious anglers.
Orvis is an all-round excellent brand for both beginners and experienced anglers. They offer a wide array of fly rods, reels, and other fly fishing gear, including fly lines, flies, lures, clothing, waders, wading boots, and general fishing apparel.
What sets Orvis apart from most brands is their comprehensive range. From affordable rods like the Orvis Clearwater to premium ones like the Helios 3D, there’s something for everyone. Their reels offer the same variety in terms of cost and performance. All Orvis fishing gear is of high quality, and their rods and reels come with a 25-year warranty for added peace of mind.
Redington is another versatile fly fishing brand that offers a broad range of products at affordable prices. Their rods, reels, clothing, waders, and other apparel are reliable and reasonably priced, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious anglers and beginners testing the waters of fly fishing.
However, it’s advisable to steer clear from their 12wt fly rod and reel as they may not withstand the strain of larger fish.
For those who want to take fly fishing to the next level and target larger species, Nautilus is the go-to brand. Their reels are renowned for their reliable sealed drags, making them a reliable choice for any angler holding a 12wt fly rod with a 100lbs tarpon at the other end.
If you’re in the market for the best reels money can buy, look no further than Mako. Their reels are renowned for their swift drag adjustment, which allows for near-instantaneous transition from free spool to full drag.
If you prefer fly fishing reels without a sealed drag, Shilton is a solid choice. These reels are reliable, sturdy, and have excellent stopping power. Plus, the benefit of a cork drag means you can repair it in remote places, unlike sealed drag reels that need to be sent back to the factory for repair.
When it comes to quality tackle such as fly line, backing, tippet, leader, and flies, Rio is one of the top brands. They offer a fly line for every scenario, from a 2wt floating line for spring creeks to a 14wt sinking line for formidable fish like tuna and sailfish.
Scientific Anglers is another top-notch brand for fly lines, leaders, and tippets. Their products are of excellent quality and cater to every fly rod weight, allowing you to target any species you desire.
Simms is your one-stop-shop for all your fishing apparel needs. They offer a wide range of gear, including fly fishing waders, wading boots, waterproof jackets, wading socks, underwear, waterproof backpacks, fly fishing vests, and more. Their gear is designed to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, keeping you comfortable whether you’re in Alaska or on the flats.
Patagonia offers an extensive range of fishing gear similar to Simms. Their fishing clothing, waders, waterproof backpacks, jackets, and more are some of the best in the world.
FishPond is a specialist manufacturer of waterproof backpacks. They make top-quality submersible fishing bags from recycled materials, making them a great choice if you’re in the market for a waterproof backpack.
If you stick to the brands mentioned above, you’ll never go wrong when purchasing new fly fishing gear. I would recommend doing some additional research on each of these brands to find the one that best suits your needs. But remember, as long as you stick to this list, you’re in safe waters.
Ready to take the plunge and immerse yourself in the world of fly fishing? Don’t forget to download our series of fly fishing books below to enhance your skills and knowledge in this exciting sport.