If you’re new to fly fishing it can be very hard to work out which of the many fly fishing brands you should trust. After all, fly fishing gear can be very expensive but it can also be very cheap, and how do you know if you’re getting good value without having tried them before? You don’t.
Not to worry, I am here to help and let you who the best fly fishing brands are so that you always buy solid fly fishing gear that lasts. Be prepared to spend a little bit of cash at your fly shop though, as quality gear isn’t cheap.
One of my favorite fishing brands is G. Loomis, they are just better than other brands in my opinion. Their attention to detail, their depth of thought and knowledge, and the fly rods they produce are simply better than any other manufacturers on the market.
You’ll probably think I’m bold saying that but if you ask any seasoned fishing guide which rod brand they prefer, you’re going to hear G. Loomis 90% of the time.
G.Looms only makes high-quality rods and most of them are fast action fly rods, that are made for fly fishermen who know what they are doing. They are not beginners fly rods and I think most beginner anglers would be frightened off by the price tag. You do lose a lot of your savings when you purchase one of these rods.
I won’t go through all the models of fly fishing rods G. Loomis has ever made, as much as I’d like to, but I will name the top 3. The Asquith, the NRX, and the Crosscurrent are some of the best fly rods ever made.
They are light tools for every occasion. You can use them in freshwater, saltwater, you can punch lines through serious weather, and these rods just don’t break even when you push them hard. These are super high-quality fly fishing rods that come in every weight from a 2 to a 14 weight.
Sage is another one of my favorite fishing brands and they make quite a bit of fly fishing gear from fly reels to fishing apparel, clothing, and of course Sage fly rods which are of great quality. One thing everyone likes about Sage is that they are one of the few manufacturers to produce their rods in the USA.
I have owned many a Sage fly rod and I still have them all today. I have a little Sage 4 weight freshwater fly rod for dry fly fishing for trout, I have a 10 weight saltwater fly rod for permit and triggerfish, and I have a 12 weight Sage Motive saltwater fly rod that is currently in 6 pieces because a GT destroyed it (my fault not the fly rod’s).
What I love about a Sage fly rod is that it’s fun to use and there is a massive selection to choose from. There is a great sense of quality when you hold one and you can find a rod for every environment that suits you whether you’re a pro or beginner angler.
They have soft fly rods with slower actions all the way up to fast action rods too that will push line when you want them to. Sage is definitely one of the best fly fishing brands on the market when it comes to rods, but again when you purchase one it hurts your wallet a lot.
When it comes to their other fly fishing gear essentials, mainly their reels, the quality is pretty good. Any reel that is labeled as a 10wt and under is of good quality. Do not get a Sage reel above a 10wt as the sealed drag can not handle the runs of big fish. I used a brand new Sage reel for the first time and hooked a big GT and after that fish, there was no drag left, the reel was finished.
Scott Fly Rods
Scott Rods is a brand that produce great quality fly rods. I remember when they first started creeping into the market and I started seeing them arriving at the lodge in the Bahamas that I used to manage. I didn’t even know who they were but when I cast a Scott fly rod I could feel the quality.
Ever since then I have seen more and more Scott fly rods than ever and their sales went through the roof. Each Scott fly rod is hand-made in the USA and you’ll find a model to fish for every species in the world from trout to sailfish.
They are not really made for beginner anglers though as their rods cost around $1000 each to purchase. But if you want a rod with a carry case and a lifetime warranty (Sage & G. Loomis do that too), then it’s worth considering for beginners.
Echo Fly Rods
Echo is a great entry-level brand for fly fishing equipment, especially for newish fly fishermen. Their fly fishing gear and fishing apparel are of high quality and they come at quite an affordable price.
The main fishing equipment Echo specializes in is fly rods and they have a great selection of different fly rods in every weight that will suit both beginners and pros alike that suit every part of the fly fishing world.
Anglers can find an excellent Echo fly rod at their fly shop to chase any species around the world from bonefish to tarpon and more. With every Echo fly rod comes a lifetime warranty and you’ll be paying around 1/2 the price compared to other brands.
Orvis is a great all-around fishing brand for both beginners and pros. They make a huge selection for fly rods, reels, and other fly fishing gear including fly lines, flies, lures, clothing, waders, wading boots, and general fishing apparel.
You can even buy terminal tackle like tippet, leader, nippers, fly fishing net, backing, and pretty much anything else you need for sport fly fishing.
What I love about Orvis compared to most brands is that you can go buy everything you need from one brand. Their range of tackle covers everyone in terms of cost and performance.
You can get an affordable fly rod such as the Orvis Clearwater in every weight from 3-12, or you can pick up the top-of-the-line Helios 3D fly rod which competes with the likes of G. Loomis and others. The same goes for their selections of reels too.
With almost all of Orvis’s fishing gear, you get a great quality product plus their fly rods and reels come with a 25-year warranty should the worst happen.
Another one of the good do-it-all fly fishing brands is Redington. They make almost all the fly fishing gear you might need and they are affordable too. Their fly rods and reels are solid, as is their clothing, waders, and other apparel such as vests, etc.
For anglers who are on a budget, Redington is one of the best brands to be loyal to and they are also great for beginners who want to see if they like fly fishing before investing heavily.
I wouldn’t sway into the 12wt fly rod and reel market with Redington though as I have seen many disappointed anglers holding their tackle after it’s failed on a big GT.
Anglers who want to take this sport to the max and target the biggest species on a fly rod are going to need some serious reels to handle the challenge.
Nautilus is one of the best reel brands on the market when it comes to sealed drags. Their gear is reliable so anglers can feel confident with their 12wt fly rod in their hand and a 100lbs tarpon in front of them.
You’ll find a reel weight for all fly rods and all species, plus they come with a lifetime warranty and in loads of cool designs.
If you want to own some of the best reels on the planet then none of the other fly fishing brands will do except for Mako. These reels go from free spool to full drag in about one turn of the drag wheel, and that’s all it takes to pretty much not be able to pull line off them.
I have seen a Mako make a GT doing a headstand. The GT was taking line and we fight with high drags to release them quickly. When the Mako went to full drag, the poor GT just stopped in its tracks, that’s how good a Mako is. Our guide team motto for Mako’s was “Mako says no”.
If you’re looking for fly fishing reels that don’t have a sealed drag then Shilton is a great company. These are our go-to reels in Seychelles and they never fail on any species from GT’s to marlin, and wow do they have some stopping power.
Also, the benefit of having a cork drag means you can fix it in remote places. With a sealed drag, when it fails you have to send it back to the factory for it to be fixed and you won’t be able to use it say on your trip to Seychelles.
Rio is one of the best brands around when it comes to buying quality tackle such as fly line, backing, tippet, leader, and flies. They make a fly line for every occasion from a 2wt floating for spring creeks to a 14wt leviathan sinking for taming fish like tuna and sailfish on fly.
So once you have your fly rod and reel you can hop to your fly shop and tie on everything else you need from your backing to your fly made by Rio.
Another one of the best brands when it comes to fly line, leader, and tippet is Scientific Anglers. Scientific Anglers makes some of the best fly lines around and when it comes to mono, fluoro, and tippet, they are also excellent too.
You will find a line and leader to match every weight fly rod out there so you can target any species you like with Scientific Anglers lines.
For all your fishing clothes, fly fishing waders, wading boots, waterproof jackets, wading socks, wading underwear, waterproof backpacks, fly fishing vest pack, and anything else in the fishing clothes category, Simms is the fishing company to be with.
They make some of the best all-weather fishing gear around that will keep you warm in Alaska, cool on the flats. and everywhere in between.
Patagonia provides a similar range of fishing gear to Simms and as I’m sure you know, their fishing clothing, waders, waterproof backpacks, patagonia jackets and more are all some of the best in the world.
FishPond is a specialist waterproof backpack manufacturer and makes top-quality submersible fishing bags from recycled pond liners and even fishing nets. These are the guys to back if you want a waterproof backpack.
Stick To The List
If you stick to the above list of brands, you’ll never put a foot wrong when buying new fly fishing tackle. I would advise seeking out some more information about each of them before you pick which suits you best but stick to the list and you’ll be golden.