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best 3 weight fly rod

Best 3 Weight Fly Rod

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3 weight fly rods have often been overlooked in the fly fishing world. But now, with ultralight fly fishing becoming more popular, more and more fly fishers are looking to add a 3 weight to their fishing gear.

So whether you’re looking to buy your first three weight or you’re an ultralight fly fishing pro, we’ve reviewed the best 3 weights rods out there on the market. Here’s our guide to the best 3-weight fly rods around!

If you’re looking for a more general fly rod for beginners we have reviewed a lot of them including the Orvis clearwater series. Finally, if you’re looking for a premium fly rod then check out the Orvis Helios 3 or the Fenwick Aetos.

Top Pick
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing...
Echo Base Fly Rod (7'6" 3wt)
Redington Fly Fishing Rod 376-4 Vice Rod W/Tube...
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch 3-12wt Medium-Fast Action...
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing…
Echo Base Fly Rod (7’6″ 3wt)
Redington Fly Fishing Rod 376-4 Vice Rod W/Tube…
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch 3-12wt Medium-Fast Action…
Top Pick
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing...
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing…
Echo Base Fly Rod (7'6" 3wt)
Echo Base Fly Rod (7’6″ 3wt)
Redington Fly Fishing Rod 376-4 Vice Rod W/Tube...
Redington Fly Fishing Rod 376-4 Vice Rod W/Tube…
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch 3-12wt Medium-Fast Action...
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch 3-12wt Medium-Fast Action…

Why You Should Try Out a 3 Weight Rod

If you haven’t tried a 3 weight rod before or you’re not feeling confident about using a different fly rod weight, we think you’re missing out. When it comes to using the right weights to fish with, you want to consider where you’ll be fishing, and what you’re hoping to catch.

3 weight rods are perfect for ultralight fishing and making accurate casts at short distances, but they’re also lightweight and pack down for easy traveling. If you like fishing on smaller rivers and streams or using tiny dry flies, it just makes sense to have a good 3 weight to take out with you.

In recent years, rod makers have really upped their game and designed some stellar 3 weight rods that are much more impressive than those of previous decades.
You’ll be pleased to hear that there are lots of great 3 weight rods that can be bought on a budget. You don’t have to spend $500 or more to get a decent 3 weight fly fishing rod – many come in at around $100 or less without losing out on the performance.

If you’re still not convinced about going for a lighter fly rod weight, check out this lively comparison on 3wt vs. 5wt rods! Although 5 weight rods can be great workhorses, in some situations they just can’t compare to a lighter weight rod. You’ll be impressed by how much more exciting fly fishing for smaller native fish can be with you’re using a 3 weight rod.

Looking for more advice on getting set up with the fly wt for your needs? This useful discussion between experienced anglers should be helpful. 

The Best 3 Wt Fly Rod Reviews

Here are our recommendations of the best fly-rods around right now, from budget options to well-known brands:

Orvis Clearwater 3 Weight Fly Rod

With a complete overhaul of the design of the Clearwater Series, Orvis definitely raised the bar when it comes to 3 wt rods. They have specifically tailored the action of each rod weight to perfection, and this rod is both versatile and easy to get the hang of.

You’ll find that Orvis have managed to get the balance just right between power and precision with this rod. And if anything does ever happen to your rod, Orvis will either replace or repair it thanks to their impressive, 25-year warranty!

If you’re looking for a good 3 weight fly rod, this is a great place to start.

The Good

  • Affordable, good all-rounder for ultralight fly fishing
  • High quality craftsmanship
  • It's easy to detect strikes
  • Orvis have cleverly tailored each rod weight in the Clearwater series to have the perfect action
  • Comes with a sturdy case to protect your rod
  • The amazing Orvis warranty will cover your rod for 25 years!

The Bad

  • Some fly fishers think the Clearwater rods are just slightly too stiff
  • It’s not a high end fly rod, but it is a versatile workhorse

Moonshine Rod Co. Drifter 3 Weight Fly Rod

The three wt rod from Moonshine Rod Co.’s Drifter series is an amazing ultralight flyrod, suitable for everyone from beginners to pros.

Constructed with care from high-quality materials including graphite, copper anodized hardware, hand turned burl and excellent cork grips, this rod is a joy to fly fish with.

It’s an attractive rod with a sleek design, but even more importantly, you can perfect your casting and presentation with the three-weight Drifter fly rod.

You’ll be impressed by the consistently good performance you’ll get from this fly- rod. In fact, I’d be surprised if it didn’t become your go-to rod for ultralight fly fishing!

The Good

  • You’ll be able to cast precisely with the Drifter 3 Wt fly-fishing rod
  • The 3 Wt Drifter is constructed from top materials and high grade AAA cork grips
  • Powerful enough to get the line out there to the fish
  • Competes well against rods that cost significantly more
  • You get an extra tip section and a rod case included
  • Comes with an awesome lifetime warranty!

The Bad

  • Can feel a little stiff while you’re getting the hang of it

Echo Base 3 Fly Rod

If you’re interested in branching out and trying some ultralight fly fishing but you’ve got a tight budget to stick to, the Echo Base 3 Wt fly rod is the solution!

It also makes the perfect backup rod in case of breakages or to lend to a friend for a day out on the river together. Coming in at under $100, it’s a steal, and definitely the best rod you’ll find in this price range. You might be tricked into thinking that this rod can’t be worth buying at that price, but you’ll be wrong!

The performance is reliably good and it’s easy to cast, even for beginners. You’ll get the best results when you team it with a good fly line.

Although the cork isn’t of the highest quality, the Echo Base will still get the job done. It’s both remarkably sensitive and effective – you won’t regret spending the money on this versatile budget rod.

The Good

  • Great affordable price if you’re shopping on a budget – the best 3 weight fly rod in this price range
  • One of the top rods for under $100
  • Good for beginners - easy to cast
  • Lifetime warranty included

The Bad

  • The cork and the reel seat aren’t the best quality, but they do the job
  • Can’t compete with high end, more expensive rods

Redington Vice 3 Wt Fly Fishing Rod

At under $200 dollars, the Redington Vice 3 weight fly rod will hardly make a dent in your bank account, but it’s sure to revolutionize your fly fishing experience.

You can take your casting and presentation to the next level with the Redington Vice. You won’t believe how well it casts and performs, with plenty of power behind it. But this doesn’t take away from the amazing accuracy of the casts you’ll make with this fly rod. I’m just surprised it’s not more popular in fly fishing circles!

The Redington Vice is sure to exceed your expectations. While it isn’t made with the top materials around, it’s sturdy and durable. And as it comes with a lifetime warranty, if it does happen to get damaged, the company will repair or replace it for you.

The Good

  • High levels of accuracy and control
  • Suited to all fly anglers, no matter how much experience you have
  • You can cast a good long distance with this trusty fly rod
  • Fast action and soft tip allow you to get amazing natural presentation
  • This rod also comes with a lifetime warranty, so you don’t need to worry if it breaks or gets damaged

The Bad

  • Not the most attractive design
  • The alignment dots can be tricky to see

Maxcatch 3 Wt Medium Fast Premier Fly Rod IM8

Maxcatch’s aim with the 3 Weight Premier IM8 was to create a budget rod that would feel, look, and perform like a much more expensive fly fishing rod – and we think they’ve exceeded that goal!

Maxcatch has created a superior rod with an attractive design and an excellent performance. The Maxcatch 3 Weight Premier is a four-piece rod that comes with its own case that’s sturdy enough to stand up to frequent travel.

It’s clear that no detail has been overlooked here, from the precise alignment dots to the smooth stripping guides and the feel of the cork. No one will know that you’re fishing with a ‘budget rod’ when you arrive at the lake with this beauty.

You’ll love the feel of this rod, and your casts will be smooth and accurate with a natural presentation. For this price, you simply can’t beat the 3 weight Maxcatch Premier IM8. It’s definitely a strong contender for the title of the best 3 wt fly rod.

The Good

  • Attractive design
  • High-quality materials used in the construction
  • This fast action rod will give you both distance and accuracy
  • Easy to cast, even at longer distances give you both distance and accuracy
  • You get a one year ‘No Hassle’ return warranty, plus lifetime repair warranty

The Bad

  • The handle and reel seat are the only parts that feel lower quality than the rest of the rod

If you’re looking for even more suggestions for the greatest fly rods around at 3 wt, check out this interesting discussion.

fisherman in small creek

The Wrap Up

So there you have our recommendations for the best-fly rods (3 weights) on the market. The best fly rods manage to combine precision and accuracy with power and control. Other important factors are the ease of casting and the durability, craftsmanship, and materials used to make the rod.

Whether you’re looking for a budget rod to get started with ultralight fishing or you’re looking to upgrade your current 3 weight, you won’t go wrong with any of the rods listed here.

So get yourself to your nearest fly fishing shop to try out these awesome rods, and hit the river for some epic fishing!

Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing…
High Performance, Medium-Action Graphite; 4 Piece Rod with Hard Canvas Case and EXTRA Tip Section!

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