The Best 5 Weight Fly Rods in 2022 – Buyers Guide

best 5 weight fly rods
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In this article, I’ll look at the best 5 weight fly rods on the market today. As many of these 5 weight fly rods are on the high-end side of the spectrum, I included more affordable alternatives from the same manufacturers.

Also, I share some thoughts on how to select the best fly rod suited to your needs. Keeping things like price, action, intended application, and after-sales service all play a significant part when choosing a 5 weight fly rod.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallG Loomis NRX+ LP
  • Top Clas Finish
  • Slow action, Fast Rod
  • Very Lightweight
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to G Loomis NRXG Loomis IMX Pro
  • Durable & Powerful
  • Versatile
  • Affordable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest GripSage X
  • Light Blank
  • Easy Casting
  • Comfortable Grip
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Sage XSage Foundation
  • Very Affordable
  • Strong & Durable
  • Lifetime Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost DurableHardy Zephrus FWS
  • Affordable
  • Built on Sintrix 440 material
  • Durable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Hardy Zephrus FWSHardy Shadow
  • Same Premium Material
  • Lightweight & Cheaper
  • Excellent Primary or Backup rod
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost AccurateOrvis Helios 3F
  • Very Accurate
  • Super Lightweight
  • Excellent Design
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Orvis Helios 3FOrvis Clearwater
  • High Value – Low Cost
  • Made in USA
  • 20 Years Warranty
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost LightweightScott Centric
  • Ultra-light
  • Easy To Control
  • Premium Fast Action
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flyfisherpro-table__imageAlternative to Scott CentrixScott Flex
  • More Affordable
  • Slower recovery Rate
  • Has More Bend
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G Loomis NRX+ LP

G.Loomis NRX+ LP


  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 9′
  • Weight: Not disclosed

G Loomis replaced the old and legendary NRX with the new NRX+ fly rod. Together with the upgrades, they brought out a new NRX+ LP rod designed to suit most freshwater dry fly anglers’ needs.

The NRX+ LP only comes in a 9′ configuration. In my opinion, this is the perfect length for almost all applications, especially those where the LP will be used most. The action is forgiving and surprisingly slow, which I prefer over ultra-fast rods.

The finishes are all top class and exactly what you’d expect from G Loomis. The slightly understated look suits the intended application, which is to be an excellent trout catching tool you’ll use for many years to come.

Anglers who prefer fast action rods can also look at G Loomis’ NRX+ Freshwater, which comes in 3 lengths. The standard NRX+ has a much quicker action and better suited to streamer and nymph fishing.

Affordable Alternative – G Loomis IMX Pro

g loomis imx pro


  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 9′ and 10′
  • Weight: Not disclosed

A cheaper alternative to the NRX+ is the IMX Pro. Yes, it does not have the LP’s subtleness and sensitivity, but it’s perfect for all other purposes. It’s a powerful, durable, and fun rod to fish for almost half the price.

Sage X

Sage X Fly Rod


  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 8’6″, 9′, 9’6″, and 10′
  • Weight (9′ 5wt model): 2.69oz

The Sage X 5wt is a ridiculously good rod. Personally and honestly, I don’t like the 3 – 4wt models that much as they’re too fast for the intended application. But, from 5wt upward, the X hits the sweet spot.

The rod is built on Sage’s KonneticHD technology, making for a lighter blank with unreal recovery rates. What this translates into is a fishing tool that you’ll feel comfortable casting tight loops with the entire day.

The blank has a black spruce finish with dark green thread and metallic grey trim wraps. You’ll find a black anodized uplocking reel seat at the bottom of the rod that features a Vera wood insert. The grip is made from Flor grade cork, and on the line guide side of things, you’ll find Fuji ceramic stripper guides and hard-chromed snake guides.

Affordable Alternative – Sage Foundation

sage foundation


  • Action: Medium fast
  • Lengths: 9′
  • Weight: 3.06oz

Sage offers quite a number of cheaper alternatives to the X. This, the Foundation, is the most affordable of them all. It is built on the older Graphite IIIe platform, which makes the rod strong and durable.

This rod offers exceptional value as it comes with a full lifetime warranty and is built in the USA. If you’re looking for a spare rod 5wt rod, this is a great option.

Hardy Zephrus FWS

Hardy Zephrus FWS


  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 8’6″, 9′, and 10′
  • Weight (9′ 5wt model): 2.9oz

The Zephrus replaced Hardy’s legendary Zenith rod. It is a cracker of a rod and, actually, a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than most of the other premium brands. However, there are no drawbacks at all.

The Zephrus is built on Hardy’s award-winning Sintrix 440 material. I’ve used the Zephrus SWS in Seychelles for an extended period and must say that I am surprised about its durability.

The FWS features an olive lank, Fuji titanium stripper guides, and REC black pearl recoil guides. It is very light in hand and an absolute pleasure to cast.

Affordable Alternative – Hardy Shadow

hardy shadow


  • Action: Medium fast
  • Lengths: 9′
  • Weight: 2.8oz

The Hardy Shadow fly rod uses the same material family as the premium Zephrus, but this time the Sintrix 220. The result is a slower rod, but which weighs slightly less. The Shadow is one of the lightest affordable alternatives on our list.

Once again, an excellent primary or backup rod.

Orvis Helios 3F

orvis helios 3f


  • Action: Fast with a soft tip
  • Lengths: 8’6″, 9′, and 10′
  • Weight: Not disclosed

After the success of the Helios 2, Orvis decided to revamp their premium rod range with one thing in mind – accuracy. They didn’t specifically design the new Helios 3 to be the lightest or fastest rod on the planet. No, the Helios 3F’s sole purpose is to present a fly accurately, and isn’t that what fly fishing is all about?

The Orvis Helios 3F has a slower action than its brother, the 3D. This action makes it more suited to presenting small streamers and dry flies to actively feeding fish.

The rod has a matte black finish with black main thread wraps and green accents. A black aluminum reel seat has a matte black carbon spacer that suits the rod’s overall look well. On the rod’s line guide side, it has SiC and titanium stripper guides with REC recoil snake guides.

Affordable Alternative – Orvis Clearwater

orvis clearwater


  • Action: Medium fast
  • Lengths: 8’6″, 9′, and 10′
  • Weight: Not disclosed

If you’re looking for a high-value and low-cost alternative to the Helios 3F, the Orvis Clearwater range might be just what you’re after. At just under $200, you get a good feeling medium-fast action rod with Orvis’ legendary 20-year warranty.

If you’re looking for an affordable alternative made in the same US facility as the Helios 3F, look at the Recon series. It’s one of those rods that can easily hold up to rods double its price.

Scott Centric

scott centric


  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 9′, 9’6″, and 10′
  • Weight: Not disclosed

The new Centric is Scott’s premium fast-action freshwater rod. It is ultra-light and has an impressive recovery rate. It’s one of those rods that is just such a pleasure to fish with you’d rather make another false cast than deliver to a rising fish. Experienced anglers will find it easy to control loop size and line speed.

The Centric is available in three lengths, each suited to an intended application. The rod’s grip is made from Flor grade cork, and the new titanium stripper guides have Zirconia inserts.

If you’re looking for a special 5wt fly rod that will make you enjoy your day out even more – the Centric is it.

Affordable Alternative – Scott Flex

scott flex


  • Action: Fast
  • Lengths: 8’6″, 9′, and 10′
  • Weight: Not disclosed

The Scott Flex is their more affordable freshwater rod, coming in at almost half the Centric’s cost. Yes, the Centric is remarkable and an incredible fishing tool, but I don’t think twice as good as the Flex.

What I like about the Flex is the slightly slower recovery rate. Most rods these days try and make everything faster, but with a detriment to feel. As the name suggests, the Flex has more bend, dare I say, more life to it.

As you’d expect from Scott, all components are top-notch, and the Flex is made in the same factory as the Centric.

How to Choose the Best 5 Weight Fly Rod

4 weight fly rod choosing the

In this section, I’ll share my thought on the consideration you need to keep in mind when setting out to buy a new 5wt rod. Even if you buy the most expensive and high-end fly rod out there, it will not necessarily be the best option suited to you. So, we’ll look at the impact of price, intended application, and after-sales service when selecting the best 5wt fly rod.

For more selection on fly rod weights see our following reviews:


I think this sort of speaks for itself. Buy a more expensive rod, and you’ll get the best fishing setup, right? Well, in a sense. A thought that I would like to run past you is to instead look at the complete 5wt setup you’re going to fish with. Do you already have a reel and fly line? Or do you also have to purchase those?

If so, and if you only have a limited budget, I recommend backing off what you’d spend on the rod and buy the best fly line you can. A high quality and premium fly line make a massive difference to how well your rod will cast. Then buy the best rod with the remaining money.

For most 5wt freshwater applications, a low-cost 5wt reel will suffice.


The intended application has, in my opinion, an influence on both the length and action of the rod. Read on to find out why.


As you all know, the 5wt line weight is exceptionally versatile. If there’s a single rod weight that can be used across most of the freshwater fishing techniques, species, and locations, it’s the five. Adding even more flexibility to the 5wt is the range of lengths they come in. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular rod lengths available:


An 8’6” 5wt is ideal if you regularly fish off a boat. The slightly shorter length makes landing fish easier from a floating craft, and you’ll snap fewer tips. One other benefit of a 8’6” is that it is easier to form smaller loops than longer rods. Small loops penetrate easier into the wind, making the 8’6” a better choice in these scenarios than, say, a 10’.


The best allrounder. If I can only have one 5wt or even one freshwater fly rod, I would choose a 9’ 5wt. It’s short enough for tight fishing scenarios and from boats and can form tight loops. Yet, it has a slightly longer reach, which helps to control drifts and line drag.


Move onto the longer rods, and you’re entering into the nymphing world. Yes, an advanced caster can still form excellent narrow casts, and the rod can still be used in tight situations. But this is not where a 10’ 5wt shines. The extra length makes controlling natural drifts possible, and the tip is often very sensitive to detect subtle takes.


4 weight fly rod action

These days it seems that the manufacturers try to make fly rods as fast as possible. In effect, today’s 5wts are very close to the 6, or even 7wts, of yesterday. That being said, they do this for a specific reason.

A fast action rod, if cast correctly, can generate very high line speeds and form very narrow loops. They also have great recovery rates. All of this is pretty darn great if you’re an experienced caster, but I don’t think it suits most anglers, particularly beginners.

A beginner fly caster needs to learn how to feel the cast. With this, I mean they must get used to feeling the rod loading. A fast action rod simply does not convey enough feedback for this purpose, making it very hard to learn on them. In my opinion, beginner anglers are better off learning with a medium-fast action rod.

Be realistic about angling and casting ability when looking to buy a rod. Before buying a rod, head out to your local fly shop and take some for a spin. The correct rod will be enjoyable to fish with, which means it will spend more time on the water and less time in the cupboard.

After Sales Service

Most of the rods on our list come with a full lifetime warranty to the original owner. This warranty covers any defects in materials and craftsmanship. These days, rods very seldomly have to go in for these reasons.

Ensure that the rod brand you are choosing has a trustworthy after-sales service, not only a warranty. Fly rods do break. It’s a part of fishing. Having the peace of mind that you’re able to have a rod repaired within a week or two is a must.


I hope that you found this article helpful. You can go for the G Loomis NRX+ LP if you want a top class finish and lightweight rod.

My intent was to share the best 5wts on the market and show you that there are excellent alternatives from the same manufacturers. Many of these options are made in the same facilities and using the same materials.

Please share the article with your fellow anglers and friends.

Until next time.

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