best beginner fly rod

The Best Beginner Fly Rod in 2020 (The Rods We Started With)

Fly Fisher Pro is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

In our experience the best fly rod for beginners is either the Orvis Clearwater or the Redington Crosswater. They’re both well-rounded rods that deliver plenty of power, plus, they’re both backed by the lifetime warranties.

I’ve used these rods personally and they both stack up with the much more expensive rods from Sage and Hardys. For this review, our research team went through thousands of user reviews for a total of 42 hours (combined) to come up with this concise list.

Finding the right fly rod to learn with takes more than price hunting the cheapest outfit you can find. Picking the wrong setup, size & action puts you behind from the start and stunts the learning process.

The Best Beginner Fly Rods in 2020 (Quick Guide)

The following is a quick list of our most common fly rod outfits that we recommend to fly fishermen getting started. The best fly rods for beginners are:

 Fly Rod Line Weights  Price 
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod  2wt-6wt  $198
Wild Water Fly Rod Set  5/6wt  $99
Redington Crosswater Rod  4wt-8wt  $99
TFO NXT Fly Rod  4/5wt  $199
Sage Foundation Fly Rod  4wt-8wt  $325

The Best Fly Rods You Can Buy for a Beginner

Orvis Clearwater Rod

Orvis Men's Clearwater 5-Weight 9' Fly Rod

Check Current Price

Orvis is known for producing lightweight and affordable fly fishing rods and the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit is no exception. This nine-feet, five-weight fly fishing rod is great for first-time anglers looking to catch large trout. It is made of aluminium, which gives the impressive lightweight feel while providing strength and durability. The four-piece design makes it pretty convenient to carry around and cast, according to fly rod reviews.

I particularly liked its rod action; it wasn’t too fast or too slow, making any first-time angler cast like a pro. This was because of Orvis Helios tapers build and profile, which helps anglers cast with power and precision whether you are throwing large or small flies during a windy afternoon. I also noticed the standard cast aluminium Clearwater LA II or LA IV and a large arbour standard to Clearwater Outfits that come with a strong Rulon-to-stainless steel inline drag to assist anglers catch fast fish. Orvis Clearwater is also ideal for anglers fishing in a river, lake or flat and who do not want to spend a fortune.

The Good

  • Easy casting
  •   Lightweight and durable
  • The manufacturer offers a 25-year warranty
  • Comes in a four-piece set that includes a reel, leader, backing and line

The Bad

  • Slower action thank other rods

Wild Water Starter Package

Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot

Check Current Price

This fly fishing rod is ideal for fishing large game, hence the line capacity of between 5 and 6. The reel and the rod are designed for freshwater and saltwater lakes, so you don’t need to change when switching from one environment to another. Its kit comes with a rod sock that prevents the line from tangles and abrasions when you tire lures on the reel. The sock also protects the fragile tips and guides of the rod.

Scott Flex Review

I found its slow action feature incredibly impressive as it gives anglers a vast range of choices when handling a broad spectrum of fish targets; just the versatility that any fish needs when your game keeps on changing. You will also be impressed by its 5x tapered leader and the high sensitivity of the graphite composite rod, which allows the angler to detect fish strikes much easier. The aluminium oxide guides provide a smooth casting experience that gives you the medium flex for beginner angling techniques.

This rod is also pretty lightweight, portable and easy to use. The graphite composite feature combines strength and its lightweight nature to allow anglers to cast with precision. This rod has also been designed to accommodate mono-lines.

The Good

  • One of the best fly fishing rods for beginners
  • It is easy to cast
  • Pretty affordable for a beginner starter kit

The Bad

  • Not a very durable rod

Redington Crosswater

Redington Fly Fishing Combo Kit

Check Current Price

This medium action rod is easy to cast, making it one of the great fly fishing rods for beginners. Its ability to provide greater casting distance than standard fishing rods and its ample hook-setting power make it one of the best fly rods for applications that use treble hooks like crankbaits, topwater lures or recreational baits such as spinner baits.

Its four-piece design offers excellent flexibility for fishers on the go. Redington Crosswater beginner fly rod is available in single rods, and complete outfits allow professional anglers to begin fishing right away. Its graphite construction with chrome snake and stripping guides fitted with a wood insert to function as a reel seat give this fishing rod great tensile strength. It means that the fishing rod is made of little material that makes it lighter and more sensitive to fish strikes compared to other types of fishing rods.

Its laser-etched reel seats and durable anodised aluminium seat will give you great value for the money. Most cheap rods have a plastic cushion inside the metal hoods, leaving the reel prone to stain and rust. The Redington fishing rod, on the other hand, is made of aluminium and wood, which reduce the risk of stain and rust development. The feature is especially useful for anglers looking for the best fly rods for the money with medium fast action.

The Good

  • Great tip action
  • Lightweight yet durable
  • A great deal of effectiveness using its laser-etched wooden reel seat

The Bad

  • The outer frame is fragile
  • The reel comes off easily

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh


Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Lefty Kreh Professional Series II Braided Graphite Fly Fishing Rods

Check Current Price

This all-in-one Temple Fork Lefty Kreh makes the best fly fishing rods for non-experts. It features a high-performance setup that helps shorten any beginner’s learning curve while letting him develop exceptional fly fishing skills. The kit comes in a Custome Cordura case to include the backing and the leader, a light floating line and a rod.

Temple Fork Fly Fishing Outfit is made from Graphite, a high-quality material that is lightweight and durable. The rod is fitted with aluminium oxide stripping guides, an anodised aluminium reel seat, chromium-impregnated stainless steel snake guides and a highly durable composite cork handle.

Orvis Superfine Carbon Review

This fast-action rod allows anglers to catch different types of fish, including trout. The feature also means that the rod can bend half-way onwards to provide great controlling capabilities; it resumes its original form pretty fast, so it doesn’t feel stiff. You can disassemble the rod into four pieces for easy storage and packing and assemble the parts quickly whether you have prior knowledge or not. The reel is made of cast aluminium, which is durable and provides a lightweight feel when casting. Its spool is smooth and guarantees a hassle-free cast when targeting game, making it one of the top fly rod brands.

The Good

  • Its compact nature makes it easy to carry
  • Interchangeable spool design
  • Great Action for the Price

The Bad

  • It is a little fragile compared to other fishing rods

Sage Foundation

Sage Fly Fishing - FOUNDATION Outfit - Fly Rod, Reel & Line Combo

Check Current Price

Sage is one of the top fly rod brands that are known to deliver high-performance flyfishing rod varieties, and the 690-4 fly rod is no exception. It can go sub-surface using heavy nymphs and large dry flies that have droppers. There’s a lot of feel to this rod, which allows anglers to fish pretty well when using mayflies to catch trout in large and small water bodies.
The Sage operates like other modern fast-action rods; it offers effortless control and efficient casting power. It is outfitted with hard chrome snake guides, ceramic stripper guides, and a black-anodised aluminium locking reel seat. Its snub-nose cork handle gives security and comfort while its high weight feature is great for saltwater fishing. The package includes a rugged black nylon tube that has a divided liner.

The Good

The Bad

  • Expensive

How Are Fly Rods Made?

The rods are made of carbon fiber, outfitted with resin where the carbon cloth is wrapped around a mandrel and reinforced with resin to form a long slim cone called a blank.

The blank is then crashed to eliminate any unevenness that develops when using the cloth and is fitted with a reel seat and a cork handle. Guides are also whipped and layered with a transparent resin to protect the rod against the weather elements.

The developments have introduced a multitude of line ratings, different lengths, prices and rod actions, which makes buying single-handed rods an incredibly daunting process. Here is a look at fly rod history of various products and factors to consider when buying these devices.

What to Look for When Buying a Fly Fishing Rod

Fly Rod Weight

Fly rods are classified in different weights ranging from 0 to 16-weight. 0-weight rods are incredibly light rods designed for small streams and fish. 16-weights are reserved only for bluewater fishing targeting species such as tuna and marlin.

  • 0-3 Weight Rods – Small stream fishing only
  • 4-6 Weight Rods – Most Trout and Panfish
  • 7-10 Weight Rods – Steelhead and Salmon
  • 11+ Weight Rods – Saltwater fishing, Lakes, Big Fish!

The ideal rod weights for the beginner are 4 to 6-weights. These rods are light in hand and will enable you to catch a wide variety of freshwater species.

Sage Foundation Review

Choose a 4-weight if you are planning on mostly fishing smaller rivers and a 6-weight for large rivers. A 5-weight is a perfect allrounder.

Fly Rod Length

Fly rods are available in lengths that range between 6′ and 15.’ Rods under 7 and more than 10 feet are considered extreme, and beginners should avoid them. 8-9 foot rods are general purpose especially if the weight ranges from 4 to 8w. The standard length system is represented in 6” increments, ranging from 7-10. Here are specifics on how to choose the ideal fly rod length:

Less than 7 feet

They are the shortest rods and are great for shorts casts in restricted spaces. Most of them come in 2 pieces. Beginners may find it difficult to cast when using them.

7-8 foot rods

They are popular choices and are easier to throw than the 7-foot rods. The rods come in 2-piece and are ideal for casting in small water bodies.

8-9 foot rods

These are some of the best beginner fly rods types as they are easy to throw and keep the line above the vegetation on the backcast. They are available in 2, 3 and 4 piece selections.

9-10 foot rods

These kinds enhance line mending and are stronger for large water bodies and catching bigger fish.

10-12 foot rods

They are designed for saltwater fishing and casting long distances in open water.

12-15 foot rods

These are the longest and used for unique, open water environments. This unique length requires skilled casting proficiency and endurance.

Fly Rod Action

The rod action explains the way a rod flexes in response to casting. This action is determined by the blank design, materials used, and guide spacing. On the one extreme, you have slow-action rods. These rods flex deep into the butt section of the blank during the casting stroke. There are three types:

Fast action rod

These rods are stiff and most of the casting flex occurs in the tip section of the rod. A fast-action rod can generate high line speeds. Therefore, they are perfect for long-distance casts, casting into the wind, and delivering large and heavy flies.

Moderate action rod

It is not as powerful as the swift action rod and loads slower. The rod does not generate high line speeds hence, can’t cast long distances. Medium action rods are suitable for beginners as the line speeds are quite forgiving.

Slow action rod

These rods are intended for the angler that has a slow casting style. In general, these rods are better inclined towards dry fly fishing and delicate presentations. Due to the deep flex in the rod, the angler experiences good feedback from the rod and line. 

A fast-action rod conveys less feel to the caster and therefore is reserved for the more experienced angler. I recommend choosing a medium-fast action rod if you’re just starting. This action hits the sweet spot between feel and high performance. Often, you’ll find that the more affordable ranges feature this action, making them perfect for beginners.

fly rods

Fly Rod Material

Numerous fly-rod technologies have introduced a range of materials that are used to make different fly fishing rods:

What is The Best Spinning Rod (For Your Money) in 2020?


The best fly fishing rods are made of graphite. This material is light, durable, sturdy and extremely sensitive. Manufacturers continue to improve graphite fishing rods, pushing the limit for fly rod length to develop rods that are 10, 11 and even 14 feet long. Rods made of graphite are ideal for fly fishing in physically demanding environments like during strong winds and when throwing heavy nymphs and hopper-dropper rigs.


It offers a readily available alternative to traditional bamboo rods as it is light durable and flexible. Fibreglass rods are suitable for fishing with small dry flies, small streamers and light dry-dropper rigs on small to medium-sized streams. They are, however, slightly heavier than graphite rods by 0.1 ounces.


The oldest fishing rods were made of bamboo. They are designed for delicate presentations and slow casting action. Just like fibreglass rods, bamboo fly rods deliver a unique experience when battling fish.

Nano-silica resin

The technology used to make nano-silica resin rods pushes the benefits of graphite rods to new levels. Hundreds of Nano-silica particles are added to the resin to fill the gaps between cross-sections of the fibres, making resin a structural component of the rod, instead of a fill-in element.

3 fly fishing rods for beginners

Wrap up

I believe this detailed discussion has enlightened you about some of the best fly rods on the market today. Choosing the best beginner fishing rod is about knowing the right fly rod weight based on the type of game you want to catch and the kind of fly you are using, among other factors. 5-6 weight fly rods make best fly fishing rods for most beginners.

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit 905-4 – 5wt 9ft…
Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit | 9’0″ 5WT

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top