Over the past couple of years accelerated by COVID 19, fly fishing has become an increasingly popular outdoor activity. Whether it be for a city-bound couple who want to get out in nature more or for a seasoned fly fishing junkie who just wants even more time fishing.
The fact is more people are getting into the sport of fly fishing which is amazing and the demand for more information to assist in decision making on what gear, combos to buy is forever increasing.
|Cabela’s Bighorn Fly Combo||Check Today's Price|
|Maxcatch Premier Combo||Check Today's Price|
|Echo Base Kit||Check Today's Price|
|Orvis Encounter Outfit||Check Today's Price|
|Redington Crosswater Outfit Fly Combo||Check Today's Price|
|Redington VICE Combo||Check Today's Price|
|Sage Foundation Outfit||Check Today's Price|
|TFO NXT Black Label||Check Today's Price|
These days one gets loads of information on the internet and the traditional visit to the fly shop isn’t a necessity anymore.
As a beginner, it can be very daunting having to decide what fly rod combo to buy. What is a fly rod combo? Generally speaking, it consists of a fly rod and reel loaded with backing and fly line. It can be a very basic rod and reel setup or a specifically designed fly fishing combo. Whichever it is, it’s generally ready to fish immediately.
If you know someone who is looking to get into fly fishing then any of these combos make one of the best fly fishing gifts you could give them.
There are two questions one should ask themselves when in the market for a new fly rod combo. Question one, what do I want to catch on the rod and reel? The second question is, where will I be fishing for most of my time with the rod combo? This may sound like a slightly odd question but I will explain the importance of it over the next few paragraphs.
Ok, so the ‘what do I want to catch with my combo?’ is going to steer you in the main direction for your purchase. Let’s say you want to target trout on your home waters, then a 3- 4weight combo would probably be your best choice. With this combo, you will be able to comfortably fish a smaller creek or a larger running river.
The combo will most likely have a WF 3/4 floating line on the reel which will be perfect for the above-mentioned conditions. Some of the fly fishing combos come with a spare spool which allows you to have a second spooled line which is very handy when you need to be versatile.
If still, waters are what you have in mind, then the above combo would also be ok but a 4/5 weight rod and reel combo would be more efficient in turning over those heavier streamer patterns. A 4/5 weight rod reel combo would also be great for the larger rivers and streams that are known for their bulkier fish, again this rod and reel combo would just have a bit more backbone for distance casting and controlling those heavier flies.
If you are interested in light salt fly fishing then you need to look at heavier fly fishing combos. A 6/7/8 weight rod and reel combo would be the entry point in weight, up to a possible 9/10/11 weight rod combo. If you are shopping for something that big then chatting to your local guide at the fly shop would be recommended as these rod and reel combos are a little more pricey and need to be of a certain quality as you are targeting much bigger and powerful fish.
Choosing a 6/7/8 weight fly rod and reel combo will give you the ability to fish an array of salt waters and target many different salt species as well as a few larger freshwater ones as well. The combo would do great for bonefish in the tropics, smaller redfish or, even the occasional sea-run trout. When you find yourself in the situation of going to target bass, carp, larger trout then this combo is great as well.
The second question ‘ where will I be fishing ?’ is more important in freshwater combos than in salt combos mainly because with salt you generally have plenty of room to cast in whereas on the small streams you often find yourself fishing a tiny little overgrown beat with a high brush where a back cast is near impossible. So if skinny overgrown creeks are what you want to fish then a 9′ rod combo would often be too long and become an issue when trying to cast. Stepping it down to a 2/3 weight rod will also solve the length issue as these rod and reel combos come in lengths 7′ t 8’6 mostly with the exceptions of specific nymphing fly rods.
In an opposite scenario and you are wanting to strictly fish still waters then a longer 10′ 4/5 weight rod will help you with getting a longer more controlled cast and if fishing from a bank it keeps the line higher off the water which has its advantages. Most of the rods in these brackets are classed as a medium to fast fly rod which is a perfect fly rod combo, to begin with, and practice your casting.
Best Fly Rod And Reel Combos
Cabela’s Bighorn Fly Combo
With a quality to price ratio that will be hard to beat in today’s world and if you have a limited budget this a great fly rod and reel purchase. The quality of this fly fishing combo is fantastic, with moderate action it will be suitable for all beginner fly fishing enthusiasts. Replacing the well-known Cabela’s Three Forks kit that served us well for over 10 years, the Bighorn fly rod and reel was released in 2018.
Cabela’s GI technology improvements resulted in an improved division of the graphite used for the appropriate action fly rod blank. GI, GII, GIII labeling is now used to classify the fly rod actions from moderate to fast. GI being the slowest and GII which is a moderate to fast action fly rod. This Bighorn fly rod is a moderate to fast rod this allows for easier short to medium-length casts which is ideal for a beginner to learn on.
Along with the casting pros of the fly rod, it has a lovely soft last third of the rod which helps with line breaks on fish that take harder than normal, this is especially important for the confidence of the beginner angler as we know confidence is everything.
The reel and fly line isn’t bad at all either. With the reel being redesigned to be smoother and lighter, it has a Rulon drag system and a large arbor design to help with line memory. It balances the 9′ fly rod perfectly allowing ease in casting and line control. The line is a weight-forward floating line (WFF) which is perfect for this rod and reel. It can’t compare to a the best fly line but that’s not its point. Its there to load the fly rod correctly and give a smooth cast and retrieve. The best fly rod in this range would be the 9′ 5 weight rod and reel
- 4 piece 9′ 5 weight medium fast fly rod, best for most applications
- Large arbor, Rulon disc drag fly reel with WF 5F fly line
- Cabela’s Prestige Plus reel optional upgrade for an extra $20
Check out our post here on the Best Beginner Fly Rod if you are interested.
Maxcatch Premier Combo
Complete with everything a beginner fly angler needs to get started and out on the water. Retailing for around $149 and ranging from a 3/4 weight to a 7/8 weight combo, the Maxcatch Premier combo is not to be overlooked. The TB carbon-designed fly rod has a 5 layer graphite composition which gives the fly rod a fast action. It also gives 25% more strength while reducing the weight by 15%.
The Avid fly reel is one of the best stand-alone choices in their reel range, so the fact that it comes as part of this combo is great. It is an aluminum machined frame with concealed disc drag system. The large arbor allows for quick line retrieval and less line memory. The drag is smooth and will be able to hold up to 100FT weight forward fly line. What makes this one of the best fly fishing combos is that it comes with a whole bunch of additional extras that a beginner would have to otherwise buy separately.
- Premier 4 pieces fast action fly rod
- An AVID fly reel spooled with WFF (weight forward floating) fly line and backing line
- Tippet spool and 3 x 9’tapered leaders
- A waterproof fly box filled with 10 general flies (it’s pretty small so we recommend any of the best fly box options here.
- Retractable zinger and line nipper tool
- Protective rod case
Echo Base Kit
The Echo Base Kit isn’t considered the best fly rod and reel combo on the market but if you are wanting a dependable fly fishing combo that will be able to cover most applications then this is the rod and reel combo for you. Delivering accurate lengthy casts whilst still having a light hand feel to it makes it an attractive fly fishing combo and for $189 it is affordable for most.
The fly rod has a medium action, making it ideal for beginners as well as being a preferred choice by an experienced fly fisherman who likes that slower more classic action in a fly rod. With the ability to accurately send a fly line 50 plus feet with ease it’s ideal for those who don’t need to present flies too delicately. From size 10 nymphs up to larger streamers, you will be covered.
The Base fly reel is a great general reel, ideal for beginners or as a backup for a more experienced fly fisherman. Made from composite plastic it’s lightweight and extremely durable. Coming in sizes 3/4 weight, 4/5 weight and in a 7/8 weight it can service most fly fishing situations. With a silent retrieve and closed disc drag system, this fly reel won’t be giving any problems on or off the water. The V-shaped arbor allows for greater line capacity which is especially helpful on the larger weighted fly fishing combos. Available in 4wt up to 8wt combos they are the penultimate fly fisherman’s combo.
- Echo base 4 piece fly rod in weights 4 to 8
- Echo Base fly reel spooled with 100 yards WFF fly line and Dacron backing
- 9′ 2X leader
- Fly rod and reel combined case
Orvis Encounter Outfit
The Orvis Encounter fly rod and reel combo at $169 are one of the most affordable rod and reel combos you can buy and many have referred to it as the best fly fishing combo in its price range. Orvis has six of its rod and reel combos available for under $200 with an exception of the 10′ 7 weight, it makes this combo extremely popular. Whether for a beginner or as a backup fly rod and reel combo for an experienced fly fisherman it is very affordable and has only received great feedback.
With Orvis being a household name in the fly fishing world it’s no surprise the fly rod in the combo offers exceptional value for money. Being called the best budget-friendly fly rod and reel combo available.
The Orvis fly rod is made of graphite material giving it a medium to fast action that sections into four pieces. Ranging from 8’6 5 wt to a 9′ 8wt with the 9′ 5wt fly rod which will serve you in most fishing conditions. It has a soft touch allowing a good fly line feel and contact with the fly. The reel seat is made from anodized aluminum giving it robustness that can be used in various conditions without any worries as long as you wash it after.
The Orvis fly reel is made from composite plastic that has a large arbor that prevents line memory. The composite plastic can be a turn-off for some but the fly reel doesn’t let you down and is a trustworthy companion to have whilst fishing. With a concealed drag system no grit or sand will affect its performance and with a smooth outgoing construction, it can hold its own with larger salmon and lighter salt species.
Boasting a score of 4.7 out of 5 in the reviews section this is a great overall combo. Maybe even the best fly rod combo in its price range.
- 4-piece fly rod
- Smooth, crisp performing reel with the concealed drag
- WFF (weight -forward floating) line, Dacron backing
- 1 x basic tapered leader
For our full Orvis Encounter Review see our post here.
Redington Crosswater Outfit Fly Combo
Redington is no new name in the fly fishing world, they have been innovators of countless gear items and technical advancements over the years. Their combos are no different. Providing their clients with exceptional quality at very competitive prices. ranging from 4wt up to 8wt fly fishing combos there really is a combo for all applications. Starting at $169 for the 7’6 4wt fly fishing combo.
The rod has classed a medium to fast action with many saying it could be classed as a faster action fly rod but these are small things that are specific to each fly fisherman. A simple cork handle makes for a very comfortable grip over a long day of fly fishing. The alignment dots and hook keeper are great extras, which some say should be standard on ALL fly rods. Overall the rod almost makes this fly fishing combo that will work for all fly fisherman.
The fly reel with a polymer frame with a Rulon disk drag that has a backing capacity of 100 yards which is great for the larger fly fishing combos. With an easy left and right changing guide it makes for a very versatile fly reel. Not having the best reviews for holding back larger fish as the drag isn’t as smooth as needed under those pressures but it can be useful on a quick pickup or run. A great addition to this combo is the RIO WF line that is provided. RIO is a leader in fly line manufacturing and technologies and being part of this fly fishing combo makes this combo even more attractive.
- 4 piece, moderate to fast action fly rod
- Anodized aluminum reel seat perfect for most water conditions
- Alignment dots and hook keeper
- Rod comes with cotton rod sock and Cordura protective fly rod tube
- CROSSWATER reel spooled with RIO mainstream WF fly line
- Limited 1-year warranty
Redington VICE Combo
Having spoken about Redington and their cult following in the above paragraph, the VICE fly fishing combo is no exception. With a more classic approach to this fly fishing combo, it has the more traditional fly fisherman in mind during its design. Priced at $299 it can be considered a medium-range fly fishing combo and would appeal to most mid-range fly fisherman.
The fly fishing rod has a multi-modulus carbon fiber construction which offers a faster recovery during casting and increased line accuracy and control of flies. The fly fishing rods are made in a range of weights to meet the needs of all anglers.
The Redington I.D reel being part of this combo and with its already popular reputation as a stand-alone fly reel, just makes this fly fishing combo even better. With aluminum construction and Rulon, stainless steel drag construction it gives a smooth non-jerky outline and retrieves. Having the capacity for 100 yards of backing then your fly line will be sufficient to fish in most conditions. The ‘CLICK’ drag for both out and retrieved lines is loved by some and not by others but that’s a personal preference. One of the unique things about the I.D fly reel is its custom design of decals on the drag knob end face which allows the fly fisherman to customize the reel to their liking. Spooled with the RIO Mainstream WF fly line the fly fishing combo is complete.
- 4 piece fast action rod
- I.D fly reel with optional custom decals
- The machined aluminum reel seat
- Rio mainstream fly line
- Protective fly rod and reel hard case
- Lifetime Warranty
For our full Redington Vice Review see our post here.
Sage Foundation Outfit
With over 35 years of experience in rod building, the Sage team brings the foundation series fly fishing rod and reel kit. With the rod a high-performance blank (Graphite IIIe) it delivers a fast action rod that is packed with power and delivers a subtle presentation. At $649 it’s not an entry-level fly fishing setup and is recommended for a more experienced fly fisherman. This faster rod can cause some problems for a beginner so someone with more casting experience would be more suited for one of these fly fishing combos.
The Sage rods come in weights 4 to 8 with the 7an d 8 weights having the additional fighting butts. Pairing with the foundation rod is the Sage 2200 fly reel. This machined fly reel has a large arbor for great line retrieval and line memory prevention. The SCS drag design gives it a beautiful smoothness and unlimited stopping power. An all-around great addition to the combo, giving you the best fly fishing experience possible.
- SAGE Foundation 4 piece fly rod
- SAGE 2200 series reel
- RIO Gold fly line
- 20 lbs backing
- Tapered 9’leader
- Protective case
See also our full Sage Foundation Review here.
TFO NXT Black Label
These high-performing budget-friendly fly fishing combos are giving a novice fly fisherman a great base, to begin with. The NXT Black Label combo is actually the TFO Pro II which is a medium-fast blank that is very forgiving to a novice, provides delicate presentations when needed, and has enough power to load and shoot a long line as well. With aluminum oxide stripping guides and chromium-impregnated stainless-steel snake guides the fly fishing combo can comfortably be used in freshwater or salt. The fly fishing combo comes in a 5wt or 8wt covering most fishing scenarios.
The fly reel is a machined aluminum NXT BLK II available in the matching 5wt or 8 wt range. The stainless steel disc drag system provides a very smooth operation ensuring smooth outgoing lines and great line retrieval. Spool with a premium WF fly line with welded loops and 80 yards of dacron backing this truly is one of the best fly rod combos available and selling for $219 is a great buy.
- 4 piece rod blank
- The machined aluminum fly reel
- Premium WF fly line with dacron backing
- Protective combo case
- No-fault lifetime warranty
With so many choices and budget-pleasing combos available today, there is literally a combo for everyone. Just remember to ask yourself those two important questions of ”what’ and ‘where’ and you will be on your way to your next fly fishing combo purchase.
Happy fishing and tight lines.