Best Fly Rod for Bass

This article is dedicated to the bass angler. Whether it's smallmouth bass or largemouth bass. We reviewed the best rods for bass that will definitely suit your needs.
best fly rods for bass

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This article is dedicated to the bass angler. Whether it’s smallmouth bass or largemouth bass, any one of the rods below will serve you well. Included in the list are premium, mid-priced, and more affordable options which means there’s a rod for every bass angler out there. 

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallSage X
  • Lightweight
  • Great Action
  • Powerful Blank
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flyfisherpro-table__imageEcho’s Most Powerful and Fastest RodEcho EPR
  • High-Performance
  • Stainless Steel Line Guides
  • Aluminum Reel Seat
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest GripG Loomis IMX-Pro
  • Durable
  • Sturdy Fighting Butts
  • Maintenance-Free Aluminum Reel Seats
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost VersatileThomas & Thomas Zone
  • Saltwater Ready
  • Very Accurate Under 60ft
  • Aluminum Reel Seat
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost AccurateOrvis Helios 3D
  • Lightweight Reel Seat
  • 25-Year Warranty
  • Comfortable Grip
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost Advanced MaterialsDouglas Sky G
  • Lighweight
  • Titanium recoil line
  • Two Locking Nut Real Seat
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest ValueMoonshine Outcast
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Has A Spare Tip Section
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flyfisherpro-table__imageMost LightweigtTemple Fork Outfitters BVK
  • Highly Responsive
  • Saltwater Ready
  • Lightweight
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The Best Bass Fly Rods

Below, I look at what I believe are the best fly rods available for bass fishing. You’ll notice that the price range varies considerably between all of the rods featured, but all are on the high-end scale. 

Sage X

Sage X Fly Rod

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing, Amazon, Wyoming Fly Fishing, Tackle Direct, Bass Pro Shop, Hunterbanks

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8 weight 
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): 3.44 oz
  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Great action, very light in hand, and made in the USA
  • Cons: Expensive

The Sage X is one of the best multi-purpose rods on the market, and both the 7 weight rods and 8 weight models are an absolute pleasure to fish with. The X is built on Sage’s most advanced KonneticHD technology, which results in a lightweight yet powerful blank. 

The rod’s action is fast but not so much so that it’s uncomfortable to cast with. It’s one of those sticks you fish with without continually fighting it – it just does what it’s supposed to do. 

The 7 and 8 weight models’ finish and components are top-notch and saltwater ready, which makes the Sage X an ideal cross-over rod. On the line guides side, you’ll find Fuji ceramic stripper guides and hard-chromed snaked guides, and tip-top. As with all Sage’s premium rods, the cork used on both the grip and fighting butt is flawless.

The Sage X comes with a black rod sock and is shipped in a green powder-coated aluminum rod tube. 

For our full Sage X Review see our post here.

Echo EPR

echo EPR

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8wt
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): 4,4 oz
  • Action: Ultra-fast
  • Pros: Powerful
  • Cons: Slightly on the heavy side, beginner anglers will find the action of the rod challenging to master

The Echo EPR is a no-fuss high-performance fishing tool ideal for targeting bass. The rod is both Echo’s most powerful and fastest rod, making it ideal for throwing big flies, tight loops, and dealing with heavy wind. To achieve this, Echo rod designers make use of lightweight high-modulus carbon fiber. 

As you’d expect from a rod of this caliber, the EPR is saltwater ready, featuring stainless steel line guides and an aluminum reel seat. 

Compared to some of the other rods out there, the EPR is not the lightest bird in the flock. However, this weight is not apparent as soon as you start fishing. Once you hook into a big bass, you’ll be happy the EPR has a ton of power.

Echo ships the EPR in a black rod sock and fabric-covered tube, big enough to accommodate two rods. 

G Loomis IMX-Pro

g loomis imx pro

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing, Amazon, Tackle Direct, Bass Pro Shop, Cabelas

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8 weight
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): not disclosed
  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: High powered rod and very durable
  • Cons: Action might feel a bit tight for some anglers

In my opinion, the single fish species that suits the IMX-Pro the best is bass. This G Loomis rod has a fast action and solid feel in hand. It’s a perfect streamer rod designed without any pretensions. 

Both the 7 and 8 weight models have sturdy fighting butts, maintenance-free aluminum reel seats, and meaty grips. The IMX-Pro is exceptionally durable, making this a great option if you’re looking to buy a dedicated bass rod for the next 15 years. 

Thomas & Thomas Zone

Thomas & Thomas Zone Fly Rod

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing, Amazon

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8 weight
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): not disclosed
  • Action: Fast, but with a forgiving tip
  • Pros: Made in the USA and good at distances shorter than 60-feet
  • Cons: Not the ideal rod for distance casting

I spent a year guiding in Seychelles’ outer atolls, where the main rental rods were made by Thomas & Thomas. In my opinion, the Zone is underrated. It is an absolute joy to cast with. At fishing distances under 60-foot, it’s very accurate. Unfortunately, it does run out of steam any further than that. 

The Zone is saltwater ready, with a stunning aluminum reel seat and blue fiber insert. I also find it more forgiving to cast than its more expensive cousin, the Exocett. 

The rod has a natural spiral carbon finish, reminding one of a Scott. The stripper guide has a titanium frame with a Zirconium insert and Snake Brand E-coated line guides. It is shipped in a sand-colored rod sock and brushed aluminum tube. 

Orvis Helios 3D

Orvis Helios 3D

Available at: Trident Fly FishingAmazon, Hunterbanks

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8 weight
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): not disclosed
  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Very accurate and a pleasure to cast
  • Cons: Expensive

The Orvis Helios 3D is probably one of the best saltwater rods released in the last couple of years. But, it’s not only suitable for the salty stuff. The 7 and 8 weight rods models make for excellent bass fishing weapons. The action is ideal for this application as the rod can generate high line speed to carry bulky flies. It does this accurately and comfortably. 

The 3D has a substantial fighting butt, type II black anodized aluminum reel seat, and titanium stripper guides with SiC inserts. To ensure the durability of the new Helios, Orvis included recoil REC snake guides in the build.

Orvis offers the 8wt Helios in a custom design as part of an artist collaboration for the angler looking for something different. Artist Tim Johnson engraved a cool-looking feeding bonefish on the rod’s grip.

The helios is shipped in a rod sock and a white and black aluminum rod tube.  For more on this rod you can see our full Orvis Helios 3 review here.

Douglas Sky G

douglas sky G

Available at: Trident Fly Fishing

  • Models available for bass: 8 weight
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): 3.6 oz
  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Very light and has a great action
  • Cons: Expensive

Released in 2020, the Douglas Sky G is one serious fly rod. The 5-weight version won the best rod in the 2020 Yellowstone Angler shootout – mightily impressive. 

The blank is built using a multi-modulus construction allowing the rod designers to optimally tune the design. But, it’s not only in the blank that you’ll find advanced materials. Titanium recoil line and stripper guides are used to ensure the durability of the Sky G. The aluminum reel seat has two locking nuts to keep the reel securely in place.

The Sky G comes in a moisture-wicking rod sock in a powder-coated aluminum tube. 

The Best Affordable Bass Fly Rods

So, what if you don’t want to spend north of $500 on a bass fly rod? Well, I happy to tell you that there are many options out there for way less. Here are two of my favorites.

Moonshine Outcast

moonshine outcast

Available at: Amazon

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8 weight
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): 3.7 oz
  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Light and comes with a spare tip section
  • Cons: The blanks aren’t made in the USA

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with the Moonshine Outcast and can confidently say this is a proper fly rod. It is lightweight, has good looks, quality components, and costs less than $300. 

One of the things that I like the most about Moonshine fly rods is that they ship most of their rods with a spare tip section. Yip, that’s right. So, if you accidentally break a tip on a fishing trip, you can simply pop on the new one, and you’re good to go. That’s what I call forward-thinking. 

The Outcast is designed for saltwater use, but the rod’s action makes it ideal for throwing large streamers and poppers to angry bass.

The Moonshine Outcast is shipped in a fabric-covered rod tube with five segments for each rod section, including the spare tip.

See also our Moonshine Rods Review for a full breakdown of all rods by Moonshine.

Temple Fork Outfitters BVK

tfo bvk

Available at: Amazon

  • Models available for bass: 7 and 8 weight
  • Weight (9′ 8wt): 3.2 oz
  • Action: Fast
  • Pros: Very light
  • Cons: The reel seat is not designed for heavy saltwater use (if you’d want to use it as a cross-over rod)

The Temple Fork Outfitters BVK is another absolute bargain. It is the lightest of all the rods on our list, including the Sage X. It has a forgiving action, but it’s fast enough to throw large bass flies and small loops. 

I’ve owned an 8wt BVK for the last six years and have caught all kinds of fish with it, including bonefish and smallmouth bass. Out of all my 8-weight fly rods, the BVK is still the one I reach for most often. 

The only downside to the rod is its reel seat. On paper, all looks to be good with the double-uplocking aluminum rings. However, the thread on the rings are very fine and are prone to jam in serious saltwater scenarios. I know this is not a saltwater-related article, but something you need to keep in mind if you’re considering the BVK as a cross-over rod. This can, though, easily be overcome by regular maintenance. 

The BVK is shipped in a green rod sock and a black, TFO-branded, fabric-covered tube. 

See also our TFO Fly Rod Reviews for a full breakdown of fly rods by TFO.

How to Choose the Best Bass Fly Rod?

Below, I go through the thought process behind choosing the best fly rods for bass. There are thousands of options on the market that will get the job done; however, the best rods will be perfect for the job.

Price

The point of departure for any new gear acquisition, the price probably has the most significant influence on the rod you’ll end up with. As you can see above, it’s unnecessary to flog out close to $1000 to get a good rod. All rods have a compromise, but knowing what compromises you can live with and which you can’t is key.

Action

action

For any fly rod to be good at bass fishing, it needs to accurately deliver large and heavy flies. Sure, you probably, won’t be making 90-foot casts the whole day, but it needs to perform well up to at least 60-feet. 

A fast action rod suits this brief perfectly. The rod can generate high line speeds to deliver large flies and form tight loops. The downside of this action is that beginner anglers struggle to cast it. 

If you’re a beginner angler, I recommend going for a medium-fast action rod. This type of rod will still be able to get the fly in the right place but provide more feedback and time for the angler who’s honing their skills. 

Recovery Rate

Apart from price, I regard recovery rate as the second most important feature. This is what makes or destroys most rods. A rod with a slow recovery rate will wobble around after you’ve delivered the cast, whereas a rod with a good recovery rate returns to its normal state much faster. Pretty similar to the shocks in your car.

A good recovery rate ensures most of the energy generated in the casting stroke is transferred to the fly line and hence makes the cast go further and land more accurately. 

After Sales Service

Most mid-priced and premium rod companies offer an excellent after-sales service. No rod manufacturer builds their rods to break, but accidents happen. Having the peace of mind that you can have your rod repaired in a relatively short amount of time is essential. Also, knowing that the company will be around for the next 20 years is just as important. 

If you’re not 100 percent sure about a specific brand’s after-sales service, speak to your local fly fishing store. See what brands their staff and guides in your area fish with, and go that route. 

Conclusion

Whether you’re casting a bass fly to a nesting largemouth bass or a big popper to hungry smallmouth bass, all of the bass fly rods on our list will get the job done. 

I hope that you found this article helpful. Please leave any comments or questions at the bottom of the page. I would love to hear your thoughts on the rods mentioned in the article.

Until next time. 

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