3 Best Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners

Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my 3 best fly fishing rod and reel combos for beginners this year.  Fly fishing is an extremely popular pastime and one that has taken a renewed boost in these post COVID times.  And of course as many of those taking up this sport are beginners, they will usually be looking for a good rod and reel combo to get started with.

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But as with many things to do with fishing, finding the right combo for your needs can be a little confusing.  So for those of you looking to find yourself a good beginner level rod and reel fly fishing combo, I have had a good look around and come up with 3 decent options below.

Let’s check them out…

My three recommended fly fishing rod and reel combos for beginners

I will review these in more detail below however if you just want to get moving without all the carry-on, my recommended products are listed here for your convenience: 

09/23/2022 12:44 am GMT

What are fly fishing rod and reel combos for beginners?

A beginner fly fishing combo is made for learning and working in a variety of settings as you discover what you enjoy most about being on the water.  Combos are a good option for beginners as the rod and reel are a matched set put together by the manufacturers or retailers with the advantage of reducing the need to guess what fits together.

They are paired to be well-balanced and simple enough for beginner level fishing as well. In the most basic sense, your fly fishing setup should include a rod, reel and fly line as a minimum, leaving you only to choose the relevant flies based on the type of species you will be chasing.

best fly fishing combos for beginners - fly fishing rod and reel

What should you be looking for?

In light of the above, the following considerations can assist when looking for a fly fishing rod and reel combo suitable for beginners:

Rods

When it comes to the rod element of the combo, consider the following:

  1. Length
  2. Weight
  3. Action
  4. Recovery rate
  5. Construction material
  6. Additions

Length

When it comes to beginner fly fishing, most tend to go for 8-9 foot options as they are accepted as a “middle of the road” length.  However based on your needs, you can also consider:

  1. Short fly rods: Rods under this category (under 8ft) are space savers and can be traveled with ease. Accuracy is a strong suit for short fly rods as there is less length to move around and the blank recovers faster than a comparable longer one.
  2. Long fly rods: For this type, the rod length ranges 8 feet above with the advantage of elevating the front and back cast. This keeps the fly further away from you while it whizzes back and forth. Choose a longer rod for the best line control and to quickly get around obstacles although many beginners struggle with rods of this length.

For beginners, the recommended rod length range would be 7’11” to 9’.

Weight

When you shop for fly rods, the weight rating indicates the suitable fly line for a specific rod. Fly rods range in weight from size 0 or 1 weight (lightest rod) to about a 15 weight (the heaviest). The weight of the rod is typically determined by the line weight that is paired with the rod. Ideally speaking, the weight of your line should be the same as the weight of your rod.

The best fly rod weight for beginners is around 4-6 as this setup is the most versatile and can work in a number of different waterway types.

Action

The action of a fly rod refers to where the rod bends when pressure is applied. There are varying categories for fly rod action.

  1. Fast action: Fast action rods have a lot of power. They load and unload the line quickly, resulting in high line speeds. This type of rod may be complex for beginners to use.
  2. Moderate action: A rod with a moderate or medium action is exceptionally versatile. This type is more forgiving than a fast-action rod, and it is somewhat flexible while also providing a reasonable degree of stiffness. A moderate-action rod will bend moderately for half of its length while remaining stiff in the other half during casting.
  3. Slow action: The last type of rod bends from the tip to up to three-quarters of its length. Slow action rods are commonly constructed of fiberglass and bamboo. Many anglers who fish in small streams prefer this type of rod.

As with traditional fishing rods, a beginner will be best suited with a moderate action setup.

Recovery rate

This fly rod quality simply refers to how quickly the bent rod returns to its natural, straight position. A slow-recovery rod will wobble around after you’ve delivered the cast, whereas a fast-recovery rod will return to its normal state much faster.

Another advantage of fly rods with a higher recovery rate is they ensure that most of the energy generated during the casting stroke is transferred to the fly line. Consequently, this allows the cast to travel further and land more accurately.  These are pretty good for beginners.

best fly fishing combos for beginners - man fly fishing in stream

Construction material

There are three common materials used to make fly rods. These are as below:

  1. Bamboo: This construction material is the heaviest. However, while there is an issue with the bamboo’s weight, this extra weight makes it easier to cast short line lengths with this type of rod. Bamboo is also naturally flexible due to the density variation of the fibers.
  2. Graphite: These rods are generally incredibly light. Compared with fiberglass and bamboo, graphite material is lighter and more robust which ensures that they hold more resistance with less material resulting in thinner, longer, lighter rods.
  3. Fiberglass: Glass rods are difficult to break. Because the fibers stretch much more than graphite fibers, the rod can bend much deeper. Glass rods are generally much less expensive than graphite, owing to the lower cost of the material itself.

Although all three materials will work well, fiberglass and graphite are the most selected fly rods for beginners.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Guides: These have two primary functions. Guides organize the fly lines and help distribute the force applied along the line during casting and fish fighting. Select fly rods with corrosion-resistant guides for durability.
  2. Handles: The grips and handles of a custom fly rod are also very essential. Choosing the correct handles is critical to having the right feel and fit for your hand. In light of this, look for fly rods with comfortable, non-slip handles.
  3. Rod butt: This is a part of the fly rod that the angler uses to act as a fulcrum, giving him more leverage over the fighting fish.

Reels

When it comes to the reel, consider the following:

  1. Arbor size
  2. Drag system
  3. Reel size
  4. Construction material
  5. Additions

Arbor size

A fly reel’s arbor is the diameter of the spool where the backing is attached. Essentially, the larger the arbor, the faster the retrieval of the line. Arbor sizes are classified into three categories: standard, mid-arbor, and large arbor.

The majority of modern fly reels one can find on the market today are mid-arbor or large arbor reels. A large arbor reel is recommended for beginners as you have a larger frame allowing you to hold more backing while still being able to retrieve your line quickly.

Drag system

The drag system prevents the arbor from spinning too quickly when the line is pulled off. On most reels, there is usually a tiny drag knob on the side that the user can turn to tighten or loosen the drag. This provides the necessary adjustment, such as making it harder or easier to pull off the line.

Two kinds of drag systems are available: click drag and disc drag. A disc drag system works by applying pressure to the central spool to slow down a fish and are found on most fly fishing reels on the market.

Reel size

Size is an essential factor to consider when it comes to fly reels. The main reason for this is that the fly reel must be large enough to hold the type of fly line you intend to use. The reel should also be able to balance your rod.

So if you are using a 5 or 6-weight rod, a large arbor reel in the 57 weight range can hold 100 to 200 yards of backing and 30 yards or so of a fly line. This amount of line is recommended for most Trout and Bass species.

best fly fishing combos for beginners - man fly fishing

Construction material

This feature is instrumental to the durability of any fly reel and usually constructed of  bar stock aluminum, cast aluminum, or composite as follows:

  1. Cast aluminum: It is a less expensive material for producing fly reels however flaws in the components of cast products can occur due to the introduction of outside grasses or particulates in the casting process. If this happens, there will be a weak spot at the point of contamination.
  2. Composite: These reels are typically very light. Because composite reels generally are molded rather than machined, they share some of the same issues as cast aluminum reels and composites can crack or break in frigid temperatures.
  3. Bar stock aluminum: The best quality aluminum reels are bar stock reels. They are made from single aluminum blocks with a tough finish. They are generally lighter, more resistant to drops and can withstand wear and tear.

Additions

Other potential additions include:

  1. Hand orientation: The natural way of retrieving for most people is with the opposite hand of the casting hand. However, certain fly reels have ambidextrous orientation, which is an excellent feature for providing flexibility.
  2. Cloth bag: Some products include a storage bag, such as a cloth bag. This item becomes handy for keeping your fly reel.
  3. Handle: It is best to shop for fly reels with ergonomic handles since they provide you comfort and leverage.

My three recommendations broken down

So based on the information above and my own experience, I recommend the following options:

1. PLUSINNO Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

This first fly fishing combo is an excellent beginner’s package as it is well-designed to be a learning curve for novices in the field of fly fishing.  It comes with a large arbor reel and a 4 piece rod for ease of transportation. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: PLUSINNO
  • Rod material: Graphite
  • Rod length: 8 or 9-foot rod
  • Rod action: Medium-fast
  • Reel construction material: Aluminum
  • Reel drag: Disc drag system
  • Reel gear ratio: 1:1
  • Weight: 5-weight

Other inclusions:

  • 20 flies
  • Carrying case
  • 12-month warranty

Why have I chosen it?

The fly fishing combo was designed with the beginning angler in mind.  The reel is made of rugged aluminum and the rod of durable graphite with a stainless steel stripper guide that reduces friction and heat, keeping your fishing line from breaking.  Everything you need for fly fishing is stored in the study rod case, which includes a zippered storage pouch. It’s lightweight and portable and one of the best fishing kits for beginners interested in fly fishing.


2. TOPFORT Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Starter Kit

My second product recommendation is another made for beginners and comes with a pre-installed line, backing, leader, and some flies.  See its specifications below:

  • Brand: TOPFORT
  • Rod material: IM8 Graphite
  • Rod length: 8-foot rod
  • Rod action: Medium-fast
  • Reel construction material: Aluminum
  • Reel drag: Disc drag system
  • Reel gear ratio: 1:1
  • Weight: 5/6 weight

Other inclusions:

  • 12 hand-tied flies
  • Forceps
  • Line nipper
  • Zippered case
  • 2-year warranty

Why have I chosen it?

This fly combo for beginners includes everything you’ll need to start fly fishing with a 5 and 6-weight model ideal for catching most freshwater species. This would be the best fly fishing combo for a beginner.  A graphite 8′ medium-fast action rod is included with a western-style grip of compressed cork trim rings improves casting accuracy while reducing the user’s fatigue.  It also has an adjustable CNC aluminum reel seat, which effectively prevents the loose swing phenomenon when fishing.


3. Wild Water Standard Fly Fishing Combo Starter Kit

My last fly fishing combo for beginners is a top performer with the quality of the rod and reel and the additional items offering a solid starting point for novice fly fishers. The pre-installed line is fine-tuned to help novices experience a decent catch as well. See its specifications below:

  • Brand: Wild Water
  • Rod material: Graphite
  • Rod length: 9-foot rod
  • Rod action: Medium-fast
  • Reel construction material: Die-cast aluminum
  • Reel drag: Disc drag system
  • Reel gear ratio: 1:1
  • Weight: 5/6 weight

Other inclusions:

  • Spare leader
  • Stainless nipper
  • Zinger
  • Fly box
  • 9 flies
  • Protective rod case

Why have I chosen this?

One of the main reasons why this combo is so popular is that it includes everything you need to get started fly fishing right away including the rod, reel, case, floating line, backing, tapered leader, flies, nippers, and a fly box.  The reel is reasonably smooth and can be adjusted to accommodate both left and right-handed dominant individuals. The rod, on the other hand, is surprisingly easy to control and has good accuracy allowing anglers to hit their targets within 20 to 30 feet.

Conclusion

There you have it, my three fly fishing rod and reel combos for those new to fly fishing. I would be pleased to know how this article helped you, and as usual,  let me know of your experiences with them.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections, or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time.

Have fun

Paul

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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.

Paul