Rod Review

Most rods on the market come in 4-piece or 2-piece sections. The 4-piece rods are convenient when traveling, but the 2-piece rods offer more control and an easier touch, which we will explain in later sessions.


Most rods on the market come in 4-piece or 2-piece sections. The 4-piece rods are convenient when traveling, but the 2-piece rods offer more control and an easier touch, which we will explain in later sessions.

Your rod has:
A. Reel
B. Handle
C. Hook Keeper
D. Ferrules (rod itself) — Talk about Blanks
E. Guides
F. Tip

When setting up your rod and reel, think about which hand is dominant. If you are right-handed, you should set up your reel for a left-hand retrieve—in other words, you cast with your right hand and reel in with your left (or the opposite, if you’re left-handed).

Weight and Length
When purchasing a rod, you will be bombarded with multiple combinations of weight and length. One question to answer is, what type of fish will I be fishing for on a regular basis?

The weight of the rod directly correlates to the weight of the line that is attached to it. So what does that mean? It means if you have a pile of fly fishing line that weighs 6 pounds, then you should have a 6-weight fly rod to match. The idea is that when your finger is on the handle, the weight of the line and the rod should balance.

So, how do you know which weight to choose?

Weight 1-3: This weight is designed for fishing for the tiniest of fish. This is optimal for small trout, brook trout, or panfish.

Weight 4: This is a great all-around fly line weight for small fish species such as panfish or small to medium-sized trout.

Weight 5: This weight works OK for small fish, but it takes a little bit of the fight out of the catch on smaller fish. It is universal for average-sized bass and the majority of trout.

Weight 6: This is the ideal weight for trout fishing. It will quickly bring in the joeys and make a medium or large fish a thrill to catch. It also works well for bass, small salmon, and similar-sized fish.

Weight 7: If you want the best weight for bass fishing, this is the rod for you. And if you are hunting gator-sized trout, this is a great solution for accuracy and strength. This weight is also effective for small- to medium-sized salmon and steelhead trout.

Weight 8 and Above: These line weights are used for strong alpha and saltwater fish.

So, which rod/reel/line should you get?
First determine what type of fish you are going to go after. Knowing what you plan to fish for allows you to choose the right fly line weight and fly reel to use.

Line Weight = Rod Weight = Reel Weight

Whether purchasing your first rod or your 10th rod, just make sure to match everything up and you’ll be good to go.

Fly Rod Length

OK, so you know what you’re going to fish for and you know the correct weight, but how do you figure out the proper length?

Use a 9-foot rod if you’re using heavy line, 6 weight and higher. This is also a good length if you need to make long casts, such on a lake or large river, or if you live in an area that has hard wind. This length will help cut through those gusts.

Use an 8.5-foot rod for all-around fly fishing in a wide variety of conditions. This is also good for a 2-piece or 4-piece for travel.

Use an 8-foot rod (or shorter) for precise and short casts. This length is typically used in small-stream fishing or for chasing after panfish with a 1- to 5-weight fly line.

So, after all these options, you’re probably thinking, what else is there to know? Rod Action…

What is rod action, and which action is best for you?

Let me preface this section by saying that, unlike with line weight and rod length, there is no precise method for determining proper rod action. But, in general, the following will give you an overview on the topic.


A fast-action rod is built to have the least amount of flex. The stiffness of a fast-action rod is ideal when you’re going for larger fish, and it is the best for making long casts. It can also help bring in a fish faster, because you have more control over the line after you have hooked into one. Another benefit of a fast-action rod is that it cuts through the wind with ease.

These all sound like great things, but if you’re in an area where the fish are typically smaller, this could make a fun catching experience seem too easy.


A moderate-fast-action rod offers a good mix of performance and versatility. It works great for fry flies and also nymphing, and will still work great in the wind. It also offers a level of flex that will help play the fish with breaking your fly off. This rod is great for most anglers and fishing scenarios.


A moderate-action rod is a great choice for beginners. It is flexible but also has a good amount of stiffness. The rod will bend on the top half of its length and remain stiff on the lower half. This will help improve accuracy of your casts, because it follows the natural timing of the arm action of a beginner fisherman.


A slow-action rod is modeled after the original bamboo fly rods. They were built for accurate short casts that easily hit the water, especially small rivers and streams. They are flexible throughout the entire shaft, making them ideal for using small dry flies and nymphs. These rods are also forgiving if you are not a strong caster.