In the sport of fly fishing, your rod is one of your most important pieces of equipment. Fly rods come in various shapes and sizes, and which one you choose depends a lot on how you are going to be using the rod.
Fly fishing rods come rated in terms of the net weight they can handle (designated by nwt). That means if you are fishing waters for fish up to 8 pounds, you should use an 8 nwt rod. The higher the number, the bigger fish the rod will be able to handle.
Some rods are multi-rated (i.e. 8-10 nwt). These rods are good because they can handle a variety of situations, but you will sacrifice flexibility in the performance of the rod. A multi-rated rod is good for beginning fly fishermen because of it’s ability to adapt to various fishing scenarios.
Rods are made of three different materials: fiberglass, graphite, and bamboo. Fiberglass rods are the best choice for beginners. They are durable and considerably less expensive than the alternatives. Most fly fishing rods are made of fiberglass.
Graphite rods are a little more expensive, but they are lighter than fiberglass. They are better at casting than other rods and can handle many types of fishing situations. Graphite rods are strong so they’ll give you more fighting weight when trying to finish your catch.
Bamboo rods were the earliest rods used in the sport of fly fishing. Today, bamboo rods are quite expensive, but they are amazing strong and durable. These rods are suited for a slow, soft casting style associated with slow, leisurely fishing. Bamboo rods are very graceful, but they can be difficult to handle in certain situations, so this is not a good choice for beginners.
The length of your rod makes a difference as well depending on what type of fishing location you are in. Rods less than 8 feet long are good for tight, narrow places and areas with overhanging trees. Eight to nine foot rods are ideal for trout and bass fishing in open areas where you can get casting distance. Anything nine feet and over is for wide open waters and long distance casts. You can also use a nine foot and above rod for fishing from a float tube.
Put some thought into your fly fishing rod. While it’s not the only piece of gear that matters, it can be the one piece of gear that can help you bring in a monster fish or a baby fish. Think about what you want to accomplish on your fishing expedition and choose a rod that you help you achieve your goal.