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Fly Fishing Rod Recommendations???

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19 replies to this topic

#1 lambertjohna


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 01:25 AM

Am looking to get into Fly fishing and would like recommendations on a good, inexpensive setup. I plan on fishing mainly for Trout, Panfish, and maybe the occasional Bass (and whatever else might accidentally bite) so am thinking a 3 or 4 weight rod would be best. Plan on backpacking it as well so a breakdown rod would be preferred.


So far I've looked at both a Maxcatch Ultra-Lite and the Cortland Brook series, read good things about both rods, but am open to other suggestions as well.


Thanks in advance for any recommendations !!!

#2 mikechell



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Posted 06 October 2018 - 07:22 AM

Price looks good ... but I'm not sure I believe the seller's write up.  There's not a lot of truth in advertising, these days.


I've got several combos from Bass Pro Shop, and I love them all.  You get the rod, reel, line and leader for around or less than $100.00.


I've got at least one of each of the following:







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#3 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 08:54 AM

I'd second Mike's recommendation of the Bass Pro combos -- I don't own any myself, but a good friend of mine owns several, so I've had the opportunity to cast and fish them, and I would say they are an excellent value.


The main admin. of this site, Steeldrifter, is a custom rod builder, and his rods are not only beautiful and of excellent quality, but quite reasonably priced. It would certainly be worth your time to check in with him.

"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman

#4 rstaight


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 10:15 AM

Best rod? That is a whole can of worms to open. I have expensive rods and not so expensive.

Most any rod you buy today will get you started. The shops in our area say TFO. Unless you are at Orvis.

Just don't buy a combo from Wal-Mart.

4 to 6 weight is good place to start.

"Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers.  Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary." - Patrick F. McManus

#5 MuskyFlyGuy


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 10:16 AM

I'll second what Byron. Steeldrifter made a spinning rod for my wife and a 12 weight fly rod for me. Both are a joy to fish with!

#6 flytire


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 10:17 AM

go to a fly shop and cast their demo rod/reel setups


then make the decision to buy

<p>Respect someones else's ideas. We are all different people. Your way is not the only way.

Never argue with a self proclaimed expert

#7 caloosa bug

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 10:31 AM

I got a maxcatch extreme 8'4" 3wt 4 pc about 2 years ago. I absolutely loved it. Awesome rod for under $40. I can't answer for the "ultra-lite " series.. only the green "exreme" model. I loved it so much that when I broke the tip, I ordered another 3wt and a 5wt. To replace it.


I have a couple dogwood canyons too, and yes they are awesome. But for a 4pc. backpack rod that comes with a plastic tube for this price.. it's a great deal!


I have my 3wt paired with a cheap, little Shakespeare reel from the flea market. 

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#8 chugbug27


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 05:45 PM

Don't buy your first one blind, go to a shop that will let you cast them, or if you need to learn casting first ask if you can enroll in a class and try out demo rods in he class.

A 4 wt is probably not a great 1st rod (others might disagree). My first rod was an all-around $100 5/6 weight St croix and I used it 20 years. Trout, though, I don't know panfish or bass on the fly (yet).

"Fly tying is replete with unproven theories and contradictions and therein lies much of it's charm and fascination." George F. Grant, The Master Fly Weaver

#9 Poopdeck


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 06:15 PM

I've been a novice fly fishermen for many years. My advice is buy any rod where you like the price. There are a lot of good rods out there at attractive prices. Truth is all rods cast so any rod you buy will cast just fine. Just don't buy the hype that goes with some name brand rods. Same with the reel. For what your looking for a reel just holds line. I started with a cabelas 5wt combo that cost 89 bucks. It's a great rod and it is still heavily used for, I'm guessing, 5 years now. I have no plans on ""upgrading" it. I did upgrade the line

As to weight, I say forget the 3wt, it's a niche rod imho. I do mostly WW fishing with an occasional trout fishing trip thrown in and I would not have been happy with a 3wt if versatility is what I was looking for. I do own a 3wt but only because it was given to me. I may actually take it out tomorrow for the first time.

For what you describe I would go with a 4 or 5wt. My 4 wt is my favorite small stream rod for pan fish, trout and bass. I've never packed it so I have no opinion on that.

Sorry guys, but I don't agree with the need to go to a fly shop and cast rods first. I have never met a rod that couldn't be cast with ease. rods do cast differently but they all cast and until you Have fly fished for a bit you would have no clue what rod action you prefer. My local fly shops (within and hour drive) don't have a lot of demo rods and they definitely don't have cheap demo rods. So go into the purchase with piece of mind by knowing fly fishing is not difficult, casting a fly rod is not difficult and you will learn to cast any rod you buy with relative speed and ease.

#10 utyer


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 08:25 PM

I will agree with Poopdeck up to a point.  I too have never picked up a rod lately, that I couldn't cast.  But the KEY to that is having developed proper technique.  As a novice, going to a shop where you can cast a rod before you by IS a great idea.   Going to a shop where you can demo the rods has other benefits.  As a beginner,  you just might get some free instruction.  It would be to the shops advantage to help you out to make a sale.  You can should ask the shop person with you to show you what they can do with the rod.  Know one thing, its the Indian, NOT the Arrow.  Learning good technique will serve you more than just what rod you get.  Learn proper technique from someone as you start out.  It will be much harder to unlearn bad habits and mistakes later.  


I have also had several rods from Cabelas and a nice Cortland.  All inexpensive, and all perform well.   Currently I have just purchased a rod from Maxxon Outfitters, and it is performing as well as I need.  I caught my first Tarpon on that rod, so it is already become a favorite just for that. 


Each and all off us can only give you advice based on our own experience with the rods we have owned, or own.  As a beginner, that really isn't what you need.  What you really need is to get competent instruction, learn proper casting technique.  Only then will you be able to get the most out of the rod you buy.     

"We have met the ememy, and he is us." Pogo by Walt Kelly

#11 tjm


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Posted 06 October 2018 - 10:45 PM

I don't know what the "best" fly rod is but I bet it isn't a 3wt.

My go to all round trout rigs are 6/7wt. with a change of leader they can go from #22 dries to #2 bugs and streamers.

That Dogwood Canyon mikechell posted is nice in the hand, I don't own one but have fished one once.  


Don't buy your first one blind, go to a shop that will let you cast them, or if you need to learn casting first ask if you can enroll in a class and try out demo rods in he class.

If you have shop near you this is good advice.

#12 Dave G.

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 06:18 AM

Depends on the fishing you are doing. You say trout, panfish, maybe some bass. But what's the water like ? Little creeks and small streams or medium sized water included ? Maybe some ponds ?


A good all around starting point is something 8ft or 8-1/2 ft and 5 wt or 4/5 wt. This will cover small rivers, get you into some ponds with a little wind, cover some of the bass, cast some small poppers etc, and still doable on a smaller stream. But if you fish all tiny creeks with tiny trout and small panfish it won't be as much fun as a 3/4 wt around 7ft- 7-1/2 ft or so. It's a first rod and needs to cover a multitude of fishing scenarios initially i presume, unless your water situation is very limited, which for some folks is indeed the case.. That said, Cabelas, Bass Pro and LL Bean all have starter rods that are quite decent and also one level up that doesn't break the bank . As a beginner I Just woudln't get into a fast action rod, you want something Moderate Fast or at most Medium Fast as they tend to be more forgiving in my experience. most starter rods will meet this need.


I can attest to the fact that Cortland makes a nice action rod, I've fished a $79 ( rod only) Cortland for small creeks for more than 20 years and it has performed beautifully for me, it's a 7ft 3/4. Their introductory rods back then had good blanks too but soft guides that wore out in a couple of years of hard fishing, the next series up, which is what I have had hard guides that don't wear out. My kid ( some kid he is 46 yo now lol) took one of those kit Cortlands and stripped it and put on chrome guides , a new grip and reel seat and it makes a beautiful casting trout rod for moderate sized rivers but he caught many land locked salmon on that rod 30 years ago, the blank still lives on today after the rebuild.

John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"

#13 CasualAngler


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Posted 07 October 2018 - 10:55 AM

As with other disciplines, choose the rod for the conditions you plan to fish most in, & for the Species you prefer most to fish for.

FWIW I use a 9' 5/6 wt. 2 pc. Scientific Anglers rod & reel that I bought as a Kit about 20 years ago. It has served me very well, and has produced just about every time I've used it. The times it didn't, well... that was on me. I still consider myself a neophyte when it comes to fly fishing. :P

I own a MaxCatch tenkara rod, and I'm very satisfied with it. It's nicely built, feels nice in the hand, & casts very well.

If you can, test them out and get the one that feels good TO YOU.


#14 SilverCreek


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Posted 10 October 2018 - 09:48 AM


Am looking to get into Fly fishing and would like recommendations on a good, inexpensive setup. I plan on fishing mainly for Trout, Panfish, and maybe the occasional Bass (and whatever else might accidentally bite) so am thinking a 3 or 4 weight rod would be best. Plan on backpacking it as well so a breakdown rod would be preferred.


So far I've looked at both a Maxcatch Ultra-Lite and the Cortland Brook series, read good things about both rods, but am open to other suggestions as well.


Thanks in advance for any recommendations !!!



A short 3/4 wt rod will be OK for panfish and fishing small trout streams on backpacking trips but not for larger rivers. Forget the Maxcatch ultra light rod.


I would also not buy a 2 pc rod when there are food 4 pc rods that  really better for backpacking.


If you are serious about using the rod for bass as well as panfish and trout, the lightest fly rod I would suggest is a 5 wt rod. There is a reason that 5 wt rods are the most popular line for trout fishing, with 9 feet being the most popular length. However a 9 ft rod is limiting for small stream fishing. It is better than shorter rods for lakes if you are planning to fish lakes or backpack into lakes.


So I would look into 5 wt rod and reel combos rather than the Maxcatch ultra light rod. If you are not going to buy a rod/reel/line beginner setup going to buy the rod separate from reel and line, I strongly suggest you get the Echo Base at $89.95. 



"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy


#15 DarrellP


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Posted 18 February 2019 - 08:20 AM

Echo makes a good starting point. Be sure to get a WF line. Get a general WF. You don't need a species specific line. If you think you will be tangling with Bass often, maybe a 6 wt would be good. For Panfish, a 5 wt is great. If you are targeting LMB, you really need an 8 to get them out of the vegetation. Tom McGuane told the truth when he said you only need a 5 and 8 wt to catch any freshwater or inshore fish in the lower 48.

That being said I bought a very fast St Croix several years ago that took me years to get where I could cast at all. When I broke it, they replaced it . The new one is great! I can cast about any rod, but some are dogs. All of the posts above offer good advice. Ultra fast rods or super soft rods are hard for a beginner. A medium or MF is more forgiving, believe me.
"Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job." John Geirach