Choosing a fly rod can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the sport. Even seasoned anglers have plenty of options for weighing in as they take the plunge for a new rod. Size, weight, flexibility, rod action, and build are just a few of the things you need to consider.
“Fly rods have different weights,” Daniel Uter of Rivers Edge West told Bozeman. “From a weight of two to a weight of twelve. Here in Montana, about 90 percent of the rods we sell would be 5 or 6 in weight, about 9 feet in length.
Uter went on to explain that these weight rods would cover most of the fly fishing we have in the Treasure State.
Rod weight usually refers to the weight of the line you will be using. A bigger fish would mean you’ll want a stiffer rod to handle the heaviness of the line, as well as the size of the fish you are targeting. And there are situations where you might want a lighter rod for small waters, or a heavier rod if you’re looking to land a lunker.
“Some people go for a smaller cane, like a 7ft 3in weight, which is a bit shorter,” Uter explained.
Technology has evolved a lot in recent years. Ten years ago a lot of rods were heavier and often a bit stiffer than what you see now.
“Rod and reels, really the last 2-3 years have seen a big technological leap, especially in rods,” Uter said. “They were able to make a rod with a lot less resin or glue. By doing this they were able to put more graphite in the rod thus giving the rod a lot more feel and a bit lighter.
This feeling usually allows the angler to have a better response when casting or setting the hooks and often leads to longer casts or greater accuracy in placing the flies they tie on the line.
Most of the rods are made of graphite. These graphite rods generally take less time to produce and less expensive to buy or manufacture for the manufacturer. There are also many bamboo stems on the market. It is the classic tool that many fishermen are looking for.
“It’s more of a work of art. You are going to pay a little more for it. You’re going to sacrifice a bit of durability and they’re going to be a bit heavier, ”Uter said of the bamboo stems.
“But for some guys, it’s still – actually, fishing with a bamboo rod is part of fly fishing,” he added.
There are also many great options for children. They usually come in a bit lower price, come in a combination of rods and reels, and are built to last.
“They’re generally in the seven-and-a-half and eight-foot range and they have fun colors,” Uter said. “Generally, children’s outfits are a bit more durable. They can take a bit more abuse than your standard cane. “
And they often have to be more durable. Young children will frequently snag the end of the stem on a branch or hit it against a tree, damaging conventional stems.
The most important aspect of choosing the right rod is to check how that rod feels and throws.
“There are many different options, and not all rods will work for everyone,” Uter said. “Everyone has a unique style of casting, and there is probably a rod that will suit that.”
Most fly shops will put together a few rod options for you and take you outside to check out how they cast and help you choose the right rod for you. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a cane. Many stores can offer you a low budget rod or a reasonably priced rod and reel set. You can always update your configuration. But Uter explained that learning with a slightly better rod will improve the feel and can allow you to throw better when you need it most.
We tried to get a feel for what a store owner might consider their favorite cane in the market. Uter’s response was probably consistent with that of any seasoned angler: “I would probably say that’s what I caught my last big fish on,” he joked.
The best advice is that if you are choosing a rod as a beginner, you should choose a versatile rod and try to throw it a few times to get the right fit. If you’ve been fishing for a while, decide if you’re looking for a specific type of water, a special feel, and again, give it a few casts before you buy.