The Best Fly Fishing Rods And 5 Best Fly Rod Reviews

There are many ways to determine the best fly fishing rods including weight, responsiveness, and sensitivity. Brand preferences may add to the range of opinions; many fly rod reviews focus on non-performance ideas like the brand-name and maker’s fishing traditions. On the contrary, our short fly rod reviews will focus on performance features that help users enjoy the sport, and round up some top candidates for the best fly rods for 2018.

Fly Fishing Rod Value and Performance

To get good value when selecting a fly rod, you should know the basics of the parts, ratings, and construction. There are some useful questions you should ask when selecting a fly rod, including the below-listed items.

What weight should I buy?

The target species that you will likely fish is the first consideration. You should buy with the idea of the largest fish you will seek. A pole that is too light cannot easily adapt to heavier action. A pole rated for larger species can adapt downward for smaller fish.

The rated weight of the pole can indicate the ideal line weight. The pole can also work well with a line that is one level below and one level above. For example, a pole rated number 8 weight can handle line rated number seven and number nine.

What length should I buy?

Longer poles aid in long casts. Shorter poles have more precise control for short casting. Long poles are best for open water and saltwater where there are no obstacles to interfere with the movement of the pole and the line.

When fishing in closed conditions like tree covered areas and small streams, then a shorter pole works better. Nine feet is a good overall length for all conditions and open casting. You can select a shorter pole such as a seven to eight-foot models if you will consistently fish in closed areas.

Will I fish dry flies or wet flies?

Wet flies can use longer casting distances, and power is a premium to get the heavier line through the air and wind to the target zones you select.

Dry flies require more finesses and a subtle presentation that does not scare the fish or make them wary. After all, your presentation imitates a surface insect. The size of the flies is also a factor. Larger flies resist wind more and require heavier line and more powerful casts than small flies.

What is fly rod action?

There are three types of fly rod action ratings. Fast action rods bend in the top third. Fast action gives the highest line speed at casting. Fast action rods have the strength for pulling large fish. Medium action rods bend at about the one-half point.

Medium action rods place a burden on casting skill to get the line and lure in the right places. Slow action rods bend from the lower third. The line speed is slowest of the three types and casting is easier for short casts.

Design and Construction

Ferrules are an important part of the strength, weight, and durability of a fly rod. In the days of bamboo fly rods, the ferrules were polished metal like nickel silver or brass. In fiberglass rod blanks, the male section has a slight taper, and the female section is a built-up ridge.

In graphite blanks, the female section is an enlarged ring of reinforced carbon fiber. The tip of the insert section may be rough or unsanded to add friction that reduces twisting and movement while casting and landing fish.

Strength and Materials - Fiberglass or Graphite?

You must choose the type of materials in the rod, and today the market features strong, durable human-made materials like fiberglass, graphite, and braided carbon. You will likely choose between fiberglass and graphite blanks.

The choice between graphite and fiberglass is a matter of costs, preference, and the type of fishing you may do. If your target species need eight weight line or higher, then you should choose graphite blanks.

 If your species requires weight in the four through seven range, then you can choose either fiberglass or graphite. Graphite rods are generally lighter than fiberglass, and graphite tips are firmer than glass rods. Most anglers prefer graphite when selecting a fast action rod. 

Stripping guides and snake guides

Stripping guides are the large lower rings on the pole. Fly rods can have one or two stripping guides that anglers use when pulling in line while landing a fish.

For tough fighting fish like Steelhead or Bonefish, the rod should have a pair of stripping guides. Stripping guides must be large and snag resistant. The line can get knots, loops, and cuts, the stripping guide must allow free flow when pulling the line under stress of a fighting fish.

Snake guides are a set of metal circles that get smaller towards the top of the rod. These guides keep the line flowing with little wobble when casting and retrieving.

The third type of guide is the tip guide. It is elliptical rather than round, and it is the last part of the rod to touch the line when casting. Tip guides have an extra low friction coating.

Fly Rod Reviews Round-Up

TFO BVK Rod 8 Wt 9' 4 Review

The TFO is a fly rod designed for saltwater and freshwater usages. It offers sensitivity and touch along with power for long accurate casting.

This graphite rod is lightweight and strong. It has a fast tip for quick hooksets and a fast action for long casts with heavy line. The pole rating is number eight, and this works well for large freshwater trophy fish like Lake Trout, river trout species, and Striped Bass.

The weight of the pole and line will help to cast in windy conditions with light flies and small lures. The BVK will help you make precise landings and subtle presentations at all distances. And, its snake guides offer long life and consistent performance in wet and dry conditions. The stripping guide is hardened to resist heavy use and hard contacts that occur in storage, use, and in the heat of landing fish.



  • check
    Ideal rod for a long day of fishing
  • check
    Has a firm core and fast action to cast for distance and accuracy
  • check
    Can power through headwinds
  • check
    Ergonomic handle and weight ease hand and arm fatigue
  • May not be a good fit for anglers with a slow casting stroke because it is decidedly built for long and medium range casts.
  • The finish has a flat appearance and not particularly durable
  • Ships with no included case or tube

The Recon is a new edition of the Orvis medium price line. It replaces the Orvis Access line by reducing the weight, improving the finish, and offering better performance. 

Recon improves the weight by using lighter materials, and the lighter swing weight makes the rod more versatile as anglers can control the swing better than the Access models.

The design tries to bridge the difference between fast rods that offer long range casting and full flex rods that are excellent for short casts and soft placements.



  • check
    Fully manufactured in Vermont
  • check
    Ships with an aluminum protective carrying and packing tube
  • check
    Suitable for novice and beginner levels, and also a reliable tool for experienced to professional anglers
  • Does not offer a choice of flex; instead, it has a standard taper to meet each length

The pole is a hybrid between medium and fast action. The flexibility offers some advantages in close casting for delicate presentations. When long casting, you can apply effort to increase the distance, manage a heavy line weight, or fight through headwinds.

The rod is durable and resists the elements with a slow-cure, double layer Flex Coat finish. Its black stripper guide has an aluminum-oxide coating, and the snake guides are stainless-steel. The reel seat is aluminum with an up-lock connector.



  • check
    You can select a two-piece or four-piece design
  • check
    The rod blank has strong, top-grade SCII graphite
  • check
    The medium flex build offers a balance of soft short casting and powered long casts
  • Eight-foot length is limiting for long casts
  • The medium-fast action might lack the top-rated power for casting through headwinds
  • The four weight rating limits users to five weight line which might not be heavy enough for large freshwater species

The Mangrove is a budget version of the BVK model. It has a similar appearance and build. When placed side by side, the BVK and Mangrove are nearly identical in appearance, but the casting power separates the two. ​

The Mangrove performs well in short casting, medium casting, and gets surprising distance with wind assistance. When fishing into the wind, the Mangrove requires effort to get the desired distance. The extra effort may change the angler's stroke and cause inconsistent delivery.

You may lose distance and accuracy because of the change in the casting stroke. The pole comes with a comfortable fighting butt. The Mangrove has machined hook keeps on both sides of the aluminum reel seat.



  • check
    Designed for the expert angler and hard usage
  • check
    The pole protects the blank with a tough TiCr coating
  • check
    Durable tactical series guides can handle braided lines
  • Stripping guide is smaller than some other rods
  • Casting for distance is slightly more effort than BVK at distances of 50-feet or more
  • It might lack power for casting distance in headwinds

The blank is firm, and the stiffness adds power for long and medium range casting. The pole has enough speed to ease the effort required to generate high line speed and distance.

Experienced anglers may have to adjust their stroke to get accuracy and subtle delivery on short casts. The rod has high-quality components and a durable finish.

It has gunsmoke-colored large diameter stripper guides and double-foot snake guides. The rod has a comfort-designed grip with a top-grade cork handle. The reel seat is anodized aluminum with double uplock.



  • check
    Made out of a high-performance fast action material
  • check
    Has power for long casting and cutting through headwinds
  • check
    Has four sections for easy packing and carrying
  • check
    Ships with a cloth covered rod tube and bag
  • The fast action might reduce sensitivity and touch for short casts
  • Not the best for novice or beginner anglers


The best fly fishing rods round-up selection is the TFO BVK Rod 8 Wt 9' 4 Fly fishing rod.

Wind, rain, and weather conditions are the obstacles that fly anglers must overcome to land wet flies and lures in the precise areas that will provoke a trout to rise or entice a striped bass to strike. The BVK model has the best balance of weight, strength, and durability to make it the best value for most anglers and the overall roundup winner.

You can do a lot with a fly rod that offers precision close range casting and comfort, but if it does not conquer wind and distance, then you will be limited. The BVK offers the best combination of short and long-distance performance in fresh or saltwater settings. The price is in the mid-range and reachable for the budget conscious angler.

If you are looking to learn more about fishing rods, make sure to check our spinningbaitcasting and surf fishing rod buying guides.

Eager to get more fishing news and updates? Sign up here:

* indicates required