Hot Rods: The Ultimate Fly-Fishing Sticks for All Kinds of Anglers

There's a rod here for everyone, from the expert angler to the one just getting his toes wet.

No matter your ability or preference, you'll find a rod you like here.

No matter your ability or preference, you'll find a rod you like here.    

1. Scott Radian five-weight

Best For: Dry-Fly Casting

Hyperfast action rods—those that flex at the tip and load faster—are all the rage. With the Radian, Scott follows the trend without producing a finicky, fussy caster. The remarkable feel, along with titanium guides and a Portuguese-cork handle, allow for tight loops even in wind. 8'6", 9', 10'; $795; scottflyrod.com 

2. Orvis Helios 2 ten-weight

Best For: Saltwater

Orvis describes this rod as “a featherlight war club that defies the laws of physics.” That’s laying it on a bit thick, but during a test trip in pursuit of stripers off Montauk Point last fall, we found the Helios 2 a perfect choice for big salty game—lightweight, easy to use, forgiving for its strength, and able to cast a country mile. 9’; $850; orvis.com

3. Redington Path five-weight

Best For: Beginners

This five-weight packs huge performance at an affordable price. The smooth and easy action makes casting a cinch, especially for novices, who will also appreciate the lifetime warranty. 8’6”, 9’; from $110; redington.com

4. Sage One four-weight

Best For: Doing It All

With plenty of power to throw heavy rigs but enough feel to present a dry fly like a feather, the fast-action One has become the standard-bearer for versatility since it was introduced in 2011. It’s the ideal stick for fooling practically any fish in any conditions. 8’6”, 9’, 9’6”, 10’; $775; sageflyfish.com  

5. Patagonia Tenkara

Best For: Backpacking

This spring, Patagonia, at the behest of owner Yvon Chouinard, teamed up with Temple Fork Outfitters to produce a modified tenkara, a traditional Japanese setup that forgoes a reel. That, combined with telescoping rod technology, makes it perfect for backpacking, and the long length is for swinging wet flies. 8’6”, 10’6”, 11’6”; $259; Patagonia.com 

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