(Inga Hendrickson)

The Best Fly-Fishing Rods of 2018

Inga Hendrickson

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Walk softly and carry the right stick.

(Courtesy Sage)

Sage Salt HD ($950)

The splurge

Permit at 70 feet, 20 mph headwinds, guide screaming in your ear. What do you want in your hand? The Salt HD. Sage tweaked the composite of its already whippy Konnetic rod technology to transfer energy more efficiently, for faster casting. Sure it’s expensive. But do you really want to miss your shot?

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(Courtesy Scott)

Scott G ($845)

The multitool

Scott’s G series can do it all, and the company updated it in 2017 with new tapers and lighter materials. The rod is fast enough that you can lay out line when you need to, and it has enough feel that you can place a size 24 midge with nary a ripple.

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(Courtesy Echo)

Echo Gecko Kit ($169)

The gateway

Parents: Want to fish more? Bring the kids along. The Gecko, from staff favorite Echo, looks awesome and costs almost nothing. Don’t have kids? Get a Gecko for the back of the truck, so you always have a small-water spare.

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(Courtesy Winston)

Winston Nimbus ($650)

The bargain

Six bones is a bargain? It is for the Nimbus. This is essentially one of Winston’s famed $900 graphite and boron rods, but made exclusively from graphite. You won’t even notice the difference on the water.

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(Courtesy Redington)

Redington Butter Stick ($250)

The fun one

The Butter Stick isn’t new—it debuted a few years ago—but it’s responsible for more giggles than any rod in years. The slow-action fiberglass translates to perfect presentation (except in the wind) and makes eight-inch fish feel twice as big.

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(Courtesy Orvis)

Orvis Helios 3D ($845)

The cast master

Forget Orvis’s image as a stodgy brand for traditionalists. The Helios 3D (the D stands for dis­tance) is as advanced as any rod out there. The proprietary blank reduces vibration and side-to-side movement, correcting your mistakes (trust us, you’re making a few) so the rod casts smoothly in a single direction. The only limit to its reach is your arm.

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From Summer 2018 Buyer’s Guide Lead Photo: Inga Hendrickson

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