Today’s fly rods are a far cry from the bamboo beasts found lurking in the corners of your great granddad’s lake house. Astonishingly light and smartly engineered, they are exceptional tools that are also beautiful to behold. Even better, the many options available now means there’s an ideal rod out there for every kind of angler, regardless of budget, ability, or age.
Best For: Kids
TFO Bug Launcher ($170)
Take the TFO Bug Launcher, which is candy-apple red and has a thin-diameter cork grip and extended reel seat, allowing young anglers to use both hands if need be.
Best For: Steelhead
Sage Two-Handed X Spey ($1,200)
Steelhead fishing is about covering a lot of water. The ceramic stripper guides and large fore and rear grips on the Sage Two-Handed X Spey allow it to handle a variety of shooting-head lines and casting styles. It’s never been easier to make smooth and accurate long casts.
Best For: Bass
St. Croix Mojo Bass Fly ($150)
Prefer to chase big bass around lakes? Better to go after them with big flies. The St. Croix Mojo Bass Fly is made of premium carbon and is shorter (seven feet eleven inches) than a standard fly rod, which gives you the heft you need to throw poppers, terrestrials, and articulated minnow patterns even in strong wind.
Best For: Versatility
SaraBella Fishing Ready-to-Fish Fly ($595)
Woman-owned SaraBella Fishing is known for making exquisite rods by hand. Its Ready-to-Fish Fly, in the nine-foot five-weight, has an aqua finish and dark blue and purple wraps that stand out on the riverbank. And that middle-of-the-pack length plays well in a range of waterways and conditions.
Best For: Narrow Waterways
Orvis Clearwater ($198 rod only; $269 for kit)
If small-stream trout fishing is your thing, the Orvis Clearwater is a perfect fit. Crafted with an equal mix of durability and accuracy, this seven-foot-six rod has a chrome stripping guide with a ceramic insert and performs well in tight quarters, letting you make casts almost anywhere fish are rising.
Best For: Saltwater
Scott Meridian ($865)
Scott created the Meridian for saltwater fishing, where timing and precision are key. Superbly powerful, this rod’s carbon construction has the backbone to generate exceptional line speed. The titanium guides and aluminum reel seat keep the weight down, so you can cast all day.