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Advice on Fly Fishing

Info Box Feature: Choosing a Fly Rod

Basically all fly rods have the same components—the reel seat, grips, ferrules, and guides. What distinguishes the rod is its design and the quality of the material used in its manufacturing. Poor design and material quality will cause a rod to wear quickly and destroy the fly line.

Fly Rods

There are four basic steps to choosing a fly rod:

1. Selecting the proper line weight
2. Choosing the appropriate rod length
3. Choosing the rod flex or action
4. Selecting a rod series that meets your experience level and specific fishing needs


1. Proper Line Weight

The line weight is used to determine the size of the fly you can properly cast and the size of the fish you can expect to catch. Line weight sizes are from 1 to 14, with 1 being the lightest. The lighter the line, the smaller the fish. When fishing in saltwater for larger fish, you'd use a larger fly and therefore a heavier line.

2. Appropriate Rod Length

Small streams, brush areas, and tight space areas require shorter rods. Larger rivers and saltwater fishing require longer rod length, because a longer cast is typically required. In situations where reaching and mending line are necessary, it is also better to choose a longer rod length. Trout fly fishermen often use rods from 7 to 9 feet depending on the type of water being fished. Anglers typically use a 9 to 9.5 foot rods for saltwater fishing. Some salmon rods can be up to 15 feet.

Casting Out a Line

Flex Examples

3. Flex and Rod Action
Flex and rod action are a matter of preference. The rod action refers to the amount of flex in a rod when subjected to stress. Rod action is influenced by the type of material of which the rod is made, the taper of the material from the rod butt to the tip, the length of the rod, number of sections in the rod, and the size, quantity and distribution of the guide placement on the rod. Generally rod action is described as very light, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy. Others refer to the same action as fast, slow, soft, or stiff. Some manufacturers use a Flex Index System. This system allows you to tell exactly how the rod will feel. The flex indexes range from 2.5 to 12.5 and include full-flex, mid-flex, and tip-flex types. Fly Box Outfitters sells Hardy, Grey, and Temple Fork rods, which use the slow to fast and super-fast action indices.

4. Rod Series

The rod series is typically based on the experience level and the specific needs of the angler. Series typically range from handmade bamboo rods to high quality beginner fly rods. Fly Box Outfitters sells some series of Orvis rods, including T3, TLS, Superfine, and Clearwater. FBO also sells Hardy and Grey rods. Additionally, FBO sells Temple Fork Outfitters Lefty Kreh's Finesse, Professional, TiCr, TiCrX, Bluewater, BVK, Mangrove and Signature Series rods. FBO also sells Temple Fork Outfitters' Jim Teeny rod, CFR rod, Axiom Series rod, and NXT Outfits. In addition to Hardy, Grey, and Temple Fork Outfitters, for the angler who demands bamboo, Fly Box Outfitters offers custom fine bamboo rods by Hollifield Bamboo Flyrods.

Different Rods