As the spring season approaches, it’s time to grab a fly rod and get out on your favorite river or flat. If you’re new to fly fishing, buying a high-quality fly rod and reel can be expensive. Luckily, there’s an easier and more cost-effective way to purchase the gear you need.
Fly rod and reel combos are a great way to buy an already-paired setup at a discounted price. Many manufacturers make outfits that are functional and affordable to encourage more anglers to get out on the water. Whether you’re new to fly fishing or you’re just looking for another setup, a rod and reel combo is certainly worth considering this spring.
Similar to purchasing traditional fly fishing rods and reels separately, there are multiple price ranges when buying a fly fishing combo. Typically fly rod manufacturers target an entry-level market when creating these combos but there is a strong mid-priced market as well, somewhere between entry-level and premium.
This is a price range where you begin to experience a noticeable step up in the quality of components and design/manufacturing without going to the next level of ultra-sophisticated fly fishing gear and the steep price tag that come along with them. I’ve always thought of it as the sweet spot, where most serious fly fishermen want to be. So, if you’re thinking about upgrading your entry-level setup, this article is for you.
If you’re familiar with fly fishing you probably know that different rods are optimal for different target species. In this post, I’ll cover a handful of different outfits/packages that fit different scenarios/species. It’s always important to match the fly rod to the techniques you’re using and the species you’re targeting, and not every outfit is optimal for every fly fishing scenario. So choose wisely. Let’s dive in.
2 Terrific Trout Fly Fishing Setups
Because Trout are one of the most popular species to target with a fly rod, I’ve decided to include two Trout-specific mid-priced setups. Generally, when choosing a fly rod for Trout, a lighter line weight and medium-fast to fast action rod work well. If you’re fishing mostly dry flies, a moderate action fly rod is best for delicate presentations and tippet protection.
Orvis Superfine Glass 8’ 5wt Fly Rod Outfit – This outfit is perfect for dry fly fishing. Orvis is known for their fiberglass rods and the Superfine Series is one of the best they’ve ever made. Fiberglass rods offer a moderate action profile to encourage light presentations. It must be emphasized here, however, that though a great fly rod for its intended specialty, the Superfine Glass is not an all-around Trout rod (for that, we must look to the Orvis Recon below).
The Superfine Series is made for the dry fly enthusiast with a slower casting stroke. Different than contemporary fly rod technology, fiberglass rods pay homage to the bamboo and glass days of old. This series is a real blast from the past but remains timeless in its sensitivity and feel.
Orvis has paired the Superfine Glass Fly Rod with an Orvis Battenkill Fly Reel, a classic reel, to introduce onto the market one of the best fly rod combos for Trout. The Battenkill has been redesigned multiple times by Orvis and their latest rendition is the best-of-the-best. The reel is lightweight, practical, and fits the outfit well. They’ve also included Rio Fly Line Backing, Rio Powerflex Trout Leaders, and an Orvis Hydros Fly Line.
If you’re a dry fly enthusiast, the Orvis Superfine Glass Outfit is for you. If you’d prefer a more versatile all-around 5wt Trout rod, you may want to consider the Orvis Recon Outfit.
Orvis Recon 9’ 5wt Fly Rod Outfit – The Recon is one of the industry’s best-selling rods, and for good reason. The rod is durable, caster-friendly, fast action, and incredibly versatile. The 9’ 5wt provides an extra foot of length to the angler for easy mending ability and high proficiency when nymph fishing.
The Recon is a contemporary innovation packaged at an affordable price. The graphite blank of the Recon sports an efficient taper and loads of power. This rod is great for making those 50’ casts to sipping trout or mending line when fishing large nymph rigs.
One of the most appealing features included with this Trout fly outfit is the reel. The Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel is also one of the best mid-priced reels on the market. The Hydros SL is lightweight with tons of drag, low start-up inertia, and great fish-stopping abilities. The rod and reel partnership in this outfit is truly spot-on and Orvis has once again produced a mid-priced rod and reel for the ages.
So, Orvis pretty much owns the mid-priced Trout setup market. What about rods for larger species or saltwater applications? Here are a few outfits to consider.
This Saltwater Fly Fishing Combo Is Worth Its Salt
TFO Mangrove 9’ 8wt Fly Rod Outfit – Temple Fork Outfitters has been making rods for a long time. A big name in the industry, the TFO Mangrove is a great mid-priced saltwater fly rod combo. The Mangrove is a little larger than the aforementioned Trout setups; an 8wt is a heavier setup meant for larger saltwater fish. Even though it’s larger, it’s still lightweight and high-performing.
TFO has created a fast action rod that’s great for casting into the wind on the flats or navigating the mangroves for Tarpon or Snook. The rod has a strong enough butt section to lift large fish and enough finesse to present a Bonefish fly in shallow water. Similarly, the Mangrove also has enough backbone to be a great boat rod in saltwater scenarios.
Again, TFO has knocked the reel pairing out of the park. The Lamson Guru Fly Reel is one of the best in the saltwater reel market. Lamson reels are lightweight, insanely durable, and highly efficient. Line pickup rate matters in the salt, and the Lamson Guru has a stellar pickup for quick retrieval of large fish. The Mangrove also comes with Rio Fly Line Backing and a Scientific Anglers Frequency Fly Line.
So, we’ve got Trout and Saltwater covered… what about large freshwater fish? We’ve got a couple of setup recommendations for that, too.
A Fly Fishing Outfit for Big Predators (Freshwater or Saltwater)
Redington Predator 9’ 8wt Fly Rod Outfit – The Redington Predator is made for big fish – Salmon, Pike, Musky, and Bass in freshwater and saltwater species such as Snook, Redfish, Striped Bass and even baby Tarpon. Redington made this series to cater to anglers who prefer to fish large flies, heavy sinking lines, and target ‘predatory’ fish in both freshwater and saltwater environments. The Predator outfit is great for someone who wants a rod to target large fish in freshwater that also doubles as a saltwater rod.
The Predator outfit is a great mid-priced option for anglers looking to expand their game into the saltwater environment. With componentry that’s corrosion-proof and a solid graphite build, the Predator is one of the only rods on the market that’s made for freshwater OR saltwater. The 9’ 8wt version comes with a fighting butt for increased steering power on those larger fish and two heavy-duty stripping guides made to accommodate large, heavy lines.
Again, the Predator is paired with the Lamson Guru – a great reel for stopping big fish in any scenario. This model also comes with a Rio Saltwater Leader and a Rio Coldwater Series Outbound Fly Line. The various pieces of this outfit fit nicely together for a great outcome on the water.
And finally, a mid-priced fly rod that’s freshwater-specific and made for Bass and tight cover fishing in lake or river scenarios.
The Perfect Fly Fishing Setup for Bass
Sage Bass II Smallmouth 7’11” 290gr Fly Rod Outfit – Sage has long been a juggernaut in the fly fishing industry. They’re one of the most well-known manufacturers and they produce some of the best fly rods for any and all angling situations. The Sage Bass II Outfit is a purpose-driven series from Sage specifically meant for Bass (Smallmouth, Largemouth, Peacock, etc). That being said, the rod is great in other situations as well. Because of it’s sealed drag system, anodized aluminum reel seat and all-around quality construction, the Sage Bass II is also right at home in saltwater environments.
Because of the rod’s stout butt section and short length, the Sage Bass II is great for any tight cover casting. If you’re fishing for a Bass that’s likely tucked into a fallen tree or under some overhanging branches, the Bass II will help you direct a cast where you need it to go. The rod sports Sage’s Graphite IIIe Technology which means it’s stronger and lighter than other rods.
The Bass II is paired with one of the best Sage fly reels, the Sage Spectrum, and comes with Rio Fly Line Backing, Rio Leaders, and a Sage Bass Fly Line – the perfect setup for the avid Bass fisherman. That being said, this Bass fly rod combo is also a great all-around outfit for Musky, Pike, and other large freshwater species as well as saltwater denizens the likes of Snook and small Tarpon.
The Bass II comes in at a price point higher than the rest, but if you’re serious about targeting large fish in a freshwater/saltwater scenarios, the high/mid-price range is worth it.
A fly fishing rod and reel combo is beneficial in many ways. First, the experts have already paired rod and reel so you can be confident that the setup you’re getting is the best for the type of fishing you’re doing. Second, a setup is cheaper than buying a rod and reel separately. And, let’s be honest, when it comes to fly fishing gear, we’re all looking to save money.
These mid-priced outfits will get you out on the water in style and with design-specific functionality. If you’re Trout fishing, Orvis’ two outfits are dependable and offer two different types of Trout-specific performance. If you’re after fish in the Salt, TFO’s Mangrove offers power and strength. The Predator is a stellar rod choice for someone who wants to fish both fresh and salt water (or either one individually) and, finally, the Sage Bass II is for all the freshwater Bass enthusiasts out there. Choose one of these outstanding fly rod combo deals and get out on the water!