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Buying fishing equipment is already challenging, even enough when you have enough experience and skills. What if you’re a beginner?
The wide variety of rods and reels on the market is sure to boggle your mind, especially if it’s your first time buying a fishing rod.
Even then, remember that all fishermen started as beginners, and there’s nothing wrong in thinking thoroughly before buying.
Luckily for you, there are many fly rod combos on the market made explicitly for beginners. Buying a combo is much easier than buying them separately. At least you’ll only do the thinking once!
In this article, we’ll explore the best beginner fly rod combos on the market. We’ll also provide a detailed buying guide to help you make the right decision.
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
The Best Beginner Fly Rod Combo Reviews
Fly rod combos for beginners should be easy to use, durable, and budget-friendly. Surely, no one wants to pay a fortune for their first fly rod and reel. With these considerations in mind, we compiled the best combos on the market with their reviews.
Orvis is one of the renowned market leaders of fly rods and reels. If you’ve been looking for fly rod combos for quite some time now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the name at least once or twice.
The Encounter fly rod combo is one of the company’s best products to date. It’s designed with beginners in mind, and it’s relatively affordable for the value you’ll be getting in return.
Orvis didn’t sacrifice performance or quality while making this rod combo. The rod comes in almost all of the standard sizes for different kinds of fish, including 5, 6, 7, and 8 weights.
Whether you’re targeting large bass, smallmouth bass, trout, or panfish, you’ll find the perfect size for your target.
The rod is classified as medium-action, which means it’s highly versatile for different kinds of fishing. In addition, it features a flexible tip that becomes stiffer in the lower half, giving the fisherman better control of the line and ensuring accuracy in windy conditions.
The action is perfect for beginner fishermen; it lets them cast into large water bodies with ease. Plus, it’s ideal for fishing in bad weather conditions.
Moving on to construction, the rod is made from high-quality graphite with a considerable amount of flex in the tips. It offers just the suitable sensitivity for beginner fishing.
As for the reel, it’s made of hard composite plastic that hardly breaks or bends. The seat is also anodized for extra durability. Luckily, the fishing line comes preloaded to make matters more manageable for you.
Both the reel and rod come in a protective case that you can carry on fishing trips, and it comes with a shoulder strap for easier carrying.
- Medium action for fishing in challenging conditions
- The line comes preloaded
- Excellent value for your money
- Some users reported that the rod breaks easily.
If you’re new to fly fishing, and you don’t want to pay a fortune for a combo, the KastKing Emergence may be the one for you. It comes with three different versions for different uses.
The first one is a 4wt-8’6″ rod that works best for fishing in small creeks and tight streams. The second one is a 5wt-9′ rod, which is a classic choice for medium-sized fish like panfish and trout. The last one is an 8wt-9′ rod for bigger and stronger species. If you want to catch large bass and pike, this should be your choice.
For a moderate price, you’ll be getting a fly line, a durable aluminum reel, a tapered leader, along with a box of 12 flies consisting of streamers, dry flies, and nymphs. On top of that, you’ll get all the different small tools you need for fishing, including a line nipper and a pair of forceps.
The reel arrives preloaded with the fly line, backing, and leader. This way, you can hit the waters once you receive your package. The protective case is also ideal for traveling. It’s durable, and it features a shoulder strap for portability.
Like the Orvis Encounter, the Kastking four-piece rod is a medium-action one. Meaning, it’s perfectly suitable for beginners in most waters, and it helps in windy weather conditions.
The reel is made of diecast aluminum, making it highly durable and lightweight. It’s also rust-resistant, so you can keep using it for a long time before seeing the least signs of rust. Additionally, the disc drag is smooth, accounting for an easier fishing experience.
- Affordable compared to similar competitors
- The package comes with everything you may need for fishing
- Three different sizes are available for all kinds of fishing
- Some users complained that the tip is a bit flimsy.
If you don’t mind paying some extra dollars for a high-end fly rod combo, you’ll love Redington’s package. It may cost more than most competitors on this list, but it’s the best option for saltwater fishing.
There are multiple versions of the fly rod for different target fish. The lower weights are meant for species like bass and trout and mainly freshwater fishing. Meanwhile, the higher weights are ideal for saltwater fishing.
A 9wt rod will be the perfect choice for medium-sized fishing breeds, including permit and bonefish. You can also use them to catch salmon if you’re up for a challenge.
Moreover, the Redington rod has relatively fast action, which comes incredibly in handy if you still can’t master a casting technique. You’ll be able to cast your line for long distances and in windy conditions without a hitch. The rod is also flexible enough for fighting mighty saltwater species.
If you tried saltwater fishing before, you probably know that the fish love to fight. They’ll pull on the line hard, and they’ll keep fighting like their lives depend on it (which is technically true). Only a flexible and durable rod will be able to stand against that.
You’ll receive the rod in four pieces, but it has alignment dots for easy assembly. Additionally, the combo includes a high-quality reel with an anodized aluminum seat. The components also come with a lifetime warranty.
Luckily for you, the line comes preloaded with the RIO Mainstream WF fly line, so you won’t have to do it yourself.
The reel is made of polymer composite, and it comes fully equipped with a solid disc drag system for catching stubborn fish.
If you buy the combo components individually from Redington, they’ll cost 30% more than the package’s price, so it’s actually quite a good bargain.
- Medium-fast action rod for versatility in different waters
- The rod comes with alignment dots for an easy assembly
- High-quality, durable components
- On the expensive side of the market
The Wild Water fly rod combo is one of the least expensive options on our list, making it an ideal choice for buyers on a tight budget. It only comes in a 5/6wt version, which is suitable for most types of fishing, but its best application is medium-sized fishing fish. It offers enough power to cast long distances, but it still allows you to present the flies delicately if you need.
The combo comes with a hard tube case that eliminates the need to take the reel off, accounting for more practicality. There’s also a pocket designed for the flies box and leaders, which comes in handy during trips.
Generally, the package is thoughtfully made to make matters easier for you. It even comes with a strap, so you can carry it without much hassle.
The reel comes bearing an adjustable disc drag, which is a huge bonus considering the affordable price of the combo. It enables you to modify the brake power according to the size and type of fish you’re catching. Of course, this optimizes the fishing process and helps you catch fish faster.
For the buyer’s convenience, the Wild Water reel arrives pre-spooled with the fly line, leader, and backing. You can also adjust the retrieve side if you’re a leftie.
Furthermore, the Wild Water combo comes with a box of 18 flies to help you get started. The fly box is waterproof, and it can hold up to 372 flies comfortably. It also features a custom foam design that’s highly durable and convenient.
Other than that, you’ll receive forceps, a line nipper, and spare leaders.
- Highly affordable considering all the items you receive
- Protective case included for fly rod and line
- Excellent performance for the price
- Only one rod size is available.
If you’re on a tight budget, the Piscifun is your go-to beginner fly rod combo. Although it’s cheaper than most options on the market, it comes with almost everything you may need for fishing. The package includes a pre-spooled line for your convenience, a four-piece rod, backing and leader, a mid arbor reel, and a case for portability.
You’ll also receive a fly box, a stainless steel line cutter, and a zinger retractor.
The fly rod that accompanies the combo is a super lightweight 5/6wt that has slow action. It’s ideal for fishing in small streams and tight water bodies. However, it’ll only perform well with small fish, such as small trout and sunfish.
The rod has a premium-grade cork handle that allows for accurate casting without tiring your arms out. It comes unassembled, but it has alignment dots, so you can easily put it together if it’s your first time.
As for the reel, it’s a traditional 5/6wt fly reel that’s made of diecast aluminum. It features a smooth click drag system that accounts for easy casting and immediate drag engagement. The mid arbor design also eliminates line memory, and it helps you pick up the line as quickly as lightning.
The combo comes in a travel-friendly case that holds everything you need for fishing. It features a zippered pouch on its end that you can use to keep all the accessories, along with the fly reel.
- Everything you need for fishing is included in the package
- Convenient case included for storage and portability
- The rod offers forgiving casting for beginners
- The components’ quality is average because of the low price.
What Is a Fly Rod Combo?
If you’re still torn between buying a fly rod combo or buying the reel and rod separately, you’ve come to the right place. Firstly, let’s explain what a fly rod combo is.
Fly rod combos are full packages that come fully equipped with the fly reel, rod, line, and line backing. Some combos also come with bait, and others come with small tools you may need while fishing. It depends on which combo you’re getting and its price.
However, all combos come with the four essential items because you technically can’t fish without any of them.
Here’s a list of all the other things that may be included in fly rod combos:
- Fishing vest
- Rod tube
- Selection of flies
- Tippets and leaders
- Wading boots
- Fly boxes
You don’t always find these items in a combo, and they typically add to the cost. But they make it much easier for you to buy everything at once. That way, you don’t have to keep searching for everything individually, and you make sure you won’t forget anything.
Why You Should Buy a Fly Rod Combo
Some people may argue that buying your rod and reel separately is a better option than buying them in a combo. In the end, you’ll choose each one to your preference, and you won’t have to settle for the quality the combo offers.
Not to mention, the combo may include things you don’t need.
So what should you do?
Here are some reasons you may be better off buying a fly rod combo.
You’ll Have Matching Equipment
As a beginner, you may not realize this, but matching your equipment is crucial for the quality of your fishing experience. When you buy a combo, that won’t be a concern because you’ll have a rod, reel, and line that are properly matched.
If it’s your first time buying the three items, you can easily make a mistake and get a reel that doesn’t match the fly line weight. Buying a combo will put your mind at ease.
You’ll Save Money
Buying your fishing equipment separately will cost you much more than buying them in a combo. As a rule of thumb, most manufacturers create their combos with a 10–20% reduction in price than the individual items. Some combos will also save more if you buy them at a discount.
The cost may not be a concern for professional fishermen, but it’s an issue for beginners. No one wants to start off paying a fortune for equipment, especially when they’re still in the learning phase.
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Beginner Fly Rod Combo
Before buying your fly rod combo, there are multiple features to consider. In the end, you’re buying the whole package, so making the wrong choice can cost you a lot. If you take these features into consideration when buying, you hopefully won’t have a problem.
Your Target Fish
Determining the fish species you’re targeting is essential for the rod of your choice. For example, if you’re aiming at freshwater fish, such as bass or trout, you’ll need a moderate rod. A 5wt or 6wt option will be ideal because it’ll allow for heavy flies, but it still has sufficient action to keep casting fun and smooth.
If you’re fishing larger freshwater species, such as muskies, you can go for an 8wt rod. It’ll provide more strength for casting heavy flies.
Rod’s Length and Weight
Most rods in fly combos are 9-feet long. That goes for different weights, ranging from 5wt to 10wt. However, you may need a different length depending on the fish species you want to catch.
For example, if you’re looking to fish small brook trout, a 5’9″ rod will be enough. You’ll be able to use it in tight places that don’t allow for casting, and it’ll provide enough fight against tough fish.
Generally, 9-feet long, 5wt rods are the most versatile for beginners. They can catch all types and sizes of fish, and they allow for casting in tall-ceiling areas.
There are multiple materials of rods on the market. Some of them are made of fiberglass, most of them are made of graphite, and some high-end rods are made of bamboo.
The material will make all the difference in your fishing experience. It’ll determine whether the rod will tire your arms out after fishing for a long day.
Bamboo rods are mostly unnecessary for beginners because they’re very expensive, so they’re targeted at professional fishermen. On the other hand, fiberglass rods are the most affordable on the market, and they’re not recommended for beginners because they’re hard to use and slow-casting.
If you use a fiberglass rod, it’ll bend easily, which may be challenging to deal with if you’re a beginner. It’ll also tire your arms out because any fight on the fish’s end will bend the rod. On top of that, the slow casting makes it hard to catch a lot of large species.
Graphite has a moderate cost, but it’s more expensive than fiberglass. Still, it’s the best option for beginners because it’s durable and sturdy. It won’t tire your arms out because it’s lightweight. Plus, it puts up a good fight against large and strong fish.
‘Warranty doesn’t matter; I’ll take extra care when handling my equipment.’
You probably said that at least once or twice before, right? Whether it’s a mobile phone, laptop, or fridge, a lot of people aren’t convinced that warranty matters. It costs more, so we understand why you don’t want to get it, but it’s vital in the case of fishing equipment.
No matter how hard you try to keep your rod from breaking and your reel from rusting, accidents may happen.
You may close the door accidentally on your rod, and your kid might think it’s a toy and mess with it. A solid warranty is the only thing that’ll ensure you don’t lose your money in this case.
Tips for Buying a Beginner Fly Rod Combo
Now that you know what to look for and you read the reviews of the market’s best options, it’s time for some tips for buying your fly rod combo.
Other than the length, weight, and other standard features you should consider, there are some side tips that’ll improve your fishing experience significantly.
- Look out for combos with too many items. The manufacturer is likely trying to compensate for the rod and reel’s low quality with some accessories that you probably won’t even need. Remember, the rod and reel are the most crucial items in the combo.
- A rod tube is essential to keep your fly from breaking. Try to do your best to get a combo that offers a rod tube rather than a rod sleeve. The sleeve won’t offer much protection.
- The flies are unnecessary to consider when choosing your combo. You’re better off buying a fly box that matches your needs and works for the fish you want to catch. So, don’t think much of the assortment of flies that your combo offers.
- Ignore the fishing vests that come with combos. They’re more often than not made with low quality, and it’s better to buy your own vest separately. Generally, clothing that comes with fly rod combos is almost never good.
The Final Verdict
In our opinion, the best overall beginner fly rod combo is the Orvis Encounter. It comes with a medium-action rod that’s highly versatile and suitable for fishing any species, regardless of the size. The tip is also stiff enough to withstand tough conditions but flexible enough for gentle casting.
The rod and reel are easy to use, accounting for a smoother fishing experience for beginners.
The combo isn’t affordable per se, but it’s also not too expensive compared to competitors.