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A Guide to Selecting a Fly Fishing Rod

As fly fishing rods today are made of many different types of material, and come in varying degrees of stiffness and in various rod lengths, choosing a fly fishing rod today can get quite confusing for the novice. The fly fishing rod is one of the most important items of fly fishing equipment, so buying the correct rod is essential. The original, and the oldest fly fishing rod is the classic bamboo fly rod. Although it may look like a work of art, a bamboo fly fishing rod costs more and weighs more that the modern fly fishing rods made today.

1. Rod Materials

Fly fishing rod are manufactured using the following materials:

  • Fiberglass – Commonly used in the less expensive fly rods. These rods are generally used more by beginners, and fiberglass rods are normally more durable than graphite rods. These fly fishing rods can be used for many fishing situations.
  • Graphite – More expensive than fiberglass rods. Graphite rods are lighter, allow you to cast more accurately, and provide more fighting power in the rod. Expert and beginner anglers are able to use these rods.

2. Rod Action

Rod action is the amount of stiffness in the rod, and how much the rod will flex when you are casting or are fighting a fish. The action of a fly rod can categorized as:

  • Slow-Action – These rods have the most bend or flexibility. These rods are difficult for beginners to control, but are the most accurate for short-range casting. Fishing for lightweight fish is the main use of these rods.
  • Medium-Action -These rods bend in the middle of the rod and at the rod tip. Rods in this category are suitable for the novice angler. These fly fishing rods can be used for both short-range and long-range casting.
  • Fast-Action – Beginners find these rods difficult to handle. These stiff rods only flex at the rod tip, and are good rods for long-range casting, and reeling in large fish. The casting accuracy of these rods do not match those of the slow-action rods.

3. Rod Weight

The weight of the fly fishing rod you choose should match the weight of the fly line you intend using. The rod weight is not an indication on how much the rod itself weighs – this rod weight tells you what fly line weight the rod has been designed to use. Fly line weights are categorized 1 to 15, and you choose your fly line weight according to the fish you intend catching:

  • 1 to 3 Weight – Small trout and other small fish using small flies.
  • 4 weight – Small to medium sized trout and other similar sized fish with small to medium flies.
  • 5 or 6 Weight – Medium sized trout, small bass and other similar sized fish using small to large flies.
  • 7 or 8 Weight – Large trout and bass. Streamers and larger flies are suitable.
  • 9 Weight and Above – Steelhead, salmon, and saltwater fish with saltwater flies.

4. Rod Length

The length of a fly rod determines the action of the rod. Shorter fly fishing rods have a slower action than longer fly rods, but they are better suited to fly fishing in tight confined spaces than longer fly fishing rods. Fly fishing rod length can be categorized as:

  • Short (less than 8 feet) – Use in tight fishing situations where bush, trees or stream size restrict your movement.
  • Medium (8 feet – 9 feet) – Recommended rod length for trout and bass fly fishing. These rods allow you to handle more weight and to cast further.
  • Long (longer than 9 feet) – Ideal choice for longer casting and fishing for big-game fish.

Take a look at the fly fishing rod guide for beginners for more information about fly rods, and how to choose a fly fishing rod.


For more information about the sport of fly fishing, take a look at the news feed for Fly Fishing Elite (

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Frequently Asked Questions...

How can we make a 20 feet long rod thoroughly hollow from inside?

P.S.: Here I'm talking long rods used in industries, etc.


I do not know what material rod you are talking about but here is how to make and adjust a rod.

Step 1) Attach the curtain or valance to your tension rod by running the rod through the pocket or tab tops at the top of the curtain or valance. For a shower curtain, simply attach the rings to the rod.

Step 2) Hold the rod to the window, doorway or shower where you will be hanging the curtain. Twist one side of the rod to adjust it to the width of the opening where you plan to put it. Make sure the curtain or valance is still hanging from the tension rod.

Step 3) Place one end of the rod where you would like for it to rest, and push the other end into place. Squeeze the rod together gently, and you'll feel it shorten somewhat as the spring gives. When you place the rod where it belongs, there should be enough resistance from the rod to hold it in place, but you shouldn't have to force it.

Step 4) Twist one end of the rod again, a quarter to a half turn, to make it slightly longer and secure it in place. Spread your curtain or valance evenly along the rod.