If you’re a fly fishing angler, chances are that includes a set of waders and wading boots, a fully waterproof jacket, and if your locale requires it, you should probably have sunscreen, polarized glasses, and a nice wide-brimmed hat. And of course, we couldn’t forget about the most important element: your fly fishing rod, fly reel, and fly line. Though you can purchase your rod and all its necessary components separately, it can get expensive. Fly rod combos, on the other hand, feature everything you need all in one package.
When you’re shopping for a fly rod combo, you’re going to be on the lookout for an option that includes three important elements: the fly fishing rod, fly fishing reel, and fly fishing line. Read on to learn more about the ups and downs of a fly rod combo, what makes for a quality fly rod combo, as well as our picks for the best fly rod combos available.
Comparison of the Best Fly Rod & Reel Combos
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The Ups and Downs of a Fly Rod Combo
The obvious benefit of purchasing a fly rod combo is that all of your fly fishing necessities are included in one package. Rather than spending significantly more on separate fly fishing rods, reels, and lines, a fly rod combo has everything you need.
Another benefit of fly rod combos is that if you’re a beginner fly fishing angler, you’ll have everything you need and can rest assured that you won’t be overwhelmed by all the different options you have.
Additionally, if you’re just getting started with fly fishing, combos are an affordable option, especially if you become disinterested--your overall investment isn’t too much if you end up deciding this style of fishing isn’t for you. Fly fishing rod combos are also quite convenient as compared to purchasing everything separately.
In combos, the fly reel arrives with the fly line already spooled onto the reel, saving you both time and money as opposed to having a shop do it. Finally, a major benefit of combos over separate pieces is that everything fits well together.
Though this can certainly be accomplished with a separate rod, reel, and line, it can take a bit more time to find the right pieces as compared to buying them in one package.
As for the downfalls of fly rod combos, there really aren’t any. As mentioned previously, in the past fly rod combos used to be more of a cheap novelty item that generally wasn’t of high quality. But nowadays, fly rod combos are used by many anglers, both professional and recreational, and the quality has certainly shifted.
What Makes a Good Fly Rod Combo?
That all being said, of course not every fly fishing rod combo is going to be of the same quality. As with any product you’re investing your hard earned cash on, some are going to be more worth your time and money than others.
When it comes to finding a high-quality fly rod combo, there are some details you’ll want to keep your eye on. Overall, with fly rod combos, you pay for what you get. If the price seems really low, it's usually not because its an affordable option, rather the quality is probably poor and you’ll be very disappointed.
Additionally, rod combos that come with an excessive amount of accessories are probably overcompensating for a poor quality rod.
Also, keep an eye out for fly rod combos that offer a manufacturer’s warranty. Oftentimes, if a company is willing to offer a warranty, they stand behind their product and know that it's a quality item that probably won’t need the warranty anyway.
As far as rods go, you’ll want to choose an option that is nine feet long. It’s a good length for the everyday angler and anything shorter won’t provide you with as much range.
As you search Amazon for the perfect fly rod combos, make sure to consider the crafting material. Generally, a high-quality rod will be made out of either aluminum and steel and the handle will feature high-quality sustainable material such as cork.
Key Terms to Know
To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean.
Materials: The materials the rod and reel are made of.
Reel Size: The size of the included reel.
Rod Length: The length of the rod.
Rod Power: Power refers to how much force it takes to bend the rod. These fall under the designations of ultra light/med-light/light/medium/med-heavy/heavy/etc.
Rod Action: What actions the rod comes in. This refers to where the rod flexes and includes slow/moderate/moderately-fast/fast/extra fast/ etc.
Gear Ratio: The number of times the reel spool turns as you turn the handle.
Review of the Best Fly Rod Combos
When choosing the optimum fly rod combo, there are a few factors to consider. To begin, the length of the rod is important to consider. The material of the rod and the grip should also be taken into consideration. And of course, every avid angler must have the appropriate fly fishing gear including the line, flies, fly box and carrying case. Continue reading our top choices for the best fly rod combos.
Wild Water 5/6 9’ Rod Fly Fishing Complete Starter Package
Wild Water’s ⅚ 9’ fly rod combo comes with everything you need to get your fly fishing career started on the right foot. This fly rod kit includes a fly fishing rod, a larger arbor reel, a pre-installed line, backing and leader, a rod sock and case, as well as a fly box and flies.
The rod itself comes with a lifetime warranty, so you know the manufacturer stands behind their product. The grip is made of eco-friendly, sustainable cork that offers a firm grip when you need it most. Wild Water itself is a U.S. company that offers customer support based in the states.
The reel is crafted out of die-cast aluminum, providing you with a strong and supportive design that will help, not hinder you. And though the fly box is really just a nice addition, it’s waterproof with a foam interior, offering you enough space to hold up to 372 flies.
Reviewers mention that this is the best setup for someone who is a beginner fly fisher, with one reviewer mentioning that seasoned fly fishermen were pretty impressed with the setup. Another reviewer mentions that he’s been using this fly combo for the last two years with no signs of the rod slowing down.
Overall, this Wild Water fly rod combo is an excellent choice for new or experienced anglers alike. It’s an affordable option that doesn’t lack in quality, and features high-quality aluminum and cork for its construction. There are very few negative things to say about this rod!
Foam, Aluminum, Monofilament, Graphite
Maxcatch Ultra-lite Fly Rod
This ultra-light fly rod from Maxcatch is a medium, fast-action rod that is made out of graphite for both durability and ease of use. Available in 6’, 6’6”, 7’0”, and 7’6” lengths to fit your needs, this fly rod combo comes equipped with a fly rod, a fly fishing reel, a waterproof fly box, and a rod case.
The rod itself features a high-quality cork handle and high-density aluminum reel seat. The ECO fly reel features a large arbor design made out of die-cast aluminum. The fly box is waterproof and made out of high-quality, long-lasting plastic. It comes filled with a 12 piece variety set of flies.
One reviewer mentions that all the different components of the fly rod combo are quality, aside from the line. However, other reviewers mention that the line guides effortlessly around the reel, and it offers a really quick, efficient action when you need it. The same reviewer mentions that he had a really good experience dealing with MaxCatch’s customer service and that they offered fast and efficient support in a timely matter.
Whether you’re a new or experienced fly fish angler, this fly fish rod combo from Maxcatch offers users a high-quality rod with an included waterproof fly box. Do be aware, though, that the longest rod is only 7’6”.
IM8 graphite rod, CNC machined aluminum reel
6 ft / 6.6 ft / 7 ft
3. Redington Crosswater Fly Fishing Outfit (590-4)
This nine-foot fly rod from Redington is an all-water medium to fast-action rod that comes with a one-year limited warranty. This fly rod combo comes equipped with a crosswater rod, a crosswater reel, a pre-spooled reel, a rod tube, and a carrying case to hold everything.
With a cork handle and a composite plastic reel, this may not be the highest quality rod combo on our list, but it is an affordable option to consider for the beginning angler. This particular combo comes with a ten-foot leader.
Reviewers mention that this rod, in particular, is a good value for the price and is a good pick for someone who is new and doesn’t want to invest a ton of money quite yet.
One reviewer raves that the reel is “buttery smooth” and has a quality drag system. The backing, reel, and leader are all set up and ready to go, so all you need to do is get all your gear together and hit the water!
If you’re just getting started with fly fishing, this is a good combo kit for a beginner. Though the rod is made of plastic, it features a cork handle and a length of nine feet. If you want to get into fly fishing and don’t want to spend a ton, this is a good pick for you.
Graphite rod, anodized machined aluminum reel seat
4. Temple Fork NXT Fly Fishing Outfit
Available in both 8’6” and 9-foot lengths, this fly fishing combo from Temple Fork includes a fly fishing reel, a fly fishing rod, fly fishing line, and a carrying case. Featuring a graphite rod and a cork handle, this fly rod has a cast aluminum fly reel.
The reel itself has a disc drag, backing, weight-forward fly line, and a tapered leader. This is a high-performance rod that is designed for experienced anglers, but is a good choice for beginners as well. The rod comes with a warranty that covers any pieces that may break.
Reviewers mention that the rod has a good, moderate action and there’s a good feel when the fish is on the line. Another reviewer mentioned that the overall quality of the combo set is good and that it would be the perfect selection for someone who wants to get into fly fishing without spending a fortune.
Someone else mentions that they were able to catch several types of fish on it, including some larger trout, which is a testament to how high quality this rod is!
Although this fly rod combo doesn’t come with a fly box, it features a nine-foot rod that is a good fit for both new and experienced anglers alike. The high-quality aluminum rod is a sure sign that this combo will last for years to come.
IM6 Graphite rod, cast aluminum reel
8.6 ft / 9 ft
5. PLUSINNO Lightweight Ultra Portable Fly Fishing Rod and Reel
This fly fishing rod combo from PLUSINNO comes equipped with a fly fishing pole, a fishing reel, fishing line, and a carrying case. You can also purchase just the rod itself if you already have the other necessary pieces.
This 8-foot fly rod combo features a cork grip and a graphite body. The rod itself is light and flexible, while still providing you with the stability you need to make a catch. The fly reel is adjustable, so it can be used by a variety of different members of the family.
Featuring stainless steel guide rings and durable, aluminum construction and spool, this fly rod combo will offer a strong, long-lasting design for both beginners and advanced anglers alike.
Reviewers mention that the fly rod is light and casts well, though the flies aren’t the highest quality. Another reviewer mentions that they’ve taken this rod bass fishing multiple times and it can withstand both the weight and water conditions.
While this rod is a bit shorter at 8’, this fly rod combo still offers both new and advanced anglers quality construction with its cork handle and aluminum body. This kit comes with just about everything you need, including a fly box and flies.
Graphite rod, aluminum alloy reel
How to Clean and Maintain Fishing Gear
As with any investment you make, one of the keys to keeping fishing gear for many years and decades is by properly cleaning and maintaining it. The last thing you should be doing is simply throwing everything back into a bag and then tossing it in the garage to forget about for months on end.
Winter is the best time to clean your gear because you’ll have the time and it will get you excited about the upcoming fishing season.
When you’re cleaning your fly rod combo set and other gear, you’ll want to start off with a spray lubricant cleaner. In the video below, Karl covers a variety of different brand to choose from. You’ll want to make sure to spray down the guides and then use a q-tip to clean out the inside.
Next, take off the reel teeth and clean the area around it with your lubricant cleaner-- it will probably be covered in gunk. As for the reel itself, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the level line, ball bearings, the brake system, and the side plates.
These all need to be clear to ensure that you don’t get caught up when you hit the water. Finally, finish off your reel maintenance by applying either factory or aftermarket oil to the ball bearings.
For a full breakdown of the process, check out the video below:
Overall, whether you’re a new or experienced fly fisher and regardless of if you fish once a year or every other weekend, choosing the right fly rod combo for you doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
While you could weigh the different options for hours, there are a few details you’ll want to ensure in your final purchase. You’ll want to opt for a longer rod-- oftentimes an 8’-9’ option is ideal.
Make sure to consider whether or not the rod is made out of aluminum, and if it features a comfortable handle that you can hold onto when the fish start fighting back. Though it isn’t a requirement, an included waterproof fly box is a nice addition.
No matter which fly fishing rod you ultimately decide to go with, remember that it’s all about investing in a quality product that will help support, rather than hinder you, in your fly fishing career.