April 16, 2021
It’s not difficult to drop four figures on a new fly rod and reel these days. Space-age materials, boundary-pushing innovation and highly specialized manufacturing don’t pay for themselves, after all.
And there’s certainly a market for such tackle, as many hard-core anglers endeavor to build epitomical fish-fighting outfits for battling leviathan trout in far-flung destinations.
At the same time, it’s never been easier to find a quality fly-fishing combo that’ll get the job done just fine on your local stream. Besides, if you’re just getting started in the sport, you probably don’t want to go for the high-end gear right out of the gate anyway.
That’s like handing the keys to a McLaren 720S to a kid on the day he passes driver’s ed. Instead, consider one of these ready-made combos that’ll fit just about any budget.
LEARNING TO FLY
This capable, entry-level combo from Bass Pro Shops’ house brand White River includes a two-piece, medium-action graphite blank with aluminum reel seat and a matching aluminum disc-drag reel. The reel comes pre-loaded with backing, weight-forward line and a tapered leader.
This is a great option for newcomers looking to get their feet wet (pun fully intended), as many will find the 8 1/2-foot length easier to cast than a 9-foot rod. One thing to keep in mind is that being a two-piece rod, it won’t break down for transport as compactly as a four-piece rod does. The combo comes with a protective rod sock.
White River Fly Shop Dogwood Canyon
- Length: 8'6" | Size: 5 wt. | Build: 2 pc.
- $100 | basspro.com
There’s perhaps no more legendary name in fly tackle than Vermont-based Orvis. Indeed, the company’s founder, Charles F. Orvis, invented the fly reel in 1874. The Encounter outfit is a very forgiving and versatile combo for any number of applications and presentations, and has been a favorite among fly-fishing neophytes for years.
The combo includes a four-piece graphite rod (medium action) and large-arbor, disc-drag reel with backing, weight-forward line and leader. Some may be turned off by the composite plastic reel, but it’s widely regarded as being quite durable. The Encounter combo comes with a Cordura carrying case.
- Length: 9’ | Size: 5 wt. | Build: 4 pc.
- $169 | orvis.com
STEPPING IT UP
If you’ve been fly fishing for a couple seasons and are looking to upgrade your rod and reel, but maybe aren’t ready to pony up an entire paycheck for your next outfit, consider this excellent intermediate combo from Redington.
The multi-modulus carbon-fiber blank features a fast action and is adept at delivering dry flies and light nymphs with precision. Redington’s i.D reel features cast aluminum construction, a Rulon disc drag and a large arbor, and rides snugly in an anodized, machined aluminum reel seat. The reel comes spooled with 100 yards of 20-pound backing, RIO Mainstream line and a 9-foot 5X leader. Also included are a Cordura rod tube and a lifetime warranty.