By Chris Jackson
When traveling any distance at all to go fly fishing, it helps to have a fly rod that packs into a small storage tube. Trying to do anything with a standard two piece rod is difficult. When backpacking it catches everything overhead and when flying it is awkward and annoying. There are many considerations that need to be taken into account when looking for the best travel fly rod from how long do you want it to be during travel, how thick during travel, and how well you want it to fish while fishing.
Travel fly rods can be considered as any fly rod that breaks down in to more than two pieces, usually four, but there are some that break down even more. To choose the best travel fly rod is actually not quite possible because there are many different situations that fly fishing involves, and unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” rod. Likewise it is important that you buy the right rod as your good experience will depend on it. The main factors that you will want to take in to account when selecting a travel fly rod are length, diameter, weight, and quality.
*** To skip this valuable information and to find out exactly what we recommend, go straight to our gear guide by clicking here: www.OnlineFlyFishingGuide.com. Nearly all of the rods we recommend are great for travel, all you need to do is choose the fish and size that you will be after to be sure you get the right rod weight. The information below will help prepare you to make a decision on a fly rod, so you can read it and then click the link at the end if you would like.***
The number one factor to look at when looking for the best travel fly rods is length of the rod tube that it breaks down into. The most common travel rods bread down into 4 pieces and are 9 feet long. That makes for 2 feet 3 inches of rod when folded up plus a couple extra inches for the tube, we’ll say two and a half feet. That is much better than a two piece rod at over 4.5 feet. They do make rods that break down into even more pieces, but with shorter length come other factors such as diameter. In my own opinion, a 4 piece rod is not only the best travel fly rod, it is the best for all fly fishing. Besides, unless you only walk out you back door to go fishing, you will have to transport it somewhere.
The diameter of the rod tube will be dependent on how many pieces the rod breaks down to. The more sections of rod the thicker the tube will have to be. At some point the benefit of the shorter length tube will be overshadowed by the thickness of the tube. Once a tube gets too thick it gets cumbersome and is actually tougher and more awkward to strap onto you backpack or luggage. This is another reason why I prefer to stick with a 4 piece rod.
With today’s fly fishing rods and the great technology that has come about, rods that consist of several pieces actually do not fish much different than two piece rods. The ferrules are the parts of a rod that that slide into one another. At one time, ferrules were the week point of the rod and the least amount you had the better. These days that just is not the case anymore. There is one downfall to consider with ferrules that we should definitely mention. When fishing, especially using a lot of power by casting a lot of line or a heavy fly, rod sections tend to spin a little at the ferrules and cause the eyes to not line up. It is not a big deal because all you have to do to fix it is rotate it back to where the eyes realign, but it can get annoying sometimes.
Weight and Quality
When looking for a good travel fly rod, weight is definitely something to take into consideration. The way to get is rod that is lightweight is to go with a quality rod. The cheap combo rods are not only a pain to cast, especially learn to cast, but they are made with heavy materials. On the contrary, a quality rod will be much easier to learn how to cast and will weigh a lot less, which is a good thing not only when traveling, but also when out fishing all day long.
Another reason why it is important to go with a quality rod is the fact that most rods over about $200 will come with a lifetime warranty. This makes the purchase of a fly rod a lifetime decision so do yourself a favor and go with one you will want forever. A good rule of thumb is to buy the best rod that you can afford and you will not be disappointed. And oh yeah, and make sure it is a four piece.
So, What is the Best Travel Fly Rod?
With so many different fish and so many different situations, there is no way to pick out any one particular rod that makes it the best travel fly rod. First off, I suggest making all fly rod purchases travel rods, meaning four pieces and quality. If you buy a rod that is designed for the type of fish and fishing and is of high quality and is made up of at least 4 sections, then you have a perfect travel fly rod. At www.OnlineFlyfishingGuide.com we go over all rod weights and give recommendations on fly rods for a wide range of different budgets. Any of the rods that are promoted at this site are what we consider the “Best Travel Fly Rod” and are what we travel and fish with.