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Best Fly Rods for the Money

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Extreme Saltwater Fly FishingBest Saltwater Fly Rods

By Chris Jackson

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Recommended Rod Weights:

Click here to see our rod weight chart

Reccommended Rods:

High End Rods: Sage Xi3 Big Game Fly Rods

Mid Range Rods: G. Loomis Crosscurrent Pro-1 Fly Rods

Value Priced: Sage Flight Series up to 12wt


Click Here to go to the Gear Guide to check out other reccommeded Fly Fishing gear such as reels, lines, rods, ect.


Article: Best Saltwater Fly Rod

Saltwater fly rods are made slightly different than freshwater fly rods due to wind and surf situations.  Obviously either will work for both fresh and saltwater, but having a good saltwater rod has its benefits.  Let’s take a look at what makes for a good saltwater fly rod and what could be considered the best saltwater fly rod.


Choosing the “Best Saltwater Fly Rod” is like picking out the best eating utensil.  A different tool will be needed for different situations.  These situations vary widely so there is a wide range of saltwater fly rods that will be better at times than others.  Size of fish is the biggest variable, but there are others that you will want to take into account before you invest in a saltwater fly rod.  At the bottom of this article is a link that will take you to a site where you can get recommended brands and models of the best saltwater fly rods.
What is difference between a Saltwater Fly Rod and Freshwater Fly Rod?
Before you choose what will be the best saltwater fly rod for your adventures, it is good to know the differences between a saltwater fly rod and a freshwater (standard) fly rod.  First of all, both will work in either situation as long as it is designed for the size of fish you are after.  One thing that is for sure is that you do not want to be under rodded ever, especially when saltwater fly fishing.  Typically, pound for pound, saltwater fish fight much harder than freshwater fish.  I have caught 2 pound saltwater fish that fought as hard as a 10 pound Rainbow Trout.  So when in doubt, go with a heavier weight rod. 

Fast Action

One critical factor when choosing a rod that will be best for saltwater is to makes sure it is a “Fast Action” rod.  Basically this means that the fly rod will be quite stiff and will therefore deliver a lot of power.  This will also mean a tired shoulder at the end of the day, but there are many reasons for fast action rods.  Here are a few:

  1. Wind: saltwater fly rods are built to combat the wind that is almost always prevalent when fishing in saltwater. 
    Distance: Fast action rods will deliver the most power to the line resulting in a further cast than with softer rods.
  2. Flies: In most saltwater fly fishing situations, you will not be casting small bugs to rising fish.  Usually you will be casting heavy, wind catching bait fish imitations that are hard to cast.  That is when a stiff, fast action rod will help you pick that fly up out of the water and then cast it out a long ways.  With a soft rod, you will struggle to get it out of the water without stripping in a bunch of line, and then try to cast it!
  3. Line:  A common scenario when saltwater fly fishing is using sink tips to get the fly to the fish.  Sinking line is much harder to cast than floating, therefore the fast action. You are probably thinking these aspects are what you would like in a freshwater rod.  And yes, most saltwater rods make great freshwater rods for big fish.  Unfortunately many freshwater rods are not designed for what you will be faced with in the saltwater.

Fish Size

The best saltwater fly rod is determined by the size of fish you are after.  As mentioned earlier, saltwater fish tend to fight with a vengeance.  Therefore it is wise to go with a heavier weight rod.  For the most part, an 8wt (weight) is probably about as low as you will go.  Here is a generic list of some fish and the rod weight you will want to have:

8wt: Sierra Mackerel, Bonefish, Snook, Trout, Steelhead
10wt: Bonefish, Permit, Roosterfish, Dorado, Snook, Redfish, Salmon
12wt: Roosterfish, Dorado, Barracuda, Tuna, Sailfish
14wt: Tarpon, Sailfish, Marlin, Shark


In order for a rod to be the best saltwater fly rod, it must be good quality.  Just as important though, it must fit into your budget.  As quality goes up, price is right in front of it.  There are two things that I suggest for all rods when it comes to quality and price:

  1. Go with the best fly rod you can afford.
  2. Stick with the rods that offer an unconditional lifetime warranty.  For the most part, you will have to spend at least $200 to get a rod with a lifetime warranty, but trust me, it is worth it.  We all break rods sooner than later, so you might as well make this an investment for a life time.  Plus, you will regret buying anything less the quality of rod that is warranted, especially when casting to fish in saltwater.  All the rod makers that I suggest are very good with their warranties, and some even offer programs where you have a new rod in as little as a few days after a break.

Fly Line for Saltwater

It is not really crucial to have a specific line made for saltwater, although you will want to be ready for all situations.  That is why I recommend a fly line with interchangeable tips.  This way you can adapt and fish floating line if need be, or switch to one of many sink tips designed to sink at different rates.  Follow the link below and click on “Fly Lines” to get my specific recommendation on certain brands.


There are many good fly rods to choose form, but an investment of this stature requires more than good, you want the best.  To get recommendations on the best saltwater fly rod, go to Saltwater Fly Rod and click on “Fly Rods” where we talk more about brands and models.  To see our recommendation on the best saltwater fly rod and other fly fishing gear click here: