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How to Choose a Fly Rod

Single Hand Fly rods can be as short as 6' or as long as 10', but the most popular length is 9' long. They are described by a number called "weight" which is arbitrary. The rod weight does need to match the corresponding line that you'll need for it, but the specific number itself isn't related to fish size, fly size, or anything like that. Below is a basic summary on what rod weights. You can also shop for complete rod, reel, and line outfits that are RTF - Ready to Fish as well.

  • 000 - 2 weight - Small streams, small fish. Trout to 12" and all Bluegill
  • 3 - 4 weights - Small streams, or large streams if the rod is 9' long. Rods 7' - 8'6" are great on small rivers and streams. Trout to 18" can be handled on these rods.
  • 5 weights - This is the most popular fly rod. A 9' 5 weight can do a large variety of tasks. If you fish smaller streams consider an 8'6" rod, or if you are fishing large rivers and lengths you can go as long as 9'6" or 10' in some models. Trout to 5 pounds can be handled fairly well on a 5 weight.
  • 6 weights - Big trout, bass, and even light Salmon can be caught on a 6 weight. They are bit light for most saltwater species and anglers fishing big rivers and lakes tend to carry a 6 weight.
  • 7 weights - Good for big trout and light salmon/saltwater fishing. Steelhead anglers love 9'6" and 10' 7 weights when available.
  • 8 weights - This is the most common rod for an angler that wants to fish Steelhead, Salmon, Bonefish, and other species ranging from 4-12 pounds. River fisherman like 9'6" and 10' rods while saltwater anglers like 9' rods.
  • 9 weights - Salmon and Saltwater fish 10-25 pounds. This would be a good choice where you might be catching some Chinook Salmon and/or Steelhead on the same trip. Freshwater anglers don't often use a 9 weight however. Saltwater fisherman buy most 9 weights.
  • 10 weights - Chinook and Saltwater species like Jack Crevalle, Trevally, Small Tarpon, Permit are best angled for with a #10 rods.
  • 11 weights - Not real common, most folks go with a #10 or #12
  • 12 weights - Big Tarpon, Giant Trevally, and Light Billfish work
  • 14+ weights - Bill fish, Tuna, Marlin.