Last updated on February 19th, 2021
Guest Post by Tobias Dimick —
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Fly fishing can no doubt be a challenging sport to learn. However, by learning about the various fly tackle components and removing some of the mystery around how to put together a solid fly fishing kit, it will greatly benefit you in the long run.
We wrote this basic fly fishing kit guide to help you take some of the guesswork out of the buying process by laying out what you’ll need to put together your own fly fishing kit or what to look for in one that has already been packaged for you. Our hope is to get you out on the water and successfully fishing as soon as possible rather than struggling with a cheap or incomplete fly fishing combo kit.
10 Components that Make Up a Good Fly Fishing Kit
The backing is the first thing that you must put on your reel which serves two functions which are: Filling up space for you to reel quickly and also makes sure that you will not run out of line in case you snag a tarpon or ferocious snook that takes off after you have hooked it. Backing also lessens the chance your line breaks in case the fish spools the reel.
2. Fly line
It’s what you cast into the water and is attached to the backing through a nail knot or Albright. Before you cast any fly you must pull out a certain length of line which is the distance that you wish to cast.
The fly line has been weighted such that it can go the distance that is required. The heavier fly lines are meant for long casts while the lighter ones are meant for shorter casts.
There’re 4 types of fly line that you can choose and they are full sinking, the sinking of different rates, partial float and full float. In environments such as the Everglades, one of our favorite spots to fly fish, and saltwater fishing, it’s recommended that you use a heavy line.
3. Butt section
This is a 1 – 2-foot long thick piece of line that attaches to your main fly line. By having a butt section on your rig enables you to only have to tie the Albright knot once.
This’s also part of the fly fishing rig which assists to make sure the line will not bunch up through the fly after you have cast it into the water. It comprises a monofilament line that is thicker at the butt section and tapers into a thin line at its end. The leaders weigh from 4 to 40 pounds. It’s usually tied through a series of knots for it to roll smoothly when you’re casting.
It’s not mandatory for you to have this part of the fly fishing kit but you will feel good once you have it. It’s the last piece before the actual fly which is about 2 ft long.
It’s not as strong as the leader but it usually breaks when you’re lifting a heavy load so as to protect the leader. It also assists to transfer energy to the fly line and tricking the fish such that they will not be able to see if any line has been attached to your fly.
6. Fly rod length
The fly fishing rods are usually constructed with a length of about 6 ft to 10 ft. The shortest rods are the best for short casts which can be used in small streams. The longest rods are the best for making a long cast or when you wish your line to avoid branches or snags.
For you to have the best of both worlds and increase your versatility while fly fishing, it’s recommended that you get a fly rod of about 8 to 9 ft.
7. Fly rod material
The fly fishing rods of today are designed using various types of materials such as graphite/carbon fiber, fiberglass, and bamboo.
The bamboo fly rods are the best for anglers who are experienced. They’re very heavy and slow action rods that require great care to maintain their usability. They’re considered by many to be the most beautiful rods due to their old and natural feel.
Fiberglass fly rods are the best for beginners or individuals who’re looking to buy very durable and cheap rods. Graphite fly rods are the newest and famous fly rods that you can get on the market today. They’re lightweight and can offer you greater sensitivity and a more accurate cast.
A good fly fishing reel must be able to hold the correct backing and fly line for the type of fishing you plan on doing. The loaded reel must balance the rod in your hands at the place where you grip the handle. This ensures that the rod feels light and balanced.
Lastly, size your reel according to the type of fish you will be targeting. The reel you’ll use for trout ( e.g. a 5 or 6-weight) will be quite different than that for tarpon fishing (e.g. a 10, 11, or even 12-weight).
9. Fishing lures
This is a fishing bait that is designed to attract the attention of the fish. It uses color, flash, vibration, and movement in baiting the fishing. The best lures are usually equipped with 1 or more hooks for catching fish. Many of the lures are usually attached to the end of the fishing line.
10. Fly box
The best fly fishing kit must have a fly box that will protect and house the flies. Some of the best fly boxes that you can get in the market are slit foam, compartment box, spring and foam styles.
5 Top Rods, Combos, and Kits to Get You Started
The fly rod is the heart of any fly fishing setup or kit, so we’ll highlight some of the best values available for your money today. The Following lineup includes 5 of the best fly fishing rods/combos and kits on the market today on which to build a solid ensemble.
Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa Fly Rod
The Tailwater Outfitters Toccoa fly rod is designed using IM8 graphite to make it sensitive, durable and strong. It comes with chrome “snake” guides and ceramic stripping which minimize friction and makes sure that the fly line flows out smoothly.
The reel seat which is made of machined aluminum has 2 locking rings to ensure that the reel is secure and sturdy when attached. It also features a premium cork handle to prevent hand fatigue and offer a comfortable grip when fishing. The rod also features convenient alignment dots to make quick assembly easy. Finally, its compact 4-piece design makes storage and carrying an easy task.
- It’s comfortable and lightweight to carry and use
- Has a powerful and smooth casting
- 4 piece construction which increases its portability
- Comes with a rod tube that has 4 compartments for the 4 pieces
- It has dark gray attractive coloring which will not spook the fish
Piscifun Sword 4-Piece Graphite Fly Fishing Rod
The Piscifun Sword 4-piece fly rod has been designed using IM7 graphite blank that makes it lightweight and sensitive but yet very solid and durable. You can get this reel in 2 lengths, 8’6″ and 9′, and in weights of 4 to 9.
The reel seat is also very durable since it has been machined using aluminum, and it has two lock rings which make attaching your reel securely an easy task.
The chrome and ceramic stripping guides ensure that the line has a smooth flow while the white dots make it easier for you to see if the guides are aligned correctly. The handle has been designed using 3A grade cork that makes it comfortable, sensitive and lightweight to handle in any type of condition to let you focus on casting.
- High-quality handle has a comfortable grip
- 4 piece design makes it portable
- Comes with PVC rod tube as part of package
- Offers smooth loading, high casting accuracy, and distance
- Comes in several actions, weights, and lengths to choose from
- For saltwater or freshwater use
Maxcatch Extreme Complete Fly Fishing Kit
This is an excellent fly fishing starter kit. At the core of the Maxcatch Extreme fly combo/kit is a very lightweight 4-piece rod designed using IM7 24T and 30T carbon fiber. It has been designed well and comprised of carbon layers which make it both reliable and strong – about 20% stronger.
There are 3 combos/kits – in 5wt, 5wt and 8wt – from which to choose. The rods are paired with either a 5/6 wt or 7/8 wt pre-spooled aluminum fly reel, depending on the package you choose.
Two great features of this rod are Its oversized tip loop which increases casting distance and smoothness, and its cork handle which is contoured to offer excellent grip while casting. It also feels good in your hands and reduces any fatigue.
Other notable features are its snake guides, made of chromed stainless steel, which makes sure that the line sails off smoothly and a reel seat that has been designed using high-density aluminum and has up locking rings to keep your reel secure.
This fly kit has been designed solidly, can even be used in saltwater, and comes with some nice extras such as rod and reel storage/carry bags, a 12-piece starter fly kit in a waterproof case. This is a great starter kit for any beginner or even for experienced fly fishermen looking for a great travel kit. Just an incredible value.
- Complete fly fishing kit
- Quality carbon fiber rod
- Aluminum fly reel
- It has an attractive feel and design
- Plenty of extras such as rod and reel carry/storage bags
DRAGONtail Tenkara Shadowfire 360 12 Ft. Fly Fishing Rod Kit
Tenkara fly fishing may seem like a new phenomenon but this simple Japanese method of fishing goes back over two centuries. With that said, the DRAGONtail Tenkara Shadowfire 360 fly rod is designed using high-quality IM 10 graphite that is sensitive, lightweight and a has sturdy feel. It has a backbone that will facilitate catching medium to large size fish.
The complete package/starter kit Shadowfire 360 includes a rod that has 9 segments, 6:4 action, 2.9 oz weight, and an overall length of 12 ft, which is enough to get your line to where there’s fish. It also comes with everything else you’ll need for fishing: 3 soft flies, quality USA-made Tenkara line, leader, tippet, line holder and even a soft case/tube for storage and transport.
The rod itself is very compact, thanks to a collapsible design that minimizes the length to just 20.5 inches when not in use. The Shadowfire 360 has a quality cork handle that provides a solid feel in your hand and gives you more control when casting. Finally, the rod is lightweight, which reduces fatigue with extended use.
- Complete Tenkara kit – comes with everything you need
- Has impressive styling
- High-quality construction\comfortable handle
- Excellent finish and fit
- Comes with storage/travel case
Orvis Encounter 5-Weight 9 Ft. Fly Rod Outfit
The Orvis Encounter 5-weight graphite rod has a length of 9 ft which makes it a versatile fly fishing combo. It comes in a 4-piece design which makes transport and storage a breeze and is paired with a nice large Orvis arbor reel. The fly reel that’s included in the Encounter rod/reel combo features a large arbor for faster retrieval.
Other components in this kit include a cork handle grip that’s comfortable for all-day fishing, floating trout fly line, Dacron backing, and a tapered leader. This rod comes pre-loaded with everything you need (except for the flies) to start fishing right out of the box. Rounding things out, the rod comes with an Orvis carry/storage soft case.
- High-quality rod and reel design
- Very light and comfortable
- Comes already pre-loaded with line, backing, and leader – ready to be fished
- Rod can be broken down into a small package for easy storage and carry
- Comes with rod case
If you’re in the market for a good fly fishing kit or just want to put together a solid fly outfit, then hopefully this guide and the recommendations within will steer you in the right direction. That being said, enjoy the fishing and tight lines, friends!
Author Bio: Tobias Dimick is a life-long angler, hunter and avid outdoorsman. He is also the owner/operator of GeekPrepper.com, a popular online destination for preppers and survivalists.