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Best Fly Rods for the Money

Getting into a new hobby can be expensive, and fly fishing is certainly not an exception, that is why new anglers want to get the most performance bang-for-their-buck. 

If a person is interest in getting into fly fishing, we at least recommend that they steer away from the big box store fly fishing combos like those from Cabelas and Walmart, as the outfits that they sell at these locations tend to be of lower quality and it will most certainly give the new angler a poor experience of what fly fishing should be. The best thing that a new angler can do is look at rods that start around the $150 to $250 range, these are fly rods that comes from reputable manufacturers and are backed up by a quality warranty which won't leave you hanging. 

As a shop we really love to get our customers into a rod around the $200 because these are sticks that new anglers can step into and perform well but they are also rods that that novices can grow into as they progress into a better fly fisher. For many anglers these are the rods that they will be using for their entire careers, they can perform well as a beginner, they can perform well as an intermediate angler, and they can progress into an advanced angler all while using the same rod throughout their career. 

1. Orvis Clearwater

Price: $249

One of the longest running series of rods, the newest iteration of the Clearwater rods is the best to date. You're likely to find at least one Orvis Clearwater in the quiver of every fly fishing guide in the world. High-quality components, an extremely consumer-friendly warranty, and worldwide recognition punctuate the Orvis Clearwater.  Each rod is designed with a purpose-built profile and action to handle the fishing the rod would be traditionally used for, from medium-action small stream rods to medium-fast freshwater rods and fast-action big game rods.

2. Temple Fork Pro III

Prices: $229 - $239

New for 2022, the Temple Fork Pro III is one of the easiest rods to recommend to new anglers. The Pro III is just comfortable to use, the wide sweet spot of the rod means that any angler can step in and perform to the highest of their abilities. This series of rods loads and casts effortlessly with a smooth medium action, with plenty of power to throw streamers or confidently land big fish. TFO PRO III provides anglers a versatile, high-performance rod series that will delight anglers with both its performance and price.

3. Echo Carbon XL

Price: $199

The Carbon XL is tailored toward small freshwater, available in weights 2-6, and is one of our most widely sold rods because of the combination of price, warranty, and performance. Echo designed these rods with a large sweet spot and smooth loading blank so any angler can throw gorgeous loops. You won’t find more performance bang-for-your-buck than the attractive Carbon XL rod series. There is nothing flashy about the Carbon XL but the performance of the rod more than makes up for the bland look. When stepping behind the wheel, the Carbon XL instantly gives intuition to the caster from its easy-to-read blank. It is a pleasure to cast this stick and for under $200 you are unlikely to find a competitor. 

4. Echo Ion XL

Price: $199

Just like little brother of the family, the Echo Carbon XL, the Ion XL is right in the pack for the best rod sub-$200. Available in 6-10wt in the 9'0" models and 5-8wt in the 10'0" length. Echo Ion XL fly rods are extremely versatile for both freshwater and saltwater angling, and they’ve become the go-to rod for guides and professionals around the world. Featuring a remarkably low swing-weight and a more forgiving action, the ION XL is the best entry-level fresh and saltwater rod for any angler to throw tight loops. You simply won't find a better entry-level saltwater rod near this price.

5. Fenwick Aetos

Price: $189 - $235

If this rod had a different name stamped on it, it would be able to sell for a much higher price. The Aetos is available in a wide range of lengths and weights for all freshwater applications, so no matter the size of the water you are fishing or what fish you are targeting, you are covered.  Designed to be forgiving, caster friendly, and extremely versatile on the water. Fenwick succeeded in creating a rod with performance way above its price range.

6. Echo River Glass

Price: $249

The only glass rod on our list, the Echo River Glass is a small water delight. Targeted toward smaller waters, the River Glass is available in 2-5wt which make it and ideal stick for trout fishing. One of the best charactertics that sets fiberglass apart from graphite rods is the near incomparability of dry fly presentation, the Echo River Glass is no exception in this regard. Discover the unparalleled fun of fishing with a fiberglass rod by picking up an Echo River Glass. The River Glass is an excellent option for the budget-conscious angler looking for a creek rod, and the colors of this stick is sure to turn a few heads on the streams. 

7. Redington Vice

Price:  $219

Redington Vice fly rods are crafted using a multi-modulus carbon fiber blank that produces an increased level of recovery for casting with greater accuracy and control. Add in other great features like black anodized snake guides, a laser-etched reel seat, and saltwater-grade components, and you have an attractive rod that flat outperforms in any fishing situation. Vice rods are available in a wide range of weights, from 3wt to 9wt, and lengths to cover every application.

8. Redington Classic Trout

Price: $169

As the name would suggest, this fly rod is completely tailored for targeting trout. Available in 2-6wts, the Classic Trout covers everything from chasing small brook trout to chucking large streamers. These rods are designed to be incredibly light in the hand, with a modern take on the classic smooth and forgiving action that protects light tippets and telegraphs the feel of every head shake when you hook a trout or bass. Finishing touches like a rosewood reel seat, high quality components, alignment dots, and a machined reel seat make this a very impressive rod at a modest price.

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We understand the budget-conscious angler and want to get you into the right rod that will increase your enjoyment on the water, our knowledgeable Pro Staff is here to help. Please reach out to us by email by contacting us at [email protected] or calling the shop at 937-434-8472. We also now offer a 'virtual outfitting' service where we can connect via video chat and our customer service will better get the idea of what rod is right for you.

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