The Most Recommended Fly Fishing Combos for Beginners

Published on 02/28/2023 · 8 min readLooking to get into fly fishing but not sure where to start? Keep reading! Fly Fishing Expert Baily Dent gives some options for fly fishing gear setups for beginners!
Baily Dent, Fly Fishing Expert
By Fly Fishing Expert Baily Dent

Photo by Cy Lindberg

What Is a Fly Fishing Combo?

Fly fishing combos consist of a rod and reel pre-packaged in a box or carrier with the line and leader already pre-spooled and loaded on the reel. This is a super easy way for people new to the sport to get everything they need to get right out on the water without having to sift through many different options.

How to Choose a Fly Fishing Combo

There are many different options of fly fishing rod and fly fishing reel combo outfits available, not just for newcomers to the sport but also for experienced anglers that just want one price for a full rod outfit. The most important thing when choosing a fly fishing kit is that the rod should be easy to cast. It should allow you to explore many different types and styles of fly fishing without limiting you as you explore which species and types of water you most enjoy targeting.

While all these combos come in different lengths and several different weight rods, the best beginner fly rods for a new angler will be a 9’ 5wt setup. This option will allow you to target most species on the fly and determine if you really enjoy the sport and which types of fish you most enjoy targeting.

Best Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combos for Beginners

If you are new to the sport, have never cast a fly rod before, and are unsure whether this will be something you enjoy or want to stick with, these fly fishing outfits are great options that include everything you need to try out the sport without spending a lot upfront on a fly rod combo.

1. Echo Lift Kit

This combo kit from Echo includes a rod, fly reel, line, and leader in a carrying case. It is a true medium action rod, and its crisp, faster action will make it a great option for throwing bigger streamers and bugs. Echo offers a full lifetime warranty on this combo which none of the other rods in this category offer, and provides a great piece of mind for when you eventually break a tip or makes it a great option for fishing gear for kids.

2. Orvis Encounter Outfit

Encounter Rod combo. Photo by Baily Dent

The Orvis Encounter Outfit is a great introductory kit for someone new to the sport of fly fishing. It comes with the Orvis Encounter rod and reel and is pre-spooled with a line and a leader. The rod is a mid-flex medium action rod, so you will have enough feel for the presentation of dry flies to trout but enough backbone to cast small streamers and poppers to bass. The kit comes in a nice carrying case and has a five-year limited warranty on the combo.

3. Redington Crosswater Outfit Fly Combo

This rod is very similar in feel to the Orvis Encounter. However, this medium-fast action full graphite rod has different length and weight options than the other rods in this category. It makes it a great choice if you want to branch out and try different styles of fly fishing, like small streams or surf fishing. A drawback is that this rod only has a limited manufacturer one-year warranty.

Best Fly Fishing Combos for the Money

Maybe you’ve already had a little exposure to fly fishing, and you’re ready to invest in some quality gear to immerse yourself in the sport fully. These fantastic options will offer better durability and more options in different types of fly rod action.

1. Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit

This combo from Orvis will be a step up from their base Encounter combo. The combo has a carrying case, rod, reel, and clearwater line pre-spooled. The biggest difference between the two fly fishing outfits is that this one has a full lifetime warranty and is part of the Orvis interchangeable parts program. Orvis has revolutionized the warranty process with their regular lineup of rods. If you break any piece other than the butt section, you can fill out the warranty form on their website, and you will have the new rod section in 3-5 days and be back on the water fishing.

The Orvis Clearwater combo will be a step up in price, but you’re buying a rod that will grow with you as an angler and last for a lifetime.

2. Redington VICE Combo

The Redington VICE Combo comes with a fast-action rod with classic trout styling, I.D. cast aluminum reel, and Rio fly line. This combo is significantly lighter as the blank is made with a graphite carbon fiber blend not usually seen at this price point, and the reel is also aluminum. This will greatly reduce arm and casting fatigue if you plan to be on the water for long periods. Again, this rod has a carrying case and a full lifetime warranty.

3. TFO NXT Black Label Fly Rod Kit

This kit contains the Black Label fly rod from Temple Fork Outfitters, a medium fast action rod. It includes a casting reel with a stainless steel drag system that isn’t quite as sophisticated or strong as some of the other choices in this category, but the whole combo is a little easier on the wallet upfront. This outfit has a lifetime no-fault warranty from TFO, which makes it a great choice for someone starting out, as you know you’re covered in the event of breakage.

Best High-End Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combos

If you are the kind of angler who wants to buy the best quality gear for the money, look no further than this section. These rod combos will have the newest technology, be lighter and more sensitive, and help shorten your learning curve as a new angler just through how easy they are to cast and feel with. The other big difference is at this price point, almost all the gear will be made in the USA and not outsourced from China. So if you want to buy quality gear once and have it for a lifetime, these are the outfits you want to consider.

1. Sage Foundation Outfit

This combo comes with Sage’s most versatile fly rod that will allow you to target different species and types of water to help you figure out what part of the sport is your favorite. This fast-action rod provides plenty of power and control to take your cast to the next level and is a great example of the signature feel of a Sage brand rod. It’s perfectly balanced with the Sage Spectrum C reel and has a higher quality Rio Gold line that will give you more years of use and makes casting fast more effortless. In addition, it comes in a custom nylon carry case and has the Sage lifetime warranty.

2. Custom Curated Orvis Helios Combo

Helios Rod combo. Photo by Baily Dent

A custom combo comes with a Helios rod, Mirage reel, and Orvis Pro fly line. The biggest thing with this rod outfit is the versatility you have in your rod and reel selection. The Helios comes in both a D series and F series. These rods are divided according to flex, with D standing for distance and F standing for finesse. The D series is a true fast-action rod great for saltwater, bass, or big game fish like salmon, redfish, or tarpon. The F series will be a medium-fast action rod that is more mid-flex than tip-flex and better for a trout angler.

These rods come standard with aluminum reel seats which means you can use these rods in both saltwater and freshwater. The cork handle on the grip of the Helios series rods is also a setup and is made from the highest grade cork available, so you know you have a rod that is built to last and is high quality.

The Mirage reel is a fully machined aluminum reel with a carbon disc drag system that is super strong and smooth. The smooth engagement of the drag means you won’t break off your tippet when you need to put the brakes on a big fish. The Pro line in this combo is not only going to be the longest-lasting and easiest casting fly line available from these combos. Still, it again provides the most options for different water and species you might consider targeting.

Both rod and reel come with the Orvis 25-year no-fault warranty and are made in the USA. The only downside to this combo is the price tag, but if you are looking for the highest quality gear available, this will be it.

Final Thoughts

A fly fishing rod and reel combo kit can be a great way for someone new to fly fishing to get geared up. No matter your budget or level of exposure to the sport, there is a combo kit that will fit your needs. Reach out to a Curated Fly Fishing Expert and let us help you get set up with the perfect fly fishing combo to get you out on the water and catching fish!

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