We received a question from a YouTube Viewer asking, “What is the best setup for a beginner who wants to get started in fly fishing?”
Expanding on the question, we learned they would be fishing for freshwater fish like Bluegill and Largemouth Bass as well as saltwater fish like Redfish and Speckled Trout. Subsequently…
- Fishing both freshwater and saltwater threw us a curve. At first thought, we leaned toward two rod/reel combos – one for freshwater and one for saltwater. But, then we put our brainstorming hat on and came up with one rod/reel combo that would work for both situations.
- When we came up with our one rod/reel combo we biased the outcome with our personal preference in fly rods. That is, we like fast action fly rods that we overweight (also over-line) one line size… not sure why but it seems to work for us! (see more on over-lining a fly rod)
- Additionally, since it was tough to describe in generic terms a rod and a reel, we provided the actual rod and reel we use. Since each fisherman is different, we suggest going to a fly fishing shop in your area and test different rods and reels to see what works for you.
Below is our suggestion for a fly fishing rod/reel combo for beginners who want to get started in fly fishing for freshwater Bluegill and Largemouth Bass and saltwater Redfish and Speckled Trout.
COAF Field Team’s Starter Fly Fishing Rod/Reel Combo
For fishermen who plan to fish for freshwater Bluegill and Bass and saltwater Redfish and Speckled Trout, we recommend:
- A 9′ 5-Weight fast action rod in a graphite blank like the Redington Classic Trout (model 590-4).
- A Echo Ion 4/5 Fly Reel that can be fished in both freshwater and saltwater (with additional care).
- A quality 6-Weight WF fly line like RIO Avid Trout WF Fly Line.
We have used this setup when battling bruiser Bluegill in local ponds, catching a limit of stocker Rainbow Trout during the Texas Winter Trout Stocking Season, fighting feisty Red Zone Trout on Oklahoma’s Lower Mountain Fork River, and playing tug of war with Denison Dam’s Tailrace Striped Bass!
We have used the combo in saltwater but have not taken Redfish or Speckled Trout on it as of yet. That said, this setup has been our “mojo” rod with two personal best 20″ Rainbow Trout and a 29″ Striped Bass caught so far!
For the cost, a quick look at Amazon as of today, showed ~ $118 for the rod, ~$80 for the reel, and ~$43 for the fly line which came to ~ $241.
However, when we made our purchases, we waited until they were on sale and picked up the rod for $70, the reel for $60, and the fly line was the windfall – a clearance sale for the price of $1 which came to $131.
So, for $131 we picked up this combo but like the TV commercial… the fishing memories and the “PBs” were priceless!
Video of the 29″ Striped Bass caught using the rod/reel combo
For reference, price look ups from Amazon: