Your Guide to Choosing the Best 5 Weight Fly Rod

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Article Categories: Fishing | Gear

Fly rods come in a variety of weight classes, each designed for different jobs and to handle different types of fish. The ‘weight’ refers to the size of the fishing line being used, which also depends on what type of fish you intend to catch. A 5-weight rod lands somewhere in the middle and is suitable for small, midsize, and even some larger fish.

Manageable for even novice fishermen, and usable in a variety of fishing environments, 5-weight rods are perfect for beginners, or experienced fly-fishers who are looking for a versatile option to bring everywhere. Here, we’re sharing a selection of some of the absolute best 5-weight fly rods, explaining why we love them, and offering advice for choosing the best one for your needs in your price range.

How To Choose | Best Rods Under $100 | Best Under $300 | Best Under $500 | Best Under $700 | Best Expensive Fly Rods

How To Choose a 5-Weight Fly Rod

Knowing you want to purchase a versatile 5-weight is a good place to start on your hunt for the perfect fly rod, but beyond weight, there are several important things to consider before you buy. Here are the qualities of a fly rod that you should consider when choosing the right one for your needs:

 

Action

In the simplest terms, the ‘action’ of a rod describes how far it will flex under pressure. A fast-action fly rod is more rigid than a medium-action rod, which in turn is more rigid than a slow-action rod. When casting, fly rods bend, storing energy to be released as they swing back to release the line. A stiffer, higher action rod will bend closer to the tip and will release quickly, whereas a softer, slower action rod will flex closer to the hands and take longer to unload.

Fast-Action Rods

  • Little flexibility
  • Powerful casts/fast line speed
  • Fast unload (requires good timing)
  • Best for experienced individuals

Moderate-Action Rods 

  • Moderate flexibility that allows for fluid motion
  • Moderate unload with forgiving timing
  • Good for beginner and intermediate levels

Slow-Action Rods

  • Highly flexible
  • Slow line speed
  • Slow unload for enhanced control
  • Good for beginner and intermediate levels
  • Best for shorter casts

 

Power

Rod ‘power’ describes how much pressure is required to flex the rod. Thicker, more rigid fast-action rods tend to also be high-power rods and produce powerful casts. Thinner, more flexible rods are low-power and produce slower, smaller, more controlled casts that are best in streams and small rivers.

 

Price

Fly rods come in all shapes, sizes, varieties, and price points, so no matter how large or small your budget may be, there is a good-quality 5-weight out there for you. While you can go all over the map in terms of price, be careful not to get trapped in the desire to buy the most expensive rod, and opt instead for the one that is best suited for your needs and experience.

 

Warranty & Service of Brand

If you plan to purchase the least expensive rod you can find to see if you even like fishing in the first place, choosing a fly rod with a good warranty may not be at the top of your list. However, for dedicated hobbyists and professionals, having the safety of a warranty can make a rod all the more appealing.

Many brands will offer life-time services, providing free repairs and discounted parts to owners of their high-end rods. If you fish often, having your rod protected under warranty can save you a whole lot of money on repairs, and a whole lot of stress knowing your season won’t be cut short by a broken part.

 

Weight

Some fish are teeny tiny while others are downright massive which is why there are a variety of tools designed for catching different types of fish. ‘Weight’ refers to the strength of the line being used, and to the type of line that is used by a rod. For example, a 5-weight rod size uses a 5 weight fly line, which is a versatile weight, good for ‘all-around’ fishing.

 

  • Fly Weight 1-4: Small trout, panfish; small streams and ponds
  • Fly Weight 5: Trout, small bass; medium rivers and lakes
  • Fly Weight 6: Bass, small salmon; medium and large rivers
  • Fly Weight 7-8: Steelhead, salmon; large rivers, lakes, and saltwater
  • Fly Weight 9+: Saltwater; large rivers, large lakes, saltwater

 

Looks

No, the fish might not care what your rod looks like, but it’s fine if you do! When selecting a fly rod, choose one that catches your eye and will make you feel good while you use it. This is your rod, so don’t hesitate to make it your own.

 

Balancing With Your Reel

If you already own a reel, the process of purchasing a fly rod will involve finding one that counteracts the weight of your reel. Your rod should balance perfectly on your finger when you place it around one inch below the top of the handle/grip, though this may depend on the brand or model. If the rod over balances one way or the other, it is not properly balanced with your reel.

 

General Feel

Every human is unique, so having some hands-on time with a rod before you buy can help you to determine whether you like its overall feel. It should fit comfortably in your hands, feel good to maneuver, and be a comfortable length.

 

Experience Level


When selecting a fly rod, it is important to keep your personal level of experience in mind. If you are a beginner, a mid-action, mid-weight rod is your best option, since these afford the most control. Fast-action, high powered rods can be difficult to learn on and are best reserved for experienced anglers.

 

Best 5-Weight Fly Rods Under $100

The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is certainly true when it comes to fly rods, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent budget rods for beginners. Whether you are just dipping your toes into fly fishing for the first time, are on a strict budget, or just want an inexpensive rod for casual fishing trips, any of these under $100 5-weights are excellent options.

 

Wild Water Starter Combo

Wildwater Fly Fishing Rod & Reel 9 Foot 5:6 WeightWe’ve mentioned the Wild Water Fly Rod Starter Combo in a previous article where we featured several other fly rod combos that are the perfect gift for beginners. We love the Wild Water starter kit for a ton of reasons, not least of which is just how much bang you get for your buck. The Wild Water Starter Combo retails for less than $100 and comes with everything a novice angler will need to hit their first stream.

Price: $94

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • 4-piece rod construction
  • Cork handle
  • Hard tube rod case
  • Fly reel (85mm)
  • Fly box
  • Flies (9)

Benefits:

  • Super affordable
  • Includes everything you need
  • Great for gifting

View Here On Amazon

 

Okuma Crisium

Okuma Crisium Graphite 2-Piece Fly Rod, 5wt 9-Feet, Graphite : Green

By far the least expensive fly rod on our list, the Okuma Crisium is also easy to get your hands on as long as Amazon delivers to your home. The Crisium is easy for beginners to put together and use, featuring a simple 2-piece design and lightweight graphite construction, but has enough power to make it a surprising asset for experienced anglers. Okuma offers a variety of compatible reels for a wide range of prices, so you can affordably outfit your fly fishing rig.

Price: $65.99

Length: 9 feet

Features: 

  • Rosewood reel seat
  • Moderate power and action
  • 1-year warranty

Benefits:

  • Super affordable
  • Convenient to carry as a backup rod
  • Good for learners

View Here On Amazon

 

Echo Base

Echo Base Fly Rod

This four-piece 5-weight rod from Echo might not be flashy, but it makes up for that with plenty of power. Great for learning anglers wanting to improve their timing, the Echo Base fly rod gives the user plenty of control while also packing a powerful punch. Purchase as a learner rod for a child, yourself, or an interested friend, or carry one as a backup in case of fly-fishing emergencies.

Price: $99.99

Length: 9 feet

Features: 

  • Alignment dots
  • Medium-fast action
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits: 

  • Easy to pack on the go
  • Great for learners/beginners
  • Compact 4 piece design

View Here On Amazon

 

Redington Crosswater

Redington Crosswater

The Redington Crosswater is about as basic as fly rods come, perfect for beginners or experienced anglers that want a compact, easy to pack rod. Featuring a lightweight graphite and aluminum body, the Crosswater is delicate and precise enough for small-pond fishing, but sturdy enough to withstand a good fight with a mid-size trout. Classic, sleek, and simple, the look and feel of the Redington Crosswater are designed to let you focus on the water.

Price: $99.99

Length: 7 feet 6 inches

Features: 

  • Anodized aluminum reel seat
  • Graphite rod
  • Alignment dots
  • Medium-fast action
  • 1-year warranty

Benefits:

  • Easy to cast
  • Accurate
  • Compact 4 piece design for fishing on the go

View Here On Amazon

 

Best 5-Weight Fly Rods Under $300

Maybe you have outgrown your beginner rod, or you’re looking for a reasonably priced rod to take with you on the road, there are tons of great fly rods used by beginners and professionals alike that retail for less than $300. A fun way to treat yourself to a rod upgrade without breaking the bank, or something special to give to a loved one for the holidays or a birthday, you’ll notice a real difference between your first under $100 rod and one of these slightly more luxurious options.

 

Redington Classic Trout

Redington Classic Trout 5 Weight

If you have been working to perfect your accuracy and want to step up your game without challenging yourself too much, the Redington Classic Trout 5 weight fly rod is a great tool to help you do just that. Providing moderate action and power, this rod can be used for high-precision technical fishing while still offering enough strength to withstand big rivers with large trout. If you like backpacking and want to bring a great rod that won’t take up much space, the Redington Classic Trout 6-piece edition is the rod for you.

Price: $149.99

Length: 7 feet 6 inches

Features:

  • Rosewood reel seat
  • Alignment dots
  • Rod tube
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Lightweight and comfortable to use
  • Super compact
  • Great for travel

View Here On Amazon

 

Orvis Clearwater

Orvis Clearwater 5-Weight 9' Fly Rod

A sleek, sporty rod that will make you look and feel like a professional, Orvis describes the base model of their Clearwater series as “the best fly rod you can buy for the money”. Lightweight but great for more advanced fishing in faster streams and rivers, everything about the design of this rod facilitates control, making this rod easy to handle for anglers at every level. It is also really easy to get the full clearwater rod and reel combo.

Price: $198

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • Black nickel aluminum reel seat
  • 2 handed design
  • Rod tube
  • 25-year warranty

Benefits:

  • Versatile performance
  • Great for traveling
  • Highly reviewed
  • Affordable

View Here On Orvis | View Here on Amazon

 

Fenwick AETOSFenwick AETOS Fly Rod

Made from a proprietary nano-composite technology, the Fenwick AETOS 5-weight fly rod is a deceptively durable but still lightweight rod. Better for more experienced anglers, the AETOS features fast action that makes for efficient casting, as long as you know how to use it. A cork handle paired with cork tippings give this rod a classic look while the black satin-finished body adds a modern flair.

Price: $199.95

Length: 9 feet

Features: 

  • Anodised aluminum reel seat
  • Alignment dots
  • 4-piece construction
  • Rod bag
  • Rod tube
  • 5-year warranty

Benefits:

  • Extremely durable
  • Lightweight
  • Compact for travel
  • Affordable

View On Amazon

 

Temple Fork Outfitters BVK

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO BVK Series Fly Fishing Rods

Temple Fork Outfitters TFO BVK Series Fly Fishing Rods

Our pick for pros, this is the most technical rod in this price bracket, is and best for experienced anglers or novice fishermen looking for a challenge. Superfast action and an extraordinarily high power rating for the price, the BVK 5 weight fly rod is a powerhouse rod that can be used in a variety of conditions. Made from anti-corrosive stainless steel and braided carbon fiber components, the BVK fly rod can be used on both fresh and saltwater fishing trips.

Price: $229.95

Length: 10 feet

Features: 

  • Carbon fiber reel seat
  • Contoured wood handle
  • Rod bag
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Perfect backup or travel rod
  • Good for beginners and pros
  • Durable construction and anti-corrosive
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable

View On Amazon

Best 5-Weight Fly Rods Under $500

While the affordable rods listed above are all excellent, high-performing options, once you purchase your first high-end rod, we think you’ll notice the difference. Fly rods in this price bracket are designed with added finesse to make them more comfortable, more attractive, more durable, and more accurate than less expensive models, and designers spend years perfecting each component. Worth the splurge if you love to fly fish, here are some of the best under $500 fly rods currently available:

 

St. Croix Imperial

St. Croix Imperial USA Graphite Fly Fishing Rod with Cork Handle

Made from lightweight and durable graphite and featuring a machined aluminum reel seat, the St. Croix Imperial 5 weight fly rod is built for performance and reliability. The St. Croix Imperial comes in four pieces for compact travel and features a comfortable two-handed handle for extra grip. Great for large streams and small rivers, this rod is relatively easy to handle and may be suitable for intermediate anglers.

Price: $270

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • Flex Coat finish
  • Cork handle
  • Rod case
  • Fast action
  • 15-year warranty

Benefits:

  • Durable
  • Corrosion proof
  • Versatile
  • Affordable compared to similar rods

View On Amazon

 

Hardy Shadow

Hardy Shadow Fly Rod

Hardy Shadow Fly Rod

An easy to use, super-modern rod with all the latest features at an affordable price might sound like a dream, but the Hardy Shadow fly rod is very real. Made from superior hardware for extreme durability and enhanced power, the Shadow rod offers users the ability to fish anywhere from small streams to large rivers with ease. Medium fast action paired with moderate power and durable materials, the Hardy Shadow could be your next everyday rod or could be an amazing gift for a talented novice angler.

Price: $389.95

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • 4 piece design
  • Cork handle
  • Aluminum reel sweat
  • Rod tube
  • Warranty available with service fees

Benefits:

  • User-friendly – good for learning anglers
  • Affordable compared to similar rods

View On Amazon

 

Sage Pulse

Sage Fly Fishing - PULSE Fly Rod

Beautifully constructed in sleek graphite the 5 weight Sage Pulse fly rod provides the fast action, durability, and versatility you would expect from an eye-catching fly rod. As powerful and fun to use as it is eye-catching, the Sage Pulse will be a real step up if you have been using a beginner rod, and could be your entry into the world of luxury fly rods. One of the most effective, tech-heavy, and durable rods you will find in this price range, the Sage Pulse will make an incredible all-around rod.

Price: $475

Length: 9 feet

Features: 

  • Graphite construction
  • Anodized aluminum reel seat
  • Cork handle
  • Moderate action
  • Rod tube
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Accurate
  • Professional look and feel

View On Amazon

 

Orvis Recon

Recon Orvis 5-Weight 9' 4-Piece Fly Rod

Recon Orvis 5-Weight 9′ 4-Piece Fly Rod

Designed for versatility, the Orvis Recon 5 weight fly rod can handle a fight with the biggest trout or a technical dance in a complicated stream. The Recon line of fly rods from Orvis is built with superior strength, improved accuracy, and better tracking than previous models, making this one of Orvis’ most popular rods ever. With more built-in-technology than the average mid-range fly rod, the Recon provides superior performance without breaking the bank.

Price: $498

Length: 10 feet

Features:

  • 4 piece construction
  • Alignment markers
  • Anodized aluminum reel
  • Rod tube
  • 25-year warranty

Benefits:

  • Extremely durable
  • Versatile
  • Made in the USA

View On Orvis | View On Amazon

 

Best 5-Weight Fly Rods Under $700

It isn’t uncommon for professional anglers and dedicated hobbyists to spend big on high-end fly rods, and oftentimes, the additional investment yields better results. Sure, there are lots of affordable fly rods, but they won’t last a lifetime the way higher-quality rods can, meaning they could end up costing you more over time. If you want a rod that will serve you for years to come, paying a little more up front may serve you in the long run.

 

G. Loomis IMX Pro

G. Loomis IMX-PRO Fly Rod

G. Loomis IMX-PRO Fly Rod

Buying an expensive fly rod can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t quite sure what you are looking for. Some rods are all flash and no substance, but for inexperienced anglers, knowing how to tell the difference takes time and practice. The IMX Pro from G. Loomis on the other hand is light on the glitz and glam but heavy on practical features, making this the perfect rod for someone that wants to avoid paying a higher price tag for aesthetics. Powerful and accurate, you’ll love this rugged rod for every fishing need.

Price: $525

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • 4-piece construction
  • Cork handle
  • Mid-weight
  • Fast action
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Practical
  • Sturdy
  • Reliable

View On Amazon

 

Taylor Anomaly

Taylor Anomaly Fly Rod

If you are looking for the ultimate fly rod, an all-around, super versatile tool that will help you to succeed in practically any situation, then the Anomaly fly rod from Taylor Fly Fishing might be the rod for you. Featuring durable graphite and resin construction complete with aluminum hardware for superior strength, the Anomaly captures a unique combination of power and finesse. Refined over more than four years by the Taylor team, this rod is suitable for everything from casual fishing trips to professional competitions.

Price: $559

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • 4 piece construction
  • Alignment dots
  • Flor-grade cork handle
  • Aluminum reel seat
  • Aluminum rod tube
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Versatile
  • Extremely durable
  • Lightweight
  • Salt-water safe

View On Trident Fly Fishing

 

Sage Sonic

Sage Sonic Fly Rod

Sage’s most popular fly rod, the Sonic can handle practically anything you throw its way and is always up to a new challenge. Superior durability starts with lightweight, anti-corrosion construction, making the Sonic fly rod suitable for both fresh and saltwater fishing trips. Pair anti-corrosive body with durable aluminum, gunmetal, and ceramic hardware and you’ve found one of the best and strongest rods on the market. Ideal for practically any application and anglers at every level, the Sonic is Sage’s most popular model for a reason.

Price: $575

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • 4-piece construction
  • Anodized aluminum reel seat
  • Cork handle
  • Aluminum rod tube
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-corrosive
  • Suitable for fresh and saltwater

View On Trident Fly Fishing | View On Telluride Angler

 

Douglas Sky

Douglas Sky Fly Rod

Douglas Sky Fly Rod

If you sometimes struggle to know when a fish is on your line, the Douglas Sky fly rod will help you to be certain every time. Designed for superior accuracy, you’ll find yourself becoming better at casting and at detecting a fish on the end of the line each time you use this rod. Lightweight, easy to cast, and highly durable, this will surely become your all-purpose rod once you discover its advanced sensitivity and strength.

Price: $695

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • Alignment dots
  • Flor grade cork handle
  • Blackwood reel sweat
  • Nanocarbon construction
  • Rod sock
  • Aluminum rod tube
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Advanced accuracy
  • Easy use – good for experienced and novice anglers
  • Versatile
  • Moderate to fast action
  • Salt-water safe

View On Trident Fly Fishing

 

Best 5-Weight Fly Rods Money Can Buy

If money is no object, or you are a professional wanting to invest in the best possible fly rod, this section is for you. Throw your budget to the wind, because these rods are expensive, high-tech, and the kind of item you’ll want to do your research on before purchasing. This said, each of these options is fabulous, so if you do decide to dive in headfirst and pick up one of these premium fly rods, we know you’ll love your choice.

 

Thomas & Thomas Avantt

Thomas & Thomas Avantt Fly Rod

Thomas & Thomas Avantt Fly Rod

If you have always wanted a handcrafted rod, but haven’t been able to find one for a reasonable price, the Avantt fly rod from Thomas & Thomas is about to become your new favorite. Carefully crafted by experienced builders in Greenfield, MA, each Thomas & Thomas rod is given personal care and attention to ensure they meet company standards. Though it can take a little longer to receive a handcrafted rod, these tools are versatile for use in a variety of conditions and environments, it will be well worth the wait in the end.

Price: $855

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • Graphite and resin construction
  • 4-piece design
  • Flor-grade cork handle with 2 hand design
  • Aluminum rod tube
  • Classy, low-profile matte finish
  • Ash Burl reel seat

Benefits:

  • Handcrafted
  • Made in the USA
  • Lightweight
  • Fast recovery
  • Precision

View On Amazon | View On Trident Fly Fishing

 

Sage X

Sage Fly Fishing - X Fly Rod

A fast action rod built for efficient casting, the X fly rod from Sage will make any cast-type more powerful, and perfect your accuracy to make you a better overall angler. More forgiving than other fast action rods, the Sage X is designed to reduce vibrations and increase performance so you’ll never be in doubt when you’ve got a nibble.

Price: $950

Length: 8 feet 6 inches to 10 feet

Features: 

  • Graphite and resin body
  • 4-piece construction
  • Two-handed design
  • Anodized aluminum reel seat
  • Cork handle
  • Aluminum rod tube

Benefits:

  • Long-range
  • Extreme durability
  • Advanced control
  • Versatile

View On Amazon | View On Trident Fly Fishing

 

G. Loomis Asquith

G. Loomis Asquith Fly Rod

A superbly powerful and accurate rod from top to bottom, the Asquith fly rod from G. Loomis boasts superior sensitivity, durability, and high-line speed. Despite being extremely lightweight, the Asquith can handle blustery days and strong gusts of wind without conditions impacting overall performance. Extraordinary in the hands of experienced anglers, this isn’t a beginner fly rod and takes a bit of finesse to cast perfectly, but can still be a good learning tool for anyone wanting to perfect their technique.

Price: $1,100

Length: 9 feet

Features:

  • High power and action
  • Cork handle
  • 4-piece construction
  • Lifetime warranty

Benefits:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Accurate
  • Versatile

View On Trident Fly Fishing

 

Have you enjoyed learning a little bit about some of the best 5-weight fly rods? Hopefully this guide helps make your decision a bit easier. If you have any questions, feel free to chat with us or contact us with any questions, or changes you’d like to see in this article.

Disclaimer: These links are affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission for purchases made through these links. We do not let this effect our review as our goal is to provide readers with the best possible help when choosing a fly rod. Purchasing through our links helps us out!

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about

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