Fly fishing is an incredible sport that can be extremely rewarding, but also very expensive. This guide is meant to help those looking to get into fly fishing find the right rod and reel setup. Below, we list some of the best fly fishing rod and reel combos on the market for beginners. These choices will provide performance, durability, and do so on a budget.
We are specifically pulling out budget friendly combos that are great for those looking to get into fly fishing. Purchasing a combo outfit like this is a great way to get a balanced setup where the rod and reel will work well together. In addition to this, many of these entry-level kits come with fly line, backing, tippet, and even flies to get beginners started easily. Before reading this list, we highly recommend that you understand a few things about fly fishing first:
- Be sure to read our Beginner’s Guide To Fly Fishing, which also goes over the entire fly rod, reel, and line setup.
- You’ll want to also understand all the other gear you’ll want with you or need on the water. Read our guide on the Essential Fly Fishing Accessories
- Our article that goes in depth of the key considerations when choosing a fly rod.
Best Beginner Fly Rod Combos:
- Orvis Encounter – The best beginner fly rod combo.
- LL Bean Quest II – A great beginner to intermediate setup.
- Wild Water Starter Package – The best budget outfit.
- Piscifun Combo – A great low budget option.
- Echo Traverse Combo – A great option for mid range budgets.
- Echo Base – A great option for travel and mid range budgets.
- Plusinno Combo – A great low budget option.
- Redington Crosswater – A great budget intermediate setup.
Best Overall Fly Rod Combos (For Intermediate & Advanced Anglers):
- Orvis Helios 3D Outfit – The overall best combo on the market.
- Sage Foundation Outfit – A greate advanced level outfit.
- Orvis Clearwater Combo – The best overall value outfit.
Best Beginner Fly Rod Combos
The beginner rod and reel combos we list below are within a budget friendly price range, and often include more than just a rod and reel, which is a great for a beginner to make the process easier when purchasing a combo kit. Everything in one kit makes it much simpler to get out on the water.
Price: $143.99 – $175
This rod and reel combo is affordable, and made by one of the top fly fishing companies out there, Orvis. They don’t put out any bad products, so you can be assured high quality. This is Orvis’ top beginner fly fishing outfit that is ready to go out of the box. Great reviews, great feel, and the rod and reel match up perfectly. 5-Weight 8.5 or 9 foot choice, so it is a good fit for nearly all situations.
Honestly, this is probably the best rod and reel starter combo available.
- Top Company
- Highest Quality for the money (hands down)
- Great balance of rod and reel
(I own this one so I might be biased) This might be one of the best rod and reel combos out there. L.L. Bean makes some high quality rods that don’t break the bank…oh and don’t forget the lifetime warranty (update: 1 year warranty now).
Personal Quest II Review
You definitely can’t go wrong with the rod alone, the reel alone, or the rod and reel combo. They are well balanced, high quality, and perform as well as much more expensive rods and reels. I still often use this rod and reel years later for situations where a 5-6 weight rod make sense.
This fly rod is balanced with the fly reel. You can get it lined and ready to go, or order rod and reel separately. You also have the choice between 2 and 4 piece if you would like a smaller case for it. This outfit also comes with a very protective case to carry the rod in. At such a low price point for the quality of the rod and reel, you cannot go wrong. Not only is it a great beginner and intermediate rod, but this rod is comparable to far more expensive rods.
You also have the option to get this in a 4-9 weight. I’d recommend 5 or 6 as this is the most versatile weight for many situations.
- Extremely Well Balanced
- Quality Line and Reel
- 1 Year Warranty
This combo is great because it comes with everything you need, rod, reel, tippet, line, flies, rod case, and even a fly box. Not only does it come with all of this, but the rod and reel are both high quality, Don’t believe me? Amazon has an absurd amount of quality reviews coming from long time anglers, and beginners.
- Comes with everything you need
- Great Price
- Highly Reviewed
This is another combo that is less expensive than others, but contains everything you need to get started. You are going to want to buy flies separately from this kit, but Piscifun is one of those low cost brands that has made a name by providing low cost, durable goods for consumers.
- Almost all you need in one combo. Definitely need to buy tippet still! And you should buy flies as well.
- Great carrying case with this
- Slow action rod (more forgiving casting for beginners)
Echo Traverse Fly Rod & Reel Kit
Awesome 4 piece setup with travel case included. Comes in 4 weight, 5 weight, or 6 weight options with very solid performance. This is one of the more expensive beginner setups, but will last you several years without issue. It features the performance of higher end rods and reels, is very well balanced, and comes from Echo, which has an extremely good reputation in the space.
- Great case
- Great balance between rod and reel
- Intermediate and advanced fisherman would still love this setup and use it happily
Echo Base Fly Rod Kit
This kit is in a mid price range at just below $300, but features performance of very high end rods. You won’t be needing to upgrade quickly with this option.
- Comes with traveling case
- High quality rod
- Quality fly line and backing
This combo slides in at a slightly lower cost without sacrificing too much on overall performance. If you end up getting addicted, you’ll be upgrading, but even when you do, this rod is a perfect backup. It will also allow you to learn to cast effectively. One of the best deals out there. This comes with flies, but we highly recommend getting other flies since these flies are not durable or highly versatile.
- Great Case
- Comes with fly box (not so great flies)
- Solid rod and reel
Redington produces some of the best low cost fly rods out there. All you need is some tippet and flies and you’re ready to go with a setup that could handle just about every fishing situation.
- Comes with everything you need to get going
- Great Carrying Case
- Solid rod and reel
Best Intermediate & Advanced Fly Rod Combos
In this list, we bring out fly rod and reel combos that are extremely high quality, durable, well balanced, and heavily tested by anglers. These combination products tend to be a bit more expensive than what we have listed for beginners, and will be suitable for even for seasoned anglers.
Helios™ 3D Fly Rod Outfit
The Helios 3d has become one of the most well used and sought after rods in all of fly fishing. It has a unique feel unlike most other rods, yet incredible performance in such a wide range of situations. It has some of the best casting distance possibilities due to its design with what anglers often say the most accurate casts possible.
To summarize, this combo has extreme balance, incredible accuracy, and power that matches makes this just about one of the highest performing rod and reels that exist.
Orvis offers customization on this rod and reel outfit as well.
Options: 4-12 weight in 9′ – 10′ rod lengths
Sage Foundation Outfit
Sage puts out some of the highest quality gear out there. The foundation outfit features a graphite material, an overall fast action, with a medium tip and mid rod action. This rod is designed with casting distance and accuracy in mind for all around situations. The balance of power and delicate presentation is great with this outfit. The Sage Spectrum C reel is perfectly balanced with this rod, and is everything you’d expect from a top notch rod and reel combo.
This rod and reel combo is sleek and really good looking as well. Every new Sage rod, blank and Sage series reel is covered by a lifetime, original owner warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.
- Made In America
- 4 piece rod w/ 9′ 4, 5, 6, and 7 weight options
- Comes with rod tube
Orvis Clearwater Outfit
The Orvis Clearwater Outfit is an extremely attractive outfit for beginners and intermediates. This is a relatively budget friendly outfit in a price range of lower end combos, but with a performance and feel that mimics rods and reels at much higher price points.
This combo comes with a rod tube, a 25 year guarantee, and tons of options. With 2-0 weight options and 7′ 6″ – 10′ options, this rod and reel outfit can fit any anglers scenario. Because of this, it has become one of the most popular beginner setups in the world. Though often purchased by beginners, it is retained by beginners that become intermediate and advanced anglers due to the performance.
It also comes with fly line and backing, making it perfect for beginners.
Price: Under $400
What Should You Look For In A Rod For A Beginner?
You may notice that rods are labeled as fast action, medium or slow action rods. Many will say that medium to slow action rods are better for beginners as they are slightly easier to cast, and more forgiving if you make small mistakes. This is true! But don’t make it a deal breaker, a medium to fast rod is the most versatile, and you’ll get the hang of casting pretty quickly.
4-6 weight rods are the most versatile, allowing you to use them in almost any situation, whether you are going for small trout in mountain streams, or big bass in a pond, these rods can handle them. If you want to do some ocean fishing, go up a bit to at least a 7 weight.
We have put out a complete guide to the best 5 weight fly rod in each price category. Be sure to check this guide out if you want a 5 weight rod.
A good warranty is nice. Companies like Orvis, Redington and L.L. Bean have great customer service and are willing to help out whenever possible.
Unsure of what reel to get? Check out our guide to choosing a fly fishing reel.
Other Items You’ll Need To Purchase
It is essential that you make sure you have the following items before heading out on the water for the first time in addition to these rod and reel combos:
- Both wet flies and dry flies that will work in your location. We highly recommend contacting a local fly shop for help.
- Split Shot / Weight
- Clippers / Nips / Forceps for cutting
- Net for fish safety
These reviews are based solely on our opinion. We do get a small affiliate income when a purchase is made from this site on Amazon, all products were chosen as we felt they were the best fits for beginners to get into fly fishing. Please contact us if you have any additional input or thoughts on this! Thanks for reading, and I hope you end up loving fly fishing as much as we did when we bought our first outfit.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about