Fly fishing is an exciting pastime that combines the excitement of fishing with the opportunity to get outside and be active. For beginners, however, the specialized equipment can make learning fly fishing intimidating – even if it shouldn’t be. Many fly fishing companies offer fly fishing combos with everything one needs to start to fly fishing. This post features the best fly fishing starter kits to get you, or someone you know, on the water.
What’s Usually Included in the Best Fly Fishing Combos?
Fly fishing starter kits include a fly rod, fly reel, backing, and fly line. Some kits include the addition of tapered leaders, tippets, hemostats, split shot, flies, and even a net. If you’re asking yourself if you need a more comprehensive package, consider if you’ll be teaching yourself to fly fish or enlist a guide’s help.
Most guide services will supply everything you need for a trip – including fly rod and reel. However, many choose to bring their rod to learn on and rely on the guide’s terminal tackle and fly selection. If you are getting out with a friend or alone, having tools like hemostats, strike indicators, and flies may be more critical.
What Weight/Size Outfit Should I Start With?
The weight or size of a fly outfit is denoted by a number between one and 12. The higher the number the fly outfit is, the heavier the fly rod and the larger the species the package will require. For instance, if you plan to go out to some beaver ponds in search of willing brook trout, a lighter, three or four weight will suffice. If your target is big fish like tarpon on a salt flat in Key West, you’ll be best served with a 10 to 12-weight fly rod outfit.
The standard fly fly fishing rod weight for most freshwater fish species is a five to six-weight. A five-weight is the go-to beginner line weight for trout fishing, and you are likely to be given a six-weight fly rod at the beginning of any guide trip in pursuit of trout.
The rod length of a fly rod is also an important consideration with beginner fly fishing combos. A typical beginner fly fishing rod is 9 feet. Any longer can add challenges to an inexperienced fly fisher. Look for a beginner fly kit that includes a five or six weight, medium fast action rod, a solid reel with disc drag, and a weight forward, floating fly line.
What Are the Best Starter Fly Fishing Combos?
Quality gear, reasonable price. It may be a kit, but the Orvis Clearwater rod is quality. If you're serious about fly fishing, don't sell yourself short with products that are not backed up, like the 25-year warranty that Orvis provides. Learning to fly fish takes practice and persistence, and the Clearwater is the fly fishing rod that will last a lifetime.
Best Fly Fishing Starter Kits: Full Reviews
The KastKing Emergence Beginner Kit is faithful to KastKing's ideals, offering an expanded menu of accessories with various rod, reel, and fly line specifications. A no-hassle, limited warranty, and free shipping make the Emergence an even sweeter deal.
- Four-piece Graphite fly fishing rod with rod tube
- Additional accessories and flies provided
- Introductory price below $150
When you're new to something, it's nice to have a guide, someone or something you can trust. Orvis is that trusted brand. For decades, Orvis has been helping folks discover the joys of fly fishing and outfitting them with gear they fish with for the rest of their lives.
The Orvis Encounter 5-weight kit offers everything one needs to get fly fishing. Marketed towards youth anglers, the Encounter is a great fly rod for learning adults – or even an "emergency rod" for an experienced angler to keep in their car.
Temple Fork is another fly rod company that believes no one should spend a fortune to fly fish. To up the ante, TFO calls the Black Label Fly Fishing combo the most important product they offer because the performance of the outfit is critical in transforming the curious into lifelong anglers.
With a die-cast reel and weigh-forward fly line, TFO calls the Black Label Fly Fishing combo the gold standard in beginner fly fishing education. Look to the Temple Fork Black label for a young angler or a fly rod to keep in your trunk for those impromptu trips.
Pflueger is definitely a name many folks will recognize in fishing. The Pflueger Fly Rod kit is geared towards giving anyone access to a fly rod to fish. And at under $100, it is one of the most affordable fly rods.
From a technical standpoint, the 50 yards of backing and 25 yards of fly line do not make a whole lot of sense. Most anglers never get into their backing unless they hook into a really big fish, but I guess if you only have 25 feet of fly line, that might change.
In any case, the Pflueger provides access, but once you learn a little, you'll probably want to upgrade the included fly line.
Most fly rod companies offer kits; Wild Water Fly Fishing ONLY offers kits! Wild Water's mission is to get folks on the water learning fly fishing. They are passionate about fly fishing and understand that while many kits are similar, fly fishing is not the same for everyone.
Their starter kit has an expanded list of accessories to get you casting. They also offer species-specific kits, as well as tenkara kits.
Maxcatch's Whole Outfit comes in sizes from four to eight weights. The kit comes with its rod, reel, and fly line. Additionally, the package includes a handful of accessories, including a fly box with flies.
The package is south of $100, and the company can be reached online with text in case of warranty issues or simply product questions.
- Includes 12 hand-tied dry flies
- Bonus key chain
- One-year warranty
Piscifun aims to take the less guesswork out of fly fishing by offering its introductory kit in the standard 5/6 weight range.
Along with fly rod, reel, and floating line, the Piscifun includes nine flies, nippers, and a fly box with a handy lanyard. Despite the additional gear, this package looks pretty bare-bones, which might be exactly what you're in the market for.
While you may not have the funds for Orvis Helios, you can be just as successful with Clearwater as you hone your skills and save money. I bought my wife a Clearwater, who loves its medium action, but I know if she's not with me, I can always stow it away in my Jeep if I need a backup. Things happen; fly rods snap.
Buying a Fly Fishing Combo Kit Versus Assembling Your Own Outfit
When deciding on a fly fishing outfit, many wonder what is best. Should you go with a kit or cobble together a fishing rod and reel combo yourself? There are many opinions, but these are the variables I would consider if I were to consider a new outfit.
If you are just learning and don’t know what you need, a preset fishing rod and reel combo is the quickest route to having fun fly fishing and understanding what you need – and what you don’t. Fly fishing combos are also created to provide the fly fishing tools you need at an introductory price. This is beneficial if you are unsure if fly fishing is something you really enjoy. With passion comes a greater desire to invest in that passion.
Fly fishing can be expensive – but boy, is it fun. Don’t let a lack of resources keep you from getting out. Finding an affordable, quality combo might be just the ticket. If you purchased everything separately, the total cost would significantly exceed the average price offered for fly fishing combos. So, when you’re learning on a budget, look to the fly fishing combo.
Building that perfect outfit takes time. Sometimes you need to special order items or visit the fly shop. At the very least, you’re investing considerable time online when you should be perfecting that drift. In this case, a pre-set rod and reel combo is a great way to maximize time on the water – where you should be.
Sometimes, you already have a rod. Or maybe you were gifted a reel with disc drag. In this case, you’d prefer to build around that one piece. A special reel deserves a special rod, and vice versa. That’s when I would spend some time picking the correct elements to complement the gear.
We’re all unique, and we want to stand out. Choosing our own fly gear that fits our preferences or our preferred type of fly fishing dictates that we shop at the local fly shop to buy the perfect equipment. Combos are great, but they are cookie-cutter by design. You can have the best fly fishing starter kit, but if it doesn’t feel like the best fit for you, customize it.