Fly Poles Affordable VS Exspensive?


Active Member
I think a lot depends on your casting style. My pace is relatively moderate, and while I can definitely appreciate the superior performance of premium rods, I can't recall a single slow day of fishing where I decided the reason I didn't do better was because I had a sub-par outfit in my hands. I have a couple premium rods in my quiver, but the only way I was able to justify buying them was finding them via Craigslist and a sweet consignment deal at my local fly shop. They're a pleasure to fish, but my cheapies catch me just as many fish.

For someone starting out, I highly recommend buying a Cabelas Three Forks or Wind River rod. The per-assembled outfits they sell in those lines are actually pretty decent fishing tools, but the reels that come with them are absolute pieces of shit. Even with that said, while I have endured several failures of those reels' function when stripping off line and while fighting fish, I have yet to lose a fish because of them. Mind you, these are trout outfits; NEVER fish salmon or steelhead with a crappy reel. Reels aside, those rods cast great (in my opinion), even if they are mass produced "overseas," and on sale, they go for about $30-$40. The outfits are usually under $100, tax included.

I suppose what I would consider a solid starting outfit would be an inexpensive rod, matched with a "decent" reel (read that as "containing no plastic parts, handle excepted") and a good line. A floating, weight forward Cortland 444 is a classic, solid performer at a moderate price point. Ask about factory seconds, too. Every once in a while, you can find a great line for pennies on the dollar that way. You shouldn't have to spend over $175 to be "in the game," at least for trout, and realistically, you can get there for less than $100. When you get better and can appreciate the virtues of premium outfits, assuming you've got the money to spend, they start to become more sensible purchases. The main difference I notice when casting premium rods is that they tend to throw more line more easily, probably due to their faster actions and superbly-engineered tapers. They're nice, for sure, but they're much more a luxury than a necessity. 30 years into my hobby, I still fish mostly middle of the road stuff.
As others have pointed out, there are many good inexpensive rods and combos on the market today. You can't really go wrong with one that comes from a name brand (e.g., Redington or even Cabelas). Bear in mind that, if you persist in this sport, you will eventually want another rod (and another, ...) that will work better for specific needs (bigger fish or bigger rivers, salt water, etc,). So, buy something today that you won't be looking to replace when you get a second rod, but rather have your second rod be for a different line wt, or different purpose.



My name is Mark Oberg
Just buy the Best you can afford, You wont be sorry. There's lots of good deal's in the classified's. Look for a medium action fly rod for starter's.
Just so you use the right terminology, a fishing rod and a fishing pole do not mean the same thing in the USA. They are interchangeable in Great Britain.

A fishing pole has no guides and no reel seat. The fishing line is tied to the end of the pole. So the first Macedonian fly fisher thousands of years ago used a fishing "pole." Today we refer to Tenkara "rods" but really they are Tenkara "poles."

Fishing rods are what most of us use with line guides and a reel seat.

Dan Nelson

Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum
Hi, Im new to this forum i am curious what is a good starter pole for someone who wants to get into fly fishing? is affordable like $30 good like a wallmart special? or a combo from say basspro or cabelas? or do you recommend something different?

or is it better to dive in and spend $500 to $900 for a rod?

Thanks for your time

There are some great 'starter' combos available today. Two of the best run approximately $300 for a quality rod, reel and line (with backing). You can read details about the Orvis Clearwater Combo here:

and the Redington Voyant here:

If $300 is too steep for a full outfit, the Redington Topo is a more affordable ($200) combo kit (review included in my Holiday Gift Guide package here: with a slower action rod and a cheaper reel. The Topo combo includes a good beginner rod/reel, but you'll grow out of it quickly if you stick with the sport whereas the Orvis Clearwater and the Redington Voyant are both rods (with matched reels) that you'll enjoy using for years. I especially love the Clearwater Rod -- I have a 3 wt I use for fishing on small streams.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
I can't believe that talk about cheap and expensive rods. The most I ever paid for a rod was $210.00. It sits in its case and rod sock while I use a cheaper rod. I don't use a rod on how much it cost as well as it casts my line and fly. Maybe I will shake the dust off of it this summer and give it a go again. It served me well until I could buy a few 4 piece rods. I seem to like them over the two piece rods.


Active Member
I had an eye opening moment a couple of years ago. I bought my daughter an Echo Gecko kids fly rod. I went out and cast it and was impressed. Then I took out my 4wt rod that retailed for $700 and was really surprised how well the Gecko cast compared to my go to trout rod up to 40 feet. I have cast some inexpensive rods since, factory built and some I built. the fish do not know the difference and to a point you will not know either. If you buy a quality starter rod from echo, redington, ross, cabelas I think they will all get you going and give you good service. I would recommend spending a few more than $30, maybe $75 to $100 range. I would also agree with the opinion that a good line can make all the difference, the rod would be second most important and if I were on a budget the reel(basically a line holder for trout fishing) would be where I would save some money. You can always upgrade the reel later.
Now that said having a nice quality rod and reel that fits your casting style is nice. They will outperform a less expensive rod in most cases and are nice to handle and look at. I think most of us appreciate good quality workmanship.


Well-Known Member

Sorry, but before we can have this conversation you'll need to understand that we fly cast with fly rods. Ain't no such thing as a fly pole. Poles are what the utility companies string electrical and telephone wires on. Having that out of the way, there are many good values in low priced fly rods. However, beware that the few lousy rods in the market place are found at the lowest price points. The lowest priced fly rod I will vouch for is the Cabela's Three Forks model at $59 which may be found on sale for even less. It's an excellent buy at $59 and compares favorably with rods costing 3 times as much. Hell, it compares favorably with rods costing 10 times as much. I recommend avoiding Walmart, but then I don't shop there for anything. Basspro may offer a good fly rod. I don't know, but I don't associate good fly gear with Basspro.

If you have lots of money, go ahead and spend $500 or $900 on a new fly rod. However, just understand that you won't cast any better with it. If you don't have a lot of money to spend, you'll be far, far better off buying the Cabela's Three Forks rod, or maybe the next model up, and a decent fly line and then spend $300 or $400 or whatever it costs on fly casting lessons. Instruction and practice with a decent low cost fly rod will make you a vastly better fly caster than a $900 rod and no lessons. Most fly fishermen can't cast half as well as their rods can because they spent too much on the rod and not enough on instruction.



Over the years, fly rods have increased immensely in quality and performance. At one time, the inexpensive "beginner" rods were terrible. I even complained to rod companies that whey were hardly encouraging more folks to become fly anglers when the el cheapo rods they sold were so terrible, no beginner could cast one. If anything, the better the rod and line, the more likely a person would master casting and become a dedicated flyfisher.

I was doing research for a magazine article on the subject of beginner's sets that included rod, reel and line and it turns out Orvis had it right. Their beginner's outfit includes their top of the line rod blank so the rod casts like a dream.... they kept the price down for the kit by using not so hot reel seat and guides and the reel is nothing to write home about but the rod casts great.

So, while at one time I wouldn't recommend a beginner flyfishing set up, I do now.

The only fly rod I've come across these days ( at any price) that didn't cast at least decent, is a Ugly Stick fly rod. I bought one as a backup for fishing for Dorado in Baja and the thing would work better as a hood prop than a fly rod.

Short answer: you don't need to mortgage the farm to buy a fly rod that will cast fine and get your foot in the door.
I want to thank everyone for the help, I do appreciate it very much. As it must be apparent I am new to fishing in general, and even newer so to fly fishing. I'm determined to learn, and I'm really trying to avoid getting a rod that will brake on the first day of use, as so many horror stories I have read in reviews of Rods on Amazon, Cabelas, etc. Being new and not indoctrinated to fishing terminology, I've learned what I know from videos, websites, my neighbor, my best friend and catalogs. Thank you for baring with me and offering me advice. I've learned more on this forum in so short of time then I have in an entire month of my neighbor attempting to teach me. Again thank you kindly.
My advice is don't buy anything. Take some casting classes, fishing classes and even a guided trip or two. That experience will make the decision much easier. You'll get some fishing experience, and you'll probably get to cast a variety of rods at different price points in the real world, not a parking lot. That way when you go to a shop, you might actually be able to tell the difference between an entry level rod made in a 2nd or 3rd world nation, or a top dollar rod made in a 1st world nation and decide for yourself if the price paid will fundamentally alter your fishing experience or enhance your capabilities on the water.
Take every opinion here with a grain of salt as the experience level is so varied. Some people may have been fishing for 25 years, but maybe putting in only 20 days on the water per year. Some folks may have been fishing for 5 years, but put in over 100 days on the water each year because they've gone completely batshit fucking crazy about hoodwinking fish every chance they make for themselves.
Ultimately every decision you make in regards to gear is a very personal one, and is as varied as anything else in this world; from taste in women to your opinions on politics. It is also an important one, as the dollar amount represents time you've invested to earn, and thus the investment must pay the dividends in a way that is not calculable by any scientific or mathematic measure.
Good luck in the future.

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
Akuriko, You'll soon see there is no right answer ever on any of the "what should I buy" threads. Part of the magic of fly fishing is the realization of what you might need based on what you got. From the rod to the reel to the line, the tippet, the fly, the cast, the mend, the strip...whatever

Most of us, except Old Man Jim, are always weighing these considerations first and foremost...

Need: a place with fish and time to fish it
Got: no place to fish and no time to fish it

The rod and style and so on, take your time, cheap gear means you can experiment more. This hobby can sustain that "what should I buy" excitement for decades, and hopefully the "what should I buy" becomes "what can i make or tie ..."

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