Best Beginner Fly Fishing Combos

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Fly fishing offers anglers not only a very visual and beautiful way to fish in some of the more beautiful locations, but the gear offers as much versatility as most any type of fishing. With that, however, comes a lot to learn and know to master the technique. This can be somewhat daunting for new anglers and as they research gear, the prices can make it seem out of reach for a lot of beginning anglers getting into fly fishing.

The focus of this guide will be to give some solid options at a variety of budgets to fit anyone’s needs as well as some variations to be able to go after small fish, big fish, open water and tight quarters quarry alike. This is nowhere close to all encompassing as there are so many great brands in fly fishing. We have tested a good handful and will be adding more as we review more. This is just to give a lot of anglers a great starting point to get into fly fishing quickly.

We’ve provided some great resources to help anglers know the gear they need, how to cast and also some simple instructions on chasing the easiest of fish to learn to fly fish on, the panfish.

This guide will focus on rod and reel combos for beginners to intermediate anglers. That’s not to say an expert fly angler wouldn’t be able to catch the heck out of fish on these rod and reel combos, but as skills progress and the hunt for fish gets more nuanced, upgrading gear is a natural progression in fishing.

While I love my Hardy fly rod and reel, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting back into fly fishing with several of these combos and as I knocked the rust off, it was a great exercise to be able to help a lot of first time anglers or maybe anglers like me who haven’t picked up the fly rod in several years.

I will mention some individual specialized rods and reels at the end that aren’t necessarily combos but you can build some inexpensive upgraded combos easily by swapping out a rod or reel here and there.



This is one of the beginner combos I have used the most over the last year because I like how it fishes so much. For the money this a hard combo to beat. Greys makes such good rods and reasonable price points and the reel is perfectly matched to it. The Fin combo is offered in 8, 9 and 10-foot lengths in 4-weight to 7-weight options.

The Greys Fin Rod features beautifully light and crisp blanks that incorporate double-footed, lined stripper guides with double-foot snake guides up the rest of the rod. The alloy and wood reel seat gives the rod a much more expensive look with the smooth AA Cork handle. The Fin disc drag fly reel is a great compliment and balances perfectly on this combo. I’ve been fishing this 5 weight for trout and panfish and the occasional bass. The rod fishes great, casts great and handles larger fish lake fish and small stream fish equally well.

The combo comes expertly loaded with pretty good backing, dual color fly line and leader. And the nice zippered case rounds out the kit. It’s at the higher end at $279, but this a combo you could still be fishing 10 years from now when you’ve mastered the fly fishing game.


Orvis and fly fishing are synonymous. Not only does Orvis make some of the best fly fishing gear but they also support the fly fishing community and cater to avid fly anglers through education, conservation, clothing and a lot more. But they also make a range of fly rods and fly reels that span all budgets. So you can get a solid combo at a decent price that will last you a long time.

The Orvis Encounter is really the standard in starter combos. Not only because of its advanced design, comfortable fishing experience and practical, high performance but also because it comes in at under $200. The large arbor drag Encounter reel is a perfect fit for the combo

And with that it comes loaded with backing, quality Orvis weight forward fly line and leader to help the learning curve.

I have long been a proponent in fishing of starting out with quality gear to make the learning process faster and more enjoyable. Throw it all in the attractive green Orvis rod case, and this is the perfect starter rod for any new fly angler.

It comes in 5, 6 and 8 weights and 8 1/2 to 9 foot lengths. And it retails for $198.


This 4-piece combo builds on Fenwick’s famous legacy of an easy-casting taper that’s very beginner friendly. It comes in 5,6 or 8-weight options and 9-foot lengths. It’s paired with a Pflueger larger-arbor, die-cast fly reel that comes pre-spooled with Dacron backing, weight-forward floating fly line and a tapered leader. The Woven carbon reel seat and aluminum up-lock rings snug the reel to the rod. Chrome stripper guides and lightweight cork handle round out the combo.

The rod fishes well. I used the 5-weight for panfish and really enjoyed how it fished. It’s a great rod for small waters and is very easy to cast and roll and mend around on the stream and small lakes. And it comes in at an affordable price of $165.


Wild Water has a really interesting selection of fly rod combos and fly fishing packages. What I like about their fly fishing combo kits is they are truly geared towards the beginner. With a decent rod, solid reel already spooled with backing, fly line, leader, and tippet. The fishing packages also come with everything else you will need like spare leaders and tippet, flies, a fly box, forceps and clippers with zip cords and a nice case for the rod and reel. Their kits pack down small so they are super easy to travel with.

The rod on the kit I tested was a 7/8 weight with a coordinated reel. It came with a set of bass flies and streamers The rod is 9 foot long with 4 pieces with two stainless steel stripper guides and stainless single foot guides and tip. Western style cork handle and 2-inch extension butt. The blank is sold at a medium fast action and can handle larger fish like bass, big trout and pike. Probably some light inshore saltwater.

The reel is simple and loaded with line. I would probably replace the line if I was going to make this my main reel. But the kit is super solid and you can catch a bunch of fish with it right out of the package. It’s moderately price for such a complete starter kit at $135 for a heavy-duty fly combo.

redington original fly combo


This combo is as classic as it is geared towards beginners and experience fly casters alike. Featuring an easy casting medium fast blank and the famous Redington Crosswater fly reel. The powerful carbon drag offers smooth stopping power and this combo comes pre loaded with premium RIO Mainstream fly line and a RIO Powerflex tapered leader. The durable anodized aluminum reel seat gives the smooth cork and brown accented blank that classic quality look. It’s a very sharp combo that fishes very well. It’s another easy casting rod 4-piece rod that comes in 5 and 8 weight options and a 9-foot length.

I enjoyed testing the 5 weight option. It’s light, it casts great. It rolls great. Flipping line up current is a breeze. This is a classic setup that feels like a lot more expensive setup at $199. If you are just getting into fly fishing and don’t want to break the bank but plan to be doing it for a lot of years with regularity, this is a good option.


I want to compare an entry level tenkara and true Japanese made tenkara rod so I chose the Tenkara Rod Company’s Kita 380 Rod Kit to test. Tenkara Rod Co makes some of the nicest tenkara rod kits out there. They have various rod sizes and styles to fit the different waters you can tenkara fish. The Kita 380 kit is nice at 12 1/2 feet of carbon fiber build. It’s super light for a tenkara rod and collapses down to just under 23 inches.

The rod is made to be light and fishable for level line casting in the traditional tenkara sense. With 13 feet of line you can reach out and put this on fish but still work it into tight runs. Everything comes in a nice soft case that zips up and slips nicely into the hard metal tube. It’s a heck of a good rod and one I really enjoy and it’s pretty much always in my truck. I busted it out during a mayfly hatch this spring and had a big time with it. It’s a pricey setup at $225 for the rod or $250 for the kit. But if you are serious about simply light packability in fly fishing or the ability to take a fly rod literally anywhere, this rod might be your best investment.


The easiest way I think to get into fly fishing is with a Tenkara rod, and the Wild Water Tenkara rod makes fly fishing super attainable at $79 or get the whole kit for $109 that includes three different tenkara fly lines, leader, tippet, line keeper spool and line clips, clippers and flies in fly box.

At 8 feet or 12-feet, I found this rod to be a great rod for small streams. I have one about an hour from the house and this was my first foray back into fly fishing a couple years ago. I have had a lot of fun days with that setup since. With 12-feet of rod and another 10 to 15 feet of line depending on which you go with, this gives you a lot of reach for those small feeder creeks and tributaries or close quarters fishing. The rod is simple and works and kit makes it easy to get going quickly.


Finding a good fly rod and reel combo usually means you’re going to have at least a $100 reel on a $100 rod. Obviously you can significantly upgrade on materials from there to go as high as $700-900 on a reel and that much more on a rod. But for our purposes we tried to stay in that $200 range as a midpoint. Some of these are above that and some of these are below that. And the quality of material obviously varies as price point does.

In my opinion, you are better off to spend your money on rod quality first as you start thinking about upgrading. I fished with a good rod and an auto reel for a long time growing up. I fought the fish with the rod and mastered my casting with the rod. The reel just kept the line managed for the most part. Now if you are going to be fighting fish that run a ton on you, then the reel starts to come into play a lot more and upgrading makes more sense there.

Quality blanks, efficient guides, ferrule constructions, reel seat materials, and more can factor into rod price, just as frame materials, weight, hub construction, arbor and spool size as well as crank smoothness and more can factor into reel prices.


One easy place to upgrade quickly on beginner combos is on your fly line. Line is arguably the most important aspect of any type of fishing gear, and it’s maybe even more important when it comes to fly fishing. The wrong line on the right reel still can fish poorly. So a quality line that fits how you fish can improve a fly rod and reel combo’s performance drastically.


We covered a ton of gear in this guide and there is so much more we didn’t cover. There are a lot of great brands making fly fishing gear now. Several brands are making fly fishing accessible on much lower budgets. There are some of the storied brands offering flagship fly fishing gear still and new comers making equally great stuff. So anglers have more options than ever before in the sport of fly fishing.

You can get into fly fishing as deep as you want or your budget will allow now with a premium stable of fly rod and reel manufacturers.

Some of the brands we are familiar with making great fly rods, fly reels and fly combos would include the following:

  • Hardy
  • Greys
  • Orvis
  • Redington
  • Sage
  • Cheeky
  • Echo
  • Able
  • G. Loomis
  • Temple Fork Outfitters
  • Fenwick
  • Wild Water
  • Tenkara Rod Company
  • Toad Fish