Home » Fly Fishing Gift Guide: 2018 All Fly Rod Edition

Fly Fishing Gift Guide: 2018 All Fly Rod Edition

A rod is the iconic and quintessential piece of fly fishing gear.

It only stands to reason that a new fly rod under the tree is the ultimate gift for the angler.

Buying a fly rod is often a very personal experience. This makes buying one for someone a potentially daunting task. However, there are some rods that should be a hit regardless of who receives them. Also, isn’t unheard of that people might begin dropping helpful hints as the holidays approach.

I have compiled 8 fly rod recommendations that will fit every budget; from below $100 to $1,000. Here they are, starting with the least expensive:

Risen Fly Genesis ($90-$95)

I have casted plenty of rods in the $300 range that don’t feel as good as the Genesis. For under $100, this rod would be a great way to introduce someone to the sport. And with a 3-, 5-, and 8-weight available, there are options for all sorts of fishing situations. CA Review

Blue Halo RetroFlex 3 Blanks ($139-$159)

Technically this isn’t a “rod.” These are unfinished fiberglass blanks. But the gift of what will become your very own custom rod is unique and potentially very special.  Or, if you prefer, you can buy one of Blue Halo’s stunning blanks as part of a completed rod.

Redington Butter Stick ($249-$279)

Coupling retro styling and contemporary  technology, the new and updated Butter Stick is already making waves in the fly fishing world. A smooth, progressive taper makes it easy and fun to fish with. With this rod, Redington is putting glass in the hands of fly fishers new and old. CA Review

Douglas Upstream ($350-$425)

If you know a small stream fanatic, they’ll love the Upstream. These rods are incredibly light and responsive. They’re perfect for making delicate presentations and then fighting feisty trout. Available in 4- and  6-piece models, these rods are a pleasure to fish on mountain creeks. CA Review

Sage Bass II ($600)

Often, warmwater anglers default to using heavy trout or light salt gear. Sage has made a bass-specific rod for years. This model provides the taper to toss wind-resistant poppers and the backbone to pull heavy fish from the weeds. Plus kayak and canoe anglers will  enjoy the 7’11” length.

Waterworks Lamson Center Axis ($749-$799)

The Center Axis isn’t the first integrated rod/reel combo in the industry, but it seems to have received the warmest reviews. It comes down to this: if the rod fits your casting stroke, then the benefits of the exclusive balancing make this a rod (and reel)  worth fishing.

Orvis Helios 3 ($849-$898)

Something that I really liked about Orvis for years was the different flex profiles within each line of rods. This gave options to anglers within each tier of product. That has sort of come back with the Helios 3D and 3S, both of which are premium casting tools.

Thomas & Thomas Exocett ($915-$1,000)

If someone has been very nice this year, and they fish in the salt, maybe – just maybe – they deserve the Exocett. Incredibly light, this rod is a cannon that can push dense lines and heavy flies with relative ease. Thomas & Thomas has truly built a high-performance fly rod that you can cast all day.


There are plenty of fantastic fly rods on the market today. These eight are worth considering for that special fly fisher in your life.

…or, if you happen to be the special fly fisher, worth  dropping a few hints about.

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