Have you always looked with envy at the idyllic scenes of people fly fishing? I have, and for too long! Living in a semi-rural area means that the places most easily accessible are ponds and small lakes and streams. Which type of fly rod will work best in this situation? Three criteria stand out as most important.
Weight and Length
Fishing in ponds and small streams means you are not likely to be bringing in large and heavy fish. Here in the Midwest, we catch a lot of pan fish, bass, and trout. Some lakes are stocked with rainbow and golden trout that are fished from the shore where a shorter, lighter rod works best. Steelhead trout is popular in the larger rivers.
Which weight works best? The easy answer is to tell to find a fly fishing store, ask a lot of questions, and try them out. Not everyone is able to that. For those of us who are new to fly fishing and who must shop online or at big discount sporting goods store, we depend on some basic guidance or “best guess.”
Fly rods are sold by weight. Manufacturers use weight to mean the weight of the line you intend to use. You can use light weight (2-3 wt.) or a more medium weight (4-5 wt.). If you are only starting out with one rod, I would use a 5 wt because it offers more versatility. Casting room can be limited, so I would look for a 7-8 foot rod, but your circumstances may allow for a 9-10 foot rod.
Flex, bend, or action all refer to the stiffness of the rod. In ponds and small streams you will want to be able to accurately hit a spot. A more flexible rod allows greater accuracy. For the short range needed in ponds and small streams, a progressive or full flex rod is ideal. Full flex means that there is bend the full length of the rod (slower action). If you are only going to have one rod, then choose a medium flex.
Reel and line weight
The fly rod needs to accommodate a reel. When considering the feel and balance of your fly rod, you must consider the type of reel. The reel needs to match the weight of the rod and the line. A 5 wt rod uses 5 wt line. A simple single-action reel works well with the shorter range needed in ponds and small streams. Too large a reel may make your rod feel out of balance.
A well-balanced rod and reel will enhance your fishing experience. I don’t think anyone recommends buying a fly fishing combo without trying it out first. But, not everyone has a fly fishing store nearby. The big foot en direct streaming discount sporting goods store will have them on display, but you really can’t try them out. If that is your only option, then you will need to depend on the basics. These are just the very basics but intended to set you on the right course of action to select a fly rod that will make fishing in ponds and small lakes and streams easy and fun.