In the under $200 price range you can get a great fly rod setup from a major brand in the fly fishing industry. Any of the rods reviewed here could last a lifetime. Plus if you really get into the sport these would be an excellent backup rod or a loaner to help out a fishing buddy.
What’s cool about this price is you can buy an established brand in the fly fishing industry.
The three stand-out brand fly rod combo reviewed are:
- Temple Fork Outfitters NXT
- Orvis Encounter
- Redington Path II
I took a deep dive into all three brands and selected the 5 weights from each to review. I will say all three are great, but I think one setup is a stand out.
My Quick Fly Rod Combo Recommendation If you’d like to skip all the details below and find out what I would buy? I HIGHLY Recommend the TFO NXT 9 Foot, 5/6 wt. Fly Rod COMBO (Link to Amazon to Check Price and Reviews) The lifetime rod warranty and a reel made out of aluminum are what sets this fly rod combo above the others.
What Size Fly Rod for the Beginning Fly Fisher
I could write a whole bunch of stuff that describes what fly rod weights are and how the line weight targets particular size and type of fish, but I’m not going to do that. If you get a fly rod that is a 4, 5 or 6 weight you’ll be fine. I’ve caught trophy trout in this size range. Most fly rods in this weight range are either 8’ 6” or 9’ which again is perfect for the beginner.
If you want specifics to write on your shopping list get a 5 Weight, Medium-Fast Action Fly Rod that is 9 Feet Long. If you’re a beginner, this size fly rod will enable you to catch 80% of the freshwater fish you could encounter.
The objective of getting one of these combos is that you don’t have to worry about all that “technical stuff” and you can concentrate on fishing. Once you fall in love with this sport you can learn all the jargon and what’s even cooler is that any of these rods will get a nod of approval from an experienced fly fisher.
Benefits of Getting a Fly Rod Combo
The first benefit of a combo is that if you don’t have a fly shop close by you can put together components that are matched up to function straight from the box. Of particular importance is the fly rod and fly line. If the rod and line don’t work together you can struggle, particularly if you’re a beginner to the sport.
All three of these fly rod combos have:
- Fly Rod
- Fly Line
In theory all you need is to add a fly and some “fishy” water.
A Warning About Fly Rod Selection
If you are specifically targeting Steelhead, Salmon, Carp or anything that swims in SALTWATER. PLEASE go to a fly shop and get setup right. Online reviews might say these setups will work, but those types of fish will destroy these rods and reels.
Details about the Temple Fork Outfitters NXT
Have you ever purchased something and really believed you received exceptional value? The NXT rod setup was exactly like that for me. After rigging it up and casting it on the lawn I really felt like the rod by itself felt like something costing twice as much. I seriously couldn’t wait to get on the water and feel it bend.
Temple Fork Outfitters – Fly Rods
TFO as a company isn’t very old, but the company has built an incredible following in the Fly Fishing world. With the objective to provide the highest performance products, designed to meet the performance of high-end products by focusing on the qualities that add the most value to the fly fisher.
I have personally met the TFO President Rick Pope at an outing and he is dedicated to growing the fly fishing industry through conservation and youth programs.
YouTube Link to TFO PRO SUMMIT Event – TFO PRO SUMMIT
NXT Fly Rod – Wow!
The medium fast action of the NXT is perfect for the beginner and still gives an experienced caster the backbone to really drill the line out 80 feet with a strong double haul. The rod fit and finish is exceptional, black anodized hardware, forest green rod blank and a composite cork grip. The guides are slightly oversized which improves casting by allowing the line and knots to pass through the guides easily.
The 4-piece construction makes it easy to transport and the alignment dots speed up assembly.
The composite grip is more durable than just cork. Unless a premium cork is used (which adds considerable cost) it’s really difficult to get all day comfort with a general cork handle. The composite will provide the comfort and grip of cork without having voids and gaps that could cause blisters.
The NXT Fly Reel a Quality Surprise!
The NXT comes with a hard-anodized Cast and Machined Aluminum Fly Reel! The semi-sealed disc drag provides smooth stopping power. The reel is a really quality surprise, large arbor with a nice knob for adjusting the drag. The spool has machined venting which allows your fly line and backing to dry.
The reel also allows for the spools extra spools to be interchanged. So, if you need to change from a floating line to a sinking line you can swap the spool instead of taking all the line off and string-up a different line.
Is this the perfect Fly Rod Combo for Under $200?
I wish the fly line was a little bit nicer on this setup. Don’t get me wrong the included fly line is ok, but with a better fly line this fly rod combo would be exceptional. What your getting though is a setup that will surprise ANY experienced fly fisher.
If your considering the TFO NXT Fly Rod the read the Reviews and Check Out the current price on AMAZON here – Temple Fork NXT Fly Fishing Outfit
The fly rod is super lightweight, so you’re not fatigued after a full day on the water. I appreciate the 9 foot length because it provides just a bit more line control. The carrying case has a tough cordura covering and allows the reel to be stored on the rod.
Like I said in the opening paragraph – I easily recommend this rod above the other two. I bought mine on amazon because I’m a prime member and get free shipping. The out the price and reviews with this link to Amazon – Temple Fork Outfitters NXT Fly Fishing Outfit.
TFO NXT Fly Rod Warranty
This one is easy, all over the TFO website you can find instructions for the “No-Fault Lifetime Warranty”. Something that TFO does to every fly rod before it’s shipped from the factory is to LOAD TEST it to ensure that fly rod blank defects are found before any customer gets their fly rod. I think this is what makes TFO an outstanding value. Here’s a link to the TFO Warranty Page to read more. https://tforods.com/warranty/
Yes, TFO asks for a $35 fee, but I can tell you from experience that the folks at TFO work to get a fly rod repaired or a section replaced in a couple days. Plus, it cost $15 or so just to mail a fly rod anywhere.
Details about the Redington Path II Fly Rod Combo
Redington has been in the fly fishing industry over 25 years and is known for quality and affordability. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that this is an inexpensive brand. Redington is part of Far Banks who is a leader in the fly fishing industry with other well-known brands like SAGE, RIO fly lines and Fly Water Travel.
The Path II fly rod combo has a couple items that should be noted. The aesthetics of the rod are amazing. I particularly like the wood reel seat and alignment dots to help assembly the rod sections.
Because Redington is owned by Far Banks you get the benefits of a RIO Mainstream https://www.rioproducts.com/products/floating/mainstream-trout-wf weight forward floating line which is great for casting. The progressive taper of the weight forward line, really gives the Path II some extra points in my evaluation.
Fit and finish of the Redington Path II is excellent. The laser engraved reels seat which also has a wood insert give the rod a classy appearance. The rod comes with a lifetime warranty, a cordura rod tube and is pre-loaded with backing, line and leader. This is my opinion, but the grip isn’t the highest grade quality, mine had a couple small voids. For me, unless the grip is the highest quality, I prefer a composite cork handle.
Don’t get me wrong, the Redington Path II is a great fly rod. The RIO fly line is a great addition to the rod and improves casting. Check out the current prices on Amazon here – Redington Path II Fly Rod Combo
The Redington Path II is a great value, the team at Far Banks has put the money into what counts the most – the Fly Rod and Line.. The two key items that I like with this setup is the rod is perfectly matched with a pretty decent RIO fly line. The reel is a little bit on the cheaper side, being made of plastic. Please consider that in the sub-$200 area the company has to find a way to cut some costs. As a note, I got mine on Amazon – Here’s a link to check it out the price and more reviews. – Redington Path II.
Fly rod action, the Redington uses an unusual term for this rod – Moderate Fast link to Redington. The reason this is a little different is most folks use the term MEDIUM FAST. https://www.redington.com/fly-fishing-combos/path-combo-new
Redington Path II Fly Rod Warranty
This rod has a LIFETIME Warranty. My review of the warranty details indicate the owner (YOU) need to pay to ship the entire rod back to Brainbridge Island, WA. I didn’t see this but often these fly rod warranties include a nominal cost of $25 to $45 to match-up, repair and then mail the fly rod back. Don’t sweat this little cost – the Redington is worth it.
As a note the reel only comes with a 1-year warranty. This is pretty much an industry standard.
Details about the Orvis Encounter Fly Rod Combo
Orvis has been a leader in the fly fishing industry for over 160 years. The company has been built on a tradition of providing high quality merchandise to the fly fishing community. I can say from personal experience Conservation and Community support is a core value for the company.
The Orvis Encounter has a great medium action rod, but the line and reel are a little bit less desirable. The reel is plastic and the line didn’t seem to be matched well to the rod. For just a little bit over $200, I would recommend the Clearwater outfit, (Link to Amazon to check the price and reviews) read the which has a good fly line, an aluminum reel plus a 25-year warranty.
With most medium action fly rods like the encounter you can “feel” the rod load. This is a great quality for the beginning fly caster. This helps with cast timing and provides read back to the caster.
Fit and Finish on the encounter is great, the sections fit well and the cork is nice and without defects. Unfortunately, the sections don’t have alignment dots. Many times, in the lower priced rods the cork handles have gaps and voids this rod did not. The reel seat is uplocking with the hardware made from aluminum.
The rod tube doesn’t allow the reel to stay on the rod. For the last couple years, I’ve preferred the rod tubes that allow the reel to stay on the fly rod. It seems like a hassle to open up a reel case to check what reel size it is and if it matches the rod.
The Encounter Fly Rod Combo Price
This package is the least expensive out of the bunch. From memory I paid just under $170. I would say, if your on a budget and need a second fly rod for a friend or a child this would be a decent setup especially given the medium action really helps a new fly rod caster.
I would say if PRICE is the number one thing, look at the Wild Water Setup I reviewed. The fly rod has a great warranty and comes with added goodies like flies, fly box, tippet, and nippers. Link to Article – Best Fly Rod Combo Under $100
The Encounter Fly Rod Warranty
It has to be tough for a fly rod company to offer a lifetime or even an extended warranty. The crazy thing is that Orvis was a leader in offering long term breakage warranties and the ENCOUNTER FLY ROD has a short-limited time warranty (1 year). Fly rod tips break, walking through the woods it’s so easy to tap the tip on the ground or a bush and break the tip. I’ve often thought that manufactures should provide a second tip section and just skip the warranty.
Here’s what the Warranty on the Orvis Encounter looks like:
I purchased the Encounter from Amazon, here’s a link to see the current price and read more reviews. Orvis Encounter Fly Rod Combo
FLY BOX GIVEAWAY
Fly Box Giveaway Rules:
- USA Residents ONLY
- Must comment on YOUTUBE and enter email here.
- Winner Randomly Drawn on May 31, 2019.
- Only one entry per person.
- Winner notified via email
You’ve Purchased a Fly Rod Combo What Else Do You Need?
Below is a list of the additional items needed to catch your first fish on a fly rod. With any of the combos reviewed here you’re 85% of the way to becoming a full-fledged fly fisher.
Flies – Yup a hook with feathers and thread.
I’ve written a bunch about flies on this website, probably the best article is this one: 21 Best Flies for the Beginner.
If I had to pick 4 flies they would be:
- Size 14 Parachute Adams – This fly just looks like a bunch of common floating bugs
- Size 14 Pheasant Tail Nymph – This fly is just effective underwater.
- Size 14 Elk Hair Caddis – This fly floats high and catches trout, bluegills and bass.
- Size 10 Woolly Bugger – Black, Olive and White are my favorite colors
BONUS Fly grab some beadhead caddis size 16. This nymph fly simulates emerging caddis and scuds.
If you’d like to get a quick assortment, check out this selection from Amazon. I haven’t bought this assortment, but the price is fantastic and the reviews are great. This selection is exactly what I’d at for a beginner. Essential Flies for Trout – Hand Tied Dry Flies and Nymphs
What About the Fly Fishing Accessories
Four more things to add to the shopping list. To read about the long list of gadgets, gizmos and accessories check out this article: Essential Fly Fishing Accessories.
- A spool of tippet – tippet is just a little bit of monofilament added to the leader that adds length the the nearly invisible leader. Tippet also allows you to change flies without cutting that expensive leader down. Read about tippet in this article – What is leader and tippet
- A couple leaders – I would get a 9 foot – 4X nylon leader. This is a great general purpose leader.
- A Scissor/Clamp – I like the Dr. Slicks – read about it in the accessories article link above.
- A little bit of split shot, you never know when you need to make your fly sink.
Tying Everything Up While Fly Fishing
Your day will be a much better if you learn two really simple knots. The Clinch and The Double Surgeons. Check out Guide Recommended on Youtube. Here’s a link. GUIDE RECOMMENDED YOUTUBE CHANNEL