Do you want to join the fly fishing world? Well, you’re in luck; fly fishing is an excellent relaxing and fun activity. Unfortunately, setting up as a newbie is not an easy job; after all, fly fishing is a gear-intensive activity that demands dedication and purchasing new equipment. Therefore, to help make life easier, we decided to write an article on the ultimate starter kit every new angler needs to build before hitting the water.
As a beginner, the basic things you need are some flies, a matching fly line and rod, fly reel. Starting out with a Combo-kit is recommended. A beginner should be learning to cast and catch and not struggling with the technical aspects of the gear.
Unlike the traditional fishing method, fly fishing requires a unique technique that can only be attained using the right gear. So in this article, we will show beginners the ultimate starter kits for a perfect fishing experience. We will also elaborate more on which equipment is ideal for salt or freshwater fishing.
Generally, freshwater fly fishing is all about presenting your lure to all fish so that even picky eaters can eat the fly. Therefore, you need a lighter rod that can help you place the fly in the correct position, just like a real fly, on the surface of the water.
On the other hand, saltwater fly fishing demands a heavier rod and reel with an excellent drag system that can allow you to cast in the surf and wind while fighting huge fish. (source)
It applies to both beginners and experienced anglers who love fly fishing. Other factors that can play a crucial role when it comes to your fly fishing gear include:
- The type of water,
- The species you’re targeting
- The season
Fortunately, the fly fishing industry is populated with lots of starter kits which can be overwhelming for newbies. Plus, the price varies with brand, with most manufacturers offering advanced, intermediate, and beginner kits.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you know what to purchase before entering the store, or you will leave with an advanced tier kit, which can be pretty costly.
If you have never owned fly fishing gear or are new to this sport, then the best and most affordable option is to purchase a combo starter kit.
Remember, starter kits come with a rod and reel with the lines spooled; therefore, all you will require is a wader, dry flies, and you are ready to start fishing. And considering the options available, getting the fitting starter kit will save you some cash in the end.
After all, as a beginner, your main goal should be perfecting your casting technique, line management, and tying the knots. (source) You need to gain some experience before investing in top-notch fly fishing gear.
Therefore, you don’t need expensive equipment; instead, you should purchase a unique starter kit as your first gear. So, we recommend the following starter kits:
As a renowned firm, Orvis has produced some of the best fishing gear in the industry for over a century, and the encounter outfit is no exception. The Encounter outfit is an excellent and affordable starter kit that will give you confidence while perfecting your fly fishing skills. And being a mid to fast action kit, you can lay out your nymphs and dry flies as well as cast streamers.
When describing the Encounter Outfit, Orvis doesn’t use the phrase “entry-level,” because they designed it for hardcore anglers. This starter kit combines a uniquely designed rod with crisp, smooth performance, packed with a vast arbor reel, leader, backing, and floating line. This rod is arguably the best option for its price, and it can easily stand against other high-end rigs. (source)
The Encounter outfit comes as 8, 6, and 5 weights, so if you plan on doing freshwater fishing, you should go for 5 or 6 weight options. But if you plan on tackling saltwater species, then you need an 8 weight outfit.
This starter kit feels like high-quality fly fishing gear, with the handle being comfortable to work with. The rod has a smooth action, while you can easily convert the reel between right and left-handed retrieves. (source)
Guide Tip: With a good rod warranty and a decent fly line (essential for casting) the Orvis Encounter (link to Amazon for prices) is a highly recommended setup.
Unfortunately, some users have complained that it’s pretty costly for a beginner’s kit, which to some extent is true since there is nothing cheap when it comes to Orvis products. After all, they never sacrifice the quality of the materials they use when making their gear.
|The outfit features||leader, backing and floating line, encounter reel with large arbor|
- Easy to use
- Perfect for freshwater fishing
- It has a high-quality, sharp look for an entry-level rod
Some anglers have complained that it’s pretty costly for a starter kit
Flies for the Orvis Encounter
The Encounter setup doesn’t come with flies, but that’s easy to rectify. I’ve been using a great fly assortment from the folks at Ventures. Based in Utah the guys their have “curated” a 40 fly assortment with nearly all the foundational flies I recommend.
Favorite flies in this collection are:
- Adams size 14
- Elk Hare Caddis size 14
- Pheasant Tail Nymph size 16
- Woolly Bugger size 10
- Beadhead Hares Ear size 14
Another outfit respected in the fly fishing industry for its quality and reliability is the Path II outfit by Redington. This outfit guarantees you the perfect performance than its cost suggests.
It features a laser-etched wooden reel on a 6-wt rod with sharp aesthetics. This starter kit is available as a 4wt, all the way to 9wt; therefore, you can get the right option for your fishing style. (source)
This medium-fast action rod can help you perfect your casting technique and style while having fun with other anglers. And for easy rod setup, this unit comes with alignment dots. This unique outfit includes a Cordura rod tube, fly line, Crosswater reel, and path rod. Therefore, with this option, you will be ready to tackle anything in the water. (source)
Fortunately, the reel and rod are above average, especially for beginners, which means you can use them for a very long time.
Redington Path II (link to Amazon for customer reviews and prices) is a perfect option for beginners trying to build up their fly fishing arsenal. Unfortunately, some anglers have complained that the reel scratches easily.
Guide Tip: Remember to get some flies and leaders before heading out to the water. Learn how to quickly tie a clinch knot (attaching line to fly) Tie a fly on fast
|Item weight||2 pounds|
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- Offered as a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 weights
- It looks sharp for a beginner’s fly fishing kit
- Easy to set up, thanks to the alignment dots
- Some anglers have complained that the reel scratches easily
This unique starter kit has a wide array of gear that sets you up for an unforgettable fly fishing day. Other than the rod, reel, and fishing line, it also features a fly box, flies, tip-pets, retractable zingers, nippers, and forceps, among other things.
And unlike most affordable starter packages, this Wild Water starter kit (link to Amazon for reviews and current price)has a lifetime warranty.
This starter pack has a 32 inches long hard tube rod case with a side storage pouch and a pouch with a zipper. This case can accommodate the fly box, reel, rod, and all your other fishing gear.
Plus, it comes with a hanging ring and carrying strap to help you transport it from your car to the river or lake. But, you have to store the rod in its bag before placing it in the case for better protection. (source)
Its reel has adjustable disc drag, die-cast, and an 85mm diameter pool. Plus, it comes preinstalled with a monofilament leader, floating fly, and backing line. So the only thing you have to do is unpack and start fishing.
Guide Tip: I wrote up a full review of the Wild Water kit in this article – Best Fly Rod Combo Under $100.
And the good thing about Wild Water reels is that you can easily change them from right to left hand retrieve. (source)
This medium-fast action rod is made from IM8 matte black graphite and can help you present your dry flies in a perfect way to the freshwater fish. And the fact that it comes with a fly box filled with 18 flies means that you already have everything ready for fishing.
|Rod length||9 feet|
- Compared to the other starter packs on our list, this is affordable and comes with more equipment.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- It comes with 18 flies to help you start your fishing adventure
- Some anglers have complained that the flies are of poor quality, but a starter pack can help you perfect your skills.
M Maximumcatch Maxcatch Extreme Fly Fishing Combo Kit
M Maximumcatch is an upcoming manufacturer that offers some unique fly fishing equipment at a reasonable price. But don’t let the fact that their products are affordable fool you; the combo kit has everything a beginner will require to fly fish.
Plus, the fact that it’s affordable means that you can get this option and use it during your learning phase before investing in a high-end option.
Maxcatch Extreme combo kit features a 9 ft. fly rod with medium fast action. You can get 3-wt, 5/6-wt or an 8-wt. fishing rod, but you can also get other options for your starter kit. The standard option for beginners usually is 5-wt, but training using 3-wt can also be fun and help you catch some fish. The 3-wt rod is perfect for anyone looking for a candy-canned rod, but if you’re going larger fish, then you need a solid 8-wt fly rod. (source)
This starter pack comes with a large arbor-designed die-cast reel that holds up perfectly during the learning phase. It also has an adjustable drag system that can help you understand how the reel works and maintain it.
And to show you that they believe in their product, this starter kit comes with a lifetime repair warranty and a one-year cash back warranty. So you can return it within the first year if you’re not pleased with it, or for repair when damaged. (source)
|Rod length||8-9 feet|
|Hand orientation||right and left|
|Item weight||2.4 pounds|
- It comes with a fly box with 12 dry and wet flies
- It comes with an aluminum reel seat and cork handle that can rival some high-end options.
- It has a lifetime repair warranty
- Some anglers have complained that reaching customer care can be pretty challenging.
Currently, there are lots of opinions on which reel and rod combination is ideal for beginners. After all, the line, reel, weight, and rod action will differ with the fishing scenario.
So, in this case, getting a starter combo kit may not be an option; instead, you can purchase them separately. You can go to the store and get your hands on different gears and feel which ones are perfect for you.
The best option for beginners should be a moderate action or moderate-fast action rod. Remember, slow action rods are ideal for close-range casting, while fast action rods are designed for fighting huge fish and casting against the wind.
So, getting something between slow and fast action rods can be perfect for beginners. The moderate action and moderate-fast action rods are versatile and can handle lots of fishing and casting styles. (2)
A 9ft. 5-wt rod is an excellent option for beginners who want to try freshwater fishing. But for saltwater fishing, you need an 8-wt rod to tackle the rough fishing conditions and fight the enormous fish found in the sea. (source)
The reel is a less essential component; after all, its primary role is holding the line, and you won’t be pursuing robust fish. It’s critical to have a reel with a reliable drag system if your goal is catching giant fish, but as a beginner, you shouldn’t spend a lot on the reel. Remember, perfecting your casting technique has nothing to do with the drag system of your reel. So it would be best if you worried about the drag system after perfecting your fly fishing skills. (source)
There are lots of options out there, so if going for a combo kit isn’t an option, then you should be ready to get a matching pair for your fishing trip.
When fly fishing, you need more than the right fishing starter kit; you also need the right apparel to protect your body from harsh weather conditions.
The proper clothing can protect you from direct sunlight, cold weather, and getting wet. So before hitting the lake, make sure you have the following clothing to keep you safe:
The weather conditions matter when it comes to caps, but an option with a brim can work perfectly when it’s not cold. But make sure the underside of the cap uses darker fabric to help absorb the reflected light from the water surface. Make sure you get a muted colored cap as fish can spot bright colors. (source)
Whether you will be fishing from the shores or from your boat, a wader is must-have apparel. Waders are designed to be waterproof, which means that your clothes can remain dry all day long.
Guide Tip: I’ve spent a lot of time in waders. I’ve learned over the years to look for a great VALUE in waders vs spending a fortune. Recently I wrote an article about what I look for – Check it out with this link – 7 of the Best Breathable Waders for Fly Fishing
In fact, some waders come with boots that can protect your feet when you step into the water. But make sure they are breathable and have extra storage space for your flies and valuables. (source)
If it’s cold, then make sure you’re dressed warmly under your wader and vice versa when it’s hot outside. If your wader doesn’t come with boots, then you must purchase a pair of wading boots.
There are many wading boots in the market with rubber soles that you can wear with your waders and stay dry all day long. A pair of gloves and sunglasses can also come in handy when fly fishing.
A new angler needs a reel, fly rod with line, wader, and boots, plus an assortment of lures appropriate for the fish you are looking for.
And to protect your face and head from direct sunlight, you need a hat and polarized sunglasses. It is actually the bare minimum any angler needs.
The length of fly fishing rods is crucial, especially for newbies. Therefore, most experienced anglers recommend that you should begin with an 8.9 to 9 ft. long rod. This rod is not too long for a beginner and is ideal for trying lots of casting techniques.
The best rod weight for first-time fly anglers ranges between 4-wt and 6-wt. These options are light enough and can help you perfect your skills while catching lots of freshwater fish. If you plan to fish in large rivers, you should try 6-wt rods, and for smaller rivers, you need a 4-wt rod.
One More Cast
Fly fishing is an exceptional sporting activity that can help you catch massive fish in the water. But as a newbie, you need the right gear that can help you nurture your skills.
So instead of going for high-end equipment designed for experienced anglers, you should look for a starter kit or equipment designed for beginners.
Are you looking for some great How To Fly Fish Articles? Checkout this list:
- How to Fly Fish for Bluegills – These amazing fish are all over the USA. I like to call them the “Gateway Drug to Fly Fishing”
- How to Fly Fish for Brook Trout – Find the cleanest, coldest, most beautiful streams and I’ll bet Brookes are present.
- How to Nymph Fish – Step by Step details for setting up, presenting and catching trout with nymphs.
- How to Fly Fish for Salmon – Image hooking into a +25 pound King Salmon in a river and your Fly Rod breaks! Seriously this happened to me on my first trip.
- J. W. Sotak, The Best Gear for a Beginner Fly Fisher, https://www.gearpatrol.com/outdoors/a563762/the-best-gear-for-a-beginner-fly-fisher/ Accessed November 3, 2021
- Harry Spampinato, 5 Best Fly Fishing Starter Kits: The Ultimate List, https://heavy.com/outdoors/2018/06/best-fly-fishing-starter-kits/ Accessed November 3, 2021
- Amazon Staff, Orvis Encounter 5-Weight 9’ Fly Rod Outfit, https://www.amazon.com/Orvis-Encounter-5-Weight-Fly-Outfit/dp/B00JWXNGXO/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=Orvis+Encounter+5-Weight+9%27+Fly+Rod+Outfit&qid=1635922949&sr=8-5/ Accessed November 3, 2021
- Amazon Staff, Redington Fly Fishing Combo Kit 590-4 Path II Outfit with Crosswater Reel 5-WT 9-Foot 4 pc, https://www.amazon.com/Redington-Fishing-Outfit-Crosswater-9-Foot/dp/B074KNS8BJ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=Redington+Fly+Fishing+Combo+Kit+590-4+Path+Ii+Outfit+with+Crosswater+Reel+5+Wt+9-Foot+4pc&qid=1635924981&sr=8-2/ Accessed November 3, 2021
- Amazon Staff, Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 4-Piece, 5/6 Weight Fly ROD Deluxe Complete Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Starter Packager, https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Water-Fishing-Complete-Starter/dp/B005ETGEFW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Wild+Water+Fly+Fishing+9+Foot%2C+4-Piece%2C+5%2F6+Weight+Fly+Rod+Deluxe+Complete+Fly+Fishing+Rod+and+Reel+Combo+Starter+Package&qid=1635935840&sr=8-1/ Accessed November 3, 2021
- Amazon Staff, M Maximumcatch Maxcatch Extreme Fly Fishing Combo Kit 3//5/6/8 Weight, Starter Fly Rod and Reel Outfit, with a Protective Travel Case, https://www.amazon.com/MAXIMUMCATCH-Maxcatch-Extreme-Fishing-3weight/dp/B01MXZVEB1/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=M%2BMAXIMUMCATCH%2BMaxcatch%2BExtreme%2BFly%2BFishing%2BCombo%2BKit%2B3%2F5%2F6%2F8%2BWeight%2C%2BStarter%2BFly%2BRod%2Band%2BReel%2BOutfit%2C%2Bwith%2Ba%2BProtective%2BTravel%2BCase&qid=1635937368&sr=8-1&th=1/ Accessed November 3, 2021