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If there were ever a sport that was as equally as much loved – and as much feared! – as fly fishing, I don’t know what it is.
Fly fishing is viewed by many as an art – and by others as a sport. Regardless of where you toe that line, you can’t argue with the facts.
Fly fishing takes some serious skill
However, you can improve your success out on the water by choosing the right fly rod. Understandably, as with choosing any kind of fishing gear, shopping for the right fly rod is highly subjective.
Finding the right one is all about feel, and of course, we all prefer a different feel (along with other factors) from our fly rods.
That being said, there are some specific characteristics that you can pay attention to while shopping to improve your odds of finding a good quality rod.
If you’re a novice fly angler, you may want to choose just one rod to have in your arsenal – the best 5 weight fly rod.
But if you aren’t sure what to look for, settling on just one pick can be a challenge.
Here are some of my favorite 5-weight fly rod picks for your money, along with some tips you can use while you’re shopping.
Best 5-Weight Fly Rods 2021: My Quick Picks
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Top 5 Weight Fly Rods for Any Setting
Here are the top 5 weight fly rods on the market today
Maxcatch Advance Fly Fishing Rod
When you buy this fly rod from Maxcatch, you’ll have several options for weight and length- but the 5 weight is by far one of the best.
At 9 feet long, it offers just enough length for efficient casting without being overly heavy. A blend of carbon fiber, this rod includes an impressive 5 layers of carbon including a reinforced muscle carbon layer.
Because of this technologically advanced construction, you will get a rod that is 30% stronger but 15% lighter.
It is strong and durable, offering exceptional sensitivity without too much stiffness. You can actually feel the rod transferring power throughout the entire blank.
It’s fast enough to give you casting power up to 60 feet but not so fast that you’re limited in a tight space.
With corrosion-resistant snake guides and an advanced polymer grip, it reduces hand fatigue and improves your ability to cast all day.
It has an anodized aluminum reel seat and is one of the few 5 weight fly rods that can handle a saltwater environment, too.
- Excellent sensitivity
- Fast enough to reach 60 feet without being too fast for tight settings
- Has ceramic insert stripping guides along with anti-corrosion snake guides
- Manufacturer warranty only good for one year
Orvis Clearwater 5-Weight 10′ Fly Rod
This fly rod from Orvis is another versatile rod, perfect for trout. One of the best 5-weight fly rods you’ll find, it offers a significant upgrade in performance and can be used both for small and larger freshwater species alike.
At 10’, this fly rod can be broken down into four pieces. It is ideal for short casts and can also be purchased as a saltwater model.
With high-quality, high-modulus graphite blanks, this rod has up to 15% improved strength over older models.
It’s perfect for using larger flies and going after larger fish even in tough and windy conditions.
When you buy this 5-weight fly rod, you’ll also get an industry-leading 25-year manufacturer’s warranty, too.
- Can be purchased in a full outfit to get both approved reel/line and backing as well
- Comes with its own case
- Breaks down into four pieces
- A bit pricey
Wild Water Fly Fishing 9 Foot, 4-Piece, 5/6 Weight Fly Rod
This pick by Wild Water is one of the best 5 weight fly rods if you’re on a budget – not only will you get the 5-weight fly rod, but you’ll also receive the reel, tackle, carrying case, and other features, too.
The fly rod itself is a 9’, four-piece rod with a slow action and IM8 graphite construction. You’ll get a machined aluminum reel seat with double lock rings, plus a Western-style cork handle with compressed cork accent rings.
Not only that, but you’ll get stainless steel guides as well.
The rod can be broken down into four separate pieces, each of which can be enclosed in the hard tube case. Each piece is 28” long.
All in all, this lightweight rod weighs less than four and a half ounces, making it one of the most portable and convenient options to use.
- Comes with all kinds of additional tackle, plus a reel and carrying case
- Has stainless steel guides that are tough and durable
- Can be broken down into four separate pieces
- Ideal only for smaller fish in tight locations
Temple Fork Outfitters Fly Fishing Rods
This fly rod by Temple Fork Outfitters is ideal both for novice anglers as well as those with a bit more experience. It’s made out of durable graphite, making it suitable both for lightweight floating and heavy sinking lines.
Balancing strength with sensitivity, it comes in several sizes, including 2-10 weights and seven and a half to ten feet in length.
It can be broken down into four pieces for easy carrying, making it one of the best options for anglers on the move.
With an impressive 14 different models available, there’s definitely something for everyone in this versatile rod.
It has smooth black matte finished blanks and stylish gold also along with a sturdy anodized reel seat.
A powerful, medium-fast rod, it’s one you’ve got to consider if you’re serious about your fishing.
- Braided carbon fiber inserts
- Anodized reel seat
- Comes with a rod sock for optional customization
- Cork grip isn’t the best quality
Redington Path II Fly Rod
This rod by Redington is another top contender in the hunt for the right 5-weight fly rod for your needs.
It is a medium-fast action rod with a laser-etched wooden reel seat. It’s available in several sizes and comes with alignment dots for easy setup.
Not only that, but it comes with its own rod tube with built-in dividers, so you don’t have to worry about jamming the separate pieces of your rod into each other when you pack them into your case.
A medium-fast action rod, it has a classic look and feel that you’re sure to love. It can be used in both freshwater and saltwater conditions, though freshwater use is more common.
Redington offers an industry-leading lifetime warranty. When you buy from this company, you can rest assured that you will be purchasing a fly rod that is built to last a lifetime – or more!
- Some of the best customer service around
- Comes with laser-etched wooden reel seats for style and comfort
- Has alignment dots for easy assembly
- Guides are standard and not that impressive
What to Look for in a 5-Weight Fly Rod
Presentation vs. Power
5-weight fly rods are the most versatile of all fly rods, regardless of whether you are fishing in saltwater or freshwater.
You can use them for all kinds of species, including trout, perch, bass, carp, whitefish, bluegills, and more.
There are generally two main types of fly rods for you to consider – 5-weight presentation rods and 5-weight power rods.
Presentation rods will be better suited to fishing dry flies and offer some of the best accuracy, presentation, and delicacy.
Power rods, on the other hand, are better at casting wind-resistant dry flies and can be used with other tackle – like small streamers.
Brand & Budget
Brand isn’t everything when you’re shopping for fishing equipment, and when it comes to the right 5-weight fly rod, that’s particularly true.
However, going with a brand that you know and trust can be helpful, particularly if you are wary as a first-time purchaser.
The same goes for money.
You don’t necessarily need to go over budget to buy a fly rod, because believe it or not, more money doesn’t always equate to a better rod. Look at reviews and remember that performance is far more important than cost.
Something that is a good idea, however?
Consider a fly rod that comes with a warranty. Ideally, if you’re shelling out more money on a more expensive rod, you should get a warranty that will last 25 years to life.
That way, you can be sure you’re getting a quality product.
You may find that your fly rod is labeled with terms like IM8, IM7, or IM6. These don’t mean much when it comes to the quality of your rod and its blanks, but what is important is that you look for one with high modulus graphite blanks.
These are of a much higher quality and will suit you better out there on the water.
Fly rods can have a variety of actions, including fast, medium, and slow. This will tell you how much stiffness versus flex is in the rod.
Slow action rods are generally more flexible, enabling you to conduct short and precise casts. Medium actions will be stiffer but allow some flex, too.
In general, a slow action is advised for a beginner, but a medium-fast action should suit you nicely, too.
Let’s face it – some of us are just hard on equipment! If you tend to be hard on your fishing gear, you’ll want to choose a fly rod that’s made out of composite.
Sure, graphite is strong when it comes to fighting fish, but it’s not going to be quite as durable when you drop it on concrete or slam it in the car door.
Composite is a much safer bet.
You will also want to consider how well your rod breaks down and travels. If you travel a lot, you might want to invest in a 5-weight fly rod that can be carried onto a plane after packing down into multiple pieces.
Length and Weight
Consider both the length and weight when it comes to the right rod. Both will correlate to the target fish species – the smaller the fish, the more lightweight your rod should be.
In addition, you will want to consider where you are fishing when deciding on a short versus long rod.
Look for something that is around seven and a half to nine feet. While a nine-foot fly rod is the most versatile, it’s not going to be quite as lightweight.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Shopping for a 5-Weight Fly Rod
When shopping for a new fly rod, there are several key questions you’ll want to ask yourself.
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can pick out the rod that will best meet your needs and help you meet your goals as a fly angler.
First, where will you be fishing, and what kind of environment will you be fishing in? Do you plan on using this rod in saltwater?
Most people don’t, at least not with a 5-weight, but is this something you’d like to have open to you as an option?
Will you use wet or dry flies – or both? What about your line – will that be a sinking line or a floating line? How far are you interested in being able to cast? Are you a skilled caster, or could your technique use some work? Will there be any obstructions in the way?
And last but certainly not least, what does your budget look like? If you’re on a limited budget, you don’t have to skimp on quality. There are plenty of wallet-friendly options out there.
What constitutes a good 5-weight fly rod? Ultimately, only you can answer that question, as there is an ideal fly rod out there for everyone.
However, by paying attention to the features that matter most to you – and addressing the items listed above – you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect rod.