Best Fly Rod & Reel Combo

Best Fly Rod and Reel Combo (Complete UK Guide On Top Fly Rod & Reel Kits)

In recent years there has been a proliferation of fly rods hitting the market.

Modern rod design means that even a relatively humble rod will very likely outperform its equivalent from thirty or forty years ago.

At these prices it’s feasible to have a rod for every occasion, or a ‘standby rod’ to leave in the car boot for an impromptu days fishing!

In this article I will recommend quite a few of the best fly rod and reel combos dependant on skill level and budget.

The Best Fly Rod & Reel Combo

These recommendations will come thick and fast, but first I feel it's important to give a bit of an insight into some of the rationale on how I determine what is the best fly rod & reel combo for a particular situation.

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Strapped For Time?

Not got the time to read the full article? The quick answer to the question is as follows...


The Best Fly Rod and Reel Combo is the Shakespeare Oracle 2 Fly Rod alongside the Daiwa Lochmor SLA. 


This fly rod & reel combo, balances subtlety and quality with the 4 piece construction Shakespeare rod complimenting the ultra smooth disc drag of the Lochmor perfectly.


A summary of the full list is as follows:

ImageProductFeaturesQuick Link
Good For Beginners
GREYS K4ST LIGHT COMBO KIT
GREYS K4ST LIGHT COMBO KIT
More Info
Good For Beginners
DAM FORRESTER FLY FISHING KIT
DAM FORRESTER FLY FISHING KIT
More Info
Good Budget option
SHAKESPEARE OMNI FLY FISHING COMBO
SHAKESPEARE OMNI FLY FISHING COMBO
More Info
Good For Lakes
AIRFLO COMPLETE FLY FISHING OUTFIT
AIRFLO COMPLETE FLY FISHING OUTFIT
More Info
Good For Lakes
DAIWA S4 FLY COMBO
DAIWA S4 FLY COMBO
More Info
Good For Streams & Rivers
MAXCATCH PREMIER FLY FISHING ROD with AVID FLY REEL
MAXCATCH PREMIER FLY FISHING ROD with AVID FLY REEL
More Info
Good For Streams & Rivers
AIRFLO FLY FISHING KIT
AIRFLO FLY FISHING KIT
More Info
Great Lightweight Option
SHAKESPEARE SIGMA FLY COMBO
SHAKESPEARE SIGMA FLY COMBO
More Info
Great Lightweight Option
MAXCATCH PERFORMANCE NYMPH FLY FISHING ROD
MAXCATCH PERFORMANCE NYMPH FLY FISHING ROD
More Info
Best Overall Combo
Shakespeare Oracle & Daiwa Lochmor
Shakespeare Oracle & Daiwa Lochmor
More Info

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Why the right Fly Rod and Reel combo is important

Once you have mastered the basics of fly fishing and started to settle into a groove then you will be looking to improve – your catch rate, skills, casting, (pretty much everything). This means spending more time at the waterside.

If you are going to enjoy the sport you want to be able to spend more of that time fishing and less nursing sore shoulders or messing about with kit that doesn’t work for you.

The rod needs to be the right length and line weight for your preferred venues of course, and as a general principle, you need a balanced outfit.

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Getting the Right Balance

With the classic older style (and usually much heavier) split cane rods, balance was also important but probably more easily achieved because everything weighed more and the set up was less sensitive to reel weight.

With the move to lighter rods – usually carbon fibre, (but there is also a new generation of glass rods) setting up a suitable reel which is not too heavy for the rod will help you to maintain effective casting for a day on the water.

Again modern materials and techniques have come to the rescue with large arbour designs in machined aluminium.

Cast aluminium frames machined down is a cheaper process but heavier than machining from solid aluminium bar stock, and modern resins which create superbly light and strong reels.

You can of course keep fishing all day with a poorly set up rod and reel combination – but your casting efficiency will be impaired and you may well end up flogging the water and scaring the fish with splashy casts.

So, you need the best rod and reel combo set up which enables you to cast about as well at the end of a long day as you were at the start of the day. (And for those of us with bad backs this is even more important).

Getting the balance right also involves checking your own posture, with one foot advanced before the other rather than legs akimbo when casting.

Checkout the following video that emphasises the importance of the correct Fly Rod & Reel balance...

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Factors Affecting your Fly Rod and Reel Choice

So; the key factors affecting your choice of rod and reel will be the weight and length of the rod and the range over which you are likely to cast to fish.

An example of this is to consider what size water you are targeting. A setup for reservoir fishing will be different to that if you prefer narrow streams.

Once the water size is decided, a balanced weight of reel which can hold sufficient line of the appropriate weight needs to also be considered.

The rod and line can be matched by the AFTM number – the Association of Fishing Tackle Manufacturers rod and line weight number. The bigger the number the heavier the line which can be thrown further – but requires a more robust and usually much longer rod to flex and cast the line.

If using a heavier setup, you could compensate the extra weight by lightening the load of some other gear. A good fly fishing vest could help with this. 

Matching the AFTM numbers is a good guide to setting up the rod for maximum efficiency – the line weight calculation assumes you will have thirty feet (about 10 metres) of line out from the rod top ring in order to load the rod and help it act as a casting ‘spring.’

The best fly rod and reel combo packages will do this for you, so you need some flies and a line and are all ready to go fishing.

The speed of the rod will also be important – whether it has a soft or fast action. There is no point acquiring a super light rod only to find the action is fast and ‘tip action’ with virtually no through-flex.

This is a key consideration If your casting style is relatively soft and slow and you fish small waters with the dry fly and need a gentle action.

High speed rods were all the rage twenty years ago but there seems to be a realisation now that mid action or softer rods are, at least for most of us, much better choices.

If you are a skilled caster, and a dab hand with a fast tip action rod then chances are you don’t need to read this article!

And of course your target species will also have a significant impact on your choice of rod and reel – predator and sea fishing will need a saltwater resistant selection for example.

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Recommendations on the best fly rod and reel combo

The following products have been selected based on skill level, price point, type of water, type of fly fishing with my ultimate favourite fly rod and reel combo at the end.

Best Fly Rod & Reel Combo for Beginners

Best fly rod and reel combo for beginners

GREYS K4ST LIGHT COMBO KIT

Key Features:

  • 4 section, Medium fast action blank
  • Lined stripping guides and double leg snake intermediates
  • Anodized aluminium reel seat with Carbon spacer
  • High quality lightweight cork handle
  • Combination rod and reel travel case
  • Aluminium fly reel with drag
  • Fitted WF fly line & leader

A Greys rod will see you through a lifetime of fishing and has a good all round and forgiving action. The reel isn’t the absolute lightest in my view, but for the money nevertheless offers a great value package with a large arbour spool. 

As a beginner the 5 weight will let you fish in most situations at a pinch including dry fly, nymphing or wet fly. If you progress with your fishing this will still make a sound spare rod.

Pros

  • Very Lightweight
  • Lovely Cork handle
  • Comes with a decent rod & reel case.
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Would struggle with larger fish

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best beginner fly rod and reel combo

DAM FORRESTER FLY FISHING KIT

Key Features:

  • Four-piece carbon fly rod 2,70 m #5/6
  • ABS-graphite fly reel #5/6
  • Forrester Fly Backing 25lb/ 60m
  • Forrester Fly Line WF5F (weight forward, floating)
  • Forrester Fly Leader
  • Fly box including flies

This fly rod & reel combo is ideal for beginners as it has everything you need to get started with fly fishing. The Carbon Fly rod boasts an aluminium reel seat and fits perfectly with the ABS graphite fly reel.

What really makes this a great option is that the reel is fully loaded with line and leeder and the set gets rounded off with a small box of flies making it a perfect starter kit for beginners.

Pros

  • Great starter kit
  • Rod and reel balances together really well
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • There are stronger rods out there but great to start with

Best Budget Fly Rod and Reel Combo

Best budget fly rod and reel combo

SHAKESPEARE OMNI FLY FISHING COMBO

Key Features:

  • Omni 3 piece rod
  • Omni Graphite reel
  • Pre-loaded with backing, matching fly line and braided loop
  • Supplied in a bag

Shakespeare has been around long enough and know a thing or two about rods. If funds are tight this should get you in the game.

Just like the Dam Forrester, this combo comes with the reel fully loaded and for the price, it's a real bargain.

Pros

  • Comes with fully loaded reel
  • Decent action for its price point
  • Fantastic value for money

Cons

  • The supplied bag could be of better quality

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Best Fly Rod & Reel Combo for Lakes

 Best Fly Rod & Reel Combo for Lakes

AIRFLO COMPLETE FLY FISHING OUTFIT

Key Features:

  • 4 piece fly rod
  • Pre-loaded graphite fly reel
  • Airflo Velocity floating fly line and backing
  • Protective rod tube
  • Tapered mono leader
  • Fly box and flies
  • Sunglasses - for eye protection

For the lake fly fisher you will typically be fishing a line weight above AFTM #7 to reach as far as possible from the bank – probably a stiffer and faster action to deliver enough line speed to project the line some distance.


This offering from Airflo represents good value for a 10’ rod and reel.

Pros

  • Really lightweight and easy to use
  • Pre-loaded reel and a box of flies means you're ready to go out of the box.
  • Good quality protective case
  • Even comes with a pair of sunglasses!

Cons

  • Would struggle against larger fish
best fly rod and reel combo for lakes

DAIWA S4 FLY COMBO

Key Features:

  • Medium fast action blanks
  • Four piece construction
  • Low glare matt tape finish for improved weight and crisper action
  • Aluminium oxide stripper guides
  • Cork handle
  • Matt black aluminium reel seat
  • Hook keeper
  • Cordura Travel Tube
  • S4 Graphite Fly Reel Fully Loaded with Floating Line to suit Rod

This fly rod and reel combo is slightly shorter than the Airflo at 7 foot but still packs a punch. In fact it's sturdy, yet subtle nature make this combination ideal for fly fishing lakes, particular for close quarter work.

Pros

  • Really lightweight and easy to use
  • A well balanced, fast to medium action with this rod
  • Nice, low glare finish
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • If we're being picky, it could have come with a better case

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Best Fly Rod and Reel Combination for Streams and Rivers

MAXCATCH PREMIER FLY FISHING ROD with AVID FLY REEL

Key Features:

  • Medium-Fast Action
  • Im8 Carbon For Durability, Accuracy And Performance
  • K-Carbon Tube With Solid Machined Aluminum Reel Seat
  • Twin Locking Rings
  • Aluminium Alloy Avid fly reel
  • Cordura tube with built-in rod sock and pouch for accessories

Here you will be looking for a rod capable of more delicate presentations – the typical all round river rod will be about 8’ or 8’6” and rated between 3 and 5 weight. This Maxcatch rod alongside this sporting reel from Avid, PLUS some extras, provides a fantastic package for under £100.

Pros

  • Nice, quality feel to the cork handle
  • Decent, smooth reel
  • Alignment dots are a nice touch

Cons

  • Not sure about the green finish but this is personal preference

AIRFLO FLY FISHING KIT

Key Features:

  • 4-piece carbon fly rod
  • Preloaded graphite fly reel, floating line and backing
  • Protective rod tube
  • Tapered mono leader
  • Fly box & 3 flies
  • Sunglasses
  • This Airflo combination 4/5 weight rod – if fished at 4# you can expect the rod to be a little stiffer and faster in action.


    This means that when fishing close quarters, and with less line out of the tip ring, it may be better to ‘over-line’ the rod with a 5 weight fly line to enable the rod to work and flex more readily.


    If balanced correctly, this is a great choice for streams and rivers.

    What really makes this a great option is that the reel is fully loaded with line and leeder and the set gets rounded off with a small box of flies making it a perfect starter kit for beginners.

    Pros

    • Reel comes fully loaded with line and leeder
    • Fly box with flies included
    • Comes with protective rod tube
    • Another one with a free pair of sunglasses!

    Cons

    • A bit basic but great as a starter kit

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    Best Lightweight Fly Rod & Reel Combo

    Best Lightweight Fly Rod & Reel Combo

    SHAKESPEARE SIGMA FLY COMBO

    Key Features:

    • Sigma Fly Rod - 4pc design
    • Slim and lightweight carbon blanks
    • Hook keeper ring
    • Quality cork handle
    • Sigma Fly Reel - Graphite body
    • Left or right hand wind
    • Pre-loaded with backing, fly line and braided loop
    • Supplied in Cordura tube with reel pouch

    A bit of an overlap here with river and stream fishing selections but if fishing really light and under the trees then a shortish 3 weight rated rod such as this great offering from the reputable Shakespeare may be the answer.

    Pros

    • Slim, lightweight design
    • Fly box with flies included
    • Reel is pre-loaded
    • Available in different lengths and weights

    Cons

    • Really need the 7WT version to tackle medium to large fish

    MAXCATCH PERFORMANCE NYMPH FLY FISHING ROD

    Key Features:

    • 4-piece design
    • Moderate Fast action rod
    • 100% IM10 carbon blank
    • AAA+ grade Portuguese cork handle
    • Unique Peacock blue burled wood and Aluminum anodized reel seat
    • Fitted with tip-over-butt ferrules with alignment dots
    • Ceramic ring stripping guides, hard chrome stainless steel snake guides, and tip top
    • Comes with Cordura rod tube and cotton bag

    Going to the other extreme in length how about a 2 -4 weight 10’ fly rod ideal for specialist Czech nymphing - this is one of the best fly rod and reel combo rods at a great price

    Pros

    • Alignment dots on the rod
    • Good quality cork handle
    • You get a lot for your money with this combo

    Cons

    • More of a specialist set up than an all-rounder

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    Best Overall Fly Rod & Reel Combo

    Best Overall Fly rod

    Shakespeare Oracle 2 Fly Rod

    Key Features:

    • 4 pc design for perfect blend of convenience & performance
    • Light fast action blank design
    • Lined stripper guides
    • Aluminium reel seat
    • Supplied in a hard sectioned tube

    If you are putting your own package together and looking for a value for money option then look at the Shakespeare Oracle 2 as my number one choice.

    This rod has a beautiful smooth action and is simply impossible to beat at this price point (I have three of these rods in different size and weight combinations, and use one as a single handed salmon rod).


    The smaller rods are great to fish in overgrown beats – if you break one rather than one of the ‘posh rods’ then all is not lost and the soft action cushions tippets when fishing confined spaces.

    Pros

    • Nice light, yet solid feel
    • Strong and sturdy reel seat
    • A good all-round option

    Cons

    • You'll find yourself wanting more than one!
    best fly reel

    DAIWA LOCHMOR SLA FLY REEL

    Key Features:

    • Machined from bar stock aluminium
    • Large arbour spools
    • Ultra smooth disc drag
    • Exposed spool rim for added control
    • Winding direction easily converted
    • Anodized in champagne gold

    To compliment the Shakespeare Agility perfectly and as part of my recommendation for the best fly fishing rod and reel combo then please partner the rod with this amazing reel from Daiwa.


    This small but well-balanced reel is smooth and beautiful to use and my current favourite for the last three or four years.

    Pros

    • A great quality feel to this reel
    • Beautifully smooth
    • Allows for perfect control from the exposed spool rim
    • Good looking reel with a lovely finish

    Cons

    • More expensive than buying a lower quality reel in a kit.

    Summary & Conclusions

    So there you have it; a range of the best fly rod and reel combo deals for a range of fishing applications from lake and Stillwater fishing, to river and long rod Czech nymphing styles.

    There have never been such consistently good rods and reels available for the money.

    As always with game fishing, please familiarise yourself with the local catch and keep rules for your region if your goal is such.

    All of the fishing tackle featured in this article can be found at one of the following online shops...

    Fishingtackleandbait.co.uk

    Amazon.co.uk

    Northeasttackle.co.uk

    Ebay.co.uk

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