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How long should your fly rod be?

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How long should a fly rod be? Several years ago, there was a big trend toward short rods. If you look at the fly rod designs for today you’ll notice that many rods are in the 8′ to 9′ range. So how long should your rod be?

close up detail of male hand demonstrating proper fly fishing gripFly Rod Length: Distance and Control

It comes down to where you’re fishing and how far you need to cast. Tight streams with overhang and short casting distances call for a shorter rod. Large streams, lakes, or salt water may require a longer rod to handle the line length you’ll need to get where the fish are.

The material your rod is made from can also determine the best length. Bamboo rods, for example, are designed with specific tapers. In order to properly taper the rod, the length is more or less fixed–at least within a certain range.

Here is a general rule for choosing the length of your fly rod:

Fishing Location Rod Length
tight spots and small streams where casting distances are relatively short and control is critically important. 6′ to 7’6″
Rivers, lakes, and larger bodies of water where distance is more important. 8’6″ to 9′
Spey and switch rods 10′ and above

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