Good Beginner Fly Fishing Setup

When you’re a fly fishing beginner, looking for a fly fishing starter kit, it’s important to take note of where you’re fishing before you decide on fly fishing tackle. Effectively, longer higher weight rods are for more disruptive long-distance casting whereas the lighter lower weight rods are for shorter more delicate casting.

The quick takeaways are:


Longer rods cast further than shorter rods.
Lower Wt. means a slower, shorter and softer cast.
Higher Wt. means a faster, further and firmer cast.

The best beginner trout fishing rod, for a river like that shown below, would lie somewhere in the 7ft 6” to 8ft 6” 4Wt to 6Wt range. Having said that unless you’re looking at very long-distance casting, I would advise against buying a 6Wt. This is because you can over-weight a line, but if you under-weight a line, it becomes almost uncastable.

When I was looking for the best beginner fly fishing gear, I must admit I was tempted to go down the route of the Orvis Clearwater 7ft 6” 4Wt, which I guess is the Orvis beginner fly rod. It was a rod I was very tempted with, because I live a stones throw from the River Wey, and this is what I would consider an ideal length and weight combination for the river.

Orvis Clearwater 7ft 6” 4Wt

However, having said that, I didn’t buy it – because they’re more expensive than I was looking to pay at the time for a full setup, coming in around £250 for the rod alone!! Starting out afresh in fly fishing, I just wanted an economical entry level fly fishing combo, meaning I could try the sport out again – without committing a lot of cash.

This doesn’t mean to say the best entry level fly fishing combo has to be a combo in the first place. Personally I looked for the best entry level fly rod, and then a good fly reel to go with it… I was looking for a good beginner fly fishing setup, for around £150.

As it happened, a line, backing and tippet (i.e. sundries) would be about £40, leaving £110. The reel was the easiest bit. I was looking for the best reel under £50, which meant there was a fair bit of choice, but I plumped for the well-reviewed Shakespeare Sigma which has served me well as a great beginner fly reel.

Shakespeare Sigma

It comes in a 3/4Wt, 5/6Wt, 6/7Wt and 7/8Wt and costs around £30. It has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon and it’s got to be the best value fly reel, with exceptionally low drag and although not stylish titanium or general modern alloy – it has incredible build quality/durability for the price. Although, be warned: it’s currently impossible to find spare spools.

So now I had £80 to find the best entry level fly rod. There are loads of good fly fishing rods for beginners, some of the bigger/more historic brands are: Orvis, Hardy and Shakespeare, some of the better mid-tier brands are: MAXCATCH (aka MAXIMUMCATCH) and PISCIFUN.

Orvis and Hardy are probably a bit on the expensive side to be beginners rods, but Shakespeare has been around a long time, my very first rod some fifteen years previously had been a Shakespeare rod…

I opted for the reasonably priced Shakespeare Sigma Supra – an 8ft 4Wt coming in under £50, which has a 4.8-star Google rating and understandably so. It’s been a great, 4-piece, lightweight rod, perfect for anything from smaller streams to small-mid-sized lake action. It’s a 4Wt which is also useful, as I’ve always been of the opinion that you can always adjust to overlining, but there’s nothing you can do when you underweight – it just flops.

Shakespeare Sigma Supra

You can tell from the detailing, right down to the lightweight but sturdy alloy reel seat. When smoothness of the double nut locking mechanism that this is built for travelling light. The 10ft rod is only 700grams…

When I had started looking, I gave myself a target of finding the best fly fishing outfit for beginners, and had given myself a target of £150, this had all come in under £130… but I had forgotten to buy a landing net… So the remaining £20 of my £150 budget was used on that. 🙂

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