Top 5 Best Fly Rod For Bass Fishing (2021 Complete Review)

Fly fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass is probably one of the most challenging, yet best ways to target these awesome species.

The feeling of hooking and fighting bass on a fly rod is second to none. 

When a bass explodes from cover to inhale your flies, your heart is in your mouth. Holding them tight to stop them snagging you is a whole other game. 

To be successful, you will need the right rod for bass fishing on the fly and that is what we are here to help you find.

Here is a quick look at the top three fly rods from the lineup…

The Top Three

Top Pick

Thomas and Thomas Zone Fly Rod

Great rod for smallmouth fishing. Made from highest quality materials and designed to last in any environment.

Thomas and Thomas Zone Fly Rod

The best all-rounder is the T&T Zone. 

It is light, well balanced, made with incredible quality, and comes with a lifetime warranty. 

It has everything you need for bass fly fishing and is an excellent choice for anyone who is good at fly fishing but still requires a rod that will let them get away with the odd mistake.

Best Value

Redington Vice Fly Rod

Balanced beautifully and is made from all the right components for fresh-water and salt-water.

Redington Vice Fly Rod

The best fly rod if you are on a budget is the Redington Vice. 

It is tough, versatile, forgiving, and high-quality.

It casts well and can handle big flies, and comes with a lifetime warranty – it is also the least expensive in the review.

Editor’s Choice

Sage Pulse Fly Rod

An incredibly well balanced rod and it’s size is ideal for all-around bass fishing

Sage Pulse Fly Rod

My personal best from the review is the Sage Pulse. 

This is because I am looking for zero forgiveness with maximum performance. 

If you know you are good and want to fish the best you possibly can, the Pulse is the way to go. 

You can cast further and more accurately with this rod than any of the others due to its superior build. But, you will have to know how to get the most out of it.

Our Best Fly Rods For Bass

Here are all the fly rods reviewed…

Top Pick

Thomas and Thomas Zone Fly Rod

Great rod for smallmouth fishing. Made from highest quality materials and designed to last in any environment.

Thomas and Thomas Zone Fly Rod

T&T has been a fly fishing rod manufacturer since 1968 and has won the loyalty of many a fly fisherman.

Their rods are beautifully made, well balanced, cast great, and come with an awesome lifetime warranty. 

Build

The Zone is made from a graphite blank along with T&T’s own proprietary StratoTherm resin.

The addition of the resin allows them to use less material while maintaining the strength of the rod, giving you a lightweight but durable casting machine. 

Reel Seat & Guides

The zone fly rod comes with an anodized aluminum reel seat and titanium guides.

These materials are of the highest quality and designed to last in any environment.

This makes the Zone ideal for use in both fresh-water and salt-water. 

Features

The model chosen below is a 6 weight rod that is perhaps a little small for targeting largemouth bass, but it will certainly do a great job as your dedicated fishing rod for smallmouth.

Casting

It casts like a dream and you will have no issues turning a bass fly over with it. 

It is also quite a forgiving rod to cast with, a beginner will quickly get used to it and be able to put the fly where it needs to be. 

The fishing rod is a little expensive but for the quality, It is worth it. 

You’re getting the performance of a fishing rod that could be twice the price.

Specs

  • Model: 906-4
  • Weight: 6 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Line: 6/7 wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Loads beautifully
  • Made of a premium graphite blank with StratoTherm resin for durability and performance
  • Good value
  • Easy to travel with
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Top-quality titanium & zirconium guides designed to survive the harshest environments
  • Anodized aluminum reel seat for life in saltwater

Cons

  • Weight might be a low for big bass
  • Expensive

Editor’s Choice

Sage PULSE Fly Rod

An incredibly well balanced rod and it’s size is ideal for all-around bass fishing

Sage PULSE Fly Rod

Sage is probably a fishing brand you have heard of before.

They make exceptionally high-quality fly rods and reels that are used by pros the world over. 

Each of their fishing rods is made to perform, comes with a lifetime warranty, and are pretty expensive. 

The Sage Pulse is priced as a mid-market rod, and while it is not cheap, it is a pretty amazing rod.

Build

The blank is made from Graphite IIIe Technology that makes it strong, light, and super durable. 

It is incredibly well balanced and once you get to grips with it, you will see your casts going further and more accurately every time you use it. 

Guides and Reel Seat

The guides and reel seat on the Pulse are made from hardened chromium and anodized aluminum.

Not only does this make them incredibly long-lasting, it means you can use this rod in any environment from fresh-water to salt-water. 

You can cast bass one day and bonefish the next without any worries. 

Length

The model below is a seven weight rod at 9ft long with fast action.

This is the ideal all-round size for fishing for bass. 

The rod weight and length give enough gusto to cast heavy flies in the wind and it is the perfect power balance for fighting both, big largemouth and littler smallmouth, with just one set up.

Specs

  • Model: 790-4
  • Weight: 7 wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Action: Fast
  • Line: 7/8
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Casts far with pinpoint accuracy
  • Made to last thanks to the Graphite III Technology blank
  • Tough enough to hold bass from cover
  • Nice weight for casting into the wind
  • Comes with reel seat and guides
  • Great to travel with
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Expensive

Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Fly Rod

Beautifully balanced, forgiving, and you will be able to put a fly exactly where you want it to be.

Temple Fork Outfitters BVK Fly Rod

If you love to fly fish the TFO is a brand you have probably heard of.

They are excellent at making quality fishing rods at more affordable prices than brands like Sage or T&T. 

You can expect to pay half the amount for a rod of similar quality but you do not get as good a warranty with it. 

The BVK is an awesome fishing rod to fly fish with.

Build

It is beautifully balanced, forgiving, and you will be able to put a fly exactly where you want it to be, even over a long distance.

The blank is made from a mixture of carbon fiber and graphite, making the rod both durable and light. 

You will be able to cast all day long without arm ache holding you back from fishing hard. 

The guides are made from ultra hard-chromium impregnated anodized steel and are made for stripping.

Guides

This is ideal for bass fly rods as you will be stripping a lot while fishing, and the less friction caused by the guides the better. 

The model chosen below is an 8 weight at 9ft long.

This is the ideal combination for fishing for big largemouths and in windy areas.

Weight

The extra weight will allow you to punch into the wind, turn over big flies, and handle a big bass once you hook up. 

It is also quite a versatile set-up that can be used for other fresh-water species like lake trout and for bonefish on salt-water flats too. It does not come with a rod tube so you might have to buy one or put it in a tube you already have at home to travel safely with it.

Specs

  • Model: TF 08 90 4 B
  • Weight: 8wt
  • Length: 9 ft
  • Action: Fast
  • Line: 8/9 wt
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: No

Pros

  • Affordable and high-quality
  • For use in both fresh-water and salt-water
  • The 8wt is the ideal weight for handling big bass and punching into the wind
  • Casts well with great accuracy
  • Made from a high modulus carbon fiber and graphite blank for durability
  • Exclusive guides that are tough and long-lasting

Cons

  • Rod tube not included
  • Does not come with a lifetime warranty

Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod

Forgiving to cast while still providing great length and accuracy when you get it right.

Fenwick AETOS Fly Rod

Fenwick is another fishing brand that has struck the balance nicely between quality and affordability. 

You get everything you need from a Fenwick fishing rod and the only sacrifice is a slight drop in quality and a lesser warranty. 

The Aetos fly rod is a particularly nice rod for fly fishing.

Its action is not as fast as others which makes it a lot more forgiving to cast while still providing great length and accuracy when you get it right. 

Build

The blank is made from top quality graphite creating a light fly rod with durability and performance.

It comes with an aluminum anodized double up lock reel seat and corrosion-resistant guides that make it ideal for use in both fresh-water and salt-water. 

It does not have to be for bass fly fishing. 

Features

The model below is similar to the TFO above in terms of specs and is ideal for big flies and punching into the wind.

It is a little longer than the TFO and will give you some extra leverage to hold bass from cover.

It is the ideal fly fishing setup for largemouth but might be a little overpowered for smallmouth.

Specs

  • Weight: 8 wt
  • Length: 9’6”
  • Action: Fast
  • Line: 8/9 wt
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • Affordable for a decent fishing rod
  • Lovely, forgiving cast and gives pinpoint accuracy
  • Well made from a durable and light graphite blank
  • Comes with excellent guides
  • Great reel seat
  • Can be used in both fresh-water and salt-water

Cons

  • More of a medium action fishing rod
  • Lower quality overall
  • Warranty is limited and for 5-years only

Best Value

Redington VICE Fly Rod

Balanced beautifully and is made from all the right components for fresh-water and salt-water.

Redington VICE Fly Rod

Redington fly fishing gear is a part of the Farbank Group with Sage and Rio Lines, but it is the more affordable side of the coin. 

They make some of the best affordable quality fishing gear with the benefit of an amazing lifetime warranty you only usually get from the more expensive brands. 

Build

The Vice fishing rod is great at throwing big flies far and accurately, ideal for bass fishing. 

The rod is balanced beautifully and is made from all the right components for fresh-water and salt-water, so it does not just have to be a bass rod. 

Blank

Made from a carbon fiber blank, for excellent performance, it is tough enough to handle any bass that comes along.

tough enough to handle any bass that comes along…

It is a little heavy for some, so you may get a little arm ache but it is not that heavy and you will get used to it over time. 

The model below is a 7 weight, an ideal all-round weight for largemouth and smallmouth fishing.

It has got 6 inches of extra length compared to most in the review which will give you some extra leverage when trying to steer a bass away from cover. 

Specs

  • Model: 5-5021T-796-4
  • Weight: 7wt
  • Length: 9’6”
  • Action: Fast
  • Line: 7/8 wt
  • Pieces: 4
  • Rod Tube: Yes

Pros

  • High-quality rod for a very affordable price
  • Comes with an excellent lifetime warranty for such a low price
  • Made for salt-water and fresh-water use
  • High-quality components from the guides to the reel seat
  • Casts excellently – it throws big flies far and accurately
  • Made from a durable carbon fiber blank that lasts

Cons

  • It is a little heavy for some

What Is A Bass Fly Rod? 

A fly fishing rod for bass is no different from your normal fly rod. There is nothing to be confused about here.

You could use any fishing fly rod for bass but you might struggle if it does not have the right specifications needed to cast a bass fly properly – or have enough strength to fight them. 

Do You Need A Specific Type Of Fly Rod For Bass? 

It is best to have specific bass fly rods when fly fishing for bass, but it is not about the ‘type’ of fly fishing rod and more about having the right specifications.

Bass love big flies and to hide around cover…

In order to be successful, you will need to have a fly fishing rod that can cast a bass fly long and accurately, plus be able to stop them dashing for snags. 

This all comes down to the rod weight and rod length. 

What Makes The Best Bass Fly Rod?

The best bass fly rod will be the right weight, length, and action for casting heavy bass flies far and accurately.

It should have enough backbone to stop a bass tangling you up in any cover during the fight – which bass love to do.

You can use the same bass fly fishing rod for both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass species.

All that matters is cast and backbone. But, it could be more fun and challenging to have one rod for each, and here is why.

Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass 

The Largemouth bass is bigger, more aggressive, and harder fighters than smallmouth bass.

For these reasons, you will want a heavier weight rod to handle them as you will be casting bigger bass flies and have a tougher contender on the end of the line. 

The best rod specs for largemouth bass fishing are a 7-8 weight rod, around 9ft long with a medium-fast or fast action.

Smallmouth Bass
Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass 

Smallmouth bass are a bit smaller and while you could use your largemouth bass rod to catch them with, it will not be as much fun. 

Picking a lighter weight rod for smallmouth will mean you feel every part of the experience that little bit more and you will have a more satisfying experience overall.

RECOMMENDATION

The best rod specs for smallmouth bass fishing are a 6 weight rod, around 9ft long with a medium-fast or fast action.

How To Choose The Fly Fishing Rod For Bass 

Fly Rod Weight 

The weight of a fly rod describes its thickness and therefore the size fly it can cast and the size fish it can handle.

We are not talking about weight in terms of heaviness, It is more about the power of the rod. The weight range of fly rods is from 1-16 weight, and the higher the number, the more powerful the rod, and the bigger the fish and flies it can handle. 

RECOMMENDATION

When bass fishing, your ideal rod will be a 6, 7, or 8 weight depending on the size flies you want to cast and the size of bass you intend to catch.

A 7 weight is a good allrounder, while an 8 weight is ideal for big largemouth bass and a 6 weight is best for little smallmouth bass. 

Fly Rod Action

The action of a fly rod describes where along the rod it will bend and is measured from slow to fast.

Slow action rods will bend near the butt section and fast action rods near the tip. 

A slow action rod will be very bendy and sluggish while a fast action rod will be stiff and sensitive.

When fly fishing for bass, you will want a medium-fast to fast action rod…

When fly fishing for bass, you will want a medium-fast to fast action rod.

The bass has a hard mouth.

You will need the stiffness of the rod to set the hook properly to be able to keep control of them during the fight.

Person Holding a Fly Rod
Person Holding a Fly Rod

Summing Up

Now you have read all the reviews, do you know which rod is best for you? 

It can be a hard decision to make but just remember that all the rods in the review are great rods, just pick a rod that has the right specs for you.

If you need a little help, here are my recommendations.

Best Value

If you are looking to spend a little but get a lot then the Redington Vice is for you. 

It has all the right specs for large and smallmouth, comes with a lifetime warranty, and it is really versatile. 

Best All-Rounder

If you are at the level where you want some top-performance along with a little forgiveness, the T&T Zone has got your back. 

It casts beautifully but is not too stiff to show you every time you mess up a cast.

This means you can improve your casting while still hitting the right fishing spots. 

Editor’s Choice

The Sage Pulse will let you know every time you mess up, it is stiff, high performing, and unforgiving.

It is an ideal rod for skilled fly fishermen who want a rod that lets them put the fly exactly where they want it to be, every time.

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.