6 Best Fly Fishing Starter Kits (For All Budgets)

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Most anglers looking to start fly fishing already have a spinning rod to go fishing until now. However, the world of fly fishing gear is quite a different game from any other and the easiest way to ensure you get what you need to begin with is by buying the best fly fishing starter kit. 

Starter Fly fishing kits come in many forms, from the average quality and very affordable, all the way to top quality and expensive. 

The great thing about a fly fishing starter kit is that you get everything you need to start fishing including a fly rod with a matching fly reel, backing, and fly line, and then all you have to do is add a leader and fly. It couldn’t be simpler! 

If you are looking for more great information on Fly Fishing Basics, check out my article here!

Our Best Fly Fishing Starter Kits Introduction

Having fly fished for over 30 years and been a fly guide for 10, I have selected the best fly fishing starter kits on the market across every budget. These Fly rod and reel combo kits are matched together to give you the best fly fishing starter packs.

Join me as we take a look at them all and review them in detail so you can find the right fly fishing starter kit for you. 

Redington Path Rod & Reel Combo – My Best Overall Pick!

Redington Path Rod & Reel Combo – My Best Overall Pick!

The Redington Path Rod & Reel Combo is one of the most affordable fly fishing starter kits on the market and it delivers great quality at the same time. 

The starter kit includes a Redington Path rod and reel as well as backing a Rio line, everything you need to get fishing right off the bat. 

This starter kit is specifically for true fly fishing beginners as the rod is designed with a moderate-fast action that provides a lot more feel, allowing beginners to feel the casting stroke and get it right over time. 

Built from carbon fiber, the rod is durable and lasts, plus it performs. When you get into the rhythm you can push a solid amount of line and drop your fly where it needs to be. It also breaks into 4 pieces and comes with a rod tube, so traveling with it is easy. 

The Redington Path Reel is built from aluminum which handles both rust and clumsy anglers too. It also features a reliable drag so you can control whatever species you are targeting from bass to trout and musky. 

You can find this fly fishing starter kit in weights from 4 to 9 so where you want to go for trout, bass, or bonefish, you are covered. The rod also comes with a lifetime warranty. 

Being so affordable, this starter kit is not the best performing option out there and you might have to replace the reel after a season or two, but it is a great place to start your beginner fly fishing setup. 

Pros

  • Super affordable 
  • Ideal as a first combo for a beginner 
  • Moderate action is forgiving to cast with 
  • Lightweight for long days blind casting 
  • Durable build that lasts 
  • Good for freshwater or saltwater 
  • Versatile for lots of species 
  • Breaks down small for travel 
  • Comes with a rod tube 
  • The rod includes a lifetime warranty 

Cons

  • Rod and reel are not as good as more expensive options 
  • The reel is not so durable in saltwater 

Specs 

Fly Rod Weight: 4-9 

Fly Rod Length: 8ft 6 in, 9ft 

Fly Rod Material: Carbon

Fly Rod Pieces: 4

Rod Tube: Yes

Fly Reel Weight: 4-9

Fly Reel Material: Aluminum 

Drag Type: Disc

Arbor: Mid-arbor

Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit Combo – My Best Mid-Range Pick!

Our next fly fishing starter kit is the Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit Combo. Orvis, as you might know, has been making fly gear for over 100 years and their products are both durable and reliable. 

The Orvis Clearwater Fly Rod Outfit Combo comes with a Clearwater fly rod, Clearwater reel, backing, and an Orvis fly line.

Orvis designed the Clearwater starter kit range of gear to be both affordable for fly anglers on a budget while offering the performance required to catch most fish on the planet! 

You can find the starter kit in a range of weights to suit everything from trout fishing to chasing beasts such as triggerfish or permit on the saltwater flats. 

Having owned a Clearwater fly rod, I have to say that the performance to price ratio is excellent. While it doesn’t perform like a $1000 rod, you can cast long distances with excellent accuracy and get your fly where it needs to be. 

The setup is great for new fly fishers who want to improve and get to the level where a high-performance expensive rod makes sense to own. 

The Clearwater reel is made from aluminum to keep it light, durable, and rust-free. It also features a sealed disc drag which stops any dirt or saltwater water from getting into the reel and damaging the drag system.

The drag is super smooth and it has enough power for stopping fish. As with all the starter kits, this one comes with a rod tube and breaks into 4 pieces for travel. It also includes the Orvis 25-year guarantee so if anything breaks Orvis has you covered.  

Pros

  • Available as a freshwater or saltwater kit 
  • Top-quality guides, cork, and reel seat
  • Fighting butt for comfort
  • Comes with a rod tube 
  • Packs down small for travel 
  • Durable build 
  • Casts nicely and is forgiving 
  • Sealed drag on the fly reel 
  • Fly line and backing included 
  • Includes a 25 year guarantee 

Cons

  • Rod is sluggish compared to more expensive options 

Specs 

Fly Rod Weight: 3,5,8 wt 

Fly Rod Length: 9 ft 

Fly Rod Material: Graphite 

Fly Rod Pieces: 4

Rod Tube: Yes 

Fly Reel Weight: 3,5,8 wt 

Fly Reel Material: Aluminum 

Drag Type: Sealed disc 

Arbor: Mid-Arbor 

You can read my in-depth article on the Orvis Clearwater rod here

Orvis Encounter® Fly Rod Outfit

The Orvis Encounter® Fly Rod Outfit is a fly fishing starter kit that is made for young anglers to start their fly fishing career. 

It’s incredibly affordable and performs well for beginners but don’t expect the fly reel to last very long – there is no 25 year Orvis guarantee with this outfit, which says it all. That being said, if a young angler wants to try fly fishing and doesn’t end up liking it, this is affordable enough for that scenario. 

The Encounter® Fly Rod Outfit comes with an Encounter rod, fly reel, backing, and fly line. The rod is built from quality graphite, is super light, and is very easy to fish with. You can get a solid casting distance and good accuracy if you know what you’re doing. 

The reel included with this kit features a large arbor and a disc drag so you can fish for a variety of species. The reel is made from composite plastic which sets off alarm bells inside me. It will work fine in freshwater but in saltwater, it will have a short life, but once it is gone you can upgrade to a better reel. 

Like all the other starter kits, you can travel easily with this as the rod breaks down into 4 and slots neatly in the rod tube for travel. You can throw it in the backseat of your car or put it in your carry-on and hop on a plane to Gallatin River, Montana to catch some trout. 

Pros

  • Incredible price for the quality 
  • Great as a first rod/reel for kids 
  • Lightweight and easy to fish with 
  • Includes fly line and backing 
  • Solid casting distance and accuracy 
  • Easy to set the drag on the reel 
  • Packs down small for travel 

Cons

  • The reel will not survive very long in saltwater 
  • No 25-year guarantee included 

Specs 

Fly Rod Weight: 5-8 

Fly Rod Length: 8ft 6” to 9ft 6” 

Fly Rod Material: Graphite

Fly Rod Pieces: 4

Rod Tube: Yes

Fly Reel Weight: 5-8

Fly Reel Material: Composite plastic reel 

Drag Type: Disc 

Arbor: Large 

You can read my in-depth article on the Orvis Encounter rod and reel combo here!

Orvis Recon® Fly Rod Outfit

The Orvis Recon® Fly Rod Outfit takes things up a notch when it comes to fly fishing starter kits as everything from the fly rod to the fly reel is of excellent quality. But, with quality comes expense as, within the fishing world, the price reflects the quality.

The expense of this starter kit might price a lot of starting fly anglers out, and it might not make sense if you don’t even know if you like fly fishing yet. But, if you have tried fly fishing, love it, and want to do it for the rest of your life, this is a setup that will be with you for the entire journey. 

Included in this starter setup are an Orvis Recon Fly Rod, Orvis Hydros Reel, high-quality fly line, and backing. The reel comes ready spooled so all you need to do is attach the reel to the rod, run the line through the guides, and add a leader and a fly. 

The rod is built for performance and you can pick to have it weights from 2 to 10 and in lengths from 7 ft 6 inches to 10 feet. This allows you to choose from long and light euro nymphing kits to a heavy 10 weight to catch tarpon and roosterfish with. 

The rod is a joy to cast, providing a great deal of feel, great line speed, and being forgiving at the same time. You’ll be able to cast distances over 70 feet with accuracy and get enough speed going to punch into the wind on the flats too. 

The Orvis Hydros reel that comes with this starter kit is top quality too. Built from top draw aluminum with a sealed drag, you can use this reel in salt water every day and it’s going to keep coming back for more. The drag is super smooth, has no startup inertia, and it packs a punch for those larger saltwater critters. 

Overall, this is an excellent starter kit for anyone who knows they will be fly fishing for the rest of their lives. Yes, it is expensive but it’s an investment, you’ll have it for the rest of your life and it comes with a 25-year guarantee from Orvis too. 

Pros

  • Comes with a top-quality rod and reel 
  • Both rod and reel can handle saltwater 
  • Great range of options for every type of fly fishing 
  • Light with a lot of power 
  • Provides good casting distances and accuracy
  • Forgiving to cast with 
  • The reel has an easy to use drag system 
  • No start-up inertia on the reel 
  • A setup you can grow with 
  • Easy to travel with
  • Comes with a 25 year guarantee 

Cons

  • Quite expensive 

Specs 

Fly Rod Weight: 2-10 

Fly Rod Length: 7 ft 6” to 10 ft

Fly Rod Material: Graphite 

Fly Rod Pieces: 4

Rod Tube: Yes 

Fly Reel Weight: 2-10 

Fly Reel Material: Aluminum

Drag Type: Sealed disc

Arbor: Large 

You can read my in-depth article on the Orvis Recon Rod here!

Redington Vice Rod & Reel Combo

The Redington Vice Rod & Reel Combo

The second Redington fly fishing starter kit we are going to take a look at is the Redington Vice Rod & Reel Combo. If you haven’t heard of Redington, they are a part of the Far bank Enterprises Group which includes Rio Lines and Sage Fly Rods and Reels. 

Redington is the more affordable side of Far bank, delivering quality rods and reels but not quite as good as their Sage offerings which are way more expensive. 

Included in this fly fishing starter kit are a Redington Vice rod, Redington ID reel, quality backing, and Rio fly line. You have everything you need to get started and the setup will be perfectly balanced for you. 

This starter kit comes in a range of weights from 4 to 9 meaning you can pick the right setup for everything from trout to bass and even bonefish on the Seychelles flats. 

The rod is made from multi-modulus carbon fiber, a quality material that delivers both durability and performance. It’s a fast action rod that is quite forgiving to cast with but still provides good recovery and excellent line speed so you can cast long and accurate, and even into the wind. 

The Redington Vice Rod is a great option for a beginner to grow into without having to upgrade along the way. 

The Redington ID reel is a solid option. It comes with a Rulon disc drag so you can control strong fish and is built from cast aluminum. It can handle salt water but it’s not the best quality out there and might need replacing after a year of flats fishing. But, it will handle freshwater with ease. 

The starter kit comes with a rod tube that holds your reel too, and the rod breaks down into 4 pieces making it super easy to travel with. 

Pros

  • Great freshwater and saltwater options 
  • Super-versatile for lots of species 
  • Excellent casting accuracy and control 
  • Lightweight for long casting days 
  • Durable build that lasts 
  • Packs down small for travel 
  • Reliable drag on the fly reel 
  • The fly reel can handle saltwater, just 
  • Includes a rod tube for storage 
  • Fast action punches line into the wind well 
  • Included fly line and backing 
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty 

Cons

  • Reel could be better 

Specs 

Fly Rod Weight: 4-9 

Fly Rod Length: 9 ft 

Fly Rod Material: Carbon Fiber

Fly Rod Pieces: 4 

Rod Tube: Yes

Fly Reel Weight: 4-9 

Fly Reel Material: Cast aluminum 

Drag Type: Rulon disc drag

Arbor: Large 

Orvis Helios™ 3D Fly Rod Outfit – My Best Quality Pick!

If you truly are looking for the best fly fishing starter kit and money is no object then you can not go wrong with the Orvis Helios™ 3D Fly Rod Outfit. So if you are convinced that you will be fly fishing forever going forwards, then this is the pick for you!

The Orvis Helios™ 3D Fly Rod Outfit comes with the best of Orvis including the Helios 3D fly rod which is one of the best on the market along with Orvis’ best reel, the Mirage. Plus, an excellent fly line and quality backing too. 

You can find the Orvis Helios™ 3D Fly Rod Outfit in weights from 4 to 12 meaning you can pick the one you need to fly fish for anything from trout to GTs, sailfish, and tuna. 

The Orvis Helios™ 3D Fly Rod is quite incredible. It is super light which makes casting easy and it’s designed with a ton of feel. You can feel the rod load from butt to tip and it recovers quickly so you can get huge casting distances with a ton of accuracy. 

One of the great things about this fly rod is that it is designed to absorb your casting errors and remove them! This is great for both casting consistency and for beginners trying to improve their skills. 

The fly rod is built strong too with a lot of pulling power so you can really put pressure on fish when they are close to being landed. 

The Orvis Mirage reel that comes with this starter kit is made from the highest quality aluminum meaning you can drop it and it won’t dent and saltwater won’t even make a mark on it. It comes with a large arbor so you can wind line in quickly and the drag system is super smooth and incredibly reliable. 

Together, the rod and reel create a fly fishing starter kit that will last a lifetime or longer and provide some of the best performance fly gear can during it too. You can take this kit around the world and you will have success. 

The one thing about this fly fishing starter kit is that it is about as expensive as a fly fishing starter kit gets. So you had better know you love fly fishing before you buy it. It does come with a 25-year Orvis guarantee so it is more of an investment than anything else and you get to fish with it too. 

When it comes to travel, the setup comes with an aluminum rod tube and the rod breaks down into 4 pieces so you can easily take it fly fishing across the world. 

Pros

  • Top-quality fly rod and reel 
  • Designed for the best performance possible 
  • Packs down small and travels well 
  • Best quality guides, cork, and reel seat 
  • Casts like a dream with amazing distance and accuracy 
  • Absorbs casting errors for better consistency 
  • An incredible reel that can handle all species 
  • Super smooth drag with a lot of power 
  • Comes in a huge range of weights 
  • Includes backing & fly line
  • Has a 25 year guarantee 

Cons

  • Super expensive 

Specs 

Fly Rod Weight: 4-12

Fly Rod Length: 9ft 

Fly Rod Material: Graphite

Fly Rod Pieces: 4 

Rod Tube: Yes 

Fly Reel Weight: 4-9 

Fly Reel Material: Aluminum 

Drag Type: Sealed carbon & stainless steel disc drag system 

Arbor: Large 

You can read more in my detailed review on the Orvis Helios Rod here!

Things To Consider When Buying A Fly Fishing Starter Kit

Performance, Price, & Skill Level 

When it comes to buying the right fly fishing starter kit, you need to find the perfect balance between Performance, Price, & Skill Level on an individual level. 

We all have a maximum budget, so be sure to shop inside it if you can but the price is very much connected to how well the gear performs, and the performance is connected to skill level.

Since these are starter kits, I expect you are new to fly fishing but an 8-year-old trying fly fishing compared to a 25-year-old spin angler converting to fly fishing is a very different challenge. 

Make sure to shop according to your budget but also assess the anglers’ skills, willingness to learn to fly fish, and how quickly they will get good at it. 

Make sure you choose a kit to grow into if you know you love it so you don’t need to buy another one a year down the line. But do the opposite if buying for an angler who just wants to test it out. 

Overall Conclusion

To summarize the Best fly fishing combos, here are the top three I would recommend for different reasons. 

If you are 100% new to fly fishing and want to try it out or are on a tighter budget, the Redington Path Rod & Reel Combo is the starter kit I would recommend. It delivers the best performance to price ratio of them all, along with durability and performance. You can grow into this starter kit and use it for years. 

For anyone who knows they love fly fishing and want something that delivers great performance but isn’t overly expensive, the Orvis Clearwater starter kit is perfect. It’s the ideal middle ground with a rod that gives you all the casting abilities you need for serious fish and a reel to back it up too. 

If you want the best fly fishing starter kit out there and money is no object, the Orvis Helios 3D outfit is the one for you. The Helios 3D fly rod is one of the nicest fly rods I have had the pleasure to cast and fish with. Combine this with the best reel Orvis makes and there isn’t a fish you can’t catch so long as you are using the right weight setup. 

Winding Up 

Thanks for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now you are able to make the perfect decision on the right fishing starter kit for you. Whichever choice you make, I know that you won’t be disappointed and are sure to have many tight lines!

You can read more on my Best Saltwater Fly Rods here! Or check out my entire section on the best fishing tips here!

Jamie Melvin