- Redington Topo 4 Piece Combo
- If you're just looking for a quick combo and need one recommendation, get this one. It comes pre-spooled, ready for the water. In addition, you could theoretically ship it straight to your fishing destination as it comes with flies (surprisingly good ones), however, you'll likely want to grab a few bonus flies as well. Carrying case included.
- 1st Choice: Best Value!
- $161.66 - $219.95
- Orvis Encounter
- The Orvis Encounter fly rod combo available on Amazon's biggest downside is this: it only comes in a 9 foot, 5 weight option. It's the perfect trout rod for average to a bit bigger waters, however, if you're looking for the 8 foot 6, you won't find it on Amazon. This is a tremendous beginner rod for a great price, plus it's Orvis so you know you're in good hands.
- 3rd Choice: bare bones setup, great company
- Cabela's RLS+ Fly Combo
- A step above Cabela's entry level combo(s), the Cabelas RLS+ offers a slightly better reel system with a faster action. This rod and reel combo is a great buy that should last for years, on top of this the Cabela's warranty is fantastic. Highly recommend.
- 2nd Choice: based on Cabela's warranty
If you’re looking for the best fly rod combos under $300, chances are you’ve already moved beyond the starter fly rod you chose to begin.
There are a ton of excellent rod and reel combos in the $200-$500 range, however, for those of you on somewhat of a budget the three rods we’ve selected here should suit your needs just fine.
While in the diagram above the rods are not ranked, below, we’ll rank them in order of preference.
1- Redington Topo 4 Piece Combo Kit
This is certainly the best value of the three rods we’ve listed here, as it comes with bonus leader (not a huge value, I know) and some starter flies for the river.
As far as the rod itself, the length stays at 9′, a downside if you’re looking for a smaller rod, however the selection of 4/5 or 6 weight, perfect for trout fishing. This is a medium / fast action setup which should suit somebody a step above novice perfectly.
2- Cabela’s RLS+ Fly Rod Combo
This rod is quite comparable and in fact it should be a tie to the 3rd rod we’ll discuss, the Orvis Encounter. One of the things I really love about the RLS+ for an intermediate fly fishing rod is the fast action reel they use. You really do feel like you’re a step above some of the entry level rod and reel combos Cabela’s uses.
Should you decide to go with an 8 weight for some heavier fly fishing (thinking Steelhead, specifically), it does come with a fighting butt as well. All around, you could purchase this rod and reel combo and use it for the next 5+ years.
Zero risk buying it from Cabela’s with their warranty policy, however be aware that some users have complained of the rod breaking. For the record, a review online should be taken with a grain of salt, I’ve personally used this combo for testing purposes and would highly recommend it to anybody.
3- Orvis Encounter
While I have not used the Orvis Encounter extensively personally, a good friend of mine has and loves the combo.
I do feel that for this price range, and the demographic of the fly fisherman/woman who will be purchasing this rod and reel combo, Orvis could do a bit more in terms of add ons. However, Orvis is Orvis and you’re paying for a premium kit, so throwing in flies/etc will never be a priority.
The Orvis name is trusted for a reason, this is a high quality, premium setup you cannot go wrong with. The big difference between this and the Cabela’s RLS+ is the warranty, you’ve got to be a bit careful with Orvis as their policy claims they do not replace against breakage. Where, on the flip side, if you break a Cabela’s rod, they’re replacing it.