As a first-time fly fisher, the myriad of gear choices can be daunting. Arguments abound as to which piece is the most critical. At the top of most lists remains the fly rod, and the most oft recommended continues to be the classic eight-to-nine foot 5 weight. Virtually every manufacturer has at least one in their entry-level line up in prices ranging from a few dollars to many hundreds. Here are two that impressed us with their quality and value:

L.L. Bean Streamlight Rod – Redesigned this year and dubbed the Streamlight Ultra, this is L.L. Bean’s entry-level model and comes in either two-piece or four-piece designs. It’s a faster action rod priced at just over $100 or an outfit with reel and line is available for $179. See full review.
Redington Pursuit Rod – Redington’s Pursuit is brand new this year and sits near the bottom of the company’s product line. Don’t let that fool you though, the Pursuit has a number of high-end features that put it at the top of its class. Two piece models start at $99 and four-piece versions are $119. Outfits top out at $179. See full review.

I had the chance to test these rods on the Upper Deschutes River and a great spring-fed creek – the Fall River – outside Sunriver, Oregon. If you’re looking for a good entry-level rod as a first purchase, backup rod or as a gift, these are definitely worth considering.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to L.L. Bean and Redington along with Backbone Media for providing product for these reviews. Written by Matt K.