Should you own a graphite fly rod?

If you are looking at a fly rod 8-feet or longer, a graphite fly rod will serve you well.

Why A Graphite Fly Rod?

Graphite fly rods have been available on the market since the early seventies. Before that time bamboo and fiberglass fly rods were the main options on the fly rod market.

Graphite rods are lighter and can be designed with a wide variety of tapers, which give them different actions. Some fly fishers claim that graphite rods are at their best in lengths over eight feet and that under that length, fiberglass and bamboo remain serious contenders.

Some graphite rods are lighter than others (actual weight of the rod not the line weight). The lighter rods use a stiffer graphite material and have thinner walls. Some people claim that as a result these more expensive rods just can’t take the abuse of a heavier rod and are easier to break.

Keep reading below to learn about weight considerations when buying a graphite fly rod.

Lighter graphite fly rods are not the best fly rod for a novice.

For a novice I really don't think an ounce or two of weight is that big of a deal. Besides, all graphite rods are lighter to start with. 

You may hear about "modulus" when shopping for a graphite rod. This number (IM6 to IM 10) refers to the stiffness of the graphite material.  A higher modulus number is a stiffer material and therefore will flex less. This gives you a faster action rod.

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Disadvantages of a Graphite Rod

While they are popular and great fly rods, there are some downsides to consider when looking at a graphite flyrod.

•They are fragile. You need to be careful when handling and transporting them. A chip in the graphite will often lead to a break later on. Even a heavy fly or a beadhead nymph hitting the rod during casting can cause this.

•They just don’t offer the action and feel you get from bamboo in the shorter lengths (under 8-feet).

•Like all rods, they are designed to bend in a smooth arch. If your rod looks like a candy cane you will break its tip off. Ways to Break your Best Fly Rod.


If you are looking for a fly rod 8-feet or longer, a graphite rod will serve you well. They come in many different line weights. See our guide to fly rod rod action.

I always recommend starting in the middle price range. Save up your money and go with something decent. Avoid going with a cheap rod. Building a graphite rod today requires a high level of skilled labor, technical know-how and equipment. Getting what you pay for is very true in the field of fly rods.

Do your homework and you may even be able to find a good used fly rod.