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Over Under Clothing’s Guide to Choosing the Right Fly-Rod Weight

Over Under Clothing’s Guide to Choosing the Right Fly-Rod Weight

For those who plan to stand all day in the river fly-fishing, all your gear serves a critical function. Your outerwear will keep you cool while protecting you from the sun, your waders will keep you dry, and your rod will help you snag your ideal catch. Here at Over Under Clothing in Jacksonville, FL, we know just how important choosing the right rod is. Use this guide to determine the right fly-rod weight for your needs.

What Is Fly-Rod Weight?

At its most basic, fly-rod weight represents the strength and lightness of a fly-fishing rod and the line you use with it. The scale of measurement runs from 0 to 16, with 0 being the lightest and weakest weight and 16 being the strongest and heaviest. The weight of the pole should almost always match the weight of the line you’re using, and you can find a pole’s weight rating just above the handle on the spine.

What Are Different Weights Used For?

The main use for different rod weights is to effectively catch fish of varying sizes and strengths. For example, fishing for panfish in a small stream is a very different experience than fishing for salmon in a major river or chasing big game at sea. A rod designed to catch trout may not be strong enough to hold a salmon, and, conversely, a rod designed for salmon may be too cumbersome to use effectively for smaller fish.

What to Consider When Choosing a Rod

Target Species and Location

The most important consideration when choosing a fly-rod weight is what type of fishing you’ll be doing, including what fish you’re targeting and what environment you’ll be fishing in. For panfish, small trout, and small rivers, you should lean toward a smaller rod, between 1- and 4-weight. For larger rivers, 4- to 6-weight is ideal. Once you start saltwater fishing, you can move up to 8-weight rods. Larger weights are for much bigger fish, like steelheads, and anything over 10-weight should only be used for big game.

Experience and Versatility

Another important factor is how experienced you are in the sport and how versatile you need your rod to be. Beginning anglers may want a catchall rod that can be used in a variety of environments, while more experienced anglers are likely to need a specific weight to get the job done. For an all-purpose rod, we recommend 5-weight, which is big enough for fishing in larger rivers while also being small enough for visiting streams and small rivers for practice.


Once you have the right rod in your hands, you’re almost ready to fish. But don’t forget to kit yourself out with the best outerwear for the job. Our long sleeve performance tees are designed to be the versatile and durable outerwear you need for a successful trip. Shipping is free to all 50 states on orders over $50.