Whichever form of fly-fishing you undertake, the most important thing is to select a rod, reel and fly line that balance correctly. Not only will this enable you to cast with ease but will save wear and tear on the tackle and possible breakages. Rods and fly lines are marked with a number so that they can be matched. The rods can range from A.F.T.M.3 to A.F.T.M. 12. This mark is printed on the rod next to the handle. A.F.T.M. Simply stands for Association of Fishing Tackle Makers and it is the number which is important. The lower the number then the lighter and more delicate the rod. An A.F.T.M.3 rated rod would be used for delicate river and stream fishing whilst an A.F.T.M. 12 rod is used for casting out a heavy salmon line. For general river fishing and light reservoir fishing, rods in the A.F.T.M.5 to 7 range are ideal. Some rods are designed to use one particular size of line whilst others will cope with a range of line sizes. For general fly-fishing on a river I would recommend a rod with the range A.F.T.M.5 to 6.
For the beginner a glass fibre rod with a springy action is probably the best to use as it will stand up to the strain of learning to cast. The length of the rod depends a lot on personal build. A rod of between 8 and 8] feet (2-4 to 2-6 metres) is about right for a youngster of 10 to 12 years old. The range of rods is so extensive that it is a good idea for the beginner to take-along an experienced fly angler as an adviser if possible when choosing the rod. Take your time over choosing a fly rod and handle as many as you like to get the feel of them. If you are buying a reel at the same time, fit the reel on to the rod and check the balance of the outfit. Don’t choose a reel which is too heavy and don’t be tempted to buy an automatic fly reel to learn with. As a general rule, the shorter the rod then the lighter the reel you should choose.