Outfits vs. Components

There are tons of options out there to help people get into fly fishing and among those options are outfits, rod and reel combos, and buying individual components. I generally recommend that newcomers buy one of the many readily available outfits, but there are some really good reasons why someone may or may not choose that option. Here are a few worth considering.

One reason I recommend outfits is because you can generally get a lot of what you need in one convenient package, and this generally saves you a chunk of change as well. The difference between a rod and reel combo and an outfit is usually in components. An outfit is designed to get you started on the water with virtually everything you need: rod, reel backing, line, leader, and maybe even some flies and a few tools. It may not have everything, but it offers a lot. A combo is often simply a rod and reel, but it can contain more depending on the vendor. So before you buy, make sure you read the entire product description to see what you are going to get so you aren’t stuck on the night before your trip trying to figure out where you are going to get what you need.

The biggest reason people choose against buying an outfit or combo is customization. If you like to dial things into your specific preference or level of quality, this is the way to go. Of if like me, you have had someone leave you a sentimental piece of equipment, like Grandpa’s old rod or reel, this can help you figure out what you need. It takes more time to research your options and will generally cost more money, but it will allow you to perfect your set up for your favorite location, environment, and quarry. For instance, most outfits are based on a 8 1/2 ft. 5 or 6 weight rod because that is generally the best size and length for the broadest range of needs, but an 8 1/2 ft. rod is cumbersome in the tight confines of many small woodland or mountain streams where a 6 1/2 ft. rod would be better suited. The other pages under the “What You Need” tab will help you determie the best components for your purposes.

The outfits I have selected below are what you are looking for if you are new to fly fishing. Each outfit offers the basics that you need to get started, some offer a few more items than others. All three outfits have solid reputations, and at least in my opinion offer a great deal for your dollar. The difference in price is connected to quality of components, in the package and the warranty that comes with it. If you are looking for more individualized components, I go into more depth on what you need on other pages in the site. There are a staggering amount of options out there, and I want you to get your hands on the best option for your situation. The three outfits below are ones I would look at seriously. They each have their perks and drawbacks, but would make excellent outfits for a beginner. In full disclosure, should you click through these pictures to make a purchase I will receive a small commission, so thanks in advance!

Wild Water Fly Fishing offers an amazing outfit that has everything you need AND also has a lifetime warranty on the rod! It has great reviews on Amazon and also has a great collection of flies to get you started. This is a very affordable outfit that includes everything that you need to get out on the water including a fly box with a few flies. If you are on a tight budget this is they way to go. I haven’t held this particular brand before, but based on the feedback it is sound. One thing is for sure, back when I was in junior high and I bought my first set up, nothing this nice was available for the price!


Wright and McGill has been putting out great products for over 88 years and has a great reputation. This is a complete package with everything you need and it is a little more expensive than the one above. What you get for spending a little more is some very helpful accessories and a DVD that will be a great help, especially if you don’t know anyone who can help you get the basics down.


The last outfit I am going to recommend here is the Temple Fork Outfitters NXT. It has a higher price, has less included in the kit, but it also has a lifetime warranty that is regarded as the best in the business. TFO makes great equipment and they back it up, no questions asked. I don’t know about you but to me, that means a lot. If you read many of the reviews on Amazon about broken rods, it often happens out of carelessness or poor casting technique. As a learner it’s god to know that if something happens you are covered.

Of course you are free to do your own research to find the outfit that works well for you, and I encourage you to look around to find the outfit that best meets your needs. Whatever you choose, gather your gear and let’s go fishing!

Check out these pages to find a selection of the flies you need to get out there and start catching fish!

Fishing Flies   Trout Flies   Panfish Flies   Bass and Big Game Flies