5 Best Fly Fishing Kits for Beginners – Buyer’s Guide

Last updated on January 4th, 2024.

Leonard Schoenberger
Latest posts by Leonard Schoenberger (see all)

Fly fishing starter kits are a good way for beginners to get into the world of fly fishing. We show you what to pay attention to.

Disclaimer: All products in this guide are independently researched by our team. We only recommend products we believe in and never get paid for the reviews. Learn more about our review process here.

Besides the essential fly rod and fly reel, the best fly fishing kits for beginners also include backing, a fly line, leader materials and flies. Everything you need to make your first casts with a fly rod should be included in the starter kit.

In this guide we specifically look at gear for beginners. Most importantly in the beginning you don’t want to spend a fortune since you can’t be sure yet that fly fishing is for you. That’s why all our kits for beginners come in between $70 and $170. If you are looking for a little more advanced gear be sure to check our Fly Rod Combo Guide.

The great thing about buying a fly fishing starter kit when making the first steps is the fact that all the equipment is well matched and balanced.

Fly Fishing Kits for Beginners

In this article we want to give you an overview of the best fly kits for beginners on the market. We only recommend products we are convinced of ourselves. Generally speaking it holds true that it is worth investing a bit of money in your gear. This is especially true when you know you want to use it for a few years. Here are our recommendations.

Orvis Encounter 5-Weight 8’6″ Fly Rod Outfit

Orvis Encounter Fly Rod Combo
Orvis Encounter 5-Weight 8’6″ Rod Outfit

The Orvis Encounter is our top choice when it comes to value for money. Orvis is a brand with a long tradition in fly fishing. They also manufacture high end rods. It’s always a good idea to get products from such a brand since you can be sure they use their knowhow even in their more entry level products such as the Orvis Encounter.

The basis of the Orvis Encounter is the 5wt – 8’6″ Encounter Rod that comes with a cordura rod tube. If you had to fish with only one rod, you should probably get a 5wt since you can cover most fishing situations with it (sure the bigger the fish you target, the stronger a rod you’ll need). With the Orvis comes an Encounter reel, an Orvis WF (weight forward) floating line, Dacron backing and a tapered leader. All that’s left for you is to tie on a fly and you’re good to go. This set does not have flies or a box included. If you are looking for flies and a fly box check out our “Guide to the best Fly Boxes“.


  • High quality rod and reel
  • Cordura rod tube included
  • Orvis guarantee


  • Flies are not included
  • Reel cannot be left attached to the rod for travelling



Cabelas Bighorn Combo

Cabelas Bighorn Fly Combo: Review of the best fly fishing kits for beginners
Cabelas Bighorn Fly Combo: Review of the best fly fishing kits. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

The Cabelas Bighorn (read our full review here) is a great choice when it comes to value for money even when you’re just starting out. At less than $100 you get a quality fly reel and a very well casting rod. This kit comes in several different weights ranging from #5 to #8 and two different lengths (8’6ft and 9ft).

The Cabelas Bighorn Combo boasts a moderate action, making it an ideal choice for beginners and intermediates alike. Packed with features that belie its budget-friendly price tag of less than $100, this combo includes an aluminum reel seat and chrome snake guides. The large arbour reel facilitates swift line retrieval, particularly handy when dealing with a hooked fish. What I found surprising in this price range was the fact that the reel is equipped with a disk drag system. As a comprehensive package, the Cabelas Bighorn Combo even comes pre-rigged with a WF (weight forward) line and backing, simplifying the setup process. The only downside compared to other kits in this buyer’s guide is the fact that the Cabelas is missing a few flies or additional gear such as nippers or pliers. But in terms of the quality of the components, this is definitely one of the best fly fishing kits for beginners.



Wild Water Fly Fishing

Wild Water Fly Fishing Starter Kit
Wild Water: One of the best fly outfits for beginners

The Wild Water comes with all the gear you need to make your first casts with a fly rod. At the heart of the set are a 9′ (9 foot in length) rood and a reel with a 85mm diameter spool. The reel comes pre-spooled with backing, a WF5 (WF = weight forward – an easy line for beginners to cast) and a tapered leader (the last piece of your fly line where you attach the fly).

Rod and reel – which can easily be changed from left hand to right hand retrieve – of the Wild Water are protected by a 32″ rod case. The great thing about this one is the fact that you can leave the reel attached to the rod. Furthermore, the rod case features a pocket to store your fly box for example.

The fly box of the Wild Water is waterproof and floats if you drop it into the water. With it come nine flies in three patterns to get you started. A retractable reel (to attach a pair of pliers) and a line nipper round off the great set.


  • Set is very well equipped and even comes with a fly box and nipper


  • Built quality of the reel is not up to par with the Orvis or Redington



M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme

Maximumcatch Fly Fishing Kit for Beginners
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme Fly Fishing Kit

Starting at only $69.99 (depending on the version you choose), the M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme is a real steel. Just like the Wild Water set it comes with everything you need to catch your first fish. In terms of what is included in the package the two sets can be compared well. They feature the exact same items. What sets the M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch Extreme apart is the different rod and reel combinations you can choose from.

If you know you’ll be fishing small streams, a 3wt rod and reel is the right choice. If you want to target trout and smaller bass go for a 5wt rod and reel. Should you be looking at pike for the beginning, a stronger rod and reel of the M MAXIMUMCATCH are necessary. In this case you should opt for the 8wt.


  • Reel comes with a pouch
  • Richly equipped set
  • Good protection of rod and reel


  • Quality of the flies is not the best



Piscifun Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

Piscifun Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

The Piscifun Fishing Rod and Reel Combo is another great entry level set. Piscifun is known to produce good quality products at a decent price. The Piscifun comes with a 5/6 rod with a length of 9 ft. The reel comes pre-spooled with backing, line and leader. All that’s left for you is to tie on a fly.

There are nine flies of three different patterns that come with the Piscifun Fishing Rod and Reel Combo. They are safely stored in a box that can be worn around your neck with the lanyard. A line nipper makes it easy for you to change flies.


  • Rod performs surprisingly well
  • Set included all the tools for you to catch your first fish


  • No pouch for the reel
  • A few streamers would be nice addition to the set of flies



Conclusion on the Best Fly Fishing Kits for Beginners

Starter kits can be a great way to enter the beautiful sport of fly fishing. It takes the thinking and guessing away that sometimes makes fly fishing seem hard in the beginning. The sets in our review all come with all the gear you need to make your first casts (except the Orvis where you have to get the flies separately). Any of these sets is also a great gift if you know that somebody wants to get into the sport.

We hope this guide has helped you make a good decision. No matter when or where you start fly fishing, we are sure you’ll have a great time.

Comparison Table

Product nameWhat’s includedPrice
Orvis Encounter Fly Rod OutfitRod, reel, backing, fly line, leader$169
Cabelas BighornRod, reel, backing, fly line, leader – no rod tube$99
Wild Water Fly FishingRod, reel, backing, fly line, leader
flies, nipper, fly box
M MAXIMUMCATCH Maxcatch ExtremeRod, reel, backing, fly line, leader
flies, nipper, fly box, cap
Piscifun Fly Fishing Rod and Reel ComboRod, reel, backing, fly line, leader
flies, nipper, fly box


What should I look for in a beginner fly fishing kit?

Consider kits that include a balanced rod and reel combo, weight-forward fly line, and backing. Look for kits that come with essential accessories like a leader, tippet, and a selection of flies.

Are there specific rod weights better suited for beginners?

Generally, beginners find a medium or moderate-fast action rod in the 4 to 6 weight range versatile for various fishing scenarios.

Do beginner fly fishing kits include instructions or guides on how to get started?

Many kits come with basic instructional materials, while some may offer online resources or access to introductory fly fishing classes.

What is the importance of reel type in a beginner kit?

A simple, easy-to-use reel with a reliable drag system is crucial for beginners to learn the basics of fly fishing without unnecessary complications.

Is it better to choose a pre-spooled kit or spool the line myself?

For beginners, pre-spooled kits provide convenience and eliminate the need for additional equipment, making the learning process more straightforward.

Can a beginner fly fishing kit be used for different types of fish?

While some kits are versatile, it’s essential to check the specifications to ensure the kit suits the specific type of fishing you plan to do, whether it’s trout, bass, or panfish.

What additional items should I consider purchasing alongside a beginner fly fishing kit?

Beginners may want to invest in quality polarized sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing, enhancing the overall fly fishing experience.

Read more of our Gear Guides here:

Ultimate Guide: Best Wading Jackets

Buyer’s Guide Best Wading Boots

Best Women’s Wading Boots

Top 6 Best Fishing Nets

Best Fly Boxes

Building your own Fly Rod

A Guide to Fishing Sling Packs

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