Casting delicate flies on tiny streams is all well and good. Still, eventually, you are going to want to fish bigger water.
The best 6 weight fly rods will allow you to cast further, with bigger flies, and hopefully, allow you to catch bigger fish!
There’s plenty of choices out there, and today I’ll show you some of my top picks and talk you through what I look for when choosing.
Casting hands at the ready? Let’s go…
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With a rod as good as this, it is easy to see why. For the money, you are getting bags of Orvis quality but don’t have to break the bank.
I love the way this rod looks. The white accents on the black blank give it a really premium look.
But how does it feel?
It casts like a dream. The action is medium-fast, so it is perfect for the slightly heavier weight of the line. The ceramic-lined stripping guide and chrome snake eyes mean that it feels practically frictionless, provide you choose a really good line.
One great feature is the black nickel aluminum reel seats. So while it’s (obviously) going to get wet, you aren’t going to have any problems with corrosion.
Premium quality without a premium budget.
Casting is silky smooth.
Oh, Orvis… Why did you not include a hook keeper?
Alright, look. This rod is pretty much perfect if you are trying to find a balance between cost and performance. One of the best 6wt fly rods I’ve tried, for sure.
It isn’t cheap, but I said I’d show you the best 6wt fly fishing rods in 2021, not the cheapest!
Hands down, one of the best rods I’ve cast. The entire thing screams quality, and if you invest (and it will be an investment), this rod should last you a lifetime.
You’ll get both distance and accuracy in your casts. With this rod, you’ll be covered for 99% of situations. From flicking out tiny dries to huge streamers on a big lake, Orvis has come up with the goods.
Every element is pure premium.
I love the matte blank, no sunlight flashing, and no spooked trout! The cork handle is extremely high quality and feels smooth in your hand.
Titanium stripping guides and REC recoil snake guides combine to give a completely smooth casting experience.
Even the rod tube is fancy… No Cordoba here! Instead, you’ll get a durable and corrosion-resistant protector, so you won’t need to worry about damaging the rod on the way to the swim.
Premium quality in every component.
Wonderful casting action.
Included aluminum rod tube.
Seriously, just the price… It is not a ‘budget’ rod.
This one is for serious anglers. It might be a little too advanced for beginners as they won’t appreciate how truly special this rod is. Sure, it’s steep, but as I said before, you get what you pay for. This rod is super versatile, and you’ll never need (or want) another.
Perhaps you don’t want a big name brand but aren’t looking for something budget.
Let me show you this.
This rod is packed with the kind of things that make Orvis great but without the designer price tag.
This rod is medium-fast action, making it the ideal choice for beginners who are just getting to grips with casting but still need some control over the line.
Here’s why I chose this rod.
It feels super lightweight. The ceramic stripping guides are a nice touch and are normally found in much more expensive models. If you blindfolded me and put this in my hand, I’d swear I was casting an Orvis.
It’s an effortless caster, with distance and accuracy aplenty.
One downside is the blank color, it is a dark brown, that won’t be to everyone’s taste. But that said, for the money, I think it is superb value.
A great caster.
It feels pretty good quality.
It’s nice and light.
I really can’t complain. For the money, one of the best 6wt rods on my list!
If I’d paid more for this rod, I’d still be happy. But, considering the price, I can’t believe how well it performs. Casting was easy, and it is actually really lightweight. For a good all-around 6wt fly fishing rod, you can’t really go wrong.
If you haven’t heard of Sage before, they are a good middle-of-the-road brand that offers good value and premium quality.
This is more towards the budget end…
But here’s the thing…
I really like it!
You’ll find all of the good stuff in this 4-piece fly fishing rod that has made Sage a great brand.
As you’d expect, you’ll get ceramic stripper guides, chrome snake guides, and an aluminum locking reel seat.
The rod is slightly heavier than I would have liked, and the blank is a little thicker than some of the higher-end brands. One other area I wasn’t too keen on was the snub-nosed cork handle. I much prefer a tapered handle, but that said, it’s subjective.
You’ll know that I love supporting homegrown brands when I can. This one is designed and made in the USA!
A rugged and durable fly rod.
Great quality construction and all corrosion-proof!
A brilliant all-around rod, ideal for bigger fish.
I didn’t like the handle. It makes the rod look unfinished.
Hey, look. I’m probably a little picky. This is a good 6wt fly rod. Make no mistake. I don’t know why, but I feel it doesn’t look as nice as some of my other (and cheaper) offerings, but that said, it is a solid performer.
If you found the Orvis Clearwater a little too cheap (why?) and the Helios a bit too high-end for your taste, allow me to offer you something that sits slap bang in the middle.
The Orvis Recon fly rod is pretty affordable, and just like its more expensive brethren, it should see you fully kitted out for a long time.
I really like the matte olive blank. It has something of a military air to it. When paired up with the white logo and pewter aluminum reel seat, it just sings quality.
Enough about the looks. How does it feel?
In a word? Amazing. I reckon on a calm day, I could cast this one down almost down to the backing. It’s lightweight and loads up really well in the backcast. It’s completely effortless and one of the best casters on my list.
And there’s more.
It is not just about distance. You’ll need to be accurate. I was shocked at the precision. I’m by no means an expert, but this rod made it easy.
I love the way this rod looks.
Superb distance and accuracy in the cast.
Made in the USA.
Seriously. If you’ve got the cash, buy it.
I promised you the best 6wt fly rods in 2021, and this is one of them. I can’t tell you how much I love this rod. Orvis have excelled themselves. It has all the things I look for, and I’m struggling to find fault with it.
Look. I know that not everyone can go and blow $500 on a fly fishing rod.
It’s ok, I’ve got you.
If you aren’t sure what fly fishing is about and are just finding your feet, let me show you something that will get you out and fishing… For peanuts.
This rod isn’t all singing and dancing. It’s not fancy and isn’t loaded with technology.
But here is the thing…
It is cheap. Really cheap.
For the price of a few beers, you can get out and work on your casting. This rod was surprisingly good for the money. It even has a few features you’ll see on the more expensive brands.
Ceramic stripper guides for a start and wire snake guides.
It’s really durable too! The EVA foam handle isn’t ‘traditional’, but do you care when it’s this price. It feels comfy in hand and should last a while.
The downside is that it isn’t particularly light. The fiberglass construction is heavier than graphite. Nevertheless, this would make a great backup or spare for a buddy.
Amazingly great value.
A true budget 6wt fly fishing rod.
Some nice features for the money.
It isn’t light.
It isn’t fancy.
It looks ‘budget’.
Look, for the money, you could poke the fire with it if you don’t like it. It’s a little rough and ready, but it will allow you to catch a fish or two.
This is the ideal choice for extremely infrequent anglers or those who are on a bare-bones budget. However, if you are trying to stick to a budget, check my article here, where I list the best budget fly rods.
In plain terms, a 6 wt fly rod occupies the heavier end of what I would call a great all-rounder. However, it has the necessary strength to handle fish of all sizes and the backbone to cast on bigger waters.
You’ll find fly rods that run from #1 weight all the way up to #12 wt. Obviously, a 6wt fly rod sits right in the middle.
If you are looking for versatility and be covered for most venues 90% of the time, then a 6wt rod could be a really wise investment.
For smaller streams, you can step it down a little. Why not check out my article on the best 5wt fly rods and see which you prefer?
I’m not going to beat around the bush (but I will cast over it)…
Here’s the length you should be going for when choosing a 6wt fly rod.
Go for something around 9 feet long. 9 to 10 feet is optimum. This will give you all of the control that you need but also allow you to cast the slightly heavier line out easily.
Smaller than that, and your distance will suffer. Longer, and the rod will become less accurate and much more unwieldy.
A 9ft fly rod is optimum in this weight class.
Fast action rods tend to be easier to cast. However, with the heavier line, you are going to want to up your game a little.
You’ll tend to find that most 6wt fly rods are rated moderate-fast. This is the optimum action. You will have the necessary power to get that line really traveling but still have the sensitivity to cast smaller flies with a decent amount of accuracy.
The little extras can make a rod that little bit nicer to use. Here are the things I look for when choosing
A Good Quality Handle
Unless you’ve gone super budget, you’ll find most handles are cork. But not all corks are created equal.
Here’s the secret.
Look for as many ‘A’s as you can. This is a rating of how high quality the cork is. If it is of higher quality, it will last longer.
The handle actually takes a lot of punishment. Take a look at this video to see how much work actually goes into making the handle:
Lined Stripping Guides
Look for rods with lined guides. They will prevent your line from sticking. This will help you cast further.
Stop you losing fish. If the line sticks at a crucial moment, that monster trout could be gone!
I’m not talking weight rating. I’m talking about how heavy the rod is in your hand. You are going to be casting a lot. Even a few ounces can make all the difference.
So, here’s my advice.
Go as light as you possibly can. Trust me, your arms will thank you for it.
Once you get down to the water, you want to get fishing as soon as you can!
There’s nothing worse than messing about trying to get your rod all lined up. Or finding that you’ve got it all wonky…
Ask me how I know.
The key is to get a rod with alignment dots. This makes your setup super easy. It will also increase your casting distance as the rod’s eyes will be perfectly aligned.
If you have the option, be sure to choose a rod with a matte finish. Trout can be a little wary, especially on clear lakes and streams. One glint of sunlight flashing as you cast, and they are going to be gone.
A matte finish stops this.
Oh, and it also looks really cool.
Think About Your Reel
A rod is only half of the setup. So when choosing a rod, think about your reel too. It’s no good pairing a high-quality fly-fishing rod with a sub-standard reel. You simply won’t be seeing the benefit and will be wasting your money.
Think about what will work best, and be sure to pair your rod and reel accordingly.
No worries. Here are some of the things that I get asked all the time…
What is the best 6 weight fly rod?
In general terms, the best 6 wt fly rod will have the following features:
It will be lightweight.
It will have a good quality handle and eyes.
It should be around 9 foot in length.
Ideally, it will have a moderate to fast action.
But you didn’t want ‘general’, did you?
For the money, I think the Orvis Recon fly rod is as good as it gets. It ticks all of the boxes on my above list. It casts like an absolute dream and will handle just about any fish that takes your fly.
I can’t say it any simpler than that.
Is a 6 weight fly rod good for trout?
A 6 wt fly rod is absolutely perfect for trout. However, if you’ve ever had a battle with a 20lb behemoth on a #3 wt fly rod, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.
6 wt fly rods give you all of the muscle you’ll need to handle bigger fish, but it doesn’t feel like overkill because they aren’t too heavy. They’ll still allow you to make short little casts with more delicate flies too.
There’ll be days when you’ll have to try every fly in your box, both big and small, to tempt a picky trout. A 6 weight fly rod is perfect when this is the case.
Should I get a 5 or a 6 wt fly rod?
Honestly? The choice is yours. There isn’t a huge amount of difference when it comes to characteristics. Both are great all-around rods suited to a variety of situations.
If you still need help, here’s a quick rule of thumb…
If you tend to do most of your fishing on smaller waters, or target smaller species, opt for a 5 wt fly rod.
If you normally fish bigger waters, have a box full of bigger flies, or target larger fish, then a 6wt rod is a great choice.
If you are looking for seriously big fish, only ever fish larger waters, or are taking a fishing trip by the sea, you could even consider a 7wt fly fishing rod. I’ve got a great guide to them right here.
The best 6wt fly rods are a fantastic all-rounder for anglers who are going slightly bigger in their ideas.
Bigger fish, flies, or waters are an ideal reason to consider buying one. Provided you stick to the above advice, you’ll be in good stead to catch the fish of a lifetime.
What’s your longest cast? Why not let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you guys.