There’s no worse feeling than seeing fish rising, and they are just out of reach of your casting range.
The solution is to beef up your gear and go a little more heavy-duty.
Today I’m talking about the best 7 weight fly rods. By the time I’m done, you’ll know everything about what’s hot and what’s not.
So let’s tie on and get casting!
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If you are just starting out or only need a 7wt fly rod occasionally, you don’t want to splash out too heavily.
Here’s a good solution.
Yeah, it’s bargain basement, but it works, and it will catch you fish.
It’s all that matters.
This three-piece rod is pretty durable and, at 10 feet, is just the right size for casting a decent distance with a heavier line.
It is a little bit of a hybrid, being neither a 4-piece fly fishing rod nor a 2-piece. It sits in the middle as a 3-piece! Giving you the firmness of a full-sized rod but most of the convenience of shorter ‘travel’ style models.
Medium fast action is just what you’ll need, and the rod has just the right amount of flex. But, be warned, it is much heavier than the better brands. Still, for a rough and ready solution, or as a spare, it is absolutely ideal.
I really like the fighting butt. It’s made for big fish.
Don’t expect too much from this rod. The nicest thing is how cheap it is.
If you are on a real budget or need something that you don’t mind dropping, this should work pretty well. It would be ideal if you are taking kids along from the first time and don’t want to risk the tip section of your Orvis.
The Moonshine Rod Co. is fast becoming one of my preferred brands. Their key selling point is that they produce rods that perform like premium, but they don’t have the trendy price tag.
Here’s what’s great.
For the money, you’ll get a rod that is every inch the performer. Be advised this rod has a medium action, so if you are struggling with your casting, it could be a great solution in making your casts much more controllable.
And there’s more…
It looks the part too! I really like the chocolate and copper-styled blank. The quality cork handle and wooden insert make it look really classy.
The rod is super durable too. It comes with its own protective tube. When it is out of the bag, the anodized reel seat and copper line guides will stay corrosion-free.
I’m pleased to see other companies challenging the big players. This rod will perform just as well as anything you’d traditionally see in a fly fishing shop. It casts well too. For a medium action 7 wt rod, this is one of the best.
This rod is a little rough and ready, but it is great as a durable all-rounder.
If you’ve got a few rods, the Lazer engraved rod identification will make picking the right one out from the pile easy. As it is designed for heavy-duty use, you’ll also find a substantial round fighting butt, perfect for battling those big old trout.
There are things here that will be down to personal taste…
I’m not too sure about the apple green blank. It doesn’t make a difference to how the rod fishes, but it isn’t what I would call ‘traditional’.
Yup. One notable thing is that this is a fast-action rod. This is unusual for a 7 wt rod as they can tend to become a bit uncontrollable if they are too whippy. The good news is that if you have a slow casting tempo and struggle to get energy into your line, this is going to help you.
It is pretty good value. Reddington gear tends to be bulletproof, and if this rod matches the rest of their line up, it could be a great choice.
Good for distance casting, if you like fast action rods.
It’s got a hook keeper! Yey!
I’m not too sure about the finish.
I personally don’t like a fast action rod in the heavier weights.
My personal preferences aside, I normally trust Reddington without exception. They don’t make garbage. This rod sits nicely between true budget and the more expensive.
You won’t often hear me talk about Okuma, but this one has definitely hit my radar. If it was a choice between this and the similar budget Reddington above, I’d have a hard time choosing.
Here’s what I really like.
The reel seat looks pretty premium, with a graphite inlay that also helps to reduce weight. It’s a little shorter than I am used to. At 9.5ft, it occupies a nice space if you tend to fish in slightly cramped areas.
When it comes to casting, I think you are going to be impressed. It was relatively easy to get almost all of my line off the reel. Being a medium-fast action, you’ll find a nice balance between distance and accuracy.
Speaking of the action…
While it is rated as ‘medium-fast,’ I’d say it was more ‘medium’, so if you are looking for something a bit bendy, perhaps try something different.
I love the double tapered handle. It fits really well in my hand.
A fighting butt and hook keeper, true luxury.
I hate when manufacturers aren’t accurate about the action.
While the action is a little off, this rod still casts like a charm. There isn’t too much to dislike, to be honest. If you pair this up with a decent reel, you’ll be able to get a rod that performs far more than its price point.
“LRS”… This stands for “Lake, River, and Sea”. So in real terms, Douglas is telling you that you should be able to use this 7 wt fly rod just about anywhere.
There are a few interesting features.
I really like the interchangeable fighting butt. So if there’s a chance you are going to hook into something mighty, you can ensure that every inch of the rod is put to good use in pressuring that fish!
It’s a pretty heavy-duty rod. It will be the ideal companion if you fish in a range of venues. The medium blank is perfect for throwing out larger flies like gold heads and streamers.
One other neat feature is the midnight blue finish. It is really eye-catching and different.
A big rod for big fish.
Good for big flies.
It is a little heavier than I would have liked. It feels more like a salt rod than one for lakes and rivers.
No rod tube (very sad face).
Listen. You are getting quite a lot of rod for the money. Delicate, this isn’t. But for Salmon, Steelhead, and Bass, this is one of the best 7wt fly rods out there.
Do you know why? They produce some of the best 7 weight fly rods out there. This rod offers so much and isn’t too steep considering who it is made by.
Let’s talk casting. If I had to pick one off my list that gives buttery smooth performance, this is the one, hands down. It is smooth, crisp, and surprisingly accurate. The action feels pretty much perfect to me, not too whippy and not too stiff either.
Why you’d choose it?
This rod is ideally suited to lobbing out a big streamer. However, it is equally powerful enough to haul in whatever is foolish enough to eat it!
I should also mention that you get a reel as part of the deal. The beauty of this is that it pairs up really nicely with the rod to give you a well-balanced setup. Sometimes combos can be the best call. I’ve got a detailed guide on rod and reel combos that explains why this could be the way to go.
A perfectly balanced setup that will be hard to beat.
An all-in-one package, perfect for beginners.
It’s a combo… If you have other preferences when it comes to reels, then you might want to look elsewhere.
You’ve got to be careful when choosing combos. But that said, when it comes from Orvis, you just know that it is going to be good. So if you are looking for the best 7 wt fly rod in 2021, you might just have found it.
If you are going for a budget option but don’t want something too cheap, this rod represents a really great compromise. This 4-piece 7 wt rod ticks most of the boxes and is one of White River’s most successful rods, upgraded and updated for 2021.
Here are its features.
The deep blue blank isn’t what I’d normally go for, but that says it gives the rod a really clean appearance. The handle is snub-nosed with a double taper, meaning you can get a good grip when casting and playing a fish. It also includes a nice rounded fighting butt, so you can use your forearm to apply a little more leverage.
And there’s more.
The casting action is pretty decent. I’d say it was another that is more medium than ‘medium-fast,’ but it still has the flex to cushion runs and pulls from bigger fish.
Eye catching blue blanks.
I like the snub-nosed handle.
It feels pretty robust and powerful.
It might be too stiff for my liking.
The blue blank won’t be for everyone.
This would be great for anglers who spend more time sea fishing than freshwater fishing. Overall it is a good all-round rod for big waters. Some of the others in my list are lighter, but this offers solid performance for the money.
Choosing a Good 7 wt Fly Rod (Buying Guide)
The best 7wt fly rods aren’t all that common, so you may be wondering what the deal is and how to go about making sure you’ve got the best. In addition, you might find a few subtle differences to what you are familiar with…
Relax. Here’s what you need to know.
You’ll be using a 7 weight fly rod to cast further and catch larger fish. As a result, you are going to want all the leverage and power that you can muster.
And here’s the key.
Length. As a general rule, you will want a rod that is longer than what you might traditionally use.
I’d aim for somewhere in the region of around 10 feet. This is the optimum, as it offers you decent pulling power, distance but still allows you to be fairly accurate with your casting and keep the line under control.
Go anything less than that, and you will be robbing yourself of distance, which kind of defeats the object.
That minuscule increase in line weight makes all the difference when you’ve got 50 yards being cast behind you. So you are going to need a rod that is a little stiffer.
Here’s what I’d go for.
Aim to buy a fly rod that is either medium or medium-fast. Which you choose is very much down to your casting style and personal preference.
You’ll also find that with a lot of line out, a slightly stiffer rod will help you catch bites more often and make it easier to pull the line off the water.
Knowing how rod sizes and actions work is part of the fun. Check out this video to learn more:
Again, this is slightly different than what you might normally fish with.
When it comes to using #7 wt fly rods, you are going to find everything just a little heavier. As a result, you’ll want a decent-sized handle that you can get a good grip on.
Snub-nosed handles tend to be more substantial with no taper. This allows you to keep a firm grip and actually prevents your hand from becoming fatigued.
While we are on the subject of cork handles, here’s another piece of advice.
Try and get one that is the best quality. The more letter ‘A’s, the better the handle.
It really is that simple.
Unlike with lighter rods, you don’t need to worry about the finish quite as much.
I’m normally a fan of keeping it all low profile and stealthy. You’ll be using your 7 wt fly rod for fishing at range. As a result, you don’t need to be quite as inconspicuous. Trout have good eyesight, but it isn’t that good.
Try not to be put off if you see something that is bright green or bright blue. It isn’t nearly as important as when you are sight fishing brook trout in clear streams.
The final thing to consider is the price.
This is deeply personal.
Consider how much you will use the rod and where you are going to use it. For example, if you only fish big water once every few months, then it might make little sense to be spending lots on a rod that will be idle most of the time.
You can get a really great rod that doesn’t have to cost the earth. Some, such as the Moonshine Rod Co., perform just as well as the more premium brands.
You’ve got questions?
No worries, it’s why I’m here. Here’s what I get asked all the time:
What is a 7 weight fly rod good for?
While you can’t always control what you catch, 7 weight fly rods tend to be used for hard fighting fish. We are talking species like big bass and huge brown or rainbow trout. They are also pretty good as a lightweight sea fly fishing rod.
A 7 weight rod will allow you to cast further as the line weighs more. You’ll also find it ideally suited to throwing out bigger flies, such as streamers.
They aren’t particularly good for fishing small delicate flies or casting to fish at close range in situations like this.
In the simplest terms…
Use a 7 weight fly rod when you are fishing ‘big’ water.
Can you use a 7 weight rod for trout?
The real answer? It depends on how big you are targeting. For tiny brook trout and anything under a pound, you might find that a 7-weight fly rod is overkill.
This is for a few reasons.
First, delicate, close-in casts aren’t the easiest with a rod of this weight. Second, because the blanks are heavier, you’ll tend to find that it kills all of the fight from the fish. This makes for a rather sterile fishing experience.
Are shorter fly rods more accurate?
Generally, yes, they are.
A shorter rod will allow you to maintain better contact with your line. The tip of the rod is also much easier to control. This means that you can finesse where you land your fly with a greater degree of accuracy.
The downside to shorter rods is that you will be robbing yourself of extra distance. For example, if you can only cast 30 yards and the fish are feeding at 40 yards, you are going to be frustrated.
Can you use a 6 weight line on a 7 weight fly rod?
You might get away with it.
In all honesty…
It isn’t optimal. Try your best to match your line to the weight of the rod. After all, the rod is designed to cast exactly the weight specified. It wouldn’t be a disaster, but you wouldn’t be getting the best out of your rod, which kind of defeats the object of getting one.
If you’ve got a 6 weight line that you want to use, why not have a look at my article about the best 6wt fly fishing rods? You can learn everything you need to know and use your existing line.
Big water, big fish, bigger rod. That’s what springs to my mind whenever I think about the best 7 weight fly rods.
Pick a medium-fast action, make sure it is at least 10 feet and keep to your budget. That’s pretty much it!
Ever been outgunned by a big fish? Why not tell me about it in the comments below. I love a good fishing story.
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