Temple Fork Outfitters is based in Dallas, Texas, and offers its fly rods, fly reels and related products through dealers throughout the United States as well as internationally. Based on its own experience and an Advisory Board with decades of experience, the company has developed a line of fly rods that maximizes value by optimizing the combination of price and performance.

TFO has developed 19 series of fly rods to cover a comprehensive range of fishing situations in both fresh water and salt water, and involving angler experience levels ranging from beginner to expert.

In selecting fly fishing equipment – and fly rods in particular – the choice depends on the size and type of fish to be caught, the fishing conditions, and the angler’s level of experience. The “weight” of a rod is expressed as a number which is used to describe how “light” or “heavy” the rod is. This number ranges from 1 to 15. The smaller the number, the “lighter” the rod is.

The weight of the rod depends on casting distance, wind conditions and the size of the fish. In general, larger fish require heavier equipment, particularly saltwater species (small saltwater fish can fight as hard as large freshwater trout).

Small fish and delicate conditions are best handled by a “light” fly rod, which would have a “weight” ranging from 1 to 3. At the other end of the range, offshore saltwater game fish like billfish, tuna and sharks would typically require a rod with a “weight” of 13 to 15. Generally, heavier rods will cast further, particularly in windy conditions.

If an angler has only one rod, many experts believe that an 8 ½ – 9-ft 5-weight rod is a good compromise. Since most of the fishing will be in the 20 to 40-foot range, this rod length gives good leverage and casting power for those distances.

However, many anglers will want to use a rod that is specially-designed for a particular type of fishing and size of fish. A 6-ft 9-inch 1- or 2-weight would be ideal for delicate small-stream conditions, where casting distances are short and the fish are small. A light rod, if cast properly, will generally result in minimal disturbance of the water surface. This combination of circumstances is fairly typical of meadow streams, limestone creeks, and spring creeks.

On the other hand, a popular type of fly fishing is for saltwater game fish, such as bonefish. These fish can be found in fairly shallow water using flat-bottom boats, but the fish are very shy and easily spooked. Therefore, a rod with an ability to cast a long distance is important, so that the lure can be cast to the fish without having to approach it too closely in the boat. A typical rod for this kind of fishing would be a 10-to 12-foot 10-weight rod.

It is worth noting that the line used in fly fishing consists of three components, one of which – the fly line – is usually matched to the rod weight. Generally, the fly line number will be the same as the rod weight number. For example, a 5-weight line would typically be used with s 5-weight rod. Most fly lines are around 100 feet in length.

The second component – the leader – is a very fine filament, usually made of a nylon material, that is used to connect the line to the fly. The leaders will vary in “weight”, with very fine leaders used for delicate work and heavy leaders use for big fish and rough conditions.

The third component is the backing, which consists of a length of strong nylon line that connects the fly line to the fly reel. The backing is not used for casting, but is available in case the fish takes off and travels further from the angler than the length of the fly line. Generally, an angler would not “get into the backing” doing very light and delicate fishing, but likely would need to do so if a large fish is hooked and decides to make a run, or dive in deep water.

George Matthew is a writer who specializes in outdoor and fishing activities.  You can check out his latest website at TFO Rods, where he provides unbiased reviews and buying advice for a range of fly rods, including TFO Fly Rods, and much more.