Budget Bonefishing Rods

I figured I’d update a post from a while ago about budget rods for bonefishing.

In truth, the rod is way less importance for bonefishing than the reel. If you have cash-eesh to spend, spend it on the reel.  What you have over, spend on the rod.  Here are some options that I’m pretty comfortable recommending.

The Redington Pursuit – $120

Redington has really emerged as of late as a price leader.  Their gear is serviceable and workman-like. You won’t impress the pants off your buddies at the fly shop with your Redington, but then, the fish are less label conscious.

That will get the job done.

Echo Ion – $190

Echo continues to be one of the least promoted rod companies out there. I seem to never hear about them, but what I’ve seen of them, I’ve liked.

The Echo Ion

Rise Balance – $125

I’ve been a fan of the Rise Company for a while. They are the little guys, the newcomers and it is hard not to root for the underdog.



There are rods that sell for almost $800 and those are fine, fine sticks. I’ve fished some of those and I can attest to how magnificent they cast. If my payday ever arrives, I may own several such rods.  For now, when I’m looking for a rod to buy, I don’t look for the rods in the $750 area, I’m more interested in what value might be found in the lower ranges.  Luckily, we anglers live in a good age.  There are a lot of options at a variety of price points.  There are even rods to be had south of $200. These rods will catch bonefish.  They may not be the equal of the $750 rod, but, in a pinch (and when you are pinching pennies) they will do the job.


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  1. Hi, Have been subscribed to this post for a while and very interesting.I am off to Kiribati soon (not soon enough) and am in the prosses of tackling up. I got a sage vantage for my partner (nice, and cheap) .My self I got an Echo both withNautilus FWX(awsome reel) .As I have never been bones fishing yet I am hoping I have it close. Fished the echo, nice had a few good Barramundi then tried the sage of my girls.The echo is so heavy in comparison so now I have a sage also. I say try them all rods in the same price range all handle so differently to our own version of casting.

  2. I also like the Ross Essence FS rods, 8wt is $145.

  3. Doug Jeffries

    Not to be contrary or pot stirring or anything but may I offer a different approach? The most critical part of catching bonefish – after finding and seeing the fish of course – is presenting the fly accurately. Agreed? If that’s the case, the rod, line, leader, and fly combination are more important than the reel. I agree you don’t have to get a second mortgage to buy a good casting rod. But take the time to try out several, with a couple line weights, before buying. The best rod is one that fits your casting style. And remember you’re most likely going to need to double haul into a nice stiff breeze so don’t practice using a little wrist flick trout cast. I’ve been using my old Lamson 3.5’s for bonefishing. The drag on these reels is just strong enough to avoid backlashing so I have to palm them sometimes to get a hot fish to change direction. But the reel has yet to be the cause for me losing a fish. I think you can bonefish with a pretty simple reel but you will regret it if you try to bonefish with a rod with which you cannot cast.

  4. bonefishbjorn

    Go forth, stir the pot. Discussion is always good. Here’s what I’d say… you can cast pretty much any rod. If you have a rod that is a little bit slower it is up to the caster to adjust. It isn’t like you pick up a rod and can either cast it or not cast it. You adjust. Be it fast-fast or med-fast, you can make adjustments. Your ability as a caster can overcome a lot when it comes to rod attributes. Which, in my mind, leaves the reel. I’ve had reels fail on me bonefishing, I have not had a rod fail on me. So, it depends on what you’ve had go wrong, maybe.

  5. Guideline LPXE RS V2 890-4 Salt Water Fly Rod in Pearl White, $385. Not exactly budget, but in the middle. These rods are awesome. They have power and accuracy. If you haven’t cast one of these, you should.

  6. I believe one should buy once. Instead of upgrading, you can purchase another rod for a different purpose. Two rods that are very good are the TFO BVK and the Orvis Clearwater. With either rod I wouldn’t feel shortchanged going after bonefish and both are relatively inexpensive @$250 and $225 respectively.

  7. I love my TFO BVK 8 weight for bonefish here in Honolulu. I also have caught some double digit bones on my TFO BVK 6 weight, and used nothing but my BVK 4 weight in NZ last year for 10 weeks of dayly battles with 4 to 10 pound rainbows and browns! The price is great, and the guarantee is icing on the cake!

  8. Bjorn, usually I come down on your side — the positive attitude, reasonable, fair side — but in this case I’d have to say I agree with Doug. True, you might be able to cast any rod, but that’s certainly not true for everyone. Rod choice matters a lot (not necessarily the price, but the behavior). Reel choice, on the other hand, comes down to how much you want to spend on a reel that’s too good for the fishing you’ll do, which is generally where they all are. Generally, if you buy off-brand stuff, or reels that come with packages then, yes, you’ll probably regret it sooner or later. However, if you spend anywhere over $100 probably the only way you’ll kill you’re reel is if you back over it with your SUV, or Prius, or hipster fix-wheel bicycle, or whatever. I’ve tested several reels and it’s generally taken years to kill any of the brand name reels (I’m talking Ross, Lamson — which, BTW Doug, if you’re 3.5 drag is that slack, send it in bro, it’s broke — Abel, Galvan, Hatch, Nautilus, or Tibor.) In fact, one of the best reels I’ve tested is one of the lower end Ross’s — the CLA for a #8 line. It’s well under $200 and has withstood 5 or 6 years of constant abuse and still purrs like new. It’s not as light as my Lamsons, but it is sturdier (if not nearly as sexy).

    Anyways, (wow this is getting long) I’d have to say that even if you can adjust to a rod, most folks fall back on their default cast when they’re face with a tailing bonefish/redfish/permit and their brains shut off. By default cast I mean your natural cast… which doesn’t always match the rod you’re using. This is where I think rod selection is critical to success on the flats. Get it wrong and you might be able to make it work, sometimes, but you’ll wish you’d chosen more wisely.

  9. Well, it looks like I have a good candidate for the “It’s the Rod” segment I’d like to do for the blog. You write up that, and I’ll write up “It’s the Reel.”


  10. Doug Jeffries

    {“BTW Doug, if you’re 3.5 drag is that slack, send it in bro, it’s broke “}

    Yeah, I actually did have one that got that loose. Opened it up and tightened the little retention nut on the pressure plate. That helped. I’ve sent all of mine to Bill Archuleta (Archuleta Reel Works) at least once. He replaced all the pads and stuff. Brought them back to near factory caliber. But they never were made to completely lock down on a running fish. But in some ways I prefer to palm a reel. I think it gives me a little better feel for just how much juice the fish as left.

    Note: Non-solicited advertisement: Bill Archuleta does fantastic reel repair work and quick (most of the time).

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