7 Reasons Used Fly Rods Are As Good As New

Used vs. New Fly Rods

For decades, anyone that wanted to buy a fly rod went into their local fly shop and chose from the new selection in stock.

Then along came the internet and eBay was born.

As eBay has developed, so has the secondary market for used fly rods.

Out of that market, Outfishers was born and we’re well on our way to building the largest selection of used fly rods.

I buy and sell used fly rods every day. 

I understand how to navigate the pitfalls of buying used fly rods and also know the big advantages used fly rods have in comparison to buying new.

Buying a used fly rod isn’t unlike buying a used car.

Find a reputable dealer with options for returns and warranties and you can save big money.

I’ve complied seven reasons used fly rods are as good as new.


1. You Save Big Money with Used Fly Rods

It’s no secret that used prices for any products are generally lower than new products. Fly rods are no different.

We monitor and record the prices of used fly rods daily.

We capture data from a variety of sources, both online and offline, and combine all that information together to determine the optimal listing price for our products.

To compare used prices to new prices, we can only really use what we call ‘on the run’ fly rods.

This means fly rods that are still production.

Original MSRP’s of rods that are no longer in production aren’t useful for price comparison because of inflation and changing market conditions.

But looking at ‘on the run’ rods, I can tell you that on average, the used fly rods we list are approximately 20%-40% less than new fly rod MSRP’s.

The percentage savings increases the further a rod is from new condition.
Here are two examples:

  • Like-New Condition (96-100/100): A New Sage X sell for $950.00. A Used Sage X listed here in like new condition $849.99. That’s a 10% or $100 savings.
  • Excellent Condition (91-95/100): A New Orvis Helios 3D sells for $998.00. A used Orvis Helios 3D with mild flaws, like the chip in the cork below, gets listed for $699.99. That’s a 30% or $300 savings.

This should strike you for two reasons.

First, you can obviously save a ton of money buying a used fly rod.

When you’re shopping for premium fly rods that can go for over $1,000, that savings is huge.

Second, buying a new rod gives you an immediate depreciation loss, just like driving a new car off the lot.

If you ever trade in a fly rod that you bought new, you’ll take a much bigger hit than you would if you’d purchased a used fly rod.

2. You Get Returns and Warranties on Used Fly Rods

Sometimes when we buy things, we change our minds, products are quite what we expected them to be, or life events happen, and you want to return something.

Fly rods are no different.

A decade ago, it might have been hard to find a source for used fly rods that offered returns but that’s changed.

Outfishers, along with a variety of dealers and even some private sellers, offer return on their items.

So you can send a used rod back and get a refund just like you can when you buy new.

Warranties are another special benefit.

Outfishers is the only source for used fly rods that offers warranties.

We can do this because of the expertise we’ve developed identifying rods that are likely to fail.

This innovative benefit of buying from us puts us on the same playing field as any manufacturer’s warranty.

With the introduction of Outfishers to the fly rod market, the benefits of buying new like returns and warranties are no longer reserved for new rods.

Every used fly rod we sell comes with 30-day returns and a lifetime warranty, subject to our terms and conditions.

So you can buy a used fly rod with the ease and confidence of buying new.

3. You Can Trade In and Out of Used Fly Rods

Used vs. New Fly Rods

Here’s where it gets fun.

I love trying out new fly rods. But without used fly rods, trying out new rods is an expensive habit.

The only way to try out fly rods was to buy new or gamble buying a rod off eBay.

This was one of the problems I set out to solve with Outfishers.

So we pioneered our buyback guarantee.

If you buy a rod from Outfishers, we’ll buy it back anytime. Guaranteed.

When it comes time to try something new, just submit a TradeOut™ request and we’ll make you an offer.

If you accept the offer, send your rod back and we’ll apply the offer amount as credit to your Outfishers account.

All of this is designed to let you trade in and out of fly rods without taking as much of a depreciation hit as you would buying new.

4. You Have a Bigger Selection from Used Fly Rods

The fly rod manufacturers are no different than any other industry.

Year after year, their rod designers are tasked with innovating and improving upon the prior generations of products.

But that doesn’t mean that last year’s products don’t catch fish.

There are plenty of incredible fly rods that are simply no longer made.

Used vs. New Fly Rods

In fact, as trends in the fly rod marketplace ebb and flow, you may find yourself seeking a fly rod of the past.

The only way to get your hands on an older rod is to buy one used.

Opening yourself up to buying used fly rods gives you access to a market that has far more selection than simply buying new.

5. Material Science has made fly rods last a long time.

From bamboo to fiberglass to graphite and beyond, fly rod materials have come a long way in the past century.

Both fiberglass and graphite fly rods can literally last a lifetime.

Both materials could lose some stiffness over time if they’re used incessantly.

And fiberglass and graphite rods can fail if they’re not cared for properly.

For example, leaving a fly rod in the baking sun for extended periods of time or not cleaning them after saltwater use.

But reasonably good care and moderate use will keep both fiberglass and graphite fly rods in play for decades.

So if you think buying a used fly rod means buying a worn-out rod at risk of failing, think again.

6. The Vast Majority of Used Fly Rods Are Treated Well.

Call it pride, call it love, call it just taking care of your stuff.

Call it what you want but most fly rod owners take good care of their sticks.

I always enjoy a conversation with a doubter about used fly rods.

Inevitably, one reasoning defaults to ‘you never know how they’ve been used’.

And that’s true.

Even our extensive inspections and loading testing doesn’t tell the history of a fly rod.

But after buying and selling fly rods for a few decades, meeting more fly fishermen than I can count, and going on countless trips, I can tell you I can remember two instances where I saw people treating rods in careless ways.

Here are three common spots to spot abuse on a used fly rod:
1. Reel Seat Butt End.
It’s not uncommon for rods to be placed up against a vehicle at a boat ramp. The boat ramp ground can be full of rocks or even a gravel bed which inevitably leave scratches and minor dents on the bottom of the butt end. If you see those, that rod may not have been well cared for.

2. Bottoms of the Guides.
When fly rods are placed on the ground, they’ll often come to balance on the rims of the guides. So if the very outside edges of the stripping guides are scratched up, find yourself a different used fly rod.
3. Tip-Top.
Tip tops of fly rods that haven’t been cared for can be easily scratched or bent from tree branches, the ground, or just careless movement of the fly rod into other things. Examine the tip top closely and if it’s clean and clear, chances are you’ve got a decent used fly rod on your hands.


In fact, what I usually find are inexperienced fly fishermen are overly cautious with their rod, delicate with it almost to a fault.

Modern fly rods can take a relatively high amount of stress.

Now sure, there are 1,000 ways to snap a tip off or scratch the seat, but those repairs or blemishes are obvious.

This fear of lemons was another problem I wanted to solve with Outfishers.

Ultimately, after some lengthy studies and analysis, we concluded that we could offer a lifetime warranty on today’s rods and not have to worry about losing our shirts.

The reality is most modern fly rod manufacturers do a good job of quality assurance before products leave their factories.

Outfishers further refines the selection of our used fly rods by only carrying premium rods from the brands and fly rod makers we trust.

So if, on the off chance, you do buy a rod from Outfishers that hasn’t been treated well and it fails, we’ve got your back with our lifetime warranty.

But the truth is most fly fishermen are good stewards of their fly rods.

All this said, if a fly rod has been subjected to this type of use, over a period of years it will likely be broken at some point.

Repairs can be easily spotted if you know what to look for.

If a fly rod has been broken, it’s easy to spot by examining the epoxy and paint on the blank.

If the tip has been broken and replaced, a simple pull test of the last male and female ferrule joint will tell you whether the replacement tip was manufactured well enough to be a functioning replacement part.

If you can’t tell whether the tip has been replaced, it may never make a difference whether the tip was replaced.

7. Buying Used Fly Rods is Better for the Environment 

There’s this fine line in fly fishing between being an advocate for the environment and not chaining yourself to a tree.
Companies like Patagonia do a great job of prioritizing the environment.

In recent years, Simms, under the guidance of former Patagonia CEO Casey Sheahan, has made a lot of progress taking activist roles in ecological projects.
Outfishers does our part in our very nature.

We sell used goods that keep new products in use longer.

Used vs. New Fly Rods

That means less energy to produce new rods, less plastic to package them up, and less fossil fuels to move them across the ocean.
Used fly rods aren’t carbon zero by any means.

We still ship our products via planes, trains, and automobiles which of course use oil and gas for the most part.
But all the energy, plastic, and fossil fuels spent to produce and transport a new fly rod to market dramatically outweigh the small amount of packaging and shipping it takes to put a used fly rod in your hands.
Buying a used fly rod is a great way to make a simple small difference so the planet’s a good place for our grandkids to live.
So if you looking for one more reason to buy a used fly rod, the environment is it.

And you don’t even have to chain yourself to a tree.



For years, there hasn’t been much of a choice to buy used fly rods.

You were left with eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.

Outfishers is changing that by creating the largest and most trusted source for used fly rods.

And we’ve given seven great reasons why used fly rods are, well, good as new.

So the next time you’re in the market for a rod, think about how much money you could save and, down the road, when you’re ready to try something new again, how much less of a depreciation hit you’ll take starting with a used rod in the first place.

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