Trident Fly Fishing is a full-service fly shop. We spend a lot of time testing gear and writing reviews to give you all of the tools to make your next trip a success.  We are not a blog or a review site. 100% of our funding comes from your gear purchases, so if this blog post helps you on your next fly fishing adventure, please support us by buying your gear from us.

For many freshwater anglers, the 5-weight fly rod is their go-to choice. Whether targeting Trout, Bass, or panfish, its versatility is unparalleled. Fortunately, there are many excellent 5-weight rods available today, with features that suit nearly any freshwater angling foray. Today, we’ll take a look at several of the very best 5 weights of 2024, to help you pick the right tool for your fishing.

Thomas & Thomas Avantt 2

While the original Avantt was a wonderfully intuitive rod, Thomas and Thomas has refined the taper of the new Avantt 2 to create a rod that’s even more enjoyable and forgiving, with beautiful craftsmanship and componentry. Although the Avantt 2 isn’t a long-range cannon, the 5-weight excels at medium-distance casting, offering stellar accuracy with just the right amount of feel. Trout aficionados will also appreciate the rod’s USA-made craftsmanship, featuring premium componentry and an elegant facade. 

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $965.00

Pros

  • Excellent mid-distance performance
  • Premium componentry
  • Meticulous USA craftsmanship

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks long-range power

Lamson Radius

The 5-weight Lamson Radius solidifies Lamson as more than just a reel company, but a creator of excellent trout rods. Featuring tons of feel and pinpoint accuracy, the Radius is a phenomenal dry fly rod, perfect for close and medium-distance casting of small flies and light tippets. Most importantly, the Radius is just plain fun to cast, with a forgiving taper that lends itself to beginner and intermediate freshwater anglers.

At a reasonable price of $449.99, the Lamson Radius offers excellent performance at a fraction of the price. Although you won’t get the elegance or power of some premium 5 weights, the Radius stays true to the Lamson ethos with its solid components and overall clean build quality. For budget-conscious freshwater anglers who want a fun, accurate dry fly rod, the Lamson Radius checks all the boxes.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $449.99

Pros

  • Exceptional accuracy at close-to-mid range
  • Fun to cast
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent Value

Cons

  • Limited long-distance performance 
  • Standard componentry

Orvis Helios

Orvis has done it again with the all-new Helios, producing an incredibly lightweight rod with plenty of power and insane accuracy. Considering the success and popularity of the H3, you may be wondering what Orvis did to make the new Helios better. For starters, Helios is even lighter, sporting a noticeably lighter swing weight when compared to the H3. Additionally, accuracy has improved fourfold, thanks to this new rod's state-of-the-art construction and design.

As with the previous Helios series, this new iteration comes in two versions: “D” for distance, and “F” for finesse. Both the D and the F are outstanding tools, and choosing the right model for you will depend on the application. For throwing dries on light tippets, the 5-weight F will be a perfect choice. For heavy nymphing, streamers, and other scenarios requiring plenty of power for big rigs and wind, the 5-weight D is a cannon. Regardless of the specific Helios you choose, this rod covers all the bases, but you’re going to pay for its performance with a price just shy of $1,200.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $1,098.00

Pros

  • Very low swing weight
  • Extremely accurate
  • High-end componentry

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Still has the white label (some like it, some don’t!)

Winston Air 2

The Winston Air 2 has been around for a while now, but we still think it deserves a spot on the list of the top 5-weights in 2024. For starters, the Air 2 features the classic Winston aesthetics that many anglers adore. Its “Winston green” blank, nickel silver reel seat and high-end componentry make this the Rolls Royce of trout rods. What’s more, the Air 2 maintains tons of feel for delicate trout fishing, perfect for dry-fly enthusiasts anywhere in the world. Lastly, the Air 2 challenges the Winston ethos by incorporating more power and speed; it is best paired with a true-to-line-weight fly line for optimal performance. Overall, the Winston Air 2 remains a top 5-weight in 2024, albeit with a premium price tag exceeding $1k. 

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $1,195.00

Pros

  • Classic Winston feel
  • Heirloom componentry and build quality
  • Exceptional accuracy and performance at short to middle distances

Cons

  • Lofty price tag
  • Line-sensitive, especially at longer distances

Scott Centric

Now several years matured, the Scott Centric has stood the test of time, remaining one of the best freshwater rods in the 5-weight category. Like the old Radian, the Scott Centric still has plenty of power and accuracy for those long-range targets. The taper of the Centric, however, is also well-adept at delivering accurate, snappy shots at close range. The rod has a great, lightweight feel when casting, with an action designed for intermediate to advanced anglers who have their timing dialed. This is not to imply that beginners won't enjoy the Centric—they certainly will—but rather, the rod doesn't offer the 'buttery' feel synonymous with, for example, a Winston. Overall, the taper design of the Centric will be tough to improve upon when that time comes, which is probably why the Centric is still one of our most popular 5-weight rods. The Scott Centric features excellent componentry, the classic Scott unsanded blank, and USA-made attention to detail. For anglers with a premium budget, the Centric is an extremely capable trout rod that can do it all.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $945.00

Pros

  • Powerful, accurate, and smooth
  • Surprising performance at close-range and long-range

Cons

  • Heavier than the Radian
  • No recoil guides

Hardy Marksman

The Hardy Marksman replaced the old Ultralight as Hardy’s premium freshwater rod, coming in at $950 in the 5-weight model. Featuring Hardy’s Sintrix FLT technology, the Marksman is essentially a dry fly specialist that can also do some light nymphing or streamer work if needed. When we reviewed the rod, the first thing we noticed was how incredibly light the rod felt. With a swing weight of 56 gm2, it's one of the lightest 5-weights we’ve tested. At close and medium distances, the Marksman is very accurate and delightful to cast. At longer distances, however, the rod lacks the power to make it a reliable distance tool. Overall, the Marksman is an excellent dry fly rod that looks very handsome for an overseas build. For anglers with a larger budget primarily focused on dry fly fishing, The Hardy Marksman is a winning choice.

Price: $950.00

Pros

  • Lightweight!
  • Quick recovery, accurate at close to mid-range
  • Dry fly specialist

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks power at long-range

Greys Lance

The Greys Lance can be summed up in four words: bang for your buck. At a reasonable price of under $250, the Lance offers remarkable accuracy, plenty of power, and great overall versatility. We tested the Greys Lance with a Scientific Anglers MPX line and found it to bring out the best of this budget rod. At close and mid-range, the rod is very accurate, peppy, and fun to cast. Moving back to long range, the rod still has a good amount of power and speed and decent accuracy. For beginners, the Lance would be a fantastic do-it-all rod that could handle everything from dries to heavy nymph rigs quite well. For intermediate to advanced anglers, the Greys Lance could serve as a fantastic backup rod, for those times when you need multiple rigs ready to go, but you don’t want to risk carrying around $2000+ of graphite. Overall, we think the Greys Lance is, hands down, the best budget rod on the market today. If you’re looking for a great performing rod that won’t break the bank, look no further than the Greys Lance.

You can find the full blog review HERE

Price: $219.95

Pros

  • Exceptional value
  • Great across-the-board performance
  • Perfect pairing with Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX

Cons

  • Bland aesthetics
  • Standard componentry

FAQ

What species can be targeted with a 5wt?

5-weight rods are ideal for a variety of freshwater species such as Trout, Panfish, Smallmouth Bass, Grayling, and landlocked Salmon.

Is a 5wt rod difficult to cast?

Casting a 5wt rod is no more difficult to cast than any other line weight. The best thing you can do before any big trip is to practice your casting. Even better, hire a professional casting instructor for a lesson to work out any kinks.

What fly line should I choose for my 5wt rod?

Choosing the right fly line depends on many factors such as target species, the size of fly you’ll be fishing, and the water temperature. For lots of specific information about picking the right fly line, check out our Blog.

How do I choose between a fast-action and medium-action 5wt rod?

Fast-action rods are generally stiffer rods that offer more power and line speed but at the expense of feel or “flex”. Typically, fast-action rods are best for windy conditions, casting bigger flies, and casting heavier fly lines. On the other hand, medium-action rods flex deeper into the rod blank, offering more “feel” and increased finesse, but at the expense of power. Most anglers who prefer medium-action rods appreciate their finesse and overall gentler presentation, especially for spooky fish. Generally, medium-action rods are more beginner-friendly to cast, whereas a fast-action rod might take more practice to get the timing just right.

What are the key differences between premium and budget-friendly 5wt fly rods?

We are very lucky these days to have many budget-friendly fly rods which still perform quite well. That being said, there are some distinct differences between premium rods and their economic counterparts. Primarily, the materials used in premium rods will be of higher quality than those found in budget rods. Some of these materials, like the graphite used in the blank, can greatly affect the performance of the rod. Other materials, like the reel seat insert and the paint finish, are more cosmetic and subjective. Additionally, warranties may differ between premium and budget 5-weight fly rods. Premium rods tend to have a more substantial warranty, but you should check with the manufacturer for each specific model’s warranty.