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Fly fishing isn’t cheap, especially for beginners. There’s also the perception that anything affordable in fly fishing is inferior to more expensive products. The rod is arguably the essential tool, and as anglers, we tend to romanticize the latest and greatest. Let’s face it, with the bleak economic news, inflation, and high gas prices, most of us just don’t have access to every fly rod we desire. Does that mean our fly fishing careers are over after being outpriced by the industry's new norms of sky-high prices? What about those looking to get into the sport and weighing each new item's cost-benefits?

For Douglas Fly Rods, the answer lies in their new ERA rod. Designed with affordability and accessibility in mind, Douglas claims the ERA is the best fly rod on the market in terms of performance and value. At $150.00, the price is certainly right for those getting their feet wet, but can a rod this cheap offer enough performance for anyone other than the fledging angler? You will not want to miss the review if you are looking for a brand new 5wt on the stingiest of trout bum budgets.


Douglas ERA 9’ 5wt Fly Rod

Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX Fly Line

Fit & Finish

We didn’t expect much from the ERA’s componentry and build quality, but it’s probably better than similarly priced rods. The all-black reel seat and half-well grip serve their purpose well, and the cork is adequate. The grey blank with white trimming allows the ERA to stand out amongst its generic-looking peers, as does the upturned stripping and single-foot snake guides.


The ERA is not a powerhouse, and its range is pretty limited. For beginner anglers, an 80ft cast will be unattainable regardless of what rod you put in their hands and even unnecessary for most trout fishing situations. 


  • 30-feet: At our closest distance, the ERA gave us great feedback thanks to its refined action. We were able to make accurate shots with little issues. What more can you ask for?
  • 45-feet: At middle distances, the story is the same. The ERA exceeds expectations and actually compares better to much more expensive rods than others in its price range. 
  • 60-feet: The ERA loses steam and accuracy the further we step back. Again, this is not the end of the world, especially considering how solid the rod performs at shorter-middle distances.

Flex & Feel

Douglas bills the ERA as a fast-action rod, but we found it to be more of a  medium-fast action. The softer flex helps with its performance in close, and beginners will find it easier to cast the ERA than stiffer rods. However, the Douglas offers enough performance to benefit the intermediate angler looking for an affordable option or a solid backup rod. 

Any rod at this price point will have its shortcoming, and the ERA isn’t perfect. The rod is among the heavier 5wts we’ve tested recently, and its swing weight is more on par with some high-end 8wts. Despite its heftiness, the rod is still enjoyable to cast with the Scientific Anglers Amplitude MPX line. The MPX is heavier than your standard trout taper, which actually helps the rod load and is easier to throw for beginners. 




Quite frankly, we didn’t have high expectations for the ERA, but the rod's performance has made us a believer. Douglas claims it’s the best rod on the market for the money, and after giving the ERA a test drive, we are finding it hard to disagree. But the ERA isn’t a rod just for beginners like many others in its class. Anyone who is a fan of medium-fast action rods can it out and have an enjoyable day on the water without worrying about their latest credit card statement.


  • Excellent feel and in close distance performance
  • Beginner friendly design
  • Great Value


  • Lacks power and starts to falter at longer distances
  • Heavy!