1 If it’s at all possible, try the rod before you buy. Indeed, if you attend a game fair or fishing show, you can do what many anglers do. Put your reel with the line you use the most in your pocket, then try all the rods that take your fancy, using your own line so that you know you’re getting a proper feel of the rod. Sometimes you’ll even get a good deal at a show, which will more than cover the cost of entry. 2 Research rods in the price range you are prepared to pay. Read the reviews, go online to see what others have to say. Do any of your acquaintances have one of the rods you’re considering? Doing a little research will often pay considerable dividends. Of course, all of this depends on whether you want a rod for fishing with or one that you just want to brag about, in which case none of the previous applies! 3 Don’t be in a rush. Take the time to try the different brands and models. After a while you might have tried upwards of half a dozen rods and one of them will be a standout to you. It might not be the most expensive, in which case you will have saved some money. On the other hand it can go the other way, when a rod which you considered out of your price range is just so right and you just had to have it! Truthfully, my 9ft 5wt is such a rod and I’m not telling how much it cost in case my wife reads this! It happens. 4 Consider what the rod will be used for. Do you mainly fish small fisheries with an occasional foray to a reservoir for a bit of bank fishing? About 75% of my fly-fishing is just this style these days. Year round I fish a 9ft 6wt rod and it works ever so well. During the warmer months my 9ft 5wt gets an airing as well, especially if I see some dry fly or surface activity. On the big reservoirs off the bank I sometimes struggle a bit, and a 9ft 6in rod would most likely be a better choice. But I like my 6wt, so I struggle a bit sometimes. Is this a worried man? When my pal Dave Malpas gives me a shout, we get the 10ft boat rods out and hit the boats at Blagdon, Chew and some of the Midland reservoirs. Dave uses a 7wt rod and I stick with my 6wts, fishing Diawl Bachs and Buzzers in the surface!