Marryat Rods: Which should I buy?

A guide to selecting the right fishing rod.
Allan Liddle has used Marryat rods for a fair few years and always test drives the new models. We thought he was the perfect pro for the job!
Choosing a fly rod isn’t a straightforward as many would have you believe, that said it’s not something that should confuse or stress you out either.
Keeping it simple is always best and ask yourself a few questions before you start looking, to help with this I’ll list a few ideas.

  • What type / style of fly fishing are you looking to use the rod for? A fundamental question and the most important one.  Wild trout or stocked, river, loch or still water, boat or bank?  Once we narrow this down then we can move onto the next question.
  • Rod line weight / action. This is where many start to get confused but in truth it’s very simple and the type / style of fishing question above generally answers this.  For example, a good river rod will offer a mid-action, lighter line rating as this type and style requires a fine approach. Still water for stocked trout means generally you will be chasing larger fish and you might want to use bigger flies / cast a little further, so a heavier line rating and stiffer actioned rod is better.  Rod length often goes hand in hand with line rating, so I’ve given more specific type examples in the length section.
  • Rod length: Boat fishing usually means holding, or working flies close to the boat so a longer rod better for this. Again, wild fishing then lighter line rating (#5 is a good one for this) but sunk lines (generally these put more pressure on the rod) or stocked fish angling mean that a heavier line rating better (#6 is a kind of compromise, #7 leaning towards the use of sunk lines and mostly chasing stocked or larger trout such as rainbow trout, seatrout or salmon, #8 heavier line again and one that really best for sunk lines and bigger fish.) Predator rods are generally heavier again to be able to handle the larger flies generally used as well as help to overcome a large, angry predator fish such as a pike, correctly.  Predator rods tend to be fast (tip) action and run from #8, through #9 and occasionally for the biggest flies and fish, #10).  Saltwater fishing means fish that hit hard and / or fight extremely hard given the species you’ll be chasing are faster and more powerful than freshwater species.  These are more specialised rods and tend to be around 9’ in length with an action of either #9 or #10.  At the very opposite end of the scale the rods required to chase small fish or tight overhung tree lined brooks will be short, 7’ or 8’, deep action and usually with a line rating of #4.  River trout fishing has several choices but again this is broken down to what it is you want to do.  A good all-round weight would be #4 or #5, 10’ long with a mid-action as this gives you the all-round ability to fish dry fly, wet fly or nymph, longer lighter rods (10’6” / 11’ 6” #3) are designed for nymph fishing so are less able to ‘cast’ a fly line meaning dry and wet fly fishing isn’t as easy, shorter 9’ #6 rods are better used for streamer (lure) style fishing.

Taking all this into account then it’s time to look at the different rods available through the Marryat range:

Marryat rods

Marryat Tactical

What you might now consider as the ‘entry level’ to Marryat Rods, the tactical range has been around for a while now but even so are still as good today as they have always been.  Light, responsive and easy to cast, these rods stand out amongst others and are a joy to fish with.  Eye catching to the angler in a deep olive finished blank with a gloss finish, wooden reel seat and uplocking reel fitting.

7’ #4:  Regarded as a small brook rod for use in very tight situations such as overhanging trees.  This is very much a close-range rod, perfect for smaller trout but with enough strength in the blank to handle larger fish in very tight situations.

8’ #4: As with the 7’, again a small brook style rod for the same tight situations.  Again, enough strength in the blank for larger fish and the added length also allows a little more scope in terms of different fishing styles even in such tight situations.

9’ #4: This is what many would regard as first and foremost a dry fly river rod but personally I find it’s a good bit more than that.  Perfect for shorter range nymph style fishing on rivers as well as an excellent rod for younger, smaller members of the fishing community to start out with as it is light, forgiving and easy to use.

9’ #5: Very much as the #4 but it’s also a rod I chose when looking to fish small flies into a stiffish wind, so I’d pick this as my rod of choice for dries on a blustery day.  It’s also an excellent rod for light bank style fishing.

9’ #8:  For me this is a Stillwater bank style rod and great for all the different range of fishing styles you could look to do when chasing stocked fish from the shore.

10’ #3: This represents Marryat’s first nymph style rod and many river anglers purchased this rod specifically for this purpose.  That said it does offer more than that as it’s the perfect light tippet dry fly rod.

10’ #4: My go-to choice for all round river fishing as it is a joy to fish with in all scenarios on the river, especially dry flies.  Covers nymph and wet fly fishing well, for me this is a rod that offers so much. I also chose this rod for lighter loch style fishing.

10’ #5: The rod I head straight for when heading out on the lochs to fish with dry fly or ‘short-line’ traditional boat fishing working a ‘team’ of traditional loch style flies broadside drifting down a wind.  The length allows the angler to ‘hold’ or ‘work’ flies at a greater distance meaning you can do this longer on the water and, in turn, give fish more time to pick out your flies.  I also like to use this as my river rod of choice in windy days to help cast flies into a headwind.

Marryat Tactical LX

Moving up from the Tactical, the LX has also been around for a while but again is still very much a modern fly rod in every sense.  It offers the same easy to use and progressive action of the Tactical but also offers a higher standard of finish with features such as markers to help line up the rod sections, a matt ‘gunmetal’ coloured reel seat (again uplocking) and again deep olive blank however this time with a matt finish.

9’ #4: Very much like the Tactical 9’ #4 but offers a very slightly faster action in the blank and the difference of a matt finish which some anglers feel can help when a stealthy approach is required.

9’ #5: Very much like the Tactical 9’ #4 but offers a very slightly faster action in the blank and the difference of a matt finish which some anglers feel can help when a stealthy approach is required.

10’ #4: One of my favourites and the rod I look for when venturing out on the river.  Again, as with the Tactical 10’ #4 it is a perfect all round river rod with a very slightly faster action and the matt fishing for stealth approach.  I really enjoy fishing with this rod.

10’ #5: Another rod I enjoy and does all the Tactical 10’ #5 can do with the added attraction of the additions to the finish and ‘stealth’ matt blank.

10’ #6: This, for me, is a loch boat or bank rod for wild trout, especially where they can be that bit bigger than the normal three to the pound average, we have throughout most of our wild fisheries.  Excellent dry rod for still waters where stocked fish are located

Marryat Tactical Bombarde

Now we start to move into more specialist rod territory with the Bombarde range covering more specific styles of fishing that’s better described under each rod type in the range description below.  Again, comes in a lovely deep olive gloss blank with full wells handle and addition of a fighting butt.

9’ #7: Floating Line

9’ #7: Sinking Line

9’ #8: Floating Line

9’ #8: Sinking Line

10’ #7: One of the rods I use the most for a vast range of different fishing scenarios from boat fishing chasing migratory trout and salmon, still water bank and boat fishing as well as migratory trout on rivers and even estuaries / light saltwater work.  The medium action of the blank allows the angler to enjoy the best out of every fish encountered, forgiving enough on smaller fish as well as with enough strength to handle larger ones.  The rod I also reach for when heading onto the river when streamer fishing, for me a real favourite.

Marryat Tactical Pro

The tactical Pro range of rods offer something a little different from the Tactical and Tactical LX ranges.  The blanks are designed to offer a faster action than you get from the Tactical and LX ranges.  Finished in matt black with a mix of half wells or full wells handles depending on line rating, they also have up locking in the 9′ rods and the others in the range are downlocking reel seats and markers to help line up sections.  Within this range come the first true river nymph style rods with the 10’ 6” #3 and the 11’ 6” #3 Pro Nymph Special rods, designed specifically for river nymph fishing.

9’ #4/5

9’ #5/6

9’6” #3/4

9’ 6” #6/7

10’ #3/4

10’ #4/5

10’ #5/6

10’ #7

10’ 3” #2/3

10’ 6” #3 Nymph Special: A pure river nymphing rod I have enjoyed using and my go-to when I know I will be fishing upstream nymphs on running water and nothing else.  That said it can be used in limited ranges on upstream dry fly and a really handy rod to fish wet fly tactics on.  The extra reach allows the angler the ability to pitch flies further when nymph fishing as well as hold them longer than a 10’ rod allows.  Matt black blank finish for the ultimate in stealth approaches.  One final thing to add, I have used this as a very light traditional loch boat style fishing rod and the added length here is also a great help in being able to hold flies further and longer on the water.  The lightness of the blank however, does mean that it gets ‘interesting’ when a larger fish is hooked.

11’ #6 #3 Nymph Special