Atlas Fly Rods – For Salt and Sweetwater Fly Fishing

Who is Atlas Fly Fishing and where did they come from? They appear to have hit the high-end rod scene with a medium price tag and came in hard through a Kickstarter around two years ago. Atlas boasts top-notch tech, thoughtful design, and a do-it-all attitude that you can take to the salt flats or fish skinny. I’m into that. I love the idea of one rod to rule them all.  

Editor’s Pick

Atlas 8wt 9-foot Fly Rod 

atlas fly rods
  • Price: $500
  • Line Weight: 8wt
  • Length: 9-feet
  • Action: Fast
  • What I Like: Versatile weight, build quality, fit and finish
  • What I Don’t Like: Action is fast and less forgiving for a new fly angler

Why a 8wt? For me and the waters around me, an 8wt would be the most versatile.

Southern California Waters

My drug of choice is top-water dry fly or poppers for trout and bass on still water. The fly fishing in Southern California is generally stocked Rainbow Trout and largemouth bass that will pretty much eat anything. I’ve also been known to chase carp on the fly, though I’m not proud of it.

That said, I could take this to the surf and target corbina and halibut on the fly. Clouser minnows and sand crab patterns rocketing past my ear as I manage death wire pouring from my stripping basket feels like a good way to spend time while waiting for my hoop nets to fill with crabs.

One day, I plan on fly fishing Mission Bay harbor from my kayak. The inflatable kayak is probably a bad idea, but I’ve been known to act on those ideas anyways.

About Atlas Fly Fishing

Ben Freeman is the creator of this project, having run Trident Fly Fishing since 2012. This retailer sells everything fly fishing related. I, myself, come from a retail background and know first-hand that in retail, you talk to a lot of customers. If you didn’t know, I also run a store called Plan Bait. Customers love to complain but that feedback can be synthesized. 

Through his company’s interaction with customers and hearing of their desires, Freeman launched Atlas Fly Fishing on Kickstarter two years ago in 2022. Being a direct manufacturer, he’s able to buy, source, build, and deliver products directly to customers for way better economics than if he were selling an Orvis or Winston.

I had the pleasure of checking out their rods a few years back and am stoked to be working with them on this Atlas fly rod review. 

Key Features:

  • Graphene-Infused Resin: Graphene is a single-atomic layer of graphite which means high-strength and flexibility can be partnered. How does it play out? Not sure, but it does feel like a light-weight rod that can throw line well
  • High-Quality Build: Fuji cerecoil guides with South Korean manufacturing (like Epic) 
  • Fast Recovery: Light feeling, smooth, and progressive power
  • Versatile Performance: Atlas boasts salt and home water flexibility, which is the ideology these rods were designed around

Atlas Fly Rods by Target Species


The Atlas fly fishing rods are generating good feedback for the price point and category. Here on the west coast, the wind is rarely in my favor. The ability to generate high line speeds are a must for any saltwater fly fishing. In my experience, the rods feel light, but have the power versatility to throw heavier line than intended. 

In terms of versatility, different line weights will accommodate differing fishing conditions. For skinny trout waters, underlining, or fishing with a lighter weight line, would present a fly more gently. For big water and saltwater fly fishing, over line it and shoot bullets. 

Casting Efficiency

The Atlas rod casts with accuracy and wobble is minimal. Throwing straight is a breeze which allows for presenting in diverse environments. 

Build Quality

It feels premium, at a mid-tier price point. Pepsi-challenge, I don’t believe many seasoned anglers could tell the difference. I’m amazed by what Ben could put together at this price as rods coming from the same factory are still close to double in price. There’s something to be respected about providing cost savings to the customer and doing it transparently. 

Having been able to examine these rods at a trade show (which they often present at), I’d compare the fit and finish to a Sage or Loomis. 


At $500 to the customer, these are easily comparable with rods costing twice as much. $50 for replacement sections is a fine deal. Side note, I broke a tip on a different rod this weekend and ended up throwing it away. 


Here’s where I think Atlas fly rods win. There’s a 3-year warranty on the products, which is longer than a standard 1-year warranty. I can be pretty rough on something in 3-years. However, the main benefit with Freeman’s Atlas fly rods is that you can buy replacement tips and second sections for $50. These are the parts that most often have failures when fighting monster bone fish or in my case, get slammed in a car door. It’s nice to have a piece of mind that Trident has been around for so long and these products will have continued support.


Like with all things that are “Jacks of All Trades, they are masters of none…” However, people forget that the remainder of the quote is “… but often better than one.” That’s to say that while these rods are versatile, they may not be better than something with a more narrow focus.

This versatility however, is my preference. With different lining options, you can configure something good for any situation.

Atlas Fly Rods vs Premium Fly Fishing Brands

If you have the budget for a high-end Orvis, 100% go for it. It won’t make you a better fly caster or angler, however. Pepsi-challenge style, I don’t believe 95% of anglers could differentiate the build quality and finish on these rods compared to brands costing twice as much. If you’re getting serious into fly fishing, the Atlas fly rods assortment shouldn’t be overlooked.

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