Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Review: An In-Depth Hands-On Look

Discover precision and versatility with the Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod. Explore its standout features in our review.

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In this Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod review, we’ll take a deep look into the componentry, construction, and real-world use to see if this is the right rod for you.

I’ve been fly fishing for nearly 35 years and have been a professional guide for the last 15. I’ve seen a lot of rods come and go an watched/experienced them take a lot of use and a lot of abuse over the years.

I’ve gotten a bit of use out of my new Aventik Riverbend rod these last few weeks. I’ve fished and dryland-cast in a few different situations/scenarios and have found a few things I like about the rod and a few things that might not work so well for you.

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Why Trust My Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Review?

Our reviews are only based on real-world experience. We’re not raiding the internet to cherry-pick information from others. This is a real-life, self-experienced interaction and critique of the equipment in question.

Holding and looking at my Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

As a lifelong fly fishing enthusiast and as a professional guide, I get a lot of use and abuse on my equipment in a very short period. Not only do I experience said equipment myself but, as a guide, I get to see how others experience and use the same equipment and how things will hold up over time.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Review: How I Reviewed & Tested The Rod

Of course, Aventik lists the basic stats of the rod on their website. That’s great information but we’ll always measure and test these stats ourselves as well.

Dryland casting is also a part of the repertoire. Getting a feel for the casting action of a rod in a controlled setting like the local soccer field allows for easy execution/measurement of different tests.

Finally, this rod has seen plenty of action on the river as well. No controlled test can compare to real-world, on-the-water use. I was able to put myself into different casting situations with different distances, different obstacles, and different flow rates.

Luckily, a few fish were found and played on the rod as too. I feel a quite complete picture of this rod’s capabilities has been revealed.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Pros

The specific Aventik Riverbend rod used for this review was the 8′ 6″ 5wt version. For those of us in the western US, a 9 ft rod is the standard. 9′ 6″ rods and sometimes 10′ single-hand rods are also often used. This 8′ 6″ is a little shorter than what most of us out here are used to.

My Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

Regarding the weight, a 5wt is about as standard and middle-of-the-road as it gets around in this region. A 5wt rod has a lot of use cases in this area and covers most of what a western trout fisher needs.

My Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod 8.5′ 5wt review revealed that this rod is a great beginner rod. Anyone new to their fly fishing journey who fishes trout, panfish, and smaller bass in areas that may have some tighter cover will like this rod.

This rod would be a decent first rod for any new fisher. In addition, a newer fisherperson who wants to add a slightly shorter length rod to the arsenal will enjoy this one as well. Having a shorter, situationally-specific rod on hand will allow a newer fisher to better equip themselves for different situations.

Good Backbone

This isn’t a wimpy rod. Even with such a low price tag, there is some definite casting and battling power built into the lower end (butt end, handle, up to mid-rod) of this rod.

Great Aesthetics

Some folks will prefer more traditional-looking equipment. Others like something that stands out a bit. If you’re in the latter group, you’ll like this rod’s look. It’s fun, sporty, and eye-catching without being ostentatious.

The cork grip isn’t “high end” but still looks quite clean and well-shaped.

Light Weight

When shopping for entry-level rods, you do have to be careful that the materials used and the construction process aren’t adding too much unnecessary weight. This rod has a fairly light hand feel and good balance.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Cons

Of course, even a good rod will have some drawbacks. This rod isn’t without its faults. Here are the most notable.

Not a Short or Long-Range Star

While this Aventik Riverbend fly rod boasts a solid backbone, it’s a little stiff for truly accurate short-range shots. Anything under 20 feet will feel a bit stiff and cumbersome. This rod needs 20+ ft of line out to feel like the rod is flexing and aiding in the cast. Best to roll cast/bow n’ arrow short shots.

Long casts will fall apart on this rod too. With over 60ft of line out, the backbone helps keep things moving but the shorter length and fairly flexible tip will lose power and make accurate long-distance shots a little challenging.

No Rod Case

While there are some good positives like saving money, this rod comes with few extras. The case isn’t really useable for travel nor is it really that protective. You won’t get a rod sock either. If you want to use the case that comes with it for storage/travel, you’ll have to save the little foam spacers and carefully put the rod back in the thin plastic casing.

What’s In The Box?

When the Aventik Riverbend Fly Rod shows up at your door, this is what you can expect to find:

The Rod Tube

The rod tube for the Aventik Riverbend 8.5′ 5wt fly rod (and all other models) will probably not be what you’d expect to get when buying a fly rod. The simple, light, thin, clear plastic rod tube is a far cry from the traditional, highly protective fly rod case you’re used to.

My Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod on table

Then again, you’re not paying very much for this rod to begin with.

The heavier plastic “plug” at the end of the tube pulls out to allow access to the 4 pieces of the rod. Each piece is held in place with two ovular foam spacers with size-specific cutouts to hold each of the 4 pieces in place and keep them from banging into one another.

It’s a far cry from a high-tech, highly protective rod case but, well, it’s better than nothing.

The Rod

The bright green rod stands out in the clear case like a highlighted text on a white page. The fun aesthetics of the rod are apparent from the get-go. No “stuffy”, earth-toned, or camo here.

The light color of the cork contrasts well with the brilliant verdant rod and both appear to have quality finishes. The cork… light to the touch and almost velvety soft. The rod…glossed, hardened, and ready for battle.

Spacers

As mentioned above, there is no rod sock…no divided cordura rod tube here. The rod is held in place well, however, with two laser-cut foam spacers.

The outside edge of each spacer mirrors the shape of the rod tube to keep it in place inside said tube. There are 4 circular cuts, one on each side and one on each end of the spacers to match the diameter of each of the 4 rod pieces.

While these spacers do keep the rod in place inside the tube they also, if you plan on purchasing a new/better rod tube, could be attached elsewhere (homemade wall mount, homemade vertical rod holder, vehicle rod holder/transport) to keep rods safe and in place.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Specs

Understanding the rod specs will give you a better picture of what the rod can handle and what situations the rod will excel in. This will also show how the rod can be expected to perform.

My aventik riverbend fly fishing rod on a table
  • Available Lengths & Weights: 6’1″ 0/1, 7’3″ 2-3wt, 8’6″ 5wt, 9′ 3-8wt, 10ft 7-8wt
  • Action: Fast
  • Pieces: 4
  • Blank Material: IM8 24T plus 30T carbon fiber blank construction
  • Measured Weight: In oz: 2.6, 2.9, 3.3, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 4.05, 4.2, 4.3, 4.7, 4.8 respective to the above sizes
  • Stripping Guides: Stainless with ceramic insert 9×2)
  • Snake Guides: Chromed corrosion-resistant
  • Reel Seat: Aluminum alloy double lock w/ lock washer
  • Handle: Composite cork, full wells on the 8.5′ 5wt. 9 and 10′ 6wt+ come with fighting butts.
  • Rod Tube: Thin clear plastic
  • Rod Sock: none
  • Price: $45-66

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Review: How The Rod Feels

Rod feel varies greatly from brand to brand, series to series. Here’s what you can expect from the Aventik Riverbend fly rod series:

Aventik Riverbend

Overall Weight

The 8’6″ 5wt weighs in at 3.2 oz

Casting Feel

There are no listed swing weights for the Aventik Riverbend Fly Rods. Of course, there are formulas to help you personally measure this, however, more important than the MOI/swing weight is how it actually feels on the water.

This 8.5′ 5wt rod feels quite light in the hand. The slightly shorter length definitely helps in this area and, even with a bit of a firm backbone, the rod doesn’t seem to have a burdensome swing weight at all.

Power

This rod has surprising power in the butt end. I’m not really sure what I expected when picking up such an inexpensive rod from Aventik or on Amazon, but the lower 1/2-2/3 of the rod has some very nice backbone.

This backbone helps generate some rather powerful casting strokes, helps punch loops well at the 20 or 30-60 ft range, and aids in battling decent-sized fish.

Action

Aventik lists the action on the Riverbend rod series as fast. After many, many casts, I’d agree. The largest flex area on this rod is toward the tip, landing it in the fast-action category.

You’ll definitely feel the fast action when casting this rod. The fairly stiff butt/handle section feel continues through the third (third from the handle, second from the tip) rod section and makes “pushing” the cast strokes work in your favor. A powerful caster will be well-suited for this rod.

Fast-action rods can be a little troublesome for newer casters though. Finding the sweet spot for casting may be easier on a mid-action rod.

Presentation

Presentation on this rod wasn’t much of an issue. Getting the fly/flies to turn over seemed fairly easy allowing for the line and fly/flies and line to land lightly at the same time achievable.

There were times when it seemed like a bit more emphasis was needed when driving the thumb to turn the flies over better/on time. Not a deal killer on a very inexpensive purchase, however.

Mending with a shorter rod can be an issue, though. It’s not something you really think about until you find yourself using a shorter-than-usual rod.

The tip is a bit flexy too (see below) which makes line manipulation on the mend a little more interesting but, again, not a deal killer. This may not be an issue at all on the 9′ and 10′ models but, when the situation calls for a shorter rod, it’s just something to ponder.

Tip Sensitivity

My review on the Aventik Riverbend 8’6″ 5wt rod found the tip to be a little flexy. If you saw my review on the Aventik Extreme 3/4wt combo, you heard that the tip flex on that rod was more than I cared for.

This Riverbend rod is a better, more stable tip in my opinion and for my fishing style, however, there is still just a touch of “slop” to the feel.

This didn’t seem to be much of an issue on medium or medium/long casting distances but seemed to affect things over 70ft. Roll casting wasn’t too much of an issue even with a bit of flex in the tip.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Warranty

Aventik gives this Riverbend fly rod a 25-year warranty. There isn’t much more verbiage on the subject from the manufacturer, however, I’d assume this covers workmanship and materials and not accidents.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

This is a foreign company so returns not covered by warranty will most likely end up costing a little more than you might assume.

Casting The Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

The build and material characteristics of each rod will determine how it feels and casts at different distances. In my Aventik Riverbend 8.5″ 6wt fly rod review, here’s what I found:

0-20 Feet

The backbone feels pretty stiff at this short distance. More line weight/casting speed is needed so this short distance I would consider outside the sweet spot on this Riverbend 8.5′ 5wt.

Short cast accuracy can be a problem for even good casters. On this rod, a roll cast might be your best bet.

20-40 Feet

This range on the Riverbend fly rod was no trouble at all. 20+ feet allows for enough line (line weight) to be outside the rod tip to help flex the rod. Not much effort was needed here. The tip feels flexy but accurate.

40-60 Feet

Going beyond 40 feet wasn’t a big deal either. 40-60 feet of line outside the rod tip allowed for a pretty good flex/feel in the cast.

The flex of the tip started to be a little more noticeable but casting accuracy didn’t seem to start to suffer yet.

60+ Feet

60 ft was still just fine for the Riverbend to handle, at least on the 8.5′ model. As I began to encraoch on 70 feet and push beyond, the power seemed to drop off and the tip flex wasn’t helping the issue.

I wasn’t much of a fan of casting over 70ft. Of course, this rod is 6″ shorter than our western 9′ standard so that most definitely came into play. A 9 or 10ft rod may hold more true and accurate at 70+ ft.

Other Rods That Compare To The Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

If you’re shopping for a new rod and considering the Aventik Riverbend, you might be looking at the Echo Lift, the TFO Pro III, or the Redington Classic Trout.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod on table

The Echo Lift is a great beginner rod choice with a much more moderate action blank. This may help newer casters feel the rod loading better. Many casters continue to use/enjoy a moderate action rod but many will outgrow it and switch to a faster action rod. The Lift also costs twice as much as the Riverbend.

The TFO Pro III is also a much more moderate action rod for the same reason. The 8.5′ 9wt version is slightly lighter than the comparable Riverbend but retails for $230 with $125 sales on previous year models.

The Redington Classic Trout can be picked up for just over $150, so basically 3 times the price of the Riverbend. The casting arc is geared toward newer casters as well but you won’t find a 5wt in the 8.5′ length. A 4wt is all that’s offered unless you want a 3 or 4wt 8′ rod.

Who is the Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod For?

The Aventik Riverbend Fly Rod is best suited for newer casters/fishers looking for a great deal, a decent rod, and a faster action that they can grow into. It’s quite a bit less expensive than most comparable rods and fishes/casts nearly as well.

This is also for a newer caster that already has a “do it all rod” and wants to add some different arrows to the quiver. I really enjoyed the slightly shorter length of the 8.5′ rod in the tighter cover. I may just pick up an 8′ rod to play around with as well.

The shorter length lends it to places with tighter cover. If you’re fishing big, open rivers, you should opt for the 9′ or longer rods instead.

The 5wt rating puts it right in the sweet spot for that “do it all” western trout rod. Small bass and panfish are a great match for this 5wt too.

Eastern trout fishers who need a short rod for the tight cover on small streams should probably opt for a lighter 4 or 3wt for pursuing smaller trout.

Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod Review: My Personal Thoughts

I have to admit, when this rod showed up I wasn’t sure I would enjoy fishing it. The price tag was just too good to be true.

However, after making some controlled casts and fishing this thing for a while now, I admit that I’m a little impressed. Not “holy sh** let me sell everything and buy this rod in every size” kind of impressed. But impressed.

The aesthetic is fun, the cost is low, and the rod feel is good. It won’t be a go-to in the arsenal by any means but I’ll keep it around for a tight-cover “play around” kind of rod and let my kids use it too.

FAQs About Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

As always, getting more info always raises more questions. Here are the most common regarding the Aventik Riverbend series of fly rods:

Where is Aventik Made?

Asia, most likely China. There isn’t any specific information offered up as to the location of the company.

How is Aventik so cheap?

Aventik is made/marketed/sold directly by an Asian company. They use similar materials to the big companies but don’t use in-house designers and probably source from many different Asian manufacturers.

They’re usually quite good at copying current trends and materials but won’t be innovating or designing their own to keep costs minimal.

What is the best rod for trout?

For small trout, a 2-3wt rod is great. For bigger trout, 4-6. A 5wt is a good all-around weight.

Why would I want to use a shorter fly rod?

A shorter fly rod aids in fly fishing where there is tight cover. Shorter length = less reach = needs less line to load and travels less distance to make a full cast, roll cast, or other modified cast.

What are the best fly rods made of?

Graphite is the most common. Carbon fiber (a form of graphite) is often used alone or with standard graphite.

Fiberglass is favored by those who like a slow-action, very flexible rod. Traditionalists still love bamboo for rod blanks.

Conclusion

I remember growing up with the attitude that things made in Asia, especially China and Japan, were cheap, mass-produced knockoffs of the real deal. I don’t subscribe to that same consumer view anymore.

Shop The Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod

View the Aventik Riverbend Fly Fishing Rod and compare prices on AMAZON.

While it’s true that these Aventik rods, namely the Riverbend series, are much cheaper than the more well-known fly rod manufacturers, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t putting out some decent quality stuff.

They’ve simply found a way to streamline and minimize the whole manufacturing process to their advantage.

I’m not ready to put these rods on the same level as even the well-known budget brands yet. However, don’t be afraid to order one of these rods. They look good, they cast decent, and you’ll definitely enjoy saving some of your hard-earned cash.

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Born and raised in Billings, MT, Nic was blessed to be brought up in an outdoor-minded family. Fishing and hunting were a part of his familial culture. Blame it on my Aquarius birth or some divine design but, from as early as he can remember, he had to be near or in the water. Guiding since the early 2000s, Nic has thousands of hours of fly fishing and guiding experience and has helped hundreds of people get into the sport of fly fishing, or better their skills as anglers.

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