New fly fishing setup suggestions needed

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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I remember back in the 90's and even early 2000's before Ebay had really become real popular, I could find some incredible deals on fly rods and reels. Many times it was just some old pawn shop or estate sale listing stuff that had no idea what they had or the value, so their listings didn't tell you much (you had to inquire deeper), and the final selling prices were ridiculously low. Top of the line Sage, Orvis, T&T, Scott, Loomis, Winston.......I had them all.......for cheap. I would never pay $500+ for a rod or reel, but I'd pay $150 for the right $800 rod. Check pawn shops as well, you can find good deals on lots of stuff at times.
 

just.mark

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Jun 17, 2022
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My buddies have made some amazing fly fishing finds at garage or real estate sales. Buying used in today's world is the way to go. I think there is a fair amount of people who for what ever reason buy mid level or even high end rods and then never really put the time in and sell them at a steep discount. Finding the right combination of rod and line is far more important then the quility of either. You can have a $1000 Rod that might need be over-lined to cast effectively and it feels like a $100 rod because some one didn't get the right line for it. If your going to buy new try out several diffrent rods with different lines and see what you like about them. You might be supprised at how some of those low end rods cast with the right line.
 

left field

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Oct 22, 2019
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I dont. What I am saying is this.

1. Skills matter more than gear quality, about 10,000:1

2. There is a certain price at which dimishing returns of products are untenable, to me.
For fly rods this is 2-300$. Anything beyond that is just to tell people you have a 800$ or whatever rod.

For the OPs situation, with 500$ you could get a rod/reel at least and never need anything better. It just boils down to whether you want to tell people all about your great gear or actually get out and use the gear for its intended purpose.

Certainly skills matter, but so does quality of gear. Lower-end gear is limiting once your skill set grows. The better your ability the more you can get out of high-end gear.

This is a very personal argument. It's silly to say that anyone who has an $800 rod does so for bragging rights. I have rods in that price range ... can't recall ever mentioning the price to anyone, though I may brag if I got a great deal on something. I once traded a NIB toilet and $200 for a T&T LPS.

$500 will buy you a great set up. Whether it's worth exploring anything more expensive is up to the individual. Some benefit, some don't.

I recently wrote an article for Hatch on the best wader bag I've ever used - and I've tried many. It's the $1.00 IKEA Frakta blue bag.

Here it is in Patagonia.

F51BF61B-2500-4BF1-BAC5-6347A1AD903F.jpeg
 

Mt Al

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Dec 16, 2017
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Montana
My buddies have made some amazing fly fishing finds at garage or real estate sales. Buying used in today's world is the way to go. I think there is a fair amount of people who for what ever reason buy mid level or even high end rods and then never really put the time in and sell them at a steep discount. Finding the right combination of rod and line is far more important then the quility of either. You can have a $1000 Rod that might need be over-lined to cast effectively and it feels like a $100 rod because some one didn't get the right line for it. If your going to buy new try out several diffrent rods with different lines and see what you like about them. You might be supprised at how some of those low end rods cast with the right line.

It is remarkable how much fishing gear is for sale at garage sales or on craigslist. Yes, some is junk but there is good stuff out there.

^^^Agree on line/rod combo being more important than either. You have to try it to notice, and the differences are huge!
 

Ferrulewax

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Dec 7, 2014
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204
If you decide to go used do your due diligence. Quite a few brands now will only warranty the rod for the original owner and it has to be registered within a certain timeframe- which I totally agree with, but it is something to be cognizant of. As someone that fishes hard and breaks quite a few rods a warranty is important to me.
 

nrhardin

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May 30, 2017
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CO
Agree with the above. I’ve broken more than my fair share of rods, fishing all different species. My backup TFOs have been pretty bulletproof and have a great warranty but for typical trout fishing I prefer something more responsive. I’ve sworn off Redington due to a terrible customer service experience about 15 years ago on a broken rod. Always had good service from St Croix and TFO. Have beaten the heck out of my Douglas and never had an issue. For horsing salmon I’ve never found a rod that beats a G Loomis or Lamiglas.
 

deertrout

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Oct 29, 2017
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MI
If you're into trout and bass, save your money, get the best line you can afford and use what's left on the rod and reel. Unless you hook up with an incidental salmon, steelhead or carp, your reel is just there to keep the line organized and if you're new, you aren't gonna be able to feel the difference between most rods of the same weight and action. A good line will make a cheap rod do wonders
 

just.mark

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Jun 17, 2022
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If you're into trout and bass, save your money, get the best line you can afford and use what's left on the rod and reel. Unless you hook up with an incidental salmon, steelhead or carp, your reel is just there to keep the line organized and if you're new, you aren't gonna be able to feel the difference between most rods of the same weight and action. A good line will make a cheap rod do wonders
That is probably the best adivce for any new fly fisherman i have ever seen.
 

thinhorn_AK

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Jul 2, 2016
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Alaska
Moonshine rods are ok but the company is fulll of shit. I bought one of their midnight specials that they bill as a custom but the spine alignment was off. I called them out on it and they never did anything other than denying it.

If I was buying a rod right now, I’d probably get a TFO, I have enough reels.
 

dtrkyman

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I would take up the offer from the rod builder above!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Flyrodr

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Oct 27, 2021
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I used to write for some fly fishing magazines, go to the annual FF trade show, etc. Not that I'm all knowing or even close, but I have gotten to handle, cast, and fish thousands of fly rods over the years. One of the earlier posters stated the best way to start the quest for the "best" rod - - - begin with the fly line you'll be using most. After all, the lines are built to (in theory) standard weights (based on the first 30 feet of the head, minus the front tip). A telling example: At the trade shows, rod makers have all their rods set up with line, leader and a "fly" (typically a bit of yarn) so shop owners can cast them. At one show, I watched a dealer who was carrying his own reel and line around, and took the rod maker's reel off the rod, and used his own to cast it. I asked him about that, and he confirmed that, because he had no idea which (as an example) 5-wt line the maker had on his reel, he wanted to test cast the rod with a line he knew was a correctly-sized 5-wt.

As an example, for trout, say a 4- or 5-weight floating line is preferred. The most popular are weight forward lines. RIO and SA/Orvis are probably the largest selling, and probably have the most "thought" (core and coating chemistry, tapers, etc.) put into the products. A 6-wt is maybe a bit heavy for small and medium trout streams w/ little wind, and a little light for bass, if you'll be tossing bulky, wind-resistant bugs. But, you'll have to decide if one outfit is enough (is one rifle enough?)

Reels, unless you're going to be catching long- and strong-running fish, and need a good drag, are line holders. "Decent" is OK for trout and bass.

Rods . . . well, fly anglers will argue over which rod is "best" just like hunters will debate which brand of rifle is best. And like both, or like bows, it's the archer and not the arrow.

The top-tier rods (now bouncing all around $1,000 in some cases) do have a lot of thought, the latest/greatest materials and adhesives, and fine-tuning of tapers. All that cost money. Whether that's worth it, or one needs it is - - - well, it's up to the angler and his/her checkbook. In general, though, "value-priced" rod makerss such as TFO, Echo, etc. have gone offshore to get reduced labor costs, and have produced some really nice rods. Are they as "good" as the best Sage, Orvis, Winston, Loomis, etc. rods? Again, that's up to the buyer. Does a Honda perform as well as a Porsche? Or is it a case of does it do what you want it to do, or is it capable of doing all you can do with it? Can you make curve casts or slack line casts or mend line better with Brand X than Brand Y? Can you cast 100 feet with either? Does that matter? More importantly, can you make 30 - 50 foot casts with less effort and fewer false casts with one that the other. You know, normal fishing casts!

Back to the main point - - - start with the line. If at all possible, line, leader and a fly (with the barb cut off) that is the typical setup you'll be using. Try a bunch of rods at the local shop with that typical setup (realizing there's nothing like asphalt or concrete to ruin a fly line). Pick the shop owner's brain.

You CAN spend $1,000 on a rod, that much on a reel as well (OK, mostly in the larger, saltwater sizes), and $100 on a line. OR, you can shop judiciously, and find some perfectly serviceable complete outfits for less than half that $1,000 bill.

Finally, let me revisit that discussion of the warranty. The "lifetime warranty", when it was introduced a few decades ago, seemed like a pretty good idea. After all, most fly anglers take really good care of their equipment . . . except for a couple of things. One is that the idea seemed to grow that they didn't have to, because they could get a problem fixed for "free". The other was that, because of "The Movie" (A River Runs Through It), fly fishing became a "thing to do", bringing in a lot of new anglers. Which was great, except some didn't realize that "high sticking" could result in a broken tip, as could casting tailing loops using a weighted nymph or split shot. And, oh yeah, I didn't see that limb sticking out from the tree behind me. Thus "free" changed to "free" with a handling fee to it's just not "free" any more under many warranties.

Bottom line, as advised earlier, go to the local shop, try rods, ask questions, buy one, and go home happy that you've made an informed choice.
 

marcbateman

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Jul 24, 2022
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Minnesota
Looking to get a new fly rod and tell and it’s a bit overwhelming with all the options. Pretty much just trout fish and the occasional bass. Was planning on a 6 wt. Have a budget of roughly $500, and would like to spend more of the money on a rod than reel. Just looking for some suggestions on where to start.

If it helps I’ll be stepping up from a Cabelas white river setup that I’ve been using for about 5 years.
I have had fantastic luck with TFO rods. Almost the entire line is around $300 and they have a great warranty program
 

jgilber5

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Dec 31, 2021
Messages
21
A really good option is getting into the mid-range Orvis series'. I've had really good luck with the encounter line from Trout to Muskie, plus backed by a 25 year warranty...only needed that for car doors so far, no breaks on fish.
 
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