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I'm a young angler with a really tight budget, but what would be a good beginners fly rod? I target trout about 1-3 pounds. And

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  • #16
    I started to fly fish with a $60 5-6wt Martin fly rod combo from wal-mart and now I bought a 6' 2wt ST. Croix Imperial and love it paid $160 for the rod at the factory.

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    • #17
      I bought one from Shakespeare and it came with the reel. It cost me $60 and i have been using it for the past 8 years and i haven't had a single flaw. I once accidentally hooked up with a 25 lbs. pound pike and it didn't break the rod or leader.

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      • #18
        Thanks a ton you guys, I appreciate the info.

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        • #19
          Timothy, I hope that I'm not too late to put in my $.02. I'm developing a passion for helping people like you get started fly fishing as I never had anybody to help me when I started at age 16, clueless about everything and dependent upon what I could find through reading fishing magazines, which were usually targeted towards people who already knew what they were doing. Probably most of those who have commented already know a lot more about packages that cost more than $100 than I do as I've spent almost all of my fly fishing life with cheap stuff, and some of it was/is crap, but if you are just looking to get started to see if you like it, you really can get started with everything needed (besides the flies) for about $50. As several have said, eBay is the place to find bargains, both used and new, and fly shops are the places to find good advice (and higher prices). Cabela's Wind River series sells for over $100, but it is usually on sale at least once per year (usually March) for the whole outfit--rod, reel, and line--at about $50. Their Three Forks series is slightly cheaper, but it's still decent quality. I'd also say that Bass Pro Shop's Whitewater line is a good value for starting out. I agree with Sayfu that you should NOT buy the $25 outfit at Walmart. Yes, it's fishable, but you'll be learning how to fish with a handicap. I may offend others here, and I'm sorry if you disagree, but I'd avoid Eagle Claw, Shakespeare, Martin, and Pfleuger, generally. The Scientific Anglers' Trout combo is decent, and I'd say it's comparable to the cheapest Cabela's package (Cahill), but more expensive. I don't have any experience with Cortland, which others recommended, so I won't say one way or the other. I've heard only good things about Redington, but I've also never used their rods, yet.

          If you go on eBay and buy something used, make sure it's listed as being in good condition, and make sure that the seller has a high rating--98% or better--and, hopefully, a lot of sales. It's possible to find LL Bean and other brands for under $100 this way, but it's more hit or miss. Generally, you get what you pay for, but if you're on eBay, you can get bargains by checking the new prices vs. the used prices. A quick Google search for the selling price of any rod listed will tell you a lot about whether or not it's worth a bid.

          For starting out, don't buy a rod shorter than 8' or longer than 9', but I'd say 9' is better. A longer rod gives you more room for the casting errors that you're guaranteed to have until you know what you're doing. If you're only fishing for trout, a 4 to 6 wt. rod is probably best, but I'd recommend trying your luck with bluegills and bass if you get discouraged, and a 6 to 7 wt. is better for bass. If I picked a size for you, it would be a 6 wt. for everything or a 5 wt. if you really only want to pursue trout.

          For fly line, get a floating line to start, and be sure that it's NOT a level line, as these often come on the cheapest outfits at Walmart, etc., and they're almost impossible to cast. Weight-forward line is a little easier when you're starting out, but a double-taper has two usable ends, so you can practice casting in your backyard or at a park or wherever, and flip the line end-for-end on the reel when one end starts to get beaten up. It's like having two lines for the price of one, and there's very little difference in castability. At the cheapest end, Cortland makes a starter's series of fly lines called Fair Play that is often for sale at Walmart for about $15 or slightly less. It's a good value, and it's all you need when you first get started. If you get one of the combos from Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops, they usually come with a weight-forward line already on the reel, and they're also decent lines for starting out.

          For the most part, the reel is just there to hold the line for small trout fishing, so don't spend any more on it than is necessary. If the combo comes with a reel, whatever you have will be fine. If not, don't be afraid to buy a used one on eBay from a seller with high ratings (98% or higher), and you should be able to get one with shipping charges for about $15 or less. If you buy a 6 wt. rod, it's a good idea to have a reel for 6 wt. or larger to balance the weight of the rod and keep the fly line from having too tight of coils from a small reel.

          Besides the fly, itself, the last thing you'll need is a leader. The leader transfers the power of the fly line to the fly, so it's tapered, but it's also meant to be as invisible as possible. You have to balance the fact that you are going to snag trees, bushes, and grass around you--so you want something strong to save your fly--with the fact that trout can see a leader that's too big. To start out, I'd recommend a leader that's the same length is your rod, and I'd recommend either 4X or 5X for the size of the tippett (the end that ties to the fly). The larger the X, the smaller the tippett, so you should probably avoid anything like a 6X, 7X, etc., until you're confident that you won't be snagging on every other cast as the end will break fairly easily. If the trout are newly stocked or if you're fishing for panfish or bass, you can go larger: 3X, 2X, etc.

          Finally, I'd recommend finding someone to help you get started. As you can see from the many comments above, most fly fishermen actually like to help others get started with what we love to do. If you know someone who fly fishes, it's perfectly okay to let them know that you're hoping to get started and you're wondering if they'd mind giving some advice. If they can manage to catch fish on a fly rod, they can probably help you to at least get started. If you can't find anyone to help you, I recommend three wonderful resources:

          1) Orvis--one of the top names in (expensive) fly fishing gear has been working on a website developed to help people get started fly fishing. It's not easy to find, so here's the website: howtoflyfish.orvis.com Spend some time looking around there. The videos are especially helpful. Orvis also has a nice glossary to help you understand terms as you're getting started: www.orvis.com/intro.aspx?subject=178

          2) YouTube videos are available for almost any question you can come up with. If you're casting has problems--and it will, especially in the beginning--you can watch various videos to see good casting and how to correct errors.

          3) There are an infinite number of great books out there to help you get started with fly fishing. These books are packed with information, and the wonderful thing is that you can use #1 and #2 to see videos or further explanations to understand anything that's not clear just from reading. If you look over any of the books from Orvis or LL Bean on fly fishing, it's hard to go wrong. I especially recommend anything by Tom Rosenbauer, who has done more than anyone else to help me learn how to be a better fisherman. Here's one of his books at Walmart that would probably help a lot: www.walmart.com/ip/10728589?findingMethod=rr

          If you're willing/able to spend more than the $50-70 I planned around, you can get better stuff, but don't feel like you have to do so. If you have a budget to work with, people here would probably be able to be more specific if you can say how much you would like to spend.

          I hope this helps. Sorry about the length.

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          • #20
            Walmart carries a shakespeare fly rod with all the starting essentials. i used it to learn and still use it off and on after getting a newer better rig.

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            • #21
              Somewhere around a 9ft rod. 5 or 6 wt. There are some really nice combos out to get started on. This rod will handle the bigger ones great.

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