Re: Neewbie looking for Rod/Reel advice
I like my RIO Grand lines (a 6 wt. and an 8 wt.) very much, but they're a 1/2 wt. over the stated weight, so they are best matched with a fast rod...like the XP.)
I'd use most of that money to get a rod that I liked. I'd make it a medium or medium-fast action rod, not a fast action rod, because you want to feel the rod loading and unloading while you're learning. This will teach you the correct rhythm of the fly cast.
I'm not sure the XP, even on sale, is right for a beginner. Sage Launch rods are very reasonable and discussed elsewhere on the forum. As a pure trout rod, and not good in strong winds, the Sage ZXL is wonderful, but there goes most of your $700.
We're all in the same boat. We all come 'ere and we don't know why. We all go in our turn and we don't know where. If you are a bit better off, be thankful. And if you don't get into trouble an' make a fool of yourself, well, be thankful for that,'cos you easily might.--J.B.Priestley