Re: Best premium rod for beginner?
I'm going to agree with a few folks and recommend you not spend tons on a new rod if you've never fly fished before. If you have fly fished before and enjoy it then by all means get a premium rod, get two or three or four. Buy the best you can afford...but it helps to be sure of the action/brand before you do.
My first was a St. Croix Imperial 7'6" 4wt. ($200?) with a ORVIS BBS reel (<$200). Within 2 years I added 3 Helios rods and a SuperfineTouch. I was cautioned against buying premium rods since I would not appreciate the higher end features. But, I made a choice to flyfish the rest of my life and why not have some of the best gear out there?
Definitely test different brands out first. I found Orvis actions to be to my liking and so I've stuck with them. And they've been around a long time.
Having a 25 year guarantee with a premium rod sure makes that sickening "oh **** I snapped my rod" feeling go away faster. You may not get that with a sub $400 rod...depends on the company.