Re: Best bang for the buck.
I can't say that a prepackaged outfit is a sin, but I have never have been thrilled of one. I just like getting what I want.
A rod that has been getting a lot of good reviews from some Northern California Striped Bass fly fishermen is a TFO BVK. It's a fast rod that is not overly stiff making it very accurate but forgiving. It gives up some lifting power since the butt is not as stiff as other rods. This rod will set you back around $250.
eBay can be your friend looking for premium reels. If you look hard enough, you can get a new or used Abel or Tibor for $400 or less. Someone mentioned in another thread that searching during the winter months, can get one some obscene deals.