Originally Posted by 4wt
I had a Cabela's Three Forks rod to start, and TBH I didn't love it - it wasn't bad but the action was a bit janky, if that makes sense. Graduated to a Gray's and it was like night and day.
However, as my username indicates, I currently have a 4wt and would like to end up having an 8 or a 9, as well as a super lightweight rod.
I have an Orvis near me, but they're too pricy (though NICE!). I was curious if anyone here had recommendations for less expensive rods (and reels to go with them), with the caveat that I understand that you get what you pay for.
Thanks for any tips!
I am pretty impressed with the Orvis Clearwater models at the $200 price point. You might be able to find something better for less, but you would have to look hard. And there's something to be said for having the shop nearby. Orvis's support after the sale can't be beat, and it's good to have friendly advice available as you expand your skills and your quiver.
If you're willing to buy a discontinued product, forum member sweetandsalt loves the Targus Gary Borger rods. They come in two series,"light touch" and "professional" series. They are being sold at $129 clearance prices (marked down from $300+) at theflyshop.com . Sweetandsalt was in touch with Borger himself when they were being developed, and liked them so much he bought two of every model. He says Borger told him personally that the 8'6" 5 weight Light Touch was the best 5 weight he had ever cast. I have the 9 weight Pro and the 8' 4 weight Light Touch and they are both great for their purpose. Since they are liquidating the remaining stock, if you want one it would be best to call their 800 number first to be sure they still have the model you want.
Another closeout choice is the Powell Tiboron XL currently being sold at Sierra Trading Post. I have that 9 weight too and it is a terrific fast saltwater rod. (I wonder if it might be too stiff in the trout sizes, though.) The best way to buy from STP is to sign up for their discount email list and wait for a day when the daily discount offer is especially generous. I have seen those Powells available for only a little above $100, but on other days it is closer to $150. Like the Borgers, they too originally listed in the $300-350 range.
As recently discussed on another thread, Albright is currently offering an inventory-reduction sale on their A5NS and EXT/EXS rods ($150 and 180, respectively). I haven't tried those models, but others here have spoken well of them. (Don't be fooled by the deep-discount sales hype, though. Albright rods are always "discounted" from a phony "MSRP". It's just that they are a few extra $10's cheaper right now than what they usually sell for, not a few extra $100's.)