Re: Starting out: kit or separate purchases?
I second getting the components yourself. Partly because it lets you customize exactly what you want and partly because guides that come in kits might require a lot more prep work than some guides you can buy. If you're concerned about getting everything you need, just ask away. There are a lot of people who can help. Some with a lot of experience, others of us just build some for ourselves here and there.
My advice is to do some reading. I got several books through the library (some through inter-library loan came from other states) and they were very helpful. They gave me an overview of the steps involved and visuals on the various components. There are a lot of resources online but a book gives it to you in one place, step by step. The one I found the most helpful personally was Fly Rod Building Made Easy by Art Scheck though there are others out there.
- William Jensen