Originally Posted by fmjnax
My gear is cheap and, well, crappy, but if I can get the hang of casting then I will buy something that might actually allow me to land a fish.
My set-up was a Berkley 6/7 WT, 8'-6" foam-handled fly rod that cost me $15 at Kmart... the reel was $10 Martin single action... fished it for years with assorted Fairplay fly lines (~$15 ea). I landed everything from bluegill to steelhead with that rod (my only fly rod) for about 10 years. Oh how the gang at Manchester Pool on Walnut Creek would roll their eyes when a steelhead made a run against that 105+ dBA click drag!
Unfortunately Boz is spot on regarding your flies... the real value with fly assortments like that stops at the container that they come in. The good news is that a handful of reliable patterns will put you into fish and you can build the collection as you go until you come to that fork in the road one day - keep buying or tie your own?
Assuming you will be fishing freestone trout rivers (and not tailwaters) to start out, lay down a couple bucks on the following flies (qty 3-4 each) to get out of the starting blocks;
--#16 beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymph
--#12 beadhead Prince Nymph
--#16 Parachute Adams (dry fly)
--#8 Olive Wooly Bugger (streamer)
--#14 tan Elk Hair Caddis (dry fly)
Best bet for landing fish your first time out IMO... get to the stream early and fish the Pheasant Tail nymph about 2' under a small strike indicator. Fish up and across stream, make short casts, fish a short line, and work the pocket water around riffles (most anglers still overlook pocket water - sad but true).
The Adams and EH Caddis are two of the most popular dry fly patterns in history... the Adams especially looks like a little of everything, but specifically like nothing... which is a good thing. You can blind fish these dries and probably pick a few fish up just working the likely holding areas. Could be tough sledding during major hatch activity though as fish can get selective real quick.
The Wooly Bugger is a must have, regardless of your experience. When you've caught enough fish to the point where you're bored and you just want to get some quality bird watching in as you work back to your car... tie on the Wooly Bugger cast it cross stream and let it drift down and sweep across. Keep moving, keep casting, land fish... that's how it usually goes under the right conditions. The Bugger is a good fly to fish at last light too when the big browns are on the prowl.
Once you get a few trout under your belt and start learning a little line management... you'll be ready to take the next steps.