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Old 04-19-2011, 02:56 PM
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Default Introductory Rod for a beginner..

Hi All,

I'm new to fly fishing but not to fishing. I've been pan fish & bass fishing since I was a youngster but now I'm wanting to try my hand at fly fishing. I need some help in choosing some gear. My in-laws and I are heading down to the Smoky Mountain National Park in late June.

The target fish I'm going for are Brook, Rainbow & Brown Trout. But, I also want to use the rod & reel for my local (central Illinois) pan fish. So, I need them to be relatively versatile. I don't want to spend a fortune for a rod & reel in case fly fishing isn't my bag. I know most of you will be bias towards particular brands so the specs will do just fine. Any help with this would be great. Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

I'd just look into a starter outfit at your local sporting goods store. Temple fork outfitters makes a decent one, as does St. Croix. Redington also makes decent starter kits, and they even come with Rio line. I have a couple cheapo Pfleuger 5 weight rods that actually cast very well considering they were like $40 a piece. They don't always cast in a perfectly straight line, but I can get out a good 60-70ft cast with relatively little effort, and I've landed hundreds of fish on them (even hooked an angry summer steelhead on one). The build quality isn't great, mostly plastic and stainless steel guides, but the action is nice. My dad has a couple "Yellowstone" cheapo's too, and they are much stiffer and more challenging to cast (actually, quite difficult). The blank is visibly thicker considering they are the same weight, so make sure and give them a good waggle and make sure they have some give to them.

You'd probably want a 5/6 weight for the most versatility. A 6 weight is probably the smallest you want to go for a largemouth or carp. Look for something with a medium-fast action.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

I'd agree with oregonism...a 5wt would do it.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

Do yourself a favor and get a few lessons and/or hire a guide either at home or in the smokies. A guide will cost a bit more than lessons but it will end up being a lesson on the water. Use their equipment - let the instructor/guide know you are a beginner and would like their help in figuring out what rods might suit you. If you start out in this fashion you can't help but find that fly fishing is very much your bag. If you go out and buy some equipment cold and go try to catch trout with a fly rod you will get nothing but frustrated.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:37 AM
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A 5wt rod is THE general all-around rod to start with. However, considering your destination and home use, I would recommend possibly going with a 4wt. In either case, I would suggest a length no longer than 8'-6". The smokeys are known for tight quarters.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:23 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmorrison View Post
Do yourself a favor and get a few lessons and/or hire a guide either at home or in the smokies. A guide will cost a bit more than lessons but it will end up being a lesson on the water. Use their equipment - let the instructor/guide know you are a beginner and would like their help in figuring out what rods might suit you. If you start out in this fashion you can't help but find that fly fishing is very much your bag. If you go out and buy some equipment cold and go try to catch trout with a fly rod you will get nothing but frustrated.
Agree'd... try and at least get out on a lawn and figure out the dynamics of how casting works. When people ask me to teach them how to fish, they look at me like I'm from from mars when I tell them we should practice on a lawn first with a piece of yarn tied to the end of the line.
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Old 04-20-2011, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

oregonism - "try and at least get out on a lawn and figure out the dynamics of how casting works. When people ask me to teach them how to fish, they look at me like I'm from from mars when I tell them we should practice on a lawn first"

Thats not crazy at all. Thats the way I taught myself how to use a bait caster.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

Alot of good advice so far, you would do well with an 8' to 8'6" 4 or 5wt. In your neck of the woods and 8'0" 4 wt is the "go to" rod much like the 9'0" 5wt is out west.

Lessons are the best investment, and lessons while on the water are even better as you learn to cast and read the river.

The one thing I would politely disagree with is the sporting goods store outfits. You can cruise fleabay and get yourself a much better rod and reel for the same price. The benefit being is that if fly fishing turns out not to be your thing you can always sell the stuff for close to what you paid for it. I would look for the following models, catch them at the right time and you can get them cheap:

Sage: DS, DS2, VPS, Launch
St Croix: Avid, Reign or cheaper Premier, Rio Santo
TFO: Pro or even the Finese

Also, no resale value but...my wife has Cortland Cl and it is a fine casting rod.

I feel, dollar for dollar, you can't beat St.Croix for entry level rods. They give you a mighty fine blank and keep the cost down through the components. I started with a premier and wished I never sold it. I have and avid and it is sweet, I fish it as much as my much more expensive rods.

Last edited by fireroad; 05-24-2011 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Fat fingers...
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

if you will put in your casting practice time, the shorter 4 wt. will in my opinion, be a lot more fun for the smokeys. I have a Sage FLI 4 wt. that would be a great starter, and they can be found used.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Introductory Rod for a beginner..

One rod I forgot to mention that is getting great reviews is the Redington CT (Classic Trout). Since Redington was bought by Sage their rods gone up a notch it feel and quality. This is because Sage has been sharing manufacturing techniques with their little sister company. Many also believe that newer Redingtons are now merely proven Sage designs manufactured overseas with the Redington name. No matter what the true story is you can get a 8ft 4wt Classic Trout shipped to your door for $150 that will do everything you described in your first post and then some.
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