Let me start off by saying that I'm not an expert when it comes to fly rods and reels. I've never owned an expensive rod/reel and consider myself a budget consumer. I try to purchase the best quality I can within my budget and let the others argue about name brands.
This review is for the Cabela's 3 Forks 3wt/Prestige Plus combo. Currently on sale for $59. It is a 7'6" 3 piece rod. I ordered the rod on a Saturday using normal shipping and it arrived on Wednesday.
The rod came packaged in a long cardboard box. It was secured with plastic inflatable packing material. It did not come with a case, but was in a rod sock. I hesitate to really call it a sock, since it was made of a nylon material, but it will hold the 3 pieces of the rod individually and serve its purpose. The cork handle was covered in plastic, which I was surprised to see. Overall the rod was packed well enough to prevent damage.
The Prestige Plus reel was in its own box at the bottom of the bos the rod came in. I was expecting a flimsy reel and was plesantly surprised that this was not the case. The reel did not seem flimsy at all. In fact it felt better then then the Ross Flystart 2 I have on my 5Wt rod.
The backing (150 yds), flyline (3wt) and leader (5x) came in a single plastic bag. They are what I would consider the low point of the package. The flyline had no loops and the sticker indicating which end was for the backing had come off. This necessitated a complete unraveling to determine which end to attach to the backing. The leader also did not have a loop but should be adequate for the task at hand. It would be nice if Cabela's would let you choose what wt line you wanted since I really wanted to overline with a 4 wt. I did call Cabelas and was told that packages could not be altered. I guess that is to be expected at this price point.
Overall I would say that what you get is worth much more than the $59 I paid.
The first thing I had to do was spool the reel. The reel comes setup for left hand retrieve. There are instructions to shift to right hand retrieve if needed. I attached the backing (150 yds) and the flyline. I found that since I was doing this manually, 150 yds of backing and flyline caused binding. I ended up removing about 20 yds of backing and reattached the flyline to ease the binding. I figured I was using this on a small creek and didn't expect to EVER get that far into the backing anyway so it was no big loss. In fact I may even take off another 10 yds in the future. I attached the leader and then it was time to take the rod out and test. Unfortuantely it had to be in the backyard and it was windy. Surprisingly the rod performed well in the windy conditions. I was easily able to get the line out 40 to 50 feet (remember I'm not an expert). The rod has a medium action and requires a slow cast.
Last night I had an opportunity to take it to the creek. The fish were rising and I could see 5 to 10 nice size browns in the pool. I found the rod casts well with the 3 wt (I'm still planning on overlining though). I was able to hit my spots fairly accurately. I'm only casting to between 20 and 50 ft and found the rod a joy to use. It was light and short and easy to cast. Unfortunately I couldn't entice any fish to take my flies (that is another story
To sum it up, the Cabela's 3 Forks 3wt/Prestige Plus combo is a great setup for the money. The rod seems well built and handles very nicely. The reel is decent quality and considering at this wt it is only really being used to store the line what more could you ask for. I give the setup a