I recently purchased the ATS rod and and Trout II reel from Allen Fly Fishing. I originally contacted them about a beginner set up. They recommended the Compass rod paired with an ATS reel. I decided to "upgrade" from the start however. I would have probably purchased the XA series but they were out of the size and weight I wanted.
I received my rod and reel in a more than reasonable time and communication with the team at Allen from inquiry to purchase to delivery was top notch.
I have only had the combo for a week and I have been practicing casting in my back yard. I would say that for a beginner the rod is very easy to learn on and seemed to control the line far better than the caster was able to
. The rod looks beautiful, feels great in the hand and the reel balances well with it. The cork is firm and offers a nice grip,the reel seat is a nice wood. The guides are well placed and are of very good quality. There are dots on all four sections to align the rod and the pockets are nice and deep. Each section fits in firmly with no feel of it ever working lose. The rod comes in a nice sectioned tube covered in a red tough looking material and the top zips closed.
The reel is a thing of beauty. I purchased the burnt orange and it looks wonderful against the deep red of the ATS rod. The drag is easy to set and stays where you set it. Line is able to be stripped off smoothly and retrieved with ease.
I have only been casting a piece of yarn so far, but I did cast a line into my pond to practice roll casting, and on the second retrieve a bass slammed the yarn ( I should submit my yarn fly to the database
) and I managed to get it all most to shore before it figured it could let go. That has me hooked! The sight and feel of that fish hitting is so much more fun than any spinning combo that I normally fish with.
The people at Allen have put together a wonderful set of tools for the fly fisher and I would not hesitate to recommend them.