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Old 04-18-2011, 10:56 PM
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Default I'm just starting out..

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 Mountains 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 rod, reel & line in case fly fishing isn't my bag. Any help with this would be great. Thanks.

Kevin
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: I'm just starting out..

Kevin: Welcome to the forum and the sport of fly fishing! It is a lifetime learning journey. You might stop by your local fly shop and see what they recommend and be sure to ask them if there is a fly fishing club in your area. If not check out the Trout Unlimited Chapters to see if one is close. It will really help to have someone mentor you when you are first starting out. Also checkout the video library on this site, there are some good fly casting instructional videos that will help you get started. When you get time also get on YouTube and search for fly fishing, fly casting, nymph fishing, etc. You will be amazed at how many fly fishing videos there are. As far as gear a 5 wt, 9 ft rod is probably a good all around rod. If you fish small streams with a lot of brush then drop the length down into the 7 ft range. A lot of folks speak highly of the Redington and TFO fly rods. If you could get an introductory fly casting lesson from your local fly shop that will really get you off on the right foot. That will give you the opportunity to cast a few different rods and then you will have a better feeling of what type of fly rod feels right in YOUR hands. Buying online isn't a good idea until you have a feel for the type of action you like in a fly rod. It is much better to actually cast a rod before chunking down the hard earned money.

Larry
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: I'm just starting out..

Im with Larry on this one, see if you can cast a few rods, your local fly shop or places like Cabelas usually will give you a free lesson and let you cast some rods. You can also, at places like a cabelas or dicks or scheels usually buy an inexpensive combo (under a hundred bucks) that will get you on the water while you figure out where and if you want to spend your hard earned dollars on a primo rod and reel, and what kind of rod/reel you want to use. Heck, for that matter, walmart usually has a Scientific Angler combo you can grab on the cheap if desired - I have one of these and still carry it in the jeep in case I spot someplace I want to try or, get a chance to stop after work for an hour.

Best of luck, and welcome to the insanity

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Old 04-19-2011, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: I'm just starting out..

I second what the others have said - including the insanity piece. 9' 5wt should work fine for the trout and panfish, would work for some IL bass as well. My first rod was a 6wt Cabela's combo and it worked just fine. I think the rod, reel, line, and case were about $150. You could get one of theirs for under $100 and it would be fine for what it's for. Eventually you'll want other weights and maybe a better rod, but that first one will be great to have for a friend or kid or to throw in your trunk.

Last summer Orvis offered free lessons and other fly shops do as well. Going and talking to folks at the local shop and TU chapter is a great way to go because having someone with you is a great way to learn.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: I'm just starting out..

Smoky are going to to the Great Smokey Mtns. National Park if so i use a 9' 4wt have also used an 8' rod either will work fine. i can beto some of the park streams in 15 mins from my house so i fish there often and late june is a good time to fish.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: I'm just starting out..

Welcome to the sport my friend! I would like to warn you that you may want to prepare your friends and family for what is about to come. It starts with your first rod, then your 5th. Soon you are tying flies all day and giving them as Christmas and birthday gifts!

Now, to your question. If you are just looking to dip your toe in the sport, St. Croix makes a good combo called the Rio Santo. It's affordable, and very good quality for the price.

That may be a good starting point for you. Realize though, that all of us are going to have our biases based on how we fish and what we like.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: I'm just starting out..

Welcome to the forum and if you end up liking it to the fly fishing addiction. Not really anything I can add. I started out with a kit 25 years ago and the rod in that kit wasn't close to the quality the kits have now.

One of my local shops has a trade in program where they will give you store credit and I took that old rod into them and they gave me $75 for it which I think was quite generous and they use it to illustrate how far rod building technology has come.

I hope you find you really enjoy the sport. As others have mentioned look into whether there are any Fly Fishing Clubs in your area or Trout Unlimited Clubs. I don't have personal experience with Trout Unlimited, but I do with fly fishing clubs and the great thing about them is all the ones I've heard of have all kinds of excellent classes and clinics from beginner to advanced for everything that surrounds fly fishing for free or usually very discounted prices.

Experienced members are usually willing to share their knowledge and expertise with new fly fishers and as one other person mentioned you may even find a person who will mentor you.

Lastly the other thing many clubs have this time of year is a gear swap meet where the members sell and trade their used and unused gear usually in very good condition. That could land you a nice outfit well below retail. The club I belong club the California Fly Fishers Unlimited is having a Fly Fishing Fair to introduce people to the club and fly fishing along with a wwap meet next month. Others will likely be doing something similar very soon since Trout Season openings begin soon.
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Attention New Fly Fishers and those just wanting to improve- Join a Fly Fishing Club. They have classes on every aspect of fly fishing for beginners to advanced for free or cheaper than offered elsewhere. Some offer mentor programs. You will make friends with other fly fishers. Clubs often have outings in which members pay special group rates for guides or to fish prime private access areas.
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