We are just about finished with the FAQ question about an outfit for a beginner. Steve thought it would be a good idea to post an outfit recommended by the members of NAFFF. I think I have a way that we can do that. First lets get recommendations from all that are interested. Even beginners can comment as they have recently went through the process of picking an outfit. Negative comments are also welcomed. If a beginner started with an outfit that was junk we should know that. After all have summited their comments I will put up a Poll so everyone can vote on the choices. The highest vote getters will be posted as a "Members Recommendation" in the FAQ.
Now remember this is not a saltwater outfit or big gun we are after. May do that later. I think most agree a 9' 5wt rod is the best for a beginner but if you disagree, say so. The outfit should be suitable for trout, Pan Fish and maybe small bass. We need you to recommend a Rod, a Reel and a fly line. If you are recommending a combination outfit then it should include the rod, reel and fly line. You won't need to estimate the cost. I will put in list price with the final outfit. I think this will be interesting. The moderators will vote in the poll.
If suggesting some of the Rod & Reel Combo/Outfits, I would go with either the TFO NXT Outfits or the Sage Launch Outfits. I think purchasing an outfit allows you to obtain everything you need to get on the water immediately, except for the fly. The TFO outfit is the best for your dollar value.
Just my 2 cents. Let me know if I can help in anyway. Hope this helps.
We agree in the shop that the 8'6" 5wt Launch is a great starting rod... slightly shorter rod is easier to build skills with, and in general a better fit for most of our fishing environments. We stay away from the package due to not being fond of the reel or the line. Rio Grand was originally designed to help load rods early and boldly to help beginners get the feel and develop timing easily. If they don't enjoy some success with casting fairly early on, their done.... we have failed that customer and lost their business. The right rod and line is key to start, and with time an anglers taste will likely change, and they will move on to try different taper combinations. The thing that won't necessarily change as much is the reel, so why not sell them something that will last through the other transitions and serve them well for years to come... Cimarron or a CLA fits that well for us. When we put a package like this together, we usually only charge the customer the retail price of the rod and reel; and then toss in the line, tapered leader, rigging, and a bakers dozen of what will work where they intend to fish in a inexpensive branded fly box. We also generally offer a free hour on the bank of the pond introducing basic casting, knots, etc... enough to leave them feeling like they're ready to go fish. For $350-400 we believe we are presenting a very good value.
Here's my 2 cents. My strategy is to buy your first rig with the thought that it will be your back-up rig once you become obsessed with fly fishing. With that in mind stick with top name manufacturers with great warranties and service.
On the rod I agree with GRN a SageLaunch 5 wt. 8'6" or 9'. Sage has a great warranty and great service. ( I known, I've experienced it)- $200
I would suggest a Ross Worldwide Flycast reel. Good quality reel at a great price ($70) Lifetime warranty from a company that stands behind its products.
Rio Mainstream WF Floating fly line $35
Total for rig $305
Don't bother with a vest yet. Buy a fishing shirt with alot of pockets(Columbia, Simms, Cabelas etc.) $30
Couple of tapered leaders/2 rolls tippet 5x&7X-$12
Dozen flies recommended by fly shop-$20 (unless your dealing with GRN)
Total for accessories-$70
Ready to fish for $375
When you get serious and decide to through some real money at the fish, you can pat yourself on the back because you won't have to spend anything on a back-up rig.
Another option for a rod that requires more patience (I know because this is how I did it). Frequent your local fly fishing shops and find a top quality rod that you like the feel of on sale. I have 5 rods, all purchased on sale below 1/2 price.
First, I would look for a fly shop that took trade-ins. There are some that do. This way, as you got more into the game you could easily upgrade your rod if you liked. Not the end of the world if there's no such shop available to you, with the internet you could still easily sell a well kept rod/reel.
Second, I would want a company with a rod warranty. You never know, especially in the beginning when you aren't used to handling the long rod with the tip that seems to catch everything in your path.
Contrary to what most may say, I would go with a six or seven weight. Today's modern rods are much lighter in the mid range sizes and I have found that most people pick up casting quicker in these sizes and it gives them more flexibility in what would most likely be for awhile, a one rod angler. Streamers, nymphs, weighted rigs, wets, dries, reasonably sized poppers and bugs would all work easier for a beginner than they would on a 5 weight.
Brand and price are two very subjective things. One persons idea of affordable is different than another's, and all the major manufacturers produce quality products. But I guess you are looking for specifics and the term "beginner" usually means low cost.
Orvis Clearwater II Outfit: six weight with a Battenkill Bar Stock Reel and wf6f line w/100 yards of backing: Grand Total: $275.00 US
Now keep in mind this is all my humble opinion, which is worth about the same as the price of advice on this forum.
Now after all that advice and recommendations, my true to heart feelings on this subject is that any fly rod is better than no fly rod.
First a little background. I got hooked on fly fishing about two and half years ago when my brother in law let me use one of his rigs on the little golf course lake behind his house. He gave me a good lesson in basic casting and then said have fun. About a half hour later I hooked into a decent sized LMB and was hooked from there.
Due to money constraints I started out using a 5/6 wt Shakespeare combo I got at Walmart. Through talking with a lot of anglers from different sites I learned a lot about the sport. When I could I went out with my "Shaker" and beat the hell out of the water, and the surrounding trees and bushes, and even caught a fish or two. Even though the Shakespeare combo is not a top of the line rig it served its purpose well for me. For someone on a tight budget I would recommend it or a similar type of combo rig that can be gotten for around $100.00.
As I learned more and more I asked a lot of questions on combos and individual rods etc. I chose the Rocky Mountain Turbine reel from Orvis with a 6 wt wf floating line. I partnered this reel with a 9' 6 wt Sage launch and have not looked back since.
I love this combination in as much it is much smoother and easier to handle than my "Shaker". I can feel the line better. The overall cost of this was about $285.00 for the rod, reel, and a spare spool loaded with a slower action sinking line.
If you want more details than that ask Joni. She is the one that has helped me tremendously over the last few years with my 'angling career"...
I didn't see this thread, but just left a detailed beginner set up under the warm water discussion header. More specifically:
Beginners for most North American waters could start with a 9' 5 or 6 wt combo
<$100: Scientific Angler
<$200: St Croix Avid + Scientific Angler System Reel (great warranty and very solid, though heavyish, rod)
$300's: St Croix Legend, Orvis TLS + Loomis Venture Reel or Teton/Tioga (well balanced for heavier rods)
$400's: Sage/Orvis/Loomis/Scott + Ross Reel (these higher end rods are VERY light; matching a lighter reel such as Ross or Lamson is a good idea)
People don't pay enough attention to balance in hand, but when fishing for 10-12 hours in a day, you're making hundreds of casts and believe it or not fatigue may be an issue.