01-13-2009, 12:07 PM
Re: How many pieces
Yup, what they said.
There really isn't much, if any, difference between the four and two piece rods these days in terms of action or strength. In the old days with metal ferrules it was an issue. Now with graphite to graphite connections the action is pretty much indistinguishable.
Four piece rods can be checked in overhead compartments, so that's a big consideration if there's a chance you'll be flying with them. And you can conceal them a bit better if you leave them in your truck--- but that's taking chances. For the same rod brand/model, four piece rods typically run 20-30 bucks more than the same rod in two piece.
For trout fishing, a more or less standard trout set up would be a 9 foot, 5 weight rod. The longer length comes in handy for "mending" (controlling the fly line in moving water after the cast) to get a natural drift with the fly. If you cast across a stream, the current will be faster in the middle, and you'll get a bow in your fly line heading downstream. This drags the fly after it, waterskiing along faster than the current lane it's in. Mending allows you to get a more natural drift by flipping just the belly of the line upstream. If you're wading, the 9' rod also allows you to keep line off the water a bit better when casting and some types of nymphing. A 9 foot 5 weight would be a good choice for all around trout fishing throwing nymphs, wets, dries, and occasional streamers on the Swift, Deerfield etc. near you.
If you fished smaller brushier streams that you could hop across (or close to it) a shorter 7 1/2 foot rod would be better for tighter quarters. Many people use a 3 weight for those types of situations, but for your first fly rod you'd get more all around use out of a 5 or 6 weight for trout and occasional bass and panfish. The 6 weight might be a better choice than a 5 if you were mostly fishing for trout in large wide rivers with big streamers or using it mostly for shad on the Connecticut below Holyoke Dam.
There are many, many choices for rods at different price points from all included outfits (rod/reel/line/backing) for 100 bucks or less, to primo top end rods for 700 a pop. To some extent, you get what you pay for, but in terms of bang for the buck and price/performance the sweet spot seems to be around 150-230-ish for a rod, with a quality line (45-60) and reel (80-120) on top of that. These would be great rods for a beginner, but would grow with you as put time in better than the less expensive set ups. There are also decent, less expensive options for lines and reels, with the reel the least important for trout and most other types of fly fishing (exceptions being salmon/steelhead, and salt water where the quality of the drag, machining and sw corrosion resistance becomes much more important).
if you want some specific recommendations for rods and reels to look at throw out a ballpark budget. You'll get a ton of recommendations. The good news is that there are a lot of excellent choices. The bad news is that there are a lot of excellent choices which can make actually pulling the trigger on one a bit difficult. The reality though, is that there are relatively few dogs out there now among the popular brands.
And when comparing rods ask about the warranty-- some offer lifetime to original owner or replacement for a modest cost, but others don't and you could be out of luck if bad things happen or hit with a steep replacement cost. This can be a big issue with graphite rods. Casting weighted flies can shatter the blank if they whack it, and car doors, teething puppies, tree branches, driving off with the rod on the roof, and slipping while wading all take their toll every year. And there always seems to be a ceiling fan around where you least expect them. There are also a lot of bargains out there now on used rods. If you go that route, try to find one with a blank warranty card.