01-14-2011, 11:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Re: Getting Started
I have been through this situation a few years ago and now am helping a friend with the same task.
If I had advice for someone's first combo, I would recommend a 6 weight. You can throw slightly larger flies with a 6 than a 5. You could also go after small steelhead with a more robust 6 weight and a reel with a good drag system. A 6 will throw larger flies for smallmouth better than a 5 and can also accommodate smaller trout flies. A 6 will also handle wind better than a 5 weight.
Many times, you get what you pay for. That being said, there are quality options to be had within a $300 starting range for a rod and reel. Manufacturers like Redington, St. Croix, Temple Fork, and even RL Winston offer rod options to get anglers started in fly fishing for a reasonable price. Purchasing a quality machined reel with a warranty from a Ross or Lamson will not only get you started, but it should last you a lifetime. Supporting a local fly shop with this purchase may occasionally get you free line and backing thrown in when purchasing a combination in this price range.
Rods that come highly recommended by many include:
RL Winston Passport - medium action - $199
St Croix Imperial - fast action - $200
Temple Fork Professional Series - medium fast - $150
Redington Classic Trout - moderate - $120 - $150 depending on the shop
Ross CLA #2,3 - fully machined reel - $185-195
Lamson Guru G2 - fully machined w/ sealed conical drag - $189
Lamson Konic 2 - pressed reel w/ same drag of higher end reels - $129
I hope this helps. Good luck.