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Old 08-12-2012, 03:38 PM
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Question Best bang for the buck.

I have recently come into a small amount of money, about $600, and I am looking to finally get my first "real" fly rod. I am looking at 8wt or bigger, and for salt water. Reds, bones, baby tarpon etc. What would be the best quality rod/reel/line combo for under $600? I have been looking at the Orvis Clearwater 8wt, as Orvis is the only non-off-the-shelf-at-bass-pro-kit company I have dealt with, and for less than $350 for the whole outfit, seems like a good deal. But with so many other great brands out there, Sage, G. Loomis, TFO, etc, what is the best rout to go? I know the pre-assembled kits are a bit of a sin in fly fishing (so I am told), are they still a good way to get quality for low cost, or should I piece a kit together on my own, and from what company(ies)?

Thanks for the help. I can't wait to hit the flats!
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:49 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

I wouldn't say that a pre-assembled kit is a sin...no more than fly fishing is a religion, although there are your zealots in every corner of society. IMO, I'd put together a kit. You can get some decent deals on good stuff if you look around.

I personally know where there is an unused Tibor Everglades (7-9wt) for about $300...and, no, I don't own it.

Match that up to a good 8 or 9 weight and you 80% there. I can't give much advise on some of the higher end rods...but, you can likely get a decent deal on a last generation Sage or St. Croix.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

I can't say that a prepackaged outfit is a sin, but I have never have been thrilled of one. I just like getting what I want.

A rod that has been getting a lot of good reviews from some Northern California Striped Bass fly fishermen is a TFO BVK. It's a fast rod that is not overly stiff making it very accurate but forgiving. It gives up some lifting power since the butt is not as stiff as other rods. This rod will set you back around $250.

eBay can be your friend looking for premium reels. If you look hard enough, you can get a new or used Abel or Tibor for $400 or less. Someone mentioned in another thread that searching during the winter months, can get one some obscene deals.

Dennis
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:13 PM
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Lightbulb Re: Best bang for the buck.

Seems to be more fun, and will give me my own unique set up. Plus I know exactly what I have and its capabilities, instead of just reading a box.

I'm feeling a TFO Healing Waters with an Orvis Hydros Reel. Some Rio Redfish line, but what do I do for backing?

There are so many choices, from Dacron to gel spun. What is the difference or benefits/drawbacks to the different types out there?
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“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” ― Albert Einstein
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

Navycop10,
Can't speak to your backing question, but I do have some info you might be able to use. You can pick up like new TFO's on eBay very reasonably. Right now there's a TFO Professional Series 2 piece (now discontinued) 8 wt. I think the Pro Series is a solid choice, perhaps over the Healing Waters. I'm not familiar with the HW model, but looking at the profile and description it seems to be a slightly higher-priced version of the Professional Series.
No matter what you do, TAKE YOUR TIME making a decision. Get to a shop that will let you try out some rods if you can; but please, if you use this service, you should buy your rod from the shop that's helping you (Sounds obvious, but some people don't realize that a retail shop doesn't make money if you don't buy anything!). TFO's are the same price no matter where you buy, so if you're want a new rod, you don't need to shop around for the best price.
If you want used, eBay is the way to go.
I have a TFO TiCrx 9 foot 8 weight. I like it ok, but it seems a bit heavy - or unbalanced in the hand. I like the Pro Series a lot. Good feel and well balanced, and a real deal at about half what the TiCrx costs.
One down side for TFO - and for some a deal breaker - There's no rod tube included. Only a "sock". I've always wondered why they don't charge a few bucks more and throw in the tube. Best of luck to you and let us know how it's going!

Tight Lines,
TFF

---------- Post added at 10:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:28 PM ----------

One more thing, consider the overall weight of the rod. Most will agree, lighter is better. TFO also offers a lifetime warranty on all their rods.

---------- Post added at 11:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 PM ----------

For your reel get yourself an Allen Alpha. They're on sale right now for $144. This new company, Allen Fly Fishing (allenflyfishing.com), is gaining a reputation as a contender in the world of high-end fly rods and reels...at down-to-earth prices. I have 2 of his reels and they are the best reels I have ever used. All the bells and whistles of the brands that cost 3-4 times the money. He also sells fly tying hooks at a real bargain price. Recently added saltwater hooks to the arsenal. I just wish that Justin over at Allen Fly Fishing carried saltwater rods. Then you would have a one-stop shopping no brainer.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

I'll get out on a limb and give exacts.

Sage is having specials across the internet. Just bought a 9' 8wt Vantage and it is great. I have a 9' 8# BVK but now prefer the Vantage (might watch for a BVK on classifieds soon) not a "fast" but still can handle distance. $180-200ish.

TFO's are fast, seems so may now pray at the "fast" alter. However issues arise, you casting skill has to be better and short casts suffer (if you redfish short cast accuracy & presentation can be a deal breaker). Used the Vantage on the coast the other day in 15mph winds. It gave up no distance to my BVK but was able to hit tigher pockets in the grass.

Best line you can afford, don't scrimp here, buy a cheaper reel rather than "saving" here. Often this is where "kits" really cheapen up. I suggest the SA Bonefish or Orvis Saltwater both are superbe. $80ish

Reel, IHMO way too much time is spent focused on these. Having said this the Lamson line-up has some good values, Guru at $225ish or even the Konic (some good sales on these out there) is a credible reel.

However back again to Sage which is specialling off the 2000 series for well below $200. Good reel at the price point. IMHO avoid "house" brand reels.

If you add this up you got money to possibly upgrade rod, buy an extra spool with line, lots of flies......................

Pete A.
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

I bought a 7wt Colton on ebay that I like quite a lot. I overlined it with an 8wt and yes it is fast but it has lots of backbone. I think I paid about $180 . I don't own one yet but I understand that the Konic is a good reel at a low price point. Don't go cheap on the fly line. I prefer dacron backing and I use 30# on all my reels. You can go with gel spun and get a lot more on your reel but it will cut you if you are not carefull and it is expensive. I don't get to fish the salt often and I am still using Pflueger Medalist 1595 and 98 reels. The do need to be well cleaned after each use and many large fish have been caught on them over the years and for less than $50 I can do a little cleaning for now. I really want a reel that has the cork drag. Used, if I can find it for my 9wt that I have yet to buy.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

LL Bean has a Quest II outfit, 8wt, for $139. One of my friends brought it along to salmon camp as a backup. Four of us, fairly seasoned anglers, played with it on the lawn and were awestruck. We all cast the entire line on the second or third cast. It is a heck of an outfit, and comes complete with rod, reel, line, backing and even a leader...all already assembled for you. I have a feeling this is one of the best (and least known) fly fishing deals out there. I bet many (including me) would pass right over it because of its extremely low price. Trust me, this is a gem of an outfit.
Gary
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texasflyfisher View Post
Pro Series is a solid choice, perhaps over the Healing Waters. I'm not familiar with the HW model, but looking at the profile and description it seems to be a slightly higher-priced version of the Professional Series.
I like the Healing Waters because they donate money to the organization. I am all for helping out wounded veterans, and if I can do it with buying a fly rod that happens to be good and usable, seems like a deal. The pro series seems nice and the prices seem fair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texasflyfisher View Post
TAKE YOUR TIME making a decision. Get to a shop that will let you try out some rods if you can
Know any good shops near Fort Myers, FL? Other than Bass Pro or Orvis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by texasflyfisher View Post
For your reel get yourself an Allen Alpha. They're on sale right now for $144.
I have looked at this company many times, online, but they just didn't seem to be what I was looking for, and I had not heard much about them, so I was a bit skittish . But after your recommendation and reading all of the reviews, I am sold! Now to pick the color!

---------- Post added at 03:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:08 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete a View Post
TFO's are fast, seems so may now pray at the "fast" alter. However issues arise, you casting skill has to be better and short casts suffer (if you redfish short cast accuracy & presentation can be a deal breaker)
This the reason why my other fast rod has trouble on casts in the 20 foot range? Slow rods for short casts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete a View Post
Best line you can afford, don't scrimp here, buy a cheaper reel rather than "saving" here. Often this is where "kits" really cheapen up. I suggest the SA Bonefish or Orvis Saltwater both are superbe. $80ish
Go all the way on the line. RIO Redfish since they are my primary. But my ignorance on the taper, it seems very similar to the RIO Saltwater which is half the price. Is there something special here I am not seeing?

Hoping to save money to buy a bunch of flies. Rods and all the other mess are pointless with out something to put in the fish's mouth.

---------- Post added at 03:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:25 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditz View Post
I prefer dacron backing and I use 30# on all my reels. You can go with gel spun and get a lot more on your reel but it will cut you if you are not carefull and it is expensive.
Is that the main difference, is the capacity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ditz View Post
I really want a reel that has the cork drag.
I have never heard of that. Seems everyone is going to carbon washers or some type of disc drag. I still love my old click and pawl. My left palm was the drag!

---------- Post added at 03:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:28 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by gt05254 View Post
LL Bean has a Quest II outfit, 8wt, for $139.
I would have passed right over that as just another kit and a really cheap one at that. But it may be well worth a look for an extra backup kit. Can't have too many, right?

Unless you ask the wife....
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“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” ― Abraham Lincoln

“The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” ― Albert Einstein
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: Best bang for the buck.

I'll response to the points you make on my post.

When I say "Fast" I mean BVK and many current fast rods now need plenty of rod speed and very tight loops to keep the line in the air. This is really from a bit stiffer backboned rod. Hard to load a 'fast" rod with 20' of fly line.

Just read posts on this section of the forum about TFO's working well when "over-lined" meaning using next line weight up. I use a 5wt Signature II with a 6wt Bug Taper. I need this to load the TFO for shorter and medium casts we make throwing poppers and bugs.

Understand that Sage's and current maker's med-fast is still much faster than what we cast 20yrs ago and are thus no noodles. Just in my view a bit more complete with what you can do. It still casts distance well, maybe gives a bit of line speed & distance to BVK in a wind but not enough in my view to make up for BVK's short range performance.

I don't have much experience with Rio lines but my SA Bonefish last very well and is a smooth casting line. The Orvis has a slighlty better "feel" but slight is the difference. I wade fish in often times bit sloppy/muddy/sandy conditions and use no shooting basket. Thus the line is exposed to pretty tough conditions. Both of these lines stand up to this wear and tear well. I've tried "on sale" house lines which cut easily. After a while they hold sand/grit easier and thys feel rougher when casting.

It is my experience a top flight line will make a lesser rod cast better.

Pete A.
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