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  1. Default Another newbie question

    All -

    I tried fly fishing on a recent vacation and I think I got the bug! Anyway, I visited my local fly fishing store and signed up for a casting class in two weeks or so. So now I'm in the shopping mode...On the advice of the shop, I'm going to wait and buy after the lesson - but I wanted to do a bit of research.

    After reading the forum, I was set on one of the TFO professional series rods, but when I visited the shop they steered me toward a lower priced combo that they carry (Redington RF2, Ross Essence FC) in the $250 range instead of an a la carte type outfit.

    I'm going to primarily fish in Chicago for bass (smallies and largemouths).

    My question is: Are these outfits worthwhile? I don't want to get stranded with components that I'll quickly outgrow or will fail...At the same shop, for basically the same price I could buy a TFO professional and add a Lamson Konic reel (when I add line the total would be about $100 more than the combo).

    I've read the various other posts on this topic, but I couldn't find an opinion on the difference between the combo outfits and a slightly higher priced a la carte type outfit.

    Any thoughts? If it was your money would you go with a combo or would you purchase the components separately even if it costs a bit more??

  2. #2

    Default Re: Another newbie question

    JP good to hear someone else has the bug for the art. First off you need to find the right wt that you are looking for. IMHO some rod wts are much easier to use then others. I am glad that I went cheap when I got my first rod. It helped me figure out "how to" first. As well as the fact I snapped the tip guide off and had to replace it. I'd feel uggggly if I'd break my 9wt that I dropped $300 on. Though the rod is good and is made by a known company that makes very good equipment (Cortlend) the reel is somewhat not the best. This to me was a perfect combo. Often going with a beginners combo can be the best way to go. However, ya there is always a however, you need to talk about a lot of what you will be using it for and ease of use. Not any rod/reel combo can be used by any person. Now just with me I have found that after getting my 9wt and using a weight forward fly line, heavier flies, and little to no wind casting became easier. Going back down to my lighter 5wt with a no taper line, am able to cast much better. I also have a 1wt that was picked up a few days ago but have not gotten to use it. It will be intresting on how easy or difficult it will be to use and how it compairs to the other two rods of mine. With that knowing I'd ask you flyshops guys about ease of use over anything. Even a $900 rod/reel might not be worth anything in the hands of 99% of the fly guys/girls out there. Now since your looking at bass go nothing lower then a 5wt. Even then you may have trouble landing fish. Often a heavier wt rod is needed and able tippet is needed to hull the fish out of things like trees, weeds, and what is needed to bring in a large bucket mouth. Now if your not in any kinds of cover and can hit the fish a 5wt would be ok. Hope this gives you an idea on what to ask your fly shop next time your in there.
    <*))))>< Fish with teeth ... If I ty it a fish will hit it

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Jackson Hole, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Another newbie question

    About the only advice to give is to cast both outfits your considering during your casting class if possible. This will give you the opportunity to learn which one fits your casting style best and feels the most comfortable to you.
    My worst day on the water beats my best day anywhere else hands down!!

    Upstream Anglers and Outdoor Adventures

  4. #4

    Default Re: Another newbie question

    it's good the shop suggested you wait until after the class before purchasing gear. sounds like the beginnings of a good relationship.

    the TFO pro is probably the big name in low cost value rods. i don't mean anything disparaging by that either. i have a TFO pro 9' 5wt i'll hold onto for awhile.

    redington and ross are great companies and i imagine those lines, the Red fly 2 and the essence are their answers to the market share TFO is targeting with their pro rod. i don't think you would go wrong but i can't recall any details about user reviews of the RF2 reel or the ross worldwide reel (except they're not the high quality of the main ross line). you may want to narrow your research to those aspects. the konic reel is also somewhat new as well so look for reviews from people who have used them for awhile. initial reviews are often glowing but can be tarnished after time.

    take a good look at the components of the combos the shop is offering. the RF2 reel uses a graphite spool. you may not like that, you may. i've read differing opinions on that type of construction but negative feelings may not be valid for you, they could have been quite subjective. the ross essence rod has "synthetic cork" and i'm not sure what that means. hold that rod and get a feel for the cork. from the web site it looks like normal cork but the photos are small....

    my guess, without seeing the redington and ross outfits, is that they would work fine for a beginner without any serious shortcomings. the fact of the matter is, you will probably move on to a second outfit for yourself (one will eventually become the spare) or for another's use (fishing buddies, especially when related in mini versions, are wonderful). so don't lose too much slep over it. the important things are building a good relationship with a shop and get out and fly fish.

    as an aside, i could tell you some people feel a medium fast action rod is better for beginners, others feel a fast action rod is best, others might say a medium action rod. at this stage of your development, you really don't know what is best. since you're targeting smallmouth and largemouth bass, you would probably need a rod with enough guts to cast big flies. ask the shop reps what they might recommend, as well as any other feedback people here might offer. i'm imagining a 6/7/8 weight rod for those species though.

    i hope this makes sense and that i was somewhat clear. i imagine i could clarify or slightly restate some things better but it's late and time for bed for me... good luck.

    fresno, ca.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Another newbie question

    Hi jpmcclain,

    Welcome to the forum.

    I have not seen the combo your are asking about. In general, combo's in this price range have a good rod, an OK reel and a cheap line. Many people who buy combos upgrade their reels and fly line at some point. You are looking at a $250 combo. For $75 dollars more you can get a very good rod and reel and the best fly line. To me that $75 would be well spent.

    You are very smart to take casting lessons before you buy. After the lessons you will have a much better handle on what you want to buy.
    If you are not on a tight budget this is an outfit that I recommend.

    TFO Pro Rod $140
    Lampson Konic Reel $120
    Rio or SA fly line $65
    Total: $325

    The Konic reel is a high pressure cast reel with a very good drag. You will be using this outfit for years with no need to up grade. In the long run I think this is a better option. If you wanted to save a bit of money you should consider the Orvis Mid-arbor reel. You can buy one in the $90 range and they are a good choice.

    I didn't mean to leave out Cortland fly lines. They also have some very good fly lines. You need to find out specifically what fly line is coming with the $250 combo.

    If you have not looked at the FAO section there is a thread that recommends setups for a beginner. You can pick and choose from the list and come up with a great outfit.

  6. Default Re: Another newbie question

    Thanks everyone.

    This is very helpful.

    I was thinking the exact same thing Frank where for a bit extra $$ I could put together a nice package with a TFO rod / Konic reel / and nice line.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Another newbie question

    I will speak from recent past experiences, and I think Frank will agree with me. If I could do it over again, I would take the class first and then get the rods and equipment. I never really understood what it meant by the "feel" of the rod. Believe me, when you cast different rods, you'll feel it.

    When I went to my class last week, my rod felt like a telephone pole compared to the instructor's rod. I fell in love with his Scott G. Just not enough to allow me to spend $300+ at this point. Someday....
    It's not the heat, it's the stupidity.
    What manner of jackassery will I be subjected to today?

  8. Default Re: Another newbie question

    All -

    I had my casting lesson two weekends ago and this past weekend I went ahead and bought a rod/reel.

    I tried the Scott A2, Winston Vapor and Sage FLi. I cast the Scott A2 the best, but really liked the feel of the Vapor. The FLi was nice (I used it in the class for 2 hrs), but in the end I chose the Vapor. I know its made overseas...but it really did feel nice and for some reason I liked it better...

    I went with the Lamson Konic and some Rio Gold line...

    Of course the shop only had a demo we had to order one so I have to wait a few more days to get my hands on it!

    Can't wait till this Friday to pick it up!


  9. #9

    Default Re: Another newbie question

    starting off with a winston.... that's GREAT. LOL

    don't give the imported origin a second thought, it's a nice rod. you DO reazlie though that with a nice rod and excellent line, you've eliminated a basic excuse for not catching fish ;-)

    fresno, ca.

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