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Thread: Beginner Outfit

  1. Default Beginner Outfit

    OK, through this site and other research I have found a handful of combos that are rated as "beginner friendly".
    They are Hobbs Creek, Redington Crosswater, LL Bean Streamlight (although they are sold out in 5 wt...only a 6 available now).

    I hear about "outgrowing" beginner outfits, but what does that mean? Is it about rod performance and casting?
    All of these outfits seem to have generally good reputations for the learner, but I'd also like to have it for a while and be able to use it as I improve a bit.

    So the question:
    Is any of these better for a progression from newbie and beginner to more intermediate abilities? They are all pretty affordable for me (LL Bean is the very high end for me though)
    I'd like to not have to buy a new outfit in 6 months because of outgrowing....again, whatever that means.

    Also, I'll be visiting a couple local fly shops im the coming days to actually try casting some of these so I'm sure that will help too.

    Thanks for any guidance on this.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Hello and welcome to the forum. Glad to see you're taking the dive into this horribly addictive "hobby."

    From personal experience, my first combo was made by Martin. The reel was pretty decent but the rod was a slow action rod. Slow action is good for beginners to help them get their timing down during the cast. As I progressed I wanted a more faster action rod, so I got a St. Croix. It's med fast.

    That being said, that Martin reel is my go to for a 5wt.

    I don't have any experience with the combos that you listed, so I'll let others chime in on it, but I know that Reddington makes a decent product.

    Welcome again, and good luck!

    Ant
    Anthony Laurence
    www.anthonylaurence.net
    Web Developement and Design
    FlyFishinado - My Fly Fishing Blog

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  5. Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    I started with a st. croix combo. I 'outgrew' it in about a year, but really it's a good rod. The reel was junk, although it still works. I don't think it matters much what you start with, so long as it's decent quality and won't break from normal use, which should include dragging the tip on the ground and some general dumb stuff. It's inevitable, especially for beginners, so I'd stay away from any unreasonably cheap stuff. The outgrowing thing is normal, and is part of the evolution of understanding how certain gear makes you more comfortable. As you get better and more obsessed, you likely will want to upgrade, mostly for the sake of upgrading, so you aren't still fishing a 'beginners' rod when obviously you have mastered the fine art of fly fishing. It should take about 6 months to believe that, and about 6 seconds to realize that you're full of ****.....but I think it's normal.

  6. #4
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    Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Welcome to the forum. I am also new to the sport of fly fishing and purchased the LL Bean Stream light 5wt as my first rod and I have been very pleased. Although the Bass Pro had a set up for less I really had a much better experience with the customer service at LL Bean. I also thought that it would be best to purchase a rod with a warranty. As far as out growing the rod that has not happened. I thought about putting on a better line, but then saw the prices. However, as the other members have stated the addiction will grow if you enjoy the sport. I now have an 8wt by TFO also with a warranty. I would advise just sticking to your budget that you have set for yourself. Hope this helps and enjoy your new rod.

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Hi frntrnge,
    As a disclosure, I work in the industry.

    With that out of the way, I will say what has been on record for awhile. To me, there are no such things as beginners' setups. There are a variety of rods at a variety of price points. Can a novice learn on a $700 rod? Yes, as long as the rod is not too fast in action. Does a novice need a $700 rod? Only if he has the money to burn. Are there happy mediums? Plenty.

    All the outfits that you listed are reasonably priced to get people into the sport. The rods use older graphite technology which limits their levels of performance. They will help you make a nice straight line cast, but once you have the technique down, your rod will limit your casting range. If you learn how to pick up and lob indicator rigs, you will learn the rod's limit on how much mass it can throw.

    One of the advantages of buying a higher quality rod is the quality of the blank used in the construction. Modern blank materials are lighter than previous generations. Having to deal with less mass is usally easier on the arm. Modern blanks also recover quicker in the cast. Recovery means that the tip won't bounce around excessively in the cast which allows for more distance and improved presentation. Modern generations of graphite are more durable than previous ones. They can take more punishment.

    Quote Originally Posted by frntrnge View Post
    I hear about "outgrowing" beginner outfits, but what does that mean? Is it about rod performance and casting?
    If you fish enough, you can outgrow the rod in performance and casting. As I mentioned, you will learn your presentation and distance limitations as your skills improved.

    If you set yourself up with a higher quality rod, it may take you awhile to find those limitations as your skills progress.

    Quote Originally Posted by frntrnge View Post
    Is any of these better for a progression from newbie and beginner to more intermediate abilities?
    Sorry. I can't comment on the rods.

    To really shorten the learning curve, visit your local fly shop. Take a beginning casting class. Most shops will have demo rods for that. During that class, your instructor should be able to figure out which rod will work best for you. After that, take an on the water class or a guided day out. You'll learn how to use your gear properly.

    MP

  9. #6

    Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Beginner setups:

    Why buy what you already assume, will be obsolete in the near future.

    Buying a good rod/reel at retail prices, can be scary for a newbie. $300 for a fishing pole? You got to be kidding me!!! Well,, that's the sport.

    Here is a good tip, that many use. E-bay!

    I only paid retail for 1 rod I own. I TFO Pro series Lefty 9' 5wt. It's good, but not nearly as good as the rods I have bought for less cash from E-bay. SAGE 4 pc 5 wt- $116,, basically new,,, st croix legend ultra 14' 9wt spey rod, $127, brand new.

    As far as reels, wait till the fall (unless you are itching now) and get a reel on closeout.

    Bought a brand new Ross evolution, retails about $300, for $140, with warranty and everything.

    If you can wait, and search, you can get good deals, and therefore get a far better setup for the price of your 'beginner' setup. This way, you get a good rig, that even after you progress, and gain experience, will still be a wonderful setup.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Used/slightly used/demo products are fine, and can save you 30-70%. Maybe more. Not a bad deal...

    Once you are addicted (either you will quit, or you will be an addict like most of us on this site) there will be times when you need it now, the nice reel/rod. For now, look for the bargain. Come October, much of what you see now will be half price!

    Couple tips

    flyshopcloseouts.com
    redtruckflyfishing.com
    Just 2 examples of sites I have bought from. There are more.
    Both, and other sites, will have closeout prices soon!

  10. Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Thank you for the feedback on all of this. Good suggestions and information from everyone.
    Much appreciated!

  11. #8
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    Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Quote Originally Posted by frntrnge View Post
    OK, through this site and other research I have found a handful of combos that are rated as "beginner friendly".
    They are Hobbs Creek, Redington Crosswater, LL Bean Streamlight (although they are sold out in 5 wt...only a 6 available now).

    I hear about "outgrowing" beginner outfits, but what does that mean? Is it about rod performance and casting?
    All of these outfits seem to have generally good reputations for the learner, but I'd also like to have it for a while and be able to use it as I improve a bit.

    So the question:
    Is any of these better for a progression from newbie and beginner to more intermediate abilities? They are all pretty affordable for me (LL Bean is the very high end for me though)
    I'd like to not have to buy a new outfit in 6 months because of outgrowing....again, whatever that means.

    Also, I'll be visiting a couple local fly shops im the coming days to actually try casting some of these so I'm sure that will help too.

    Thanks for any guidance on this.
    Check out the TFO NXT combo. It is in the same range as the LL Bean and has an aluminum reel. Echo has a Base combo that is priced between the Redington and the LL Bean, but I am not a fan of composite reels. Redington makes nice rods, but I think the TFO and Echo rods are better than the Crosswater, and the Crosswater reel is also composite. LL Bean does make some nice gear, but I don't know about the Streamlight, although the reel is machined, which is a nice plus.

    Be sure to find out a little about the line that is included. The rod is probably the most important part, but the line is as important. Decent line will let you learn to cast properly. Cheap junk line will hamper your casting badly. However, the reel has little impact on any of it, so I would buy a better rod and better line, and a basic reel, even if it is a composite like the Crosswater.

    The other thing to consider is warranty. Cheap gear has limited warranties, and the better stuff has lifetime. When cheap gear breaks, you pay to buy new gear, but when good gear breaks, you pay a fraction of the cost new to repair or replace it. So like the coward who dies a thousand times, you may buy cheap gear over and over, while you only pay full price for good gear once. I just paid Sage $40 to repair a reel that would have cost me four times that much to replace. Like any good product, it is more expensive up front, but may end up being cheaper over the long run.

    Also, keep in mind that if you are like most members on this site, you will buy more gear. I suspect that if there is anyone on here who only has one rod and one reel, it's because he (or she) just bought his (or her) first rod and reel yesterday... The point is that I would buy the least expensive but DECENT QUALITY stuff that you can find, on the assumption that you will buy better stuff later. And if you don't buy better stuff later, at least the stuff you have will be decent quality. IMO, Echo and TFO make the best entry-level gear. Cabela's also has some decent entry-level gear, and their Wind River reels are very inexpensive and would be a good way to save some money up front that you can put toward the line.

    If I were doing it right now, I would buy the Echo Base rod, Cabela's Wind River reel (on sale right now), Rio Avid or Mainstream line, and some backing. Cabela's has all of that and with free shipping over $99, you will be under your budget. That rod and line will be good for learning and still be good when you improve, and the reel is sturdy and will be fine for most uses. And later, if you get better gear, that will all serve as good back-up.

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  13. #9
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    Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    My thoughts on buying above the "beginner" outfit. Generally speaking, more money buys better performance. I don't want you to go broke, but buy the best rod you can afford. Reels (for trout, panfish) are not too complicated and with offerings from Piscifun and others selling for less than $50.00, they can be very affordable. You won't need a $!00 line. Look through this site and find a link to ebay for a Chinese line in the $10.00 range.
    If you take the time to buy separate items you will get better performance, but if you decide you don't want to fly fish, or if you "outgrow" the set up quickly, you will be able to recoup much more of your initial investment than with a "beginners outfit."

  14. Default Re: Beginner Outfit

    Quote Originally Posted by brook rookie View Post
    If you take the time to buy separate items you will get better performance
    As I mentioned elsewhere, I bought a Fenwick Aetos for about a hundred bucks (eBay or Amazon, I can't remember). I picked up an LL Bean Quest 2 reel for fifty bucks. I got lucky and found an SA Sharkwave GPX line in the discount bin at LL Bean for $35. It is a great setup, and I have no concern about "outgrowing" it. (Though I confess I have never handled an $800 rod...)

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