Do you love big bluegill?
A good "starter" fly rod is going to be a 5wt rod. Depending on the action of the rod, you may want to "overline" the rig by going to a WF6F line. A White River (Bass Pro house brand) Hobbs Creek, or a TFO Lefty Kreh Professional rods both have a "slower" action and are easier to use and learn on. Most graphite fly rods are actually advertised as being a lower weight class than what they really are. As a result, you need use a fly line that's one, or even two, weight classes above what the pole is rated to achieve a good action.
I fought with my 5wt last year due to this. The pole is graphite, and a little stiffer than a beginner should use. I overlined it about a month ago with a WF6F Bass Taper fly line and it works wonderfully now.
A 5wt fly rod should be able to handle any sunfish, as well as some other, bigger, fish. I've caught White Bass, small Stripers, LMB's, Skipjack Herring, even a Sauger and a small Channel Cat on my 5wt.
If you like fly-fishing for Sunnies (it's addictive), you may want to consider going down to a 3wt or 2wt rod. Lighter weight, and you have to play the fish more.
Be advised that fly fishing is usually considered to be a "rich-man's sport". I've seen rods over $700 retail, and reels over $1,000 retail. There is no way in Hades that I can afford that kind of gear. The Hobb's Creek rig I mentioned is sold as just a rod, or you can get it fully rigged up. I believe the full kit costs about $100 retail. The TFO rig is more expensive, plus you have to buy the reel, backing, and line, but.......If, for any reason, the pole breaks, just send the pole, with $25 (and probably shipping) back to TFO and they'll replace it.
As far as spinning rods, that gets fun as well. Personally, I like a 7' spinning pole, with about a 2000- or 2500-size reel. I like to put a little mono backing on, and then fill the spool with 10 lbs test PowerPro. That stuff is hair-thin, and unbelievably strong. Personally, I like a Light action pole. I have a pole, model name is "Torsion", made by either Berkley or Quantam (can't remember which). I got it at Wally World a couple years ago. Nice pole, but they don't sell them any more. A good Ugly Stick would fill the bill nicely as well.
I also have an UL spinning setup, 4 1/2' long, got a decent micro-spin reel, and have it strung with 4 lbs test mono.
My UL rig has brought in lots of Sunnies, LMB, Crappie, and even a small Channel Cat. My larger pole, the Torsion, has landed ALL SORTS of stuff, up to and including an 11 lbs Striper. Keep the drag set right, and you can bring in all sorts of fish with just about any rig.
As a perpetual novice fly fisher, I'll throw my two cents in here, too :-) I recently bought a Lefty Kreh Professional (good time to buy if you can still get one; they're on clearance because TFO introduced the Lefty Kreh Pro II. I recently sidelined the Sage Flight that I bought a few years ago as a combo from LL Bean, mostly just because my buddy had one and it was a truly great price on the combo at the time. I got to try somebody's TFO Professional a few weeks ago and liked it so much better than I went home and ordered one that day :) Waiting on a Rio Gold line in the mail to replace the generic WF5F line that came with the Sage.
I also just got a Redington Classic Trout 4 weight and 2 weight, really looking forward to trying the 2 weight out on gills this spring. I got both of the Redingtons at fishwest.com at the amazing price of $82/each with free shipping. I don't know if they have any left now (I got the last 2 weight, they told me), but it's worth checking. If you don't see what you want on the web site, give them a call. That's how I got the last 2 weight :)
Somewhere (I can't remember now what site it was) I saw a Lefty Kreh Professional outfit - rod, reel, line, and backing - for $149, which is a really good price. I'd say it's worth the extra 50 bucks over a Hobb's Creek combo because you'll never outgrow the rod.
That said, the Hobb's Creek outfit's not a bad thing to start with, and you can easily 50 bucks-here-and-there yourself into a big rod collection - Allen does not lie about fly fishing's reputation as a rich man's sport :-) You can get a lot of gear on the cheap with some googling, though.
This is the link I mentioned in my previous reply:
$150 for a TFO Lefty Kreh Professional, Orvis Encounter reel, pre-loaded with WF5F line. That's a very nice price; the rods alone are selling for $100 - $110 on closeout on eBay, and $105 at Fly Shop Closeouts. The only downside is the rod price for a TFO Professional doesn't include a tube, just a sock. I'm keeping mine in my Sage reel-on-rod tube right now but I need to get another tube b/c I plan to sell the Sage.
thanks so much for all the info.. i willhave to wait and save for one though.. got a weddingand honeymoon ahead in like 3 weeks.. but I will deffinately own one when I can!
Congratulations, Joe, and I do hope she likes to fish - honeymoon at Richmond Mill? ;-)
I taught my wife the basics of fishing and she goes with me sometimes, but we have so few days off in common that it's became a rare thing lately. Funny thing is, I taught her to fish and caught my personal best redear from a lifetime of fishing one summer (you saw it in the photo of the plate full of fish) and not too much later - might even have been the next trip - she caught a bigger one lol.
We haven't went fishing together yet.. but I have just started fishing again after years of not going because of health issues and other things. She says she will go sometime but she doesn't have the bug like me. maybe I can help her catch it! Man a honeymoon at Richmond Mill!!! What a Idea! Would be AWESOME lol.. But I think I would have zero chance of talking her out of our honeymoon cruise she has planned ect..lol
Check the Allen fly fishing site. They have some awesome deals on a great product line.