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Time to get a fly rod...looking for some help picking out some equipment please.

Hey BBGers,

I'm looking to get an actual fly rod now instead of using a fly tied behind a float. I've never used one before and don't really know what I should be looking for. I'd appreciate any and all advice concerning which equipment to get and how to get it set up/use properly.

1. Rod (I read somewhere a 5-6wt 8-9ft was good to start with?)

2. Reel

3. Line

   3a. Backing line?

   3b. Actual fly line?

   3c. Leader/Tippet line? I'm not sure what the difference here is (or if there is one).

4. Flies

5. Instructional videos/books/sites

6. What knots to tie

7. Anything else I'm missing or need to consider?

As always looking for the best value...the MOST/BEST equipment for the LEAST $$$ I can get away with spending. I not looking to spend 75% more on cost to get only 10% more functionality...please consider diminishing returns when making your suggestions.



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Craig, try this discussion. If you need more info, let us know. We're more than willing to share info. Plenty of masters of fly rodding in here. Compared to the masters, I'm still a baby:

Thank you Leo!  I was just about to tell him what I ended up with.

NO NO LEO YOUR'E NO BABY!!!!!!!! I'M SURE YOU COULD TEACH ALL US AIR HEADS OUT HERE SOMETHING!!!!!!!! You are a Techno wizard and I"m sure you're up to date on latest gadgets and gizmo's!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All except that ancient fly rod you use! How's it working out anyway? Hopefully well and better days are coming for the long rods when some of this heat and wind stops here!

Ok, well, I guess I never did post up on that thread about what I ended up with.

I went to my local BPS and bought an 8 1/2', 5wt, White River Bugger combo.  White River is the BPS house fly-fishing brand.

I think the reel is an unbranded Eagle Claw reel, at least, so I've been told.  It has a detachable spool, but I didn't find any spare spools available.

I got a 100 yd spool of Magibraid braided Dacron for backing.  I also got a spool of Hobb's Creek WF5F line.  I would have upsized to a WF6F (a little heavier line) to help teach myself how to cast, but, they didn't have any on the shelf when I was there.

I got it spooled up in the parking lot at the store, and stopped off at a local pond on my way home to give it a shot.

I used a nail knot to attach the backing to the line.  BTW, this is the SAME EXACT knot as the pre-tied bobber-stops you can buy at the store.  The fly line I bought did NOT have a welded loop on the casting end.  Instead, I cut off a 12" length of 10-lbs-test braid from one of my reels, and used that to "whip" a loop onto the fly line.

I am currently using a furled leader that was made by a friend, made out of 2 lbs test mono.  The thick end has about a 40 lbs test rating (a little higher because of the furling, it's a Physics thing), and the tapered end is about 12 lbs test.  I use a loop-to-loop connection from fly line to leader, and I also use the loop-to-loop for the tippet.  Depending on what I'm fishing for, right now, I use 4 lbs test mono for my tippet, and 8 lbs test mono if I expect to go for some LMB's or bigger fish that have a few teeth (Saugers and Skipjack).

All totaled, I spent $70 for my rig, including line.  The furled leader was given to me, and the mono I'm using for Tippet material I just happen to have laying around.

Very nice setup!

You know, I haven't gone anything more than the 6lbs Spider flouro as my leader/tippet, yet, still land LMB as large at 8lbs. Of course, losing flies to branches and water weeds is another story.

I've caught several LMB's on that 4 lbs test mono for a tippet.  As long as stay around 3 lbs or less, and stay out of the cattails, I'll get them in.

Thanks for the details Allen. How are you liking that setup? Anything you'd change, or is that what you'd recommend for me too?

Craig, Both BASS PRO SHOP and Cabelas have some good starter fly rod kits and will set them up!!!!!! They will also show you how to!!!!!!!! I like the SMALLER WEIGHT RODS, when I started I was using ultra light spinning rods!!!! Started out with an 8 weight, Now I fish 2 and 3 wts. I always did like ultra light fishing!!!!! While bluegillin I caught this on a 2 weight!!!!!!!! If you get a GOOD SALES PERSON they will even explain the casting To get you started!!!!!

  You wont regret it!!!!!!!!!!!!

I borrowed a 9', 5wt Scientific Anglers rig with WF5F line for a week before I bought my rig.  After I bought my rig, I noticed an immediate improvement in my casting, but am not sure if this was due to the rod, or the constant reading/observations I was making while I was practicing.

I have not of the opportunity to get my hands on a setup that costs a couple hundred dollars.  Money is a factor for me most of the time (except tax season), so I went cheap, but not so cheap as to the Wal-Mart cheapies.

I would recommend getting a similar setup, but only because I haven't tried anything else.  I know that there are better rigs out there.  I just wanted something affordable in case I decided I didn't like it, so that I could write off the expense as a "learning lesson".

My casting is getting much better.  However, the place I'm doing the bulk of my practice at, I'm always casting into the wind.  A heavier rig, like a 6wt or 7wt setup, would handle the wind better.

Another good bit of advice I can pass along, is to only limit yourself to hour-long sessions.  I was given that advice a couple weeks ago.  I find it to be worth it's weight in gold.  After about an hour, my arm starts to get tired, and my technique gets sloppy, opening up the loop in the back, etc.  Instead of letting a lot of bad habits creep in an establish themselves, I just pack it up and leave, content with a hour's worth of "good" casting, and some catching to make it memorable.

Probably the only thing I would do differently, when you buy your fly line, is go up one weight from what your rod is rated.  This will help to load the rod, and learn to cast it.  Once you get things down, especially when your distance starts to get better, you might want to get a line that's rated for your rod, and take the heavier line off.  If you go this route, start with a cheaper line for your first line.  The Hobb's Creek line that I bought is about half the price of most of the "good" lines out there; it runs right around $20 at BPS.

Another thing you might want to do, is get on youtube and run a search for a "stripping basket".  You can buy them premade, but why spend $50 or more when you can make one for about $10?  You might look like a goof with a large basket on your hip, but the increased speed of casting, and reduced tangles, not to mention that your line will stay fairly clean and not stepped-on, will more than make up for that frustration.  I bought some of the things to make one; I need to finish that little project.

We're getting a Cabela's in my area sometime this summer I think, but currently the only brick and mortar place around is Gander Mountain.

Your setup sounds like what I'm looking for Allen. I want something a little better than the Walmart specials, but don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for something that is going to be a beginning practice rod.

I'll probably try to find something similar to your setup at Cabela's online.

I wish we had Cabela's or Gander Mt. here.  Lucky!

I love Gander MT. ! Cabelas is a good store too. I visited both of them while traveling. We have neither one of them here in GA. We do have Bass Pro and Acadamy Sports. I always say Acadamy is a no frills Bass Pro. Not a lot of mounts, and no aquarium but darn good prices! 


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