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Beginner fly fisherman

abozoki11abozoki11 Junior MemberPosts: 8 Greenhorn
I'm a long time fisherman and I would like to start fly fishing. Does anyone have any recommendations on some beginner fly rods/reels? I would like something that I could use on the flats for bonefish but something that I could also use in the mangroves for reds and snook. I don't even know if something like that exists, so any advice is good advice for me. I'm willing to spend a good amount of money for something that will last me a long time. Please let me know

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  • Bill@NSB[email protected] Senior Member Posts: 207 Deckhand
    This is an often asked question. Personally, I would ask you where you ended up (price-point and quality-wise) with your conventional gear? People are different, I fish with guys (all good fly fishermen) who have top-shelf GLoomis's and Sages and some who fish with TFO's and some a combination. Some guys buy high end rods but use inexpensive reels. My point is if you've migrated to top-of-the-line conventional gear, you'll probably end up doing the same with fly gear.

    High end saltwater rods are faster. And lighter. The former makes them somewhat more difficult to learn on. If you take lessons from a competent instructor it is not a huge barrier, though. Generally as you improve, you'll appreciate a faster rod.

    With that said, I'd search ebay, craigslist, and forums "for sale" sections, for GLoomis GLX's and Sage Xi2's that can be had for a few hundred bucks. For reels, I'd search for older Abels, which too can be found for a few hundred bucks.

    If you've ended up with good quality utilitarian conventional gear, so you can own more of it, I and many people will chime in for the TFO BVK rod, which is a fine rod with a great warranty and new cost about $250. It is, however, slower than the previously listed rods. Still plenty fast.
    From a reel standpoint, many people will offer up the FWX, which is also a nice new reel in the $250 range. I own both.

    Don't cheap out on a fly line. The starter combos weakest link is usually the line and a poorly matched rod/line really affects the performance.

    I have TFO's and Gloomis's, etc... I Truly enjoy faster rods and hardly ever use the TFO's anymore, but certainly can if I need to.
    As you become a better caster you can adjust your style /timing somewhat to just about any rod, but there will always be a rod you enjoy using more.

    If you are truly testing the waters and don't want to spent around $500, there are combos and deals out there. I just don't have a lot of experience with them. Technology and overseas manufacturing have improved the price-point and performance dramatically over the years. And I'm sure thee are some best bang for the buck options that folks will chime in on.

    Good luck.
  • abozoki11abozoki11 Junior Member Posts: 8 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'm going to check ebay and craigslist for some good deals on the rods that you suggested.

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  • razorreilly09razorreilly09 Senior Member TelluridePosts: 8,401 Admiral
    You may have local fly shop/outfitter that will let you try out some various setups in the backyard or somewhere
  • catch itcatch it Senior Member Posts: 136 Officer
    Don't showroom your local fly shop.
  • razorreilly09razorreilly09 Senior Member TelluridePosts: 8,401 Admiral
    catch it wrote: »
    Don't showroom your local fly shop.

    What does that mean?
  • acesoveracesover Senior Member East Central Fl.Posts: 552 Officer
    I think it means trying the rods out at your local shop, and buying one online. I think that is what it means...
  • saltybumsaltybum Senior Member Sunny Central east coastPosts: 1,696 Captain
    Pensacola fishing forums fly section has some deals there. Like a Lamson Velocity and spare spool for $200 loaded w/ line. Some rods too. All in the 8wt class which is what I use 90% of the time.
    Always inspect photos closely and sellers rating before buying on ebay. I've done well on ebay mainly because the only fly shops around are 50 min to an hour away from me.
  • LargeMouthBassAnglerLargeMouthBassAngler Senior Member Posts: 136 Officer
    you can go to bass pro shops and buy a fly reel, rod and line for under $100
  • Upton O. GoodUpton O. Good Senior Member Posts: 102 Deckhand
    First, find a fly shop that is offering casting lessons, some offer them free. It's a great way to try several different brands of rods and also start to learn the art of casting. A good shop has a certified fly casting instructor on staff and they are a great resource, it is worth it even if you have to pay them for their instruction.

    Between lessons get out on a pond or front lawn and cast to "lawn trout", practice is the key. When you can cast 50ft of line with some comfort, get a guide or fly fishing friend to take you out. Watch their casting, ask questions, and go back to casting. The key is practice, practice, practice even in the evening after work.

    Fly fishing is an art and the more you study it and immerse yourself into it, the more in love with it you'll find yourself. There is nothing more beautiful in fishing than someone throwing a tight loop cast, unfurling at 90 ft with a soft drop of the fly to the water.
  • red owlred owl Senior Member Posts: 716 Officer
    We live in an equipment driven world. here is an idea: see if you can take some lessons where the rod is supplied. casting is the whole deal. Then buy the same rod and line you took the lessons with.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Senior Member Stuart, Fla., Veracruz, Mx.Posts: 2,283 Captain
    I would just add that bonefishing and mangrove fishing for snook and redfish, is like apples and oranges, especially for a beginner.

    For bonefishing, you want (IMO) the fastest rod you can afford. This is sight fishing and speed of presentation is paramount. You won't be making that many casts in the course of a tide or day, so a slightly unbalanced outfit won't impart undue fatigue.

    Fishing in the mangroves is largely blind casting, although you will certainly sight cast to a fish here and there. Point is that you'll be making a lot more casts....probably as many in an hour, as you would all day bonefishing. Here a slower and better balanced outfit might suit you better, since properly done, the rod will do more of the casting work for you.

    To do both, I think that NSB Bill's suggestion of a TFO rod, would be the best of both worlds. The slightly slower rods are also more forgiving in terms of mistakes you might make in casting technique. You don't want to discourage yourself, before you even get started.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Senior Member Posts: 2,422 Captain
    When you're starting out it's more important to invest time than money. If you have money to spend on a top shelf rig, that's fine, but it's not a sport so much as it is a discipline. You have to put in the hours. I started fly fishing when I was about 11 years old, but I didn't really start to figure things out until I was in my 20's. I turn 40 soon, and I hope the day never comes when I stop learning.
  • red owlred owl Senior Member Posts: 716 Officer
    Don't mean to beat a dead horse but I tried to teach myself to cast and to a degree never really overcame my errors. I think the best thing is, the first time you ever hold a fly rod, get good instruction right off so that is the only way you have ever handled the rod. All of today's gear is pretty good. My local library has a book by Ted Williams, "The Big Three". something like that. Atlantic Salmon, Tarpon, Bonefish. In a lot of photos Ted Williams is using a fiberglass rod and Pfluger Reel. Just about everything sold today is superior to that tackle.
  • ifitswimsifitswims Senior Member CapePosts: 176 Deckhand
    The salt is much less relenting than fresh water fly fishing for trout in a small stream or river. Casting does become a fairly critical component.

    If you need help and are near cape I would be happy to help you out.
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