Posted: Mon 08/22/11 8:14 pm Post subject: New And Need Some Advice Please!?
Hello all, my name is John and I am new to saltwater fly fishing and have only fly fished in fresh water on 2 occasions many years ago with my father in Utah. I am 41 and have always loved the art and passion of fly fishing, but, due to a different lifestyle I never gave it a shot and only fished with spinner reels. I would like to fly fish much more seriously now that I have time and need to hear from you all some very good brand name rods and reels and sizes for what I wish to do. I live in Boca Raton, FL on the east coast so mostly fishing around bridges and back canals for snook and small tarpon, but, also have a place in Key Largo which I go often and a cousins place in Tavernier Keys so lots of areas to fish for different fish and I could use your help with picking right gear. I do not want cheap stuff because I feel it is best to get good quality rod and reels right from the start so it lasts. I plan to take a fly fishing course if any of you know were to do this in my area it would be greatly appreciated, so thanks all and look forward to talking with you all on here.
Google fly fishing for the areas you mentioned and you will probably come up with local flyfishing clubs in the first few links. (I found 3 fly fishing clubs in the Tampa area and joined one, so it should be easy in your area also.)
Also go to the Federation of Fly Fishers home site and see if they have a chapter/club near you. Join one of the clubs, meet members, get to try equipment and discuss equipment and tactics for your area and the fish you want to target. Especially try out different rods before you start buying, as you need to find a rod that fits your casting style and stroke, after you take some classes. That will save you a lot of money in the long run. When you do start buying equipment, look at buying used before brand new, because your casting abilities will change as you get more experience, and from the reading of your post, you will be getting several setups and boxes and boxes of various flies. Welcome to the sport.
Posted: Thu 09/08/11 8:33 am Post subject: The conundrum ...
I am not to far down the fly fishing road from where you are ... and I too got the recommendation to try a lot of rods before purchasing, so that you'll buy one that matches your casting style, stroke, etc. However ... you don't have a casting style yet!
So if possible, I am convinced that we should try to get some good instruction and get in some practice before making the purchase ... of course, that poses another set of challenges. Try finding casting instructors who can provide the equipment for early lessons. The recommendation to find a local club is also great ... hopefully some of the members would allow you to practice with some of their rods. All with the notion of at least trying to firm up how you will cast once you have some training and a little experience. Then you'd be better positioned to go shopping.
Caution ... we are all passionate about the sport and tend to develop strong opinions quickly ... brands of rods and reels are often preferences that we develop and some of us are quick to "cast stones" at some brands when we might not have all the facts. So listen, think thru the recommendations and criticisms ... and try to make your own informed decisions.
For example, Temple Forts Outfitters has become well known because of their price point rods that (according to many) preform well. However, there are TFO "haters" who will jump on forums with their own horror story ...or that of someone they knew .... or heard about, etc.
I am learning quickly that $$ means something ... but not necessarily everything. For example, check out Yellowstone Anglers (a fly shop) who does the only "head to head" testing of large numbers of rods that I can find. They test rods that they sell and plenty that they don't. They just published am 8 wt. rod test. The owner (George Anderson) is a well known fly fisherman and he writes the primary review. But others on his staff write their opinions and they don't always reach the same conclusions as the boss does. Of course, they can't test all of the possibilities and they acknowledge it. But I find their analysis thoughtful and thought-provoking.
$700 rods may be pretty great, but there has been a noticable influx of quality rods at much lower prices. The TFO BVK seems to be mentioned by most writers and reviewers in positive terms ... and for $249 (no rod case) that's pretty amazing. A somewhat less well know rod maker that is getting good reviews is the Echo company. Their Echo Edge and Echo 3 rods are worth putting on your list of possibilities. The Rise Fly Fishing company has just two rod series; one for fresh and one for salt. They are part of a new movement to sell direct ... not thru dealers. So you might have to order one and be able to return it if you don't choose it. (I have an email out to them now on their return policy for this very reason.)
Reels ... do you need a $700 Tibor or Abel?? Well, don't have the $$ for those, so I have looked for quality and more affordable prices. For salt water, a good drag is important, since you'll play many saltwater species on the reel (as compared to many trout species where you'll strip the line in by hand to land the fish.)
Interestingly, TFO also has some reels ... I have the Large Arbor 375 on my 8 weight. It has a hefty drag, good anodization and 3 ball bearings that make it remarkably smooth ... all for less than $300. (The Yellowstone Angler group turned me onto this one!) Galvan makes quality reels, I have a mid-range Lampson on my 10 wt. Echo 2 (the predecessor to the Echo Edge). Ross also makes a quality product, as do several others. (Frankly, the "looks" of a reel also end up playing in my decision process a bit ...)
No matter what, you're about to have a great time! Best of luck!!
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