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PostPosted: March 25th, 2009, 9:59 pm 
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It was some time ago when there was a thread on fly fishing, and recently a display of flies has got me going. Then, to top it all off, I went to the Sportsman's Show, and for the first time they had a Fly casting lane set up. You could go and try it for free. After being fascinated by fly fishing since I was a small kid, I finally had a chance to try it. In fact, I tried it twice. I think I like it!

So here's the thing, I want to get into this, but I don't want to spend too much. Actually, my wife doesn't want me to spend too much. I've seen basic starter kits at some stores. Would any of these be worth the effort, or should I go for something more robust. I don't think I'll get into tying for a while, there are too many places to pick up some flies for reasonably cheap. At least to start with.

Anyhow, any advice?

Dave

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PostPosted: March 26th, 2009, 5:52 am 
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That seems like pretty sound logic, Dave. It's usually a good idea to spend whatever you can afford on a rod, but spend what you can on the rod first, then the line, then the reel last. The reason being that you'll seldom be playing a fish off the drag when fly fishing, although it will happen at some point in time. A quality line will last you longer, float higher (or sink as indicated) and, if you get a double taper, you can turn it around and get a second life out of it should anything happen to shorten the end being used-- like getting chewed by a stupid black and white cat named Felix who can't seem to leave anything alo...-- sorry, you know what I mean.
Buying a combo can be a good thing. Some companies make dynamite combo's and many more don't. I wouldn't suggest buying a $40 combo at Walmart, but if you go to Bass Pro Shop, LeBarons, or your favourite local tackle shop, you should be able to get either a decent combo or possibly make up your own for a good price. Don't get a rod that feels soft. If it feels soft now, just wait till it's loaded up from a long back-cast. That's the wrong time to find out the rod has no backbone and can't perform into the wind for more than 15'. Picking up pieces here and there can be a great way to do it also-- yesterday I saw a pretty decent fly reel on clearance at CT for $15 (IIRC). Regular price was about $50.
At any rate, sounds like you've got the right idea. A combo is a good way to start and flies aren't too expensive. There's lots of local knowledge and even clubs that can help you get off on the right foot so you don't get too frustrated and quit. Fly fishing is like golf- every year many people take it up and many of those people give it up just as quickly because casting is a difficult and un-natural action that takes patience to understand and smooth out. Once you learn how to cast, most everything else will fall in line for you.
Good luck, Dave.

edit: forgot to mention line weight.
6 weight= multi-purpose, will handle flies from very small up to bass poppers and small pike streamers.
<6 weight= smaller flies and generally smaller species of fish.
>6 weight= larger bass bugs, pike flies and salmon/steelhead flies.
>9 weight= getting into saltwater rods for tarpon, etc.

I recommend starting off with a 6 weight line.

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PostPosted: March 26th, 2009, 12:26 pm 
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Well... since my raison d'etre here on CCR is to proselytize Canadian spin fishers and bring them into the realm of fly fishing... :roll:

First off, Wetdremz seems to know his stuff. Lots of great advice. :)

I think you need to define a few things for yourself, starting with your max budget. If it's $50, you can't get a quality new DT line for that much. If it's $500 then I can recommend a ton of options that will allow you to fish for any freshwater species. In between... you're in no man's land and compromises must be made.

Ask yourself:

    - What species do I want to target?
    - How do I want to fish (i.e dry fly, nymphing, trolling streamers, tossing bass bugs, all of the above)
    - How much am I going to use this stuff?
    - How important is my marriage?

$500 seems like a lot, but in a world where some folks deem it necessary to spend that much on a single paddle, consider that for an equivalent sum you can take up an entirely new pastime.

I'd tie flies as soon as you can get into it. You can get a starter kit for next to nothing, and if you hunt or have friends that do, you can tie dozens of killer patterns for no more than the cost of the hook. A very modest investment will pay for itself a hundred times over. I'd be glad to help get you started on that if you want. Besides, tying is how you fish when the water is hard (OK... forget that fishing though a hole stuff :doh: )

An outfit is a great way to start, but there are great deals to be had in used equipment. Most of the better rod makers have a lifetime warranty on their stuff, and they usually honor it for second hand gear for a nominal shipping and handling cost.

Find a chapter of Trout Unliimited in your area. Most of them have flea markets (my chapter is having their market this Saturday). You can find lots of next to new or "new-old-stock" gear and you can get yourself outfitted for a song. Plus, these guys can be most helpful if you approach them right and can steer you straight and maybe offer to take you out a few times. :wink:

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PostPosted: March 27th, 2009, 9:11 pm 
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Thanks for the responses. This is definitely helping me figure out what to get. BK, your point about the cost of a reasonable fly line is a good one. How can you expect to get any good use out of a combo kit if it costs the same as a reasonable fly line? Good point. I have heard it said that you can skimp in some other areas, but fly line should be good.

WD, you mentioned that you'd put the rod as first, why is that? If I may ask. Also, I checked at my local Crappy Tire for that reel you mentioned, and my local CT is poorly stocked. I'll have to look around some more. They also had one of those cheap kits, but as I looked at it, nothing in it had anything close to quality. I'd end up replacing it soon anyway, so why bother.

There's a fishing store near here, I'll have to swing by and see what they have. The way I figure it, I should be able to piece together a reasonable kit for around $100 or $120. I'd like to put some money into the line, and start with a cheaper, but reasonable rod and a cheap disk drag reel.

As to the type of fly fishing I'd like to do? Dunno for sure, but mostly I'll be targeting panfish, maybe some small bass, and then try some trout as well. I was thinking of a #5 set, but maybe a #6 would be better? As well, I was thinking a slow to medium action rod would be best to learn on. I have found some good websites to learn from, and our local library is surprisingly well stocked on fly fishing books. I was thinking that I'd take the easy way out for this summer and buy some flies, then in the fall invest in a tying kit to get started when I know what kind of flies I'll be using most. At this point I'm thinking of picking up some Wooly Buggers, some Adam's, some hoppers, poppers, some nymphs, and some muddlers. When I was at the Sportsman's show, there was this one company that sells flies. The company has a website: www.reelflies.ca. Their prices are pretty good and they have a great selection.

Ah, the searching and shopping begins... any other advice?

Dave

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PostPosted: March 27th, 2009, 9:17 pm 
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I found Canadian stores to be woefully behind on internet shopping..I ended up buying a pretty nice outfit form this guy
http://www.reelflyrod.com/main.sc;jsess ... cstrfrnt03

From the States, but excellent service, and nice follow up.


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PostPosted: March 27th, 2009, 10:25 pm 
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doftya wrote:
WD, you mentioned that you'd put the rod as first, why is that? If I may ask. Also, I checked at my local Crappy Tire for that reel you mentioned, and my local CT is poorly stocked. I'll have to look around some more. They also had one of those cheap kits, but as I looked at it, nothing in it had anything close to quality. I'd end up replacing it soon anyway, so why bother.


Hi Dave, I put more into the rod because I've used crappy rods before and the difference in quality for not that much more money is pretty noticeable. Also, a good rod will hang around a lot longer than your line. A crappy rod will cast like a crappy rod and a good line won't fix that. You can get a good line for $33 at LeBarons so it's not a big investment, you just need to know what to buy to match your rod and the fishing you want to do.
The reel I saw at CT didn't have a box or anything, and I can't remember what kind it was, but it was cheap. I would imagine it's gone by now. The reel's not a big deal as long as you can get one with a half-way decent drag, in case you should need it. Check out the Martin reels at Lebarons, if you're looking at their lines. They're affordable and Martin's been making fly reels for a long time. You may find you want to spend more on one down the road sometime.
Good luck with your search. I'm sure you'll find the right rod and line for you and your budget.

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PostPosted: March 28th, 2009, 12:38 am 
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doftya wrote:
Good point. I have heard it said that you can skimp in some other areas, but fly line should be good.

WD, you mentioned that you'd put the rod as first, why is that?
A line is a line. Your first priority is a good rod. Not medium or slow or fast - you want a progressive action.

In fly fishing the cast is made by throwing the line, not the lure. As you accelerate the casting stroke, the rod bends more and more. This is termed "loading". You want a rod that bends first in the tip and then travels down the rod the more it is loaded. It is not just the line weight that does this loading, it is the total force that is applied. F=ma.

If you provide a greater acceleration to a given mass, the force developed will increase proportionately and the rod will flex deeper. This is no small thing, and understanding how this applies to fly casting will make everything in a balanced outfit obvious to you.

The reason that a progressive action is so important is that in order to cast in a straight line, the tip of the rod must be moving in a straight line. The only way that this is possible is if the rod flexes progressively as you apply constant acceleration to it. The opposite would apply in a theoretically perfectly rigid rod, is which case the tip would travel in an arc throughout the casting stroke. Think about this a bit.

Within progressive actions, there are different materials with different moduli of elasticity. Ignore all that for now. All graphite rods built today are of a high enough modulus that the only really significant thing is the taper design, the rod strength (heavier rods throw heavier lines) and the quality of the workmanship.

It is imperative to good casting that the line weight matches the rod, but it's not as simply as it seems. Don't trust the manufacturers recommendation. Since you are throwing only the weight of the line, 15' of "X" weight line will weigh significantly less than 30'. If you rarely have 30' of line out (on a small stream, for example) you are not loading the rod properly with a line that "perfectly" matches your rod.

I carry 2 spare spools for my favorite Hardy reel, one with a 4 wt. line, one with a 5 wt. and one with a 6 wt., all suitable for the 9' 4 wt. Sage RPL that is still my go-to rod for 90% of my fishing. That day will come for you, but for now I'd recommend throwing a line that is one weight heavier than the rod maker claims it to be unless you will be ready to be casting a country mile in short order. The heavier line will allow you to feel the rod load up easier and to use a slower, more methodical casting stroke. This is not the same thing as casting a slower action rod. A slow rod is always a slow rod - it's a function of its built-in taper that can't be changed.

I'd start with a 4 weight rod unless you are targeting big game fish. Catching perch and tiny brookies on a 6 weight rod is not much fun at all. By all means, stay away from anything higher than a 5 weight for your first trout rod. I have landed some pretty berserk browns on a 4 weight, you only really need a heavy rod to throw a heavy line to cast a heavy/bulky fly. Get it? :wink:

Quote:
At this point I'm thinking of picking up some Wooly Buggers, some Adam's, some hoppers, poppers, some nymphs, and some muddlers. When I was at the Sportsman's show, there was this one company that sells flies. The company has a website: http://www.reelflies.ca. Their prices are pretty good and they have a great selection.


Dave, prices like that have put me right out of the tying business. Go ahead, get some of them. Hint here: get the hardest flies to tie (Stimulators, Humpys, hair poppers, etc.) from them and learn to tie the simple ones. Although their photo of an Ausable Wulff made me cringe when I looked at the body color, I'm sure it will catch fish just fine. You'd have to pay me three times as much for one with the "correct" colors. And a peak into my fly boxes will find a few Stimulators that never sat in the jaws of my tying vise. :oops:

So now that you know what kind of rod to get, how to you find one that is truly progressive in action? Well, I did the research for you. Turns out there is a new chapter of Trout Unlimited coming to a theater near you:

Trout Unlimited Durham Chapter

Go to a meeting and hook up with some of these guys. They probably have sweet outfits that they will let you cast and give you a few pointers as well. They may even have an older rod or two that they no longer need and would sell for a song. Tomorrow morning I am going to our local chapter's annual flea market and I'm sure that, even though I already own too many rods, I won't come home empty handed. :doh: :lol:

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PostPosted: March 28th, 2009, 7:53 am 
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That's some excellent advice right there, BK.
I usually recommend a 6 weight rod because beginners sometimes like to test their skills on bass and pike, but if trout is the target then I agree, a 4 weight is perfect.

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PostPosted: March 28th, 2009, 10:27 pm 
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I went to the TU flea market today and scored big time...

I wasn't going to bother going because I'm recovering from a bad case of bronchitis and laryngitis, plus, I had a woodworking show to do later in the afternoon. But when my best fishing buddy showed up at my door at 7 A.M to pick me up I thought, "What the hell?" I could relax on the ride down and he could take advantage of a rare opportunity for me to be mute.

Greg brought along a sweet casting Thomas and Thomas 3 wt. that he wasn't using, and the price was tempting at $225 (plus, I knew I'd cut a sweeter deal with him if I wanted it) but I told him to throw it on the Chapter's table. He also had an old workhorse Herter's reel with a newish 8 wt. line on it for $35, but before we made it through the door I had talked him down to $20.

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I paid Greg's way in and we walked into the room. Right at the entrance was a table that had reels for $3! I snagged four old Pfleuger Medalists - three of them with lines- for 12!

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The race was on, and Greg swept ahead of me to scope out everything before I got a chance to see it. I got to a guy selling Atlantic Salmon flies - the real deal - for $5 apiece. I bought this classic "Jock Scott" for mounting above my tying bench.

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Then I looked on his table and he had an awesome Hoffman dry fly neck with no price. He said he'd take $5 for it (it's like a $75 list). I'll get over 300 flies from this baby.

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Some other guys had some nice Whiting hackle for $15 a half piece...

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...and a new/old stock Richard Wheatley 16 compartment fly box. These are often imitated (I have several Asian ones) but never, as they say, equaled. New ones go for about $100. I got this one for $25.

Image

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Last edited by Battenkiller on April 4th, 2009, 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2009, 11:55 am 
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BK,

Thanks for sharing your sage advice. Maybe you should start a thread called "Free fly-fishing advice" :lol:

Yesterday I attended the Far North Symposium sponsored by the Minnesota Canoe Club. The was a group that presented on the Sutton River running into Hudson Bay. Incredible brook trout fishing. It got me thinking that I need to gear-up a little. All my fly fishing stuff is designed for the small trout streams in SW Minnesota. I'm thinking I need an 8wt outfit with a sinking line to present those big weighted streamer patterns. My current outfit is 6wt - the trout they were catching wouldn't fit in the streams I used to fish!

You mentioned above that its all about the rod - the line and reel are secondary. How much should I spend to get a decent rod? Mind you, I'm cheap!

Here's one I found at Sierra Trading Post:

Image

Description:

Powell Advantage XL Fly Fishing Rod - 4-Piece
$69.95 List $199.00 Save 64% Item #70786

Closeouts. Everything you want in a lightweight, fast action fly fishing rod, Powell's Advantage XL rods perform from trout to light saltwater environments with crisp, responsive action. Low Profile Ferruling System (LPFS)
# Size (length/weight): 7'6"/4wt 8'9"/3wt 9'/4wt 5wt 6wt 8wt 9wt 10wt

Or Albright sells direct: Their Top Water series is about the same price range: Look at model TW90894. Retail it is $125.00, they sell direct for $49.99

Is it unrealistic to pick up a decent rod for $50? Any particular value rod you would recommend?

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PostPosted: March 29th, 2009, 2:51 pm 
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Strath, I've never cast one of that model, but the Powell tapers are some of the sweetest ever produced in cane or in graphite. Even though the ad uses the buzz words "crisp" "fast" and "responsive", I'll betcha a box of Timmie's that they have progressive actions.

You can't go too far off the mark with a Powell and that is an unbelievable price at $69. Buy it right away before they run out. For your purposes, get it in a 6 wt. unless you need to toss big tandem streamers, then get a 7 wt. I'd go to a 6wt. before stepping up to an 8 wt., but that's just me. I throw 8 wt. WF lines to 60 feet with a 7 wt. rod, and a 7 wt. line with a 6 wt. rod for similar distances. If the line will go the distance, so will the fly that that line weight is supposed to throw.

Since you want sage advice, another great rod company is... Sage. But I doubt you'll be finding any of them new for under $150.

G. Loomis had some great tapers back in the day, but they've hopped on the old "Fast action" bandwagon and I don't like them so much anymore. The best to me are their cheaper models, GL3 and GL4, but the old IM6 rods are sweet beyond belief.


$50? No, nothing that retails for that price will do the job. I saw a real nice used fiberglass 8 wt. by Fenwick yesterday for $40, but I was pretty maxed out at that point. At that price point, you'll get an inferior rod for sure. Closeouts, like the one at Sierra that you mention, are a different matter. Notice that the original retail was two bills on those rods. Expect to pay that much - retail - to get something that's worth fishing with.

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2009, 9:10 pm 
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Does anyone have any opinions on Temple Fork Outfitter rods? They seem to be well reviewed here and there, and the prices aren't bad either. Or any other suggestions?

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PostPosted: April 1st, 2009, 10:17 pm 
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doftya wrote:
Does anyone have any opinions on Temple Fork Outfitter rods? They seem to be well reviewed here and there, and the prices aren't bad either. Or any other suggestions?


I have two - a 10 wt. and a 2 wt. (how's that for a spread).

The ten wt. I have was the first TF model that Lefty Kreh tried and he pronounced it, "The best 10 wt. ever made." It is a powerful casting rod, but the wrapping and hardware are a joke. The 2 wt. feels a tad wimpy to me, even by 2 wt. standards. Still, I can get a 40' toss out of it with a WF 3 (but I really have to work at it).

Since Lefty came on board, the rod tapers on TF rods have gotten way too fast. A fast taper is one that flexes in the tip and not much in the butt. The new Lefty designed tapers don't flex at all in the butt, and that is a mistake AFAIC.

An ultra-fast rod needs to be loaded quickly and powerfully, with perfect timing, to get the max out of it. I find that style to be extremely non-relaxing, and I don't really see the point of it. They're fine if you are standing in the surf, tossing big Clousers into a 30 mph wind (and if you happen to be an elite caster like Lefty Kreh), but for trout fishing you want something that is flexible in making presentation casts, the ones that defeat current-induced drag.

Macho types think they have more gun with the ultra-fast rods, but they can't outcast an elite caster who is using a slow rod. It's marketing hype.

The main reason I got the TF rods is that I was on their licensed guide program and my cost was 40% of retail (retailers themselves pay 60%) so I agreed to try a few. To be honest, I much prefer Sage rods. Their casting rhythms suit my style to a tee.

Those Powells that Sierra Traders are clearing out look like a good bet to me.

BTW, I'm serious about those reels. Pfleuger Medalists aren't glamorous or elegant, but they have decent drags and are durable little pigs that will never let you down. I still have the first one I ever bought. PM me if you are interested in one.

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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2009, 5:54 am 
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Battenkiller wrote:
Pfleuger Medalists aren't glamorous or elegant, but they have decent drags and are durable little pigs that will never let you down. I still have the first one I ever bought.


Same here, the first fly reel I ever bought. It just won't quit.

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PostPosted: April 2nd, 2009, 5:08 pm 
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The Powell is on order, I chose a 4 weight. Any of those medalists fit a 4 weight well?

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