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Thread: Need a Little Advice...Beginner Fly Fisherman Here!

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    Member Corpsman's Avatar
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    Default Need a Little Advice...Beginner Fly Fisherman Here!

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm making plans to make Alaska my home. I'm sure I'll be asking questions that have been asked before, and I apologize for that. I just wanted to see if I can get some updated info. I have been researching and learning about fly fishing. I am amazed at the cost of some of those rods out there, I'm sure alot of craft and research went into them and that is the reason. What I want to know though is if I don't buy the $294 rod, but choose the $131 rod, is the quality difference that much? I know that I won't be able to get a rod that can handle king salmon and trout effectively lol! I figured I would shoot for buying the heavy rod and reel first. Based on what I am learning, I figure a 9 wt rod would be enough for King, but I would like some advice buying a rod. Like I said, I don't want to necessarily spend $300 on a rod unless I have to, but I don't want to give up quality because I didn't. I really think, based on what I am finding out about fly fishing, it may become a new obsession for me lol! Including crafting fly's! I would also like some input on reels. I would like to see a rod reel combo that would give me the widest range of different size fish I can get with one rod. Down the road, I'm sure I will purchase more, but for right now, I need to stick to one. Thank you for your time.

    God Bless

    Jeff

  2. #2

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    Jeff,

    Everyone is going to have a different opinion on your question and to be honest when I started fly fishing it was pretty intimidating. That being said I would say that learning to fly fish has led to more happiness and amazing experiences than any other hobby/skill I have ever tried.

    Looking back on when I first started the only thing I would have changed would be to get a lesson on casting much sooner than I did. This will cut down the learning curve a ton and hopefully mitigate any bad habits you may pick up. I worked with a guy named Mark Huber this summer after reaching a point where I felt I could not get better on my own. Pm me if you would like his contact information.

    If I were just starting out I would go with a 7 wt rod and reel and really learn how to use it. A 9 wt is a lot of rod for most species up here and in my opinion catching kings on the fly as a first experience is not the best introduction as to what fly fishing is all about. Granted kings are a blast; but you can cover many more species and have many more options with a smaller weight rod.

    This board is a great place and I have met some of my best fly fishing friends by asking questions and planning trips on here.

    One final piece of advice would be to never start fly fishing for steelhead. I did not heed this advice and have been paying a very steep price ever since.


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    Member Corpsman's Avatar
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    Thank you Armo. You think then that a 7 wt would give me a broader range of fish that I able to go for? I would like some advice concerning rod and reel brands and their quality. I'm sure if I'm spending $300 on a rod, I am going to get a quality rod. Right now though, I don't want to spend that, but I want to have my cake and eat it too. If I look at a cheaper rod, am I giving up considerable quality? I guess my question is, what brands of rod and reel still deliver quality with a lower price tag? I have been researching online, but between biased reviews and companies spouting about why they are better, I really haven't been able to pull together an opinion. Any help would be appreciated. Right now it looks like when I leave for Alaska, I will be settling in the area kind of west of Delta Junction where the Delta and Tanana rivers converge. I think that's west lol!

    Regards,

    Jeff

    P.S That is an awesome catch, brings a tear to my eye! lol! I cannot wait!!!

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    I agree with Armo, go 7WT, you can handle salmon fine and even still have fun with smaller fish. As far as rod and reel go, I know quite a few people have gotten the cabelas rod and reel combos and been happy with those. Of course when you spend more money, most the time its worth it, a lot of the benefit of a $500+ rod is the lifetime warranty. A more well built rod will make learning to cast easier too, since the rod works with you and not against you.

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    The best way to get real advice as opposed to here or on review site, is to just so into a fly fishing shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsman View Post
    You think then that a 7 wt would give me a broader range of fish that I able to go for? I would like some advice concerning rod and reel brands and their quality. I'm sure if I'm spending $300 on a rod, I am going to get a quality rod. Right now though, I don't want to spend that, but I want to have my cake and eat it too. If I look at a cheaper rod, am I giving up considerable quality? I guess my question is, what brands of rod and reel still deliver quality with a lower price tag?
    I think a 7wt is the best introductory rod for AK. You have a great rod for most salmon situations, and can still enjoy a pull from a trout/grayling. You can catch a fish on any weight rod but a 7 is a good balance between being able to feel the tug and landing fish in a responsible/efficient manner.

    As far as cost goes you get what you pay for up to a certain point. Top of the line rods start at $6-700 and go up from there. I like to fish nicer rods partly because they are lighter and more responsive, but also because I feel more confident knowing any errors I am making are due to lack of skill not a flaw in the rod so I am able to play around with my stroke to figure out what is going wrong.

    Some entry level brands I like are TFO and St. Croix. Both come with lifetime warranties and have treated me well. St. Croix has a trade up program that enables you to send in a rod, broken or not, and put a large part of its original purchase price toward the cost of the next higher model. This enables a rod to grow with your skill/financial level. I have a few winstons and have cast some of the nicer sage rods but my go to rod is a 9ft 7wt St. Croix Legend Elite. Often times you can find great deals on Legend Ultra's or Imperials on Ebay, the two lower classes below the legend elite, and use them until you have the money to trade up when/if you so desire.

    As far as reels go I like Lamson and Galvan but there are any number of good companies. Oftentimes you can find very nice used reels on classified sections of fly fishing boards, like this one. If I were you I would look at getting a good quality new rod with a good warranty and try to save a bit of money by picking up a gently used reel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowdy15 View Post
    The best way to get real advice as opposed to here or on review site, is to just so into a fly fishing shop.
    Bowdy, unfortunately there aren't any fly fishing shops anywhere near walking distance or where buses go. My head gasket blew on my car last year, the cost to fix was more than the car was worth, so I have been with no car ever since lol!

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    Member Corpsman's Avatar
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    Thank you again Armo! That gives me more opportunities to google and search those brands and see what I find. See my problem is, there are tons of brand names out there, but I have no idea which ones are truly tested and have merit. Now I have some brands that I can research that have been recommended by someone who fly fishes!

    Jeff

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    I would go with a 7 or an 8 wt. Remember one thing, crap you pay for crap you get. Most times rods are costly because the the warrenty and quaility. Trust me you want a rod with a no questions asked replacement policy, this is Alaska "stuff happens". TFO has a good one. But you might want to look around.

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    I agree with the mass. There are only a few weeks that you can Target kings that if they don't get E.O. A 7wt is a great all around started that covers a large range of fish. If need be you could pick of a 6/7 wt and buy to seperate reels. as stated above TFO is a pretty good choice not that expensive but pretty comparable to the high end rods. I've had many flyrods and will always buy a TFO. A good idea is hit a fly shop and test some rods out. Just ask if they have a reel spoiled up and would like to try casting them. All the places ive been to have been pretty good at letting you
    -Tight Lines & head shakin

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    I was reading one of the other threads, about "Fly Line" and I went to the Rio site...I am new to fly fishing, but fly fishing scares me! I'm going to need a bank loan if I want to start fly fishing, since when do people pay $150 for fishing line? Do people buy that? Does the line tell you where the fish are? It should for that price! What makes it so special that they ask that much for it? I'm not trying to be a wise guy, I'm being sincere, I am just baffled by that. Thank you for your time.

    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsman View Post
    I was reading one of the other threads, about "Fly Line" and I went to the Rio site...I am new to fly fishing, but fly fishing scares me! I'm going to need a bank loan if I want to start fly fishing, since when do people pay $150 for fishing line? Do people buy that? Does the line tell you where the fish are? It should for that price! What makes it so special that they ask that much for it? I'm not trying to be a wise guy, I'm being sincere, I am just baffled by that. Thank you for your time.

    Jeff
    If you are just starting out and don't know if you will like it or can afford it, you can always get on craigslist and buy a combo set up for less than $100 and give it a go. The Anchorage Craigslist always seems to have some combo deals that are affordable for the beginner. Don't get too technical, grab a stick and give it a whirl!!!

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    Just order one of these 7's from Cabela's and get after it. Fishing need not be nearly as expensive as most would have you believe. Rod, reel, and line all ready to go for less that $150 and it will serve you well for years as long as you take care of it.

    http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/compa...ntityId=732361
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Corpsman,

    I am a cheapskate and tho I do have top end rods now I started out very low end and have introduced many to this sport and have always advised to go low and if you like what you are doing build an arsenal of better (more expensive) rods. Something to think about that was a bain for me was reels. I would suggest spending some money on a nice sturdy reel. If the rod breaks you can always put your reel on another rod (borrowed if needs be) but if the reel breaks down now you got a spendy paper weight. Lines can be expensive but to start out all you need is a weight forward floating line and you should find one for under $80 and if you take care of it, it should last 3-5 years. The floating line will be easier to learn to cast and once you get competent you can put some sink tips on it to extend your fishing experience. Hope this helps.

    Oh ya, garage sales, buy them cheap and build a quiver full.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Just order one of these 7's from Cabela's and get after it. Fishing need not be nearly as expensive as most would have you believe. Rod, reel, and line all ready to go for less that $150 and it will serve you well for years as long as you take care of it.

    http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/compa...ntityId=732361
    This is good advice but you could get set up quite nicely at walmart and support local hire, and not those aristocrats from minnyhaha. Theres no way you need to spend more than 150 for the whole smear including flies and waders.





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    You've been given a lot of sound advice.
    My suggestion would be to review this past summers posts on this forum and pick out a couple of frequent posters that offer helpful advice in their posts. PM them with specific questions. Quite a few on this site have been extremely helpful, when contacted outside an open forum question. Sometimes getting too many answers results in confusion rather than insight in making a decision.
    The area you've chosen to relocate has some GREAT grayling fishing and good pike fishing, but limited opportunities (as compared to south central or the Bristol Bay area) for trout & salmon. Trout & salmon are going to call for a road trip (generally speaking).

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    i started out with a rod and reel that my dad had sitting in the closet for a few years taht was never used, they were bought from ebay. could try that out. nothing special but got the job done. went to mossys to talk about line and he told me what would be appropriate for my skill level and price. pretty much said don't buy everything nice at once, gradually build up your repertoire. start out with the cheap stuff until you've become a master, then maybe if you want to and can afford it move up. or not. either way the fish won't be able to tell the difference between your rod and the 600 rod the guy upriver is going to use.
    hook, line, sinker, done.

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    Gary, I agree about the sound advice. I just need to work it out in my head. I do like to buy quality. When I buy tools, I don't go to Harbor Freight and buy out of unmarked boxes from China, I buy Klein, Channel Lock, Rigid, Mac Tool, Cornwell, Snap on, Fiskars, and so on. I guess point being, I am wrestling with the sound advice of buying something cheap until I become proficient, then spending money again to buy quality equipment, or compromising and not going completely high end. Go with "good" quality and not have to spend money again, unless I want to get a lighter rod or heavier. Boy, I can complicate the simplest things lol!!! Thank you guy's!

    God Bless,

    Jeff

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    Ok you are way over thinking this. When you move here go to world wide anglers, mossey's, sportsmans whare house, mountainview sports, (if in Anchorage). Go grab all the fly rods and feel them. The feel of the cork is most important. It has to feel good. Then look at the price tag..........LOL Then go buy a reel. Also one thing people haven't brought up before is you could always ask people on here if they have a rod they wouldn't mind selling...............and then pm them to hatch out the details.

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    I'm just trying to get as much gear as possible before I get there, because it will probably be significantly more there. You are right though, I should check out the classifieds here! Hmmmm!

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