Calling Some Bluffs

Hey all, I am a new to fly fishing and I am working on what could only be considered a sliver of a budget that at this point is being saved for the bare min. So here's what a thought I'd like to throw out, and feel free to call my bluff as I am sure I am calling some of yours... I am fishing on a cheap-o piece of a rod a reel combo my parents bought about five years ago. No lessons, no formal instruction, just gleaning what I can off line and from any other resource I can find (and oh yeah lots of casting.... when I'm not working). Anyway here's my postulation, that a forty dollar combo of everything (rod, reel, line, etc) is just as useful to a beginner as anything to learn on.

A lot of advice for beginning fly-fisher people starts out with something like "save up and get a..." or "be prepared to spend $$$ on..." frankly my fly fishing money jar is rather low (esp considering how many flies are "required"). So of course its a harder way to learn but even so besides creature comforts is there any reason a a cheap combo set isn't just as useful right off the bat?
Your on the right path. Get as much practice in as you can. Go with what price range is comfortable for your pocket book. You really do not need all the glitz and glitter to be able to cast a fly. Maybe after a bit of time your budget may enable you to up grade. I still have my 1st fly rod and reel. Fiberglass rod and a Heddon reel. Sine then I have made many changes thought out the years. But the best investment I made was to have a fly tying vise. Nothing beats the feeling of catching fish on some thing that I made. Not to mention the cost is a fraction of store bought. Getting all the basic materials can be a bit pricey, but that goes a long long way. If you want to speed up the learning curve I would recommend that you hire a guide and get some good pointers. Also most fly shops have free or small amount to be paid to attend a fly fishing seminar. $$$ very well spent. Most fly shops once you get to know them have demo rods/reels that you can use as well. No "Reel" need to go with a pricey set up as a novice.

Good Luck
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Being a good caster is way more important then what equipment you are using. If all you can afford is the "cheapo" combo, buy the cheapo combo. I used a $50 setup for 10 years before I upgraded to a "better/more expensive" setup.

People that tell you "Expensive gear makes you a better fisherman" are full of Sh!t. If you don't know how to use it you might as well be throwing rocks.

Welcome to the Flyfishing world!
I started out with one of those 40 dollar combos and used it for years. It is great for something to learn on. Once you get good though... a more expensive rod is a pleasure!
I think starting out with low cost gear made me a better caster. If you make a casting mistake, it shows up quicker. I think the more spendy gear is a little more forgiving with bad technique.
I'm no fly fishing guru but I catch fish on my free fly rod. I found it in an old barn at my moms house. My professional fly fishing buddy says its a piece of crap. The line is old and cracking and the rod is way too stiff for trout but it still works. Flys are cheap and a spool of tip-it is a couple bucks. Fish away on the cheap! I think I've got $10 into all of my fly fishing equipment and I still have fun and catch fish.

well I agree with old is ok but the cracked line is kinda like driving on a flat tire, The reason higher qaulity flyrods are the norm with serious fly casters is the ability to do the actions required to be an accomplashed fly fisherman. Mending line, rollcasting, and fishing heavy streamers and poppers require a nice smooth action with backbone in the lower end but soft to the tip, you need good gear. Cabellas sells combos like the three forks that are around $75-$100 bucks that work fine
you should replace the line. You can actually hurt the fly rod/line guides with bad line.

halibuthitman said:
Mending line, rollcasting, and fishing heavy streamers and poppers require a nice smooth action with backbone in the lower end but soft to the tip, you need good gear.

you don't need high quality rods to perform those casts. I was doing all those casts yesterday with one of my old rods that i set up to train a friend on.
Im sure you were, I can cast my whole flyline off the foam handled shakespere my son has in the garage.... but $50 bucks for a blank rod of some qaulity is going to change a newbies fishing a lot.. so why do people spend $800 bucks on a deer rifle they pull the trigger on once a year, but spending $100 bucks on a good rod you use 50 days a year seems like such an outragious expenditure? If you are on a budget take a month off fishing for another job and get some good gear, you will have it your whole life.
As a beginner you don't know what you are wanting anyways.
Line Choice?

So lets not spend a bunch before you even know what you are getting into.
I started out with 2 crap rod/reel combos from Wal mart that were 20 bucks each...On my 1st day drifting on the Sandy I managed to crack the reel on the first one 20 minutes into fishin (And Im not that strong). About an hour later I hooked in to a decent 5-6 lb steelhead. On the first jump it snapped my rod about 4 inches from the top (Thanks Shakespeare) Anyways the line then snapped and fish was gone with the wind. Had I had some better gear I feel that chrome would have been on the bank. And to pay a few more $$$ wouldnt have hurt seeing as how I pooped away that 40 bucks. Just my 2cents but I feel you should get some decent gear at first. No need for top of the line but stay away from trash. I now have a berkeley IM7 and an okuma reel and I havent had a problem yet.

But we're talking about Fly fishing here...So you can just diregard everything I just typed lmao
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I say depends on how much you plan on fishing with it. Will quality last longer then cheap, I would say yes. The exception of course is how you treat your gear no matter what price or quality. I started out with a cheaper set up and have since upgraded. I feel I can cast better, further and most important more precise with my nicer rod. The "feel" of the rod is a lot nicer and since Fly fishing is what I am into I feel the investment was wise and I have a my rod for life. Could I go back to my cheap set up and catch fish, yes. Would I enjoy it and be as relaxed no. I think I can fish longer with my nice rod because it is doing most of work. My parents both have really nice higher quality rods then me and I fished with them and there is a difference in the feel. They are a lot lighter, yes they are the same weight and length, so I would get less fatigue. So I tend to go with quality for life rather then cheap for the moment. But cheap to figure out if you like it is a great idea, then if you become addicted go from there.

But if the fly is on or in the water then you can catch fish no matter what rod you are using.
At the end of the day, its the fisherman who makes the gear work, not the gear makes a fisherman.... so all the points on here have some merit. but as for not knowing what speed or kind of rod you want has everything to do with how and where you will be fishing, and species... I carry 3 rods each one has a certain place and use, there is no 30.06 of flyrods and if there was it would probably be a 6 wt in the 9 ft range, but in a creek that rod is gonna suck, as would a 7 ft 4 wt in a float tube, then if your gonna throw big bugs for bass your gonna want a slow to medium action for size 22 midges a 5 wt medium to fast action, are you gonna shoot flies with a wt forward rocket taper or mabey use a double taper to tap the surface of a spring creek.... blah blah blah... a medium to fast 5wt rod is what a person who dabbles in flyfishing probably should be using.... and there is no such thing as a good flyrod for under $50
For one I don't hunt at all so no waste of $800 for me. If I was fishing for steelheads than I am fairly sure that I wouldn't trust this rod but what I am talking about is a budget set up for trout and maybe a small mouth or two. Seems like this is a logical set up for at least the immediate future (through this summer and fall). I don't mean to suggest never upgrading. But a lot of the time beginners are looking for advice on what to get and people start throwing up numbers in the three digit range, then these people ask why fly-fishing seems so slow to spread compared to other types of fishing.
Hey Ketts, did you get a look at the thread by macken: 'Getting started Fly Fishing' on page one?
so, Kets, Im not sure what you are asking here... you have crap rod.. got it.. you have no money... got it ..... you want us to tell you a forty doller combo is good to learn on..... no, its blank is the same blank crapola company uses on every other rod... just changed the reel seat. so, I will say this and be finished with this thread, if you are realy gonna use the rod, buy a nice high qaulity flyline.. shooting taper will work fine, since that seems to be the trend, go buy a bunch of maxima leader and tippet material and look up on line how to build your own leaders ( this will save you a lot of money ) now go on cabellas and buy their cheapest set of fly tying tools and start building your own flys, wooly bugger, black ant, stimulaters, caddis and mabey some soft hackle flys, you won't believe how many flies you can tie for $50 bucks. you mentioned how many flies are required, and Im not sure what you mean, there are 10 or 15 core flies... the rest are really not important at the stage you are in.. I suggest a parachute adams, orange and yellow stimulater, black ant, green woolybugger black woolybugger and an orange bead melted on to a hook. one box of misc colored yarn and mabey a handful of caddis and midge patterns and your on your way. and if ya want to learn the $7.50 worth of flyfishing knowledge I have, we can meet some saturday on the river and Ill let you borrow a sage flyrod and you can see what Im talking about. good fishin-
Thanks for all the advice. I really wasn't just looking for someone to tell me that its all going to be okay, nor was I here to lament about how bad my equipment is. This post was mostly asking how cheap set ups compare for learning and if they will work for a little while before there is an immediate need for upgrades... basically how far will this take me. I love this forum and can safely say that I got my answer and I am thrilled that for now this will work. Halibuthitman: I have often thought that if anything on this rig needed to go it was the line (non WF, non tapered line). Thanks for the help guys!
oh! last thing... I didn't mean to imply that everyone needs a million flies. what I meant to suggest is that this sport can nickel and dime you at every turn.... and its totally worth it.
I've got a few friends that're into fly fishing, and they generally start out going on about how much better off you are with a couple hundred dolalr setup.. Sure you are, but not if that means being unable to wet your bugs until next season! :confused:

I'm fortunate in having access to a lot of loaner/hand-me-down fly rods and reels, but I'd be casting with a piece of willow branch if it was all I could get my hands on this year. ;)
PDXKush said:
I started out with 2 crap rod/reel combos from Wal mart that were 20 bucks each...On my 1st day drifting on the Sandy I managed to crack the reel on the first one 20 minutes into fishin (And Im not that strong).
And you didn't keep your receipt?

Then again, having a car and a drift boat is significantly higher up on the fishing economics food chain than I currently am, so if you were being cheap, well then.. ;)
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I've actually landed a steelhead on a sub $50 Shakespear fly combo. I wouldn't recommend it though. :p

Decent quality line is super important, even more then the rod i think.
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