- Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:13 pm
I'll expand on what the others have said. You don't want to spend a fortune on gear that you don't yet have the experience and skill to appreciate yet. But neither do you want to buy junk.
Most of the inexpensive starter kits come with a cast reel and a bargain basement line. The rod you can work with, but the line will very likely lengthen the learning curve significantly. And a cast reel is very unlikely to survive in a salt water environment, no matter how conscientious you are abut rinsing it off immediately after every use.
If you purchase good (not top-end, but good) equipment initially you will learn faster and enjoy it more. There are quite a few viable rods for under $200, a ton of viable reels for under $200, and there are some decent lines for under $50. The Orvis Clearwater rods are around $200 and are a whole lot of rod for the money. An Orvis Hydros SLA reel (under $250) will provide a lifetime of great service. It will still be one of your "go-to" reels ten years from now. Check with an Orvis store for a package deal on a 7 or 8 weight package deal with the rod, reel, and a decent line.
TFO is another quality manufacturer with great rods for under $200, a BVK reel for about the same price as a Hydros, and they sell a very competitively priced line that is supposed to be pretty decent quality (sorry -- no personal experience with it myself).
If you buy gear of that quality and decide you don't like flinging feathers, it will be much easier to sell. And if you do like it (I'm betting you will), you'll have gear that won't end up sitting in the corner, forgotten as your skills develop. At least until you get to the point where you are buying $900 rods and $800 reels.........
And because some well-meaning person will invariably tell you that you "need a X weight rod for reds, and a X weight rod for specks, and a X weight rod for ??? fish, remember this: the rod (and matching line) weight is about what flies you are casting, and under what conditions you are casting. It's not about the size of the fish you are after. If there is no wind and you aren't throwing heavy, weighted flies, you can use a very light rod / line combo to catch those slot reds, but if you need to fight heavy winds or throw heavy flies in fast or deep water, you need a heavier setup. A 7 or 8 weight setup will let you throw heavier flies. A 2 or 3 weight won't handle heavy wind or heavy flies, but it will sure make catching slot reds a hoot when conditions permit. I use a half weight and a two weight for reds when conditions permit. I often have to step up to a seven or an eight weight, and even once in a while a ten, when conditions dictate.
If you can, have someone with fly fishing experience help you select your gear. You won't regret taking up the fly rod. Good luck!