Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

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Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Thunktank » Wed May 02, 2018 11:32 am

Ok, you folks gave me the bug. I will be selling some of my So Cal saltwater gear soon and replace it with gear better suited to where I’m headed.

I will probably start with a five and eight weight rod. I’m seeking recommendations for good value setups that aren’t overly expensive, but I won’t outgrow either. The eight weight will probably need a stiffer action and the five weight will be reserved for more surface stuff and smaller waters.

Also, any other ideas a fly fisher in Texas and Oklahoma might benefit from would be nice.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by FredS » Wed May 02, 2018 1:37 pm

I really like Redington for low(ish) priced combos. The Path lists for $200 but you can find them easy enough for $140. Their Crosswater series is $40-50 less. Sierra Trading Post has some listed for $100 right now. You're likely to get all sorts of recommendations (we all think the gear we use is the best or we wouldn't have bought it in the first place) but I prefer Redington over the stuff from Cabelas or Bass Pro in this price range.

Don't overlook Craigs List. For some reason, there are always a lot of Sage rods listed on CL. I don't know if they're bad or if they're great and there are a lot of them in use out there.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Bloodhound » Wed May 02, 2018 2:36 pm

Amazon has some deals on Redington gear
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by arank87 » Wed May 02, 2018 6:12 pm

I would also recommend a Reddington based on experience. My father has a Reddington 5wt and I have a Cabela's Wind River 5wt. The Cabela's rod will catch fish and has served me well for 5 years. The thing about the nicer rods is they allow you to do more stuff. My Cabela's rod casts dry flies and small nymphs very well but it's not great at bigger nymphs and is downright terrible with streamers. This is limiting when you're on the stream. It also won't roll cast for crap. But I've caught fish on it and the one's that got away were not because I have 100 dollar rod and reel combo!

I actually got Cabela's waders, boots, rod, reel, and many flies. I have fished them hard and they have served me well and like I said, the fish missed were due to user error, not the gear. I think if you start with "cheaper" gear it only makes you appreciate the high end stuff later. Kinda like pipes... :lol:

Just my $.02. Tight lines my friends!
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Thunktank » Wed May 02, 2018 11:15 pm

arank87 wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 6:12 pm
I would also recommend a Reddington based on experience. My father has a Reddington 5wt and I have a Cabela's Wind River 5wt. The Cabela's rod will catch fish and has served me well for 5 years. The thing about the nicer rods is they allow you to do more stuff. My Cabela's rod casts dry flies and small nymphs very well but it's not great at bigger nymphs and is downright terrible with streamers. This is limiting when you're on the stream. It also won't roll cast for crap. But I've caught fish on it and the one's that got away were not because I have 100 dollar rod and reel combo!

I actually got Cabela's waders, boots, rod, reel, and many flies. I have fished them hard and they have served me well and like I said, the fish missed were due to user error, not the gear. I think if you start with "cheaper" gear it only makes you appreciate the high end stuff later. Kinda like pipes... :lol:

Just my $.02. Tight lines my friends!
So, in your experience, how does the Redington perform better than your Cabelas? Cabelas generally rebrands their gear. I wonder who makes their blanks. I’ll have to research that.

Regardless, I wonder after reading your post that perhaps I should just plan on going big to begin with. Start with a five or six weight with various types of line with different spools using a rod that I will appreciate and love years after I start. Too many times, I used to buy “entry level” gear that works ok, only to upgrade shortly after. The stuff I paid a bit more for almost always stayed with me and never regretted purchasing.

I know I enjoy fly fishing. I’ve done it a few times with borrowed gear, always vowing to get my own someday. Well, “someday” is here. Of course it should have been years ago when I was spending lots of time in the Sierras. :facepalm:
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Hovannes » Thu May 03, 2018 7:46 am

If I were going to invest in another fly rod, I'd prefer to test the actions of different rods, even from the same make and model. You may easily be rewarded for your efforts and find an inexpensive Wright and McGill that cuts the mustard nicely.

No trout that I am aware of has ever been impressed by the brand name on a fly rod.

IIRC, Texas still has a coast line where you can play with your salt water tackle.

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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Bloodhound » Thu May 03, 2018 8:20 am

Hovannes wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 7:46 am

No trout that I am aware of has ever been impressed by the brand name on a fly rod.
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This can't be true...the guy at the fly shop told me that fish CAN read and that they positively swoon at the sight of the names Sage, Scott, Simms, Fish Pond and Hardy Bros, making them easy to catch and that fish practically jump into your $384 net when they see the word ORVIS...My fly shop guy wouldn't make that up...would he?
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Thunktank » Thu May 03, 2018 9:53 am

Bloodhound wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 8:20 am
Hovannes wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 7:46 am

No trout that I am aware of has ever been impressed by the brand name on a fly rod.
Hov
This can't be true...the guy at the fly shop told me that fish CAN read and that they positively swoon at the sight of the names Sage, Scott, Simms, Fish Pond and Hardy Bros, making them easy to catch and that fish practically jump into your $384 net when they see the word ORVIS...My fly shop guy wouldn't make that up...would he?
It’s not about the fish, it’s about the fisher people. We could always throw c4 into a lake to get fish, but we don’t do that because it’s not properly sporting. The key is, ask yourself how much money you want to make. Find the people who make that much and see what sort of fly rods or golf clubs or suvs they’re driving and start buying them, even if it puts you in debt. This is how things work. Of course, one wonders why I would be asking you fellas what sort of rod you all recommend. :wink:
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by FredS » Thu May 03, 2018 10:38 am

The only gear I have experience with that I would definitely stay away from is Cabela's Wind River reels. I have a couple and the drag system is horrible. It won't stay where I set it. It's a $30 Chinese reel (that is almost always marked down to $20) so I shouldn't have high expectations to begin with, but, really it's bad. I have an older Cabela's Cahill plastic reel that's much much better.

Bloodhound and I were just talking a few days ago about entry level gear and how 'in theory' it works fine, but if you can step up just one level - maybe an extra $100 for a combo - you can get much better performance. I used cheap, private labeled stuff from the big box stores for years and I was blown away by how much my casts improved with name brand stuff. You're an outdoorsman who already know's he'll enjoy fly fishing so I'd skip the $80 rod and reel combo and $40 wading boots and go right to the second or third tier stuff if I were you. Unless you'd like to have gear to give to one of your boys in a year or so, just skip it.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Hovannes » Thu May 03, 2018 11:28 am

For reels and extra spools, I've had good luck with old USA built Pfleuger Medalists and English Youngs off of eBay. Oldies but goodies.

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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by JudgeRusty » Thu May 03, 2018 11:36 am

Durango recommended Reddington when my old Abu Garcia rod broke. I know very little, but to me it feels like rods that I have handled in orvis that cost much more. It was about a $189 rod that I got for $100 bc it was discontinued.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by durangopipe » Thu May 03, 2018 12:34 pm

I could write a frikkin' book answering your question, Thunk.
But there's no need.

I can get anything fly fishing related for less than wholesale and manufacturers' reps have thrown many a boutique rod at me for free over the years. I have gear by pretty much every major rod manufacturer out there. Winston, Sage, Scott, etc. (gave away all my Orvis gear - never suited me).

I've collected and actually prefer to fish cane rods and Hardy British fly reels. Do they fish any better? Nope. I just like them. I'm ashamed to confess that I probably have nearly as many fly rods and reels as pipes.

(You guys need to come visit and play with this stuff. It's an eye opener. Truly.)

There is a difference between a $1,000 Winston rod and $29.99 Walmart no-name. A huge difference, both in the way they cast, play fish and the quality of craftsmanship and materials. A competent fisherman will catch fish with either.

But the difference between a Redington Path and the $1,000 rods in actual fishing is negligible. In fact, I prefer the action of the Redington Path to a lot of rods that cost 10X as much.

So, to cut to the chase . . .

For where you are going to be, a 9' 8 weight for larger warm water fish like good-sized bass and for most saltwater Gulf fishing to start.

A 9' or 8 1/2' 5 weight for smaller bass, "bream" and fish like crappie and trout. That length and weight will work fine on lakes, rivers and streams. Down the road, maybe a shorter, lighter weight rod for really small streams.

If you only want one rod to start, a 9' 6 weight will likely be fine.

The choice of line weight has more to do with the size of the fly you need to cast for the different species than the size of the fish. I once landed a #40 carp with a 5 weight, and I've landed a ton of #3 to #5 trout on a 3 weight because they were eating midges.

A Reddington Path outfit with rod, reel, line and backing simply cannot be beat unless you spend hundreds more. Many hundreds more. The Path used to be called the Pursuit. If you see one of those discounted, grab it.

Fish those rigs for a while and if the fly fishing bug bites bad, you'll form your own opinions and eventually own more. Not because you necessarily need more, but because you want more.

Remember your first pipe?
Your first shotgun?

It's like that.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by FredS » Thu May 03, 2018 1:27 pm

Sorry to rabbit hole your thread Thunk, but. . .

I like how Redington has positioned themselves. They've got regular guys and gals covered from the $150-$500 price range. A person who likes the Path is likely to go back to Redington when they're ready to drop $500 for their next level rig. I'd bet that's where a lot of fishers top out so Redington can supply all they need. I think Orvis operates in the same price range but Orvis - perhaps unjustifiably - carries some old-school snob baggage that youngish buyers may not like.

I just looked in to Redington and found they're owned by Far Bank Enterprises, an investment company in WA that also owns Sage and Rio. Their website explains that "Far Bank is an integrated manufacturer and distributor of fly fishing products, including fishing rods, fly reels, fly lines, leaders, tippets and performance outdoor apparel. Far Bank subsidiaries operate under the brand names of Sage, Redington, and RIO. Today Far Bank operates and controls many of the back-office functions of our businesses while we continue to emphasize the unique strengths and characteristics of the individual businesses and brands." I have no idea if their 'integration' means Sage and Redington rods are designed and manufactured by the same engineers and factories but to my mind it would seem that there is at least some overlapping going on there. Integration doesn't make sense otherwise.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by arank87 » Thu May 03, 2018 3:41 pm

FredS wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 10:38 am
The only gear I have experience with that I would definitely stay away from is Cabela's Wind River reels. I have a couple and the drag system is horrible.
Yes the reels are not very good but, up here in Minnesota, the odds of getting a trout on the reel are not very good. Let's just say for all intents and purpose a reel in my part of the country is there to hold line.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by arank87 » Thu May 03, 2018 3:43 pm

FredS wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 1:27 pm
I think Orvis operates in the same price range but Orvis - perhaps unjustifiably - carries some old-school snob baggage that youngish buyers may not like.
Well I'm a relatively young guy (31) and got into fly fishing in my early twenties and LOVE Orvis. But, I'm also a pipe smoker and shave with a brush and safety razor. And my wife is a year older than me. What can I say, I like old stuff!
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by arank87 » Thu May 03, 2018 3:45 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 12:34 pm
I could write a frikkin' book answering your question, Thunk.
But there's no need.

I can get anything fly fishing related for less than wholesale and manufacturers' reps have thrown many a boutique rod at me for free over the years. I have gear by pretty much every major rod manufacturer out there. Winston, Sage, Scott, etc. (gave away all my Orvis gear - never suited me).

I've collected and actually prefer to fish cane rods and Hardy British fly reels. Do they fish any better? Nope. I just like them. I'm ashamed to confess that I probably have nearly as many fly rods and reels as pipes.

(You guys need to come visit and play with this stuff. It's an eye opener. Truly.)

There is a difference between a $1,000 Winston rod and $29.99 Walmart no-name. A huge difference, both in the way they cast, play fish and the quality of craftsmanship and materials. A competent fisherman will catch fish with either.

But the difference between a Redington Path and the $1,000 rods in actual fishing is negligible. In fact, I prefer the action of the Redington Path to a lot of rods that cost 10X as much.

So, to cut to the chase . . .

For where you are going to be, a 9' 8 weight for larger warm water fish like good-sized bass and for most saltwater Gulf fishing to start.

A 9' or 8 1/2' 5 weight for smaller bass, "bream" and fish like crappie and trout. That length and weight will work fine on lakes, rivers and streams. Down the road, maybe a shorter, lighter weight rod for really small streams.

If you only want one rod to start, a 9' 6 weight will likely be fine.

The choice of line weight has more to do with the size of the fly you need to cast for the different species than the size of the fish. I once landed a #40 carp with a 5 weight, and I've landed a ton of #3 to #5 trout on a 3 weight because they were eating midges.

A Reddington Path outfit with rod, reel, line and backing simply cannot be beat unless you spend hundreds more. Many hundreds more. The Path used to be called the Pursuit. If you see one of those discounted, grab it.

Fish those rigs for a while and if the fly fishing bug bites bad, you'll form your own opinions and eventually own more. Not because you necessarily need more, but because you want more.

Remember your first pipe?
Your first shotgun?

It's like that.
What he said.
Alex "You can call me, Al" Rank

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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by Thunktank » Thu May 03, 2018 4:40 pm

Great thread.

Redington Path it will be then, though I may start with a six weight instead of five due to local surf fishing here in California where 6-8 is the norm and because I will likely use it mostly for white bass, hybrid white bass and large mouth in Texas. I figure a six will throw poppers and streamers better than a five while still having the option to fish panfish and trout every now and then.

And yes, I’m sure the boys, and even the wife will want to try as well. It will get used and passed around.

Lake Texoma with stripers, I’ll probably stick with my conventional for now. In fact I’ll likely do both kinds of fishing depending on conditions and the mood I’m in and the location of the fish themselves. For now, I’ll just play with it. In my own head, the spirit of fly fishing seems to go well with my love of tradional archery. I don’t know why, just does. Perhaps it’s the potential beauty and elegance of the tools used and history and tradional behind them that appeals to me. I can see myself being drawn to bespoke handmade bamboo rods just as I love the art of my longbows that were hand made by an archer who loved the craft.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by durangopipe » Thu May 03, 2018 5:22 pm

There’s a 9’ 6wt. Pursuit at Gabe’s house and a 9’ 8wt. a Jim VH’s. They might chime in with a word about them.
“FredS” wrote:I have no idea if their 'integration' means Sage and Redington rods are designed and manufactured by the same engineers and factories but to my mind it would seem that there is at least some overlapping going on there. Integration doesn't make sense otherwise.
Farbank is one of the outfits that keeps me on their pro list even though I’m not guiding anymore. I’m pretty familiar with their operation. The Rocky Mountain rep “grandfathered” me in and laughed about it when he said it at a gathering. I was probably the only actual grandfather there.

The big difference is that Sage rods are all hand assembled, baked, finished and wrapped on Vashon Island in Puget Sound. Redington rods are made in Asia.

The composite materials and resins used in Sage rods are far more exotic and expensive than the layups in Redingtons, the hardware is fancier and the finishing is nicer on the Sages. The actual differences in casting and playing fish are subtle, but definitely real; however, the engineers and rod designers’ experience with actions and tapers is the same and that is something the Sage/Redington people really have dialed in.

I’m partial to Winston and Scott rods, too.
Orvis lagged behind for decades, but they’ve caught up.

A high end Sage rod really is worth the money if you have money to burn. If I didn’t occasionally get them free or regularly for less than half of retail, I’d buy Redington.

On trout rods I really don’t care that much about the difference. In fact, there are times when I’d actually rather fish the Redington. But I have two Sage Spey rods that are so much better than anything else I’ve ever thrown I’d feel way undergunned with anything else.

I have two Redington Chromers for backups (and a mess of Duallys). If I’d never cast a Sage Method Spey rod and only fished the Redington I’d be just fine. The Chromer is a helluva rod for the money and the Dually was probably the best value in Spey rods ever. But like they say, if you don’t want to buy a high end Spey rod, don’t cast one!

Well that was pretty long winded!
Once you get me started . . .

I’ve got a terrific casting lawn out front and the Animas is 5 minutes away. A couple dozen rods to play with . . .
It would be fun, but dangerous for your marriages!
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recommendations

Post by durangopipe » Thu May 03, 2018 6:02 pm

Just looked at Sierratradingpost.com:

https://www.sierratradingpost.com/redin ... ton-rod%2F

This NOT just a beginners rod.
It is an awesome fly rod.
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Re: Fly Fishing Gear Recom

Post by durangopipe » Thu May 03, 2018 6:10 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Thu May 03, 2018 6:02 pm
Just looked at Sierratradingpost.com:

https://www.sierratradingpost.com/redin ... ton-rod%2F

This NOT just a beginners rod.
It is an awesome fly rod.
They have the rod/reel/line combo available in 8 wt.

https://www.sierratradingpost.com/redin ... ton-rod%2F

And the 4 piece,8 1/2’ 5 wt.

https://www.sierratradingpost.com/redin ... ton-rod%2F

(The photo is incorrect. The 5 wt. doesn’t have a full-wells grip and fighting butt. It has a half-wells grip.)


All of the Redingtons they have now:

https://www.sierratradingpost.com/s~redington-rod/

Path reels:

https://www.sierratradingpost.com/redin ... y-reels%2F
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