Abel large arbor reels
Buy name-brand equipment
Nowadays, it’s hard to find truly horrible gear from any of the name brand manufacturers. True, there are some manufacturers and / or models that may be standouts in a particular area, but at this stage of your fly fishing career, it probably won’t make that much of a difference to you. By all means, do your homework – talk to people, make some Internet inquires, test cast a few – but don’t overwork it. Make a choice, then move on.
- For rods, this list includes (in no particular order): Sage, G. Loomis, Thomas & Thomas, Scott, Temple Fork Outfitters, Echo, St. Croix, Orvis, Cortland, and Redington among others. Some of the major retailers, like Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops, also make decent rods. Key points: large guides, and a secure reel seat that will fit the reel you select.
- For reels, this list includes (in no particular order): Tibor / Pate, Abel, Ross, Galvan, Temple Fork Outfitters, Scientific Anglers, Loop, Charlton, Nautilus, Sage, Fin Nor, Orvis, Lamson, Teton and Redington. Key points: large diameter spools are better than small diameter; smooth drag (the standard for many years has been cork disk, but there are now several alternatives), corrosion-resistant materials and finishes.
- For fly lines, this list includes (in no particular order): Scientific Anglers, Rio, Airflo, Cortland, and TFO
Buy the best you can afford
But don’t break the bank (unless you want to). Equipment from any of the companies mentioned above will be fine. As you gain more experience, you will develop your own tastes in equipment, and can upgrade later to exactly what you want. If you feel like you have to splurge, start with upgrading the reel first.
Learn to cast
Oddly enough, many people spend more time focused on the equipment they’re going buy, than how to use it effectively. If nothing else, spend some time in the back yard practicing your casting. Fly casting is no different than any other physical activity, like golf or tennis. The more you practice, the better you get, and the more you will enjoy it.