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The Value Proposition

Posted 11-06-13 at 09:17 AM by Buck Henry
One of the toughest parts about someone new getting into flyfishing is all the gear they have to buy. With all the slick marketing pressure out there from scores of vendors, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the crap one seemingly has to buy and hang off their vest just to catch a trout with a fly rod! I have worked in a fly shop and know all too well the look on folk's faces when they come in to buy what the need to go fly fishing and the bill quickly totals up to something close to their monthly mortgage payment, especially if we are talking top of the line gear.

So, whats a newbie to do! I do not think there is any getting around the fact that someone new to the sport is going to have to spend a few bucks. I guess priority one is to go fly fishing, one needs a fly rod and a reel with some flyline on it. Working in the flyshop, I would always show customers the range of options they had, from the cheapest combo set to the high end Winston and Sage rods. You never know who you are talking to, so J.L. Gotrocks might be standing there and have no issue dropping $800 bones on a new Winston rod! But odds are I was talking to Joe Blow tourist who just wants to experience fly fishing and thus does not want to invest a fortune into something they may (or may not) like. In these cases, I would almost always recommend one of the entry level combo kits (Orvis, Reddington, all sell them). For less than $200, they walk out the door with a serviceable fly rod and reel with line that will do the job. My first decent fly rod was an Orvis Green Mountain series bought back in the 80's. This was Orvis' entry level rod and it came with their entry level reel (The Madison). Decent, rock solid quality stuff to get started with, and I still own and fish that rod to this day!

The next item of note that is really needed is a set of waders. Here is a case where cheap is rarely good! It is my personal opinion that if you are gonig to spend a premium on a piece of your starter gear, make it your waders! I bought my pair of Simms G3's over 7 years ago now and I beat the living crap out of them on a regular basis. Seven years of hard use with zero issues and zero leaks. Being wet and cold sucks, so I alway recommend buying the best waders you can afford.

So, we now have a fishing pole, and waders to keep ourselves warm and dry. Now what about all that cool stuff that everyone has hanging off of their vests? And what about a vest? For newbies, I always point them in the direction of a lanyard. Simple functional device that holds the only two tools you really need; a pair of nippers and a set of forceps. Add a small fly box that attaches to the lanyard and you are pretty much good to go. Some folks just love to carry the store with them, and that is fine. Most folks start off with just a few items they need, then buy a vest of pack of some sort and start filling it will all the stuff they think they need. Then over the years, they typically migrate back to the basics and end up with the lanyard they started with!

So, the moral of the above story is that one does not have to buy everything they sell to get into fly fishing and one certainly does not have to buy the very best to get started. Buy a decent entry level combo and a nice set of waders and you are on your way! Time on the water will teach you what works and what is needed. And if you do get addicted to fly fishing, you will most certainly start to migrate towards higher end, higher quality gear. But like I said, hang on to the stuff that you bought that got you started! It might come in handy when you are wanting to help another newbie catch their first trout on a fly rod!
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phlyster's Avatar
I've learned to buy affordable gear that works. I've always been practical. I look for good deals. Keep it basic. Keep it simple.
Posted 03-03-16 at 12:55 AM by phlyster phlyster is offline
 
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