Fly rods, among other pieces of gear, are quite subjective purchases; each casting style, budget, target species, and situation call for something different. If you are reading this article, maybe you are looking to get into the sport, or maybe you are a trout bum with a little curiosity for the saltwater side of things. Don't worry, saltwater fly fishing doesn't have to be intimidating or confusing. Let's break down exactly how to make your debut into the salt!
Like many other items and pieces of gear in fly fishing, there is a wide selection of choices, and with that wide array of choices, there can be pitfalls and shortcomings alongside each choice. Trust me, it does not have to be as headache-inducing as it might seem...
Fly Rods, When Treated Poorly, Will Break!
Like any well made piece of equipment, a car, tool, or product, a fly rod is built to endure tough conditions. Scientists, engineers, and fly rod manufacturers have devoted years to test these rods so we, the consumers, can press the boundaries of stupidity, both on the water and otherwise. Fly rods are designed to cast in tough winds, to fight nasty fish, and even survive the perils of traveling.
There are times, however, when our human carelessness takes over and neglect fuels us to purchase a new rod. I have broken many fly rods in ceiling fans, doors, and situations of the like, not because of anything wrong with the rod, but because of my neglect. Understand that when purchasing a new fly rod, or your first fly rod, chances are you will do something stupid and break it. This is not your fault, or the rod's fault, or the people who designed the rod's fault, but simply just part of the game.
Which Rod Should I Get?
When you space out and slam that rod in the car door, you have us to walk you through the process of buying a new rod, a rod that fits your exact needs.
Knowing the specific demands your fishing requires will help give you cues on which rod makes more sense to add to your lineup. However, if you are a first time buyer and are not sure what kind of rod your fishing demands, you can shoot for an all around rod and build up upon more fishing experience.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when thinking about buying a new rod:
What is my casting style? Do I like fast action rods, or slow loading rods?
What species will I primarily target with this rod?
How big are the flies I will be throwing?
How long are the casts that I need to make where I will be fishing?
What rods have I used before and liked? What rods have I used before and disliked?
What fly line do I like throwing? Can I cast my new potential rod with the exact fly line I know I like using?
What is my budget?
As with buying a car, the customer has to fully understand what they want their car, or in this case, their rod, to do for them. A first time car buyer would never normally look for a high dollar sports car for their first vehicle, because they do not have enough experience driving to fully grasp the ability of that sports car (plus it might be dangerous to give a 16 year old a Ferrari). Now, if you had offered me a Ferrari at 16, would I have refused? Absolutely not - I would have driven it a lot, and most likely dinged it and dented it along the way.
With a fly rod, I like to advise first time buyers to start small. Assess your needs! Are you fishing for one week a year, or three weeks? Are you trying to buy one complete setup that can do it all, or do you want to target several species in the salt? Perhaps you are normally a trout angler, maybe a new 8wt can be the key that unlocks doors to trying out new tactics of trout fishing like streamer fishing, or new species close to home, like bass, carp, steelhead, or salmon!
Be realistic about what the rod you are buying can do for you.
All the rods offered at Seven Mile Fly Shop are backed by each employee, so you can rest easy knowing that any of us would personally go on the water with any rod in our inventory and fish it ourselves. An experienced driver will tell you that they could drive a 2009 Prius, but they would much rather drive the Ferrari.
Rods like the Sage Maverick and the Thomas & Thomas Zone are especially great for the first time fly caster, or fly angler, as they are delicate, yet powerful rods at a reasonable price point, yet have all the attitude and personality of an upper echelon, $900 rod
And keep this between you and me, okay? Most times, it is the archer, not the arrow, that makes the shot.
Budget is a huge part of a buying your first, tenth, or twentieth fly rod. With fly fishing gear, you will get what you pay for. While buying a $50 rod/reel/line combo might seem appealing, you will find that your setup will not preform when you really need it the most. Consider your dream fish, tailing or rolling right in front of you...
...I want what I feel confident with! As an angler, I do not want to leave anything to chance when it comes to my fishing. Do not invest all your vacation time and fishing time to just feel "meh" about the stuff you are fishing with! It makes a difference to feel comfortable and confident with what you are using.
Cast With Confidence
Confidence is built through practice, so swing by the shop and actually cast on our pond! Our employees will walk you through exactly what you need to look for in a new rod. And if you are just starting out, ask about casting lessons, they will accelerate the learning curve and get you where you need to be, faster than you would on your own!
If I am on the front end of the skiff, I do not want to leave anything up to chance. Consider a realistic budget that will enable you to accomplish your angling goals, and treat that gear well!
Fly fishing can be an expensive sport, but it certainly does not have to be. Start small if you are starting out, because you can always upgrade.