If you do opt to build yourself, look for year end or "to be discontinued" blanks. There are two reasons to do this: first, they are cheaper and second, the manufacturer will still warrent the blank for many years to come just in case you accidentally break a tip. A really good place to look for deals on this type of blank is MRFC (Madison River Fishing Company) out of Ennis, MT. Once you click on their homepage, go to products then the clearance items section. PS-They also have usually some good deals here on high end, finished rods if you don't want to build your own.
You can never go wrong with a Sage, Thomas & Thomas or Orvis rod, but they are expensive. If I was just starting out though, I would go with the less expensive St. Croix or perhaps an RL Winston. These are "middle of the road rods" and of these two, should you pick Winston go with one weight lighter than you would like to buy for they seem to me a bit heavier and thicker per weight class than other rods. That is buy a 4 wt. rather than a 5 wt. Now if you are new to fly fishing, please read on for there are even other options.
The least expensive rods I would suggest would be Bass Pro or perhaps even Cabelas. Make sure you are picking a rod for your particular purpose, like bass fishing or trout, for there are differences. Rod and real combinations can be the ticket, but I would be cautious of Cabelas's cheaper fly reels. Do make sure the handle is cork and the reel seat should not be plastic. One last point, the stripping guide (lower most and closest to the handle) through which the fly line passes, should be at least 10mm in diameter. 8 mm will do, but definitely not any smaller.
We will cover other rod basics later, but these will get you started. Idaho fly fishing is a great time, but make sure you do your research and gear up properly.
Tags: Fly Reel Basics
A "Perfect" Fly