best budget rod / reel combo [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: best budget rod / reel combo

06-08-2003, 06:55 PM
I am going to buy my brother in law a fly rod and reel since he did some work for me and won't take money. He said he was interested in learning to fly fish.

Was thinking about a 5 wt 9 foot rod. What rod/reel/line combo do you think would fit the bill for around $300?:) :) :)

06-08-2003, 07:10 PM
This winter the Temple Fork guys came over to our casting conclave in the Reading Field House and donated a rod for the casting contest, which Dave Williams won. I cast a number of their rods was was amazed at the performance for the price. I would have to say that Temple Fork rods are the best place to start for the rod in that price range.

For reels, I like simplicity for trout - look at the Ross Colorado click pawl machined bar stock reel for about $100.

You will have plenty left over for a premium flyline, which unless he's going to practice on concrete he will appreciate for years to come.

Good luck and I hope he is bitten by the flyfishing bug like the rest of us!

06-08-2003, 08:03 PM
I think that a 9' 5wt is perfect for the Deschutes. A good rod is key - it can make or break it for a new angler. Rule of thumb is: get one that you would be happy to fish. Go cast 'em. It seems that most low end rods are IM6 graphite, and I find that IM6 is great up to 8'6", but towards 9' its got either (1) tip bounce or (2) a heavy and stiff design to counteract tip bounce. This ain't a knock on cheap rods - for example, I think the Winston IM6 9'5wt has too much tip bounce (though I like the 8'6" 5 wt). All materials have design limits.

To get a quality 9' 5wt I would visit eBay and pick up a $400-$600 stick for $200. Top flight rods depreciate in a crazy way, which probably reflects their overpriced nature to begin with. It is easy to find nice clean rods there for cheap - maybe there's a little scuff or something, or last year's discontinued Cadillac.

Regarding reels, I've found the Colorado to be a fussy little reel with an inadequate drag that freespools too easily. Ok, how do I REALLY feel about this?? :eek: This kind of thing is enough to drive any angler nuts. You won't find a stauncher (or stenchier!) advocate of spring pawl reels than me. And my salt reels are all disc drag Ross, so no knock against that great company, but I would step up to a Cimmaron or get a standard design click pawl reel that won't freespool (I like the traditional Orvis Battenkill 5/6 for < $100).

All that said, I think that Redington and Cortland make some of the best low end rods, and their stuff usually comes as packages if you want to make it fast and easy. I've not tried the Temple Forks but have consistently heard good things.

06-08-2003, 08:46 PM
Daveg, While you are looking check out the Echo 9' 5wt-4 piece rods @$120.00, a Tioga 6LA reel @ $120.00, and an Airflo 7000 line @ $49.95. I am somewhat biased but I think these items make one hell of a setup. The backing, a leader, and a line dressing pad should be thrown in for free. Take care, MJC
P.S. I also agree with Juro on the TFO rods. Another fine product at a reasonable price.

06-08-2003, 09:00 PM
If you want to go less expensive on the reel the Phlug Med's are bullit proof ... and dirty cheap. If you want to spend a few more bucks the Tio's are a darned good reel.

06-08-2003, 11:42 PM
One of the best deals on the market right now is the rod, linel reel combos that are being sold by G.Loomis. The are available in a 7 1/2 ft 4 wt, a 9 ft 5 wt, a 9 ft 6 wt, and a 9 ft 8 wt. All of these come with a plastic rod case and cloth rod sack along with reel, line, and backing.

The rods are the original G.Loomis IM6 graphite designs the company got stated with back in the early 1980's. They are nice, crisp, casting and fishing tools. And the best thing is the price $185.00 complete! This is very hard to beat by putting different brand components together to make up a complete outfit that is a nice casting tool.

06-09-2003, 10:52 AM
Several of the guys mentioned Echo rods. These are a product of (Tim) Rajeff Sports. They are nice rods for the money. I think they are all 4 piece rods. And I am pretty sure they are offered as complete outfits as well. You might also look at Okuma reels.

06-09-2003, 01:24 PM
The Echo rods do not come as a kit. However any Echo dealer can match an Echo rod with an Echo LA reel and add an Airflo 3000 line resulting in a very nice package for $222.00. When a dealer sells a complete outfit I feel he should throw in the backing, a leader, and a line dressing pad, at least I will. Not everyone will agree with me but I fish with one of these outfits almost every day and in my opinion the are very good.

06-09-2003, 03:16 PM
Rajeff sports, and the shops that handle their products, DO offer a complete package deal on an Echo 4 piece rod, large arbor composite reel, Airflow line and backing for a very attractive price. I just checked the web site this morning after posting my previous post. Also, I think some of our sponsers handle Echo rods, so I am not violating any rules by plugging them.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-09-2003, 04:47 PM
I will soon be giving an Echo 9', 5wt a try for lake fishing with beadhead nymphs - I'm told I might like this faster stick.

I went to Tim Rajeff's web site for the Echo brands of rods and found no "outfits" listed for sale. Rods - yes. Reels - yes. Outfits - sorry, no, at least not that I could find.

A couple of weeks ago I visited GLoomis' web site and they did have numerous "outfits" for sale. Isn't there a "Rajeff" associated with GLoomis? Possibly this might lead to misunderstandings as to who's on first?:rolleyes:


06-09-2003, 04:59 PM
The Fishtec outfits listed on Rajeff's website were the ones I was refering to. I was under the , perhaps misguided, impression that the rods in these outfits were the Echo rods. Sorry for any confusion I may have created.


06-09-2003, 05:03 PM
I believe Steve Rajeff is associated with Loomis.
If you look on the Loomis website under the outfit section you will see comments attributed to Tim Rajeff who was affilated with Loomis in the past. Tim Rajeff is the designer of Echo rods and the distributor for Echo rods and reels. Rajeff Sports does offer a complete fly fishing kit. It is called Fishtec. It is a 9'-5/6 rated rod and goes for $109.95. It is not composed of Echo components.

06-09-2003, 05:21 PM
Another great reel is thet waterworks new $100 reel with their super-smooth zero maintenance conical drag system. Put together with any of these fine rods and a good line, you will have a fine outfit for under $200.

06-09-2003, 09:27 PM
This is Dave G again:
I looked at and found a St. Croix Imperial with "English" LA reel and RIO line 9 ft 4 piece 5 wt for $250. I do have a St. Croix rod and it seems pretty good, not the rod I usually fish. How does the ECHO compare with the St. Croix Imperial?

Mean Mr Mustard
06-09-2003, 09:58 PM
...and just maybe Echo is to single handers what CND is to doubles.



06-09-2003, 11:24 PM
Originally posted by juro
Another great reel is thet waterworks new $100 reel with their super-smooth zero maintenance conical drag system.

E mail/post where I/we can get a look at these reels.

06-10-2003, 12:22 AM
Dave G. I have never fished a St Croix trout rod so I can't really compare them to the Echos. There are lots of good deals out there, the hard part is deciding which one you like the best. I know it's been said a million times but the best way to decide is to cast the rods. There should be an Echo dealer near your location if you want to try them out. If you can't find one that will let you take a test drive please send me a e-mail or a PM. I do not think you will be sorry if you buy an Echo rod or reel.
I will also say that Mark Bachmann will treat you more than right should you decide to buy from him. Take care, MJC

Mean Mr Mustard
06-10-2003, 01:00 AM
Okay, someone brought up the Echo Graphite Large Arbor reel - Is this the same reel as the Loop Trout Graphite?


06-10-2003, 04:26 AM
I have the ECHO 4pc 5wt and am considering selling it if you or anyone else are interested.It is almost brand new,only lawn cast for a few hours with various lines.The plastic is still on the cork.The rod is a nice deep green with green thread wraps and silver trim.Comes with a rod sock and plastic tube.Retail is $120US.

It is not IMHO a 5wt at all,but a fast action and very powerful 6wt.I guess if you are Steve Rajeff and can keep a thousand miles of line in the air,then it "could" be considered a 5wt,but for most people this rod is DEFINATELY under rated by one line weight.The rod is IMHO a fast action 6wt and will also throw 7wt lines without trouble at all.

I found that after test casting it with numerous lines that this rod needs ALOT of 5wt line to load it.I found that the best performing line was a 6wt SA GPX,which loads the rod perfectly and casts a mile with little effort.A 6wt Cortland 444 Rocket Taper was also a decent line,but the slightly heavier GPX loaded the rod much better and cast farther than the 444.The ECHO 4pc 5wt also handled my 7wt lines with little trouble so it is a versatile rod,capable of throwing heavier lines and heads if needed.

The rod has ALOT of backbone for a supposed 5wt and is heavier than most 5wt rods I've cast.In fact,as soon as you pick it up and give it a wiggle it becomes obvious that this is not a 5wt rod.It would make a good rod for large trout and pink salmon,or similar size fish and also a good rod for windy conditions.

I was VERY impressed with the power this rod has,as well as it's casting qualities and if I actually needed another 6wt I would definately keep it.Unfortunately I bought it wanting a lightweight,packable 5wt and this rod does not suit that bill for me.It is a bit heavier and more powerful than I was looking for and I already have 3 other 6wts,so I don't really need another.

I have compared this rod to various other brands,including several St Croix rods and the ECHO is faster,more powerful and stiffer in the butt than most others.It is not quite as lively as the UL(though it feels as fast or faster and is a little heavier),but is much faster and stiffer than the Pro,Imperial,or Avid models.

Regarding TFO rods,I am a BIG TFO fan.I find their products(especially the rods in the higher line weights),offer mid to high end performance for a fantastic price and their warranty/customer service is second to none.Their Ti models(available only in Canada) are some of the nicest looking saltwater rods around and are fantastic performance rods for the dollar.They are the same blanks as the Saltwater rods,but have MUCH nicer componets and come with a very nice case.The 4pc 10wt and 4pc 11wt rods are as good as anything the big companies offer in the $300-400US range.The trout sized rods are also very nice casting rods and would be a great choice for the budget minded angler.

You simply can't go wrong with a TFO rod.GREAT products at GREAT prices with unparalleled customer service from a company that actually listens to customer feedback.

For reels,there are lots of good options when all you need it for is trout or freshwater fish.

Redington makes some excellent reels in the lower price range like their CT and GD reels.A Ross Cimmeron or Ross Gunnison(the Gunnison has just been discontinued so they will be going for cheap now) would be a fantastic option,as would a Teton or Tioga.The Loomis Adventure and Browning Citori(discontinued but an excellent reel if you can find one) are also good reels for the buck.

06-10-2003, 01:23 PM
Okay, someone brought up the Echo Graphite Large Arbor reel - Is this the same reel as the Loop Trout Graphite?
MMM, They are not.

06-14-2003, 12:10 AM
The Rajeff's are brothers. Steve is the world reknown tournament fly caster and head rod design tester (and now designer as well, having been taught how to do so by Gary Loomis, who is no longer associated with G. Loomis since he sold it to Shimano several years ago.

Tim was the head of marketing and sales for G. Loomis, and Tom White (who now lives in Florida where he runs a guiding business and sells rod blanks and kits) was the head of product distribution for G. Loomis prior to Shimano acquiring the company. Shimano replaced both of them with their own people; thus, both Tim and Tom have gone on to do other things.

Tim is an excellent caster but he is not in the same league as big brohter Steve. Rajeff Sports doesn't really design the rods or other products it distributes. Rajeff Sports is really a sole distributor of the products the carry. And having the Tim's surname on the masthead is good for business since most people assume Tim is the rod designer because of his brother's long association as rod tester and designer with Gary Loomis's various companies over some 27 years.

It is still very difficult to match the price of the Loomis combos of rod, reel, line, backing, rod case, rod bag, and leader for $185.00. They are a lot of bang for the buck!

And if you really want to get a quality fishing combo at under $200.00, the absolute best way to do so is buy a quality IM6 blank and the components finish the rod. I recently was able to have two 9 ft 5 weight IM6 rods have a combined blank and component price of only $45.00 each. And I had my sons help in the building and finishing of their rods to boot. Adding a decent reel (found some Climax discountinued ones at my local fly fishing emporium) and a top quality WF5F line, backing, a rod bag, and a rod case made of 1 5/8's PVC pipe and there was only $115.00 tied up in each outfit.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-14-2003, 01:09 PM
Cabela's has a St. Croix Pro Graphite w/Prestige reel for under $100. After trying my sons out last weekend I purchased one for myself this morning. It is a fine beginner rod yet still has a nice moderate touch to please the intermediate (per St. Croix literature). I REALLY liked this rod when the wind was not blowing and I was using unweighted or lightly-weighted nymphs.

With a good line you would be set up for around $160, leaving enough to buy a pair of Hodgeman breathable waders and still be under the $300.


P.S. The rod is made in the USA.

Mean Mr Mustard
06-21-2003, 12:37 PM
Got a chance to get out with the Echo 5 wt. and cast weighted flies this morning and I am really impressed with the rod. From lightly weighted size 12 nymphs to a size 12 leech with tungsten beadhead the rod handle them equally well. This could be the sweetest casting rod I've handled.

So here is a good rod for $120. Put another $120 in a Tioga reel and buy a good line and you would be at about $300.

my .02


06-21-2003, 02:54 PM
Thanks for the replies. I went to a shop in Beaverton, Oregon that carries both the Echo and the TFO. Cast both with a RIO line. Both were very nice and about the same money. Think I am going with the entire Echo setup. About $220 complete, and no sales tax in Oregon. Going to take him to the Deschutes when the fishing gets a little better. My sources say the D is only "fair" right now. Was very good the entire month of May.