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Carol,
You can match and manufacturers rod, with any reel, and any line. In fact the only setup I have that are matching is a dirt cheap rig I keep in my car(don't care if it gets destroyed) that I bought for like $70 including rod, reel, line. You should match your rod to your line weight. RE: 5 wt. line on a 5 wt. rod. sometimes people will use a heavier line such as a 6 wt. line on a 5 wt. reel, but in general stick with the rod maker's recommendation. As to the reel, this has a lot more leeway. but try to get a reel that matches the weight of your setup... not necessarily the line wt. When you hold the rod with the loaded up reel with backing and line it should be somewhat balanced. It doesn't need to be perfect, you should just avoid a setup that has a heavy reel pulling the rod tip up to the sky, or so light , that the tip plunges down. Both are awkward and hard to cast.. but it can be done, (I have some setups that I have to big a reel for)

The main thing is to get the right weight line for your rod, the reason this is critical , is that the line puts the tension on your rod,(like a bow and arrow) if it's too light it won't bend (load) enough, so it'll be hard to cast. If it's too heavy it loads quickly, but the road won't be powerful enough to cast all that weight , so you won't be able to cast as far, or present the fly as delicately.

if you're buying from a shop,(I highly recommend that) they can help . they will have demo rod, reels etc... that you can cast on a nearby lawn, unless the shop is in a city center. I can't suggest this strongly enough. I may cast a rod and think it's awesome, you might think it's ok, another person might think it's awful. We're all different, so hands on always helps. if you're on a limited budget, tell them. most shops have everything from lower cost items to overpriced rods that only a professional will get the most from.

If you post the general are you're located in , I'm sure someone here can recommend a nearby shop that'll help you out

I hope this helps,
let me know if I can help with anything else
good luck
Tom
 
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