Bargain fly rod

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Salmo_g, May 3, 2012.

  1. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,470
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,608 / 0
    If you believe that in the world of fly rods you only get what you pay for, you're reading the wrong thread and should move on. This thread is addressed to anglers who know better, are looking for a good buy, or cannot afford a high end rod. I've previously pimped Cabela's bottom of the line Three Forks rods as an incredibly good buy because I bought a couple for travel and have fished them. I've only been to the tropics 4 times total, and don't want a quiver of expensive rods that see limited use, so these rods have been a good find so far.

    In the interest of transparency and full disclosure I must admit that my $59.99 4 piece 10 wt broke week before last while fishing in Belize. Only the second time out and it was an apparent material defect. In that same transparency however I'll add that last year in Mexico one guy in the party broke two high end Sage rods on the first day while both of my cheap Cabela's rods fished and caught lots of fish all week very satisfactorily. And to top it off, Cabela's refunded me the purchase price so that I could order a new rod, which I did.

    Which brings me to the point of this thread. While perusing the Three Forks models, which come in 2 and 4 piece models, there was a special on a 5 piece 6 wt (the only rod on sale in the Three Forks line). At $34.88 I couldn't not order it. It arrived today along with a new 10 wt. In 5 pieces it stows in luggage super easy, and it's as well made as all the other Three Forks rods, which is every bit as good as rods I've looked at in the $100 and $200 range. If you're looking for a 6 wt and don't mind a 5-piece as a stow away back up rod, you may want to check this out.

    Sucker that I am, instead of getting another Three Forks 10 wt, I bought the 6-piece stow-away model for travel, also on sale, but not as cheap as the Three Forks.

    freestoneangler likes this.
  2. NewTyer1 Banned or Parked

    Posts: 561
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Ratings: +29 / 1
    I am on a limited budget and get most of my gear at bargain basement prices or in trade for something else I did not need but they were looking for. I have two Eagle Claws that seem to be nice run of the mill rods. One is a "Featherweight or Featherlite" I can't remember but it is glass and very reminesent of days gone by with the yellow blank and brown wraps and the other which I just purchased is a Eagle Claw "Traveler" Spin/Fly rod, also in the same Eagle Claw colors.

    My other rod is a Phillipson "Master" that I've had for 25years or so which I love. I have had other newer rods but seem to cater to these rods.
  3. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,961
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +705 / 1
    Good post Sg. I agree that there are great low cost rods that compare very favorably with big name, big buck sticks. As I stated in a recent thread, I have an old Cabela's Fish Eagle II, 906-2 (when they were still made is the USA) and it is a catapult. Of course it's pretty much ruined now because my wife uses it and she's a southpaw...they put a knarly spell on rods ya now ;)
  4. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    I have a Diawa Algonquin 9' 4/5 that I bought after breaking an Orvis Streamline. The Diawa is about $35 and for me is a better rod, in fact if it came in a 2wt or 3wt I'd buy one today.

    I also have a couple of Cabela's rods that I bought used and they have been great tools to help me learn what type of action and length I like.
  5. Dehlan G Member

    Posts: 336
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    The 7'6" 3 weight absolutely rocks. Its my favorite small stream rod
  6. Derek Day Rockyday

    Posts: 567
    Ratings: +146 / 0
    I have a cabelas cahil 8wt that kicks ass. It was $29 for the combo! I was casting it the other day and was able to cast the entire line and 5' of backing and still get a poorly built leader to unroll. The reel, I just gave away--complete crap. But that stupid rod kicks ass! And the cork is nicer than rods I have that cost 10x as much.

    I have one of their stowaway rods that I have absolutely punished. For a 6wt it is unstopable. I've had it into its fair share of chums (biggest was about 16lbs). I use it for rainbows, bull trout, cutts, summer runs. It has broken once, and had loose cork on another occasion, but I've had it replaced each time (I'm on my third one). I can't blame the rod for breaking, it was abused.

    it is also hard to beat the RLS reel whenever it periodically goes on sale for $90. It looks like it comes out of the same factory as my older battenkill mid arbors--almost identical guts and machining. But it's a true large arbor.
  7. bkerbs Member

    Posts: 188
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    I bought my brother in law a three forks 3wt, after watching him land a steelhead with it, I decided to get my self one. Great rod that can handle large trout and still be fun catching the little guys. By the way my brother in law landed the smallest Deschutes river steelhead I've seen. Still that fish put up a good fight.
  8. bigdood fishing hack

    Posts: 330
    PDX, OR
    Ratings: +84 / 1
    Only responding so that I'm subscribed to this thread because I'm cheap and feel that flyfishing prices long ago went watercooler fodder...but I've got to say I had one of those yellow Eagle Claws, the rod my grandpa showed me how to flyfish on, and my GF lost it at Yosemite about 5 years ago :( . Still haven't forgiven her for that one
  9. veilside180sx Member

    Posts: 295
    Hillsboro, OR
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Had a Three Forks 9' 8 was a decent stick and caught a couple fish on it. (was a backup rod) I passed it on to a buddy to use for bass and big Klamath trout.

    If it's a backup rod, or just a budget issue...there is nothing wrong with swinging a Three Forks.
  10. skyrise Active Member

    Posts: 591
    everett, wa.
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    Salmo, I am looking for a 5 & 8 weight rods.
    do the three forks rods fish true to the line they are listed for or do you need to over line them?
    needing the 5 before the 8 wt.
  11. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,592
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,648 / 0
    I never buy rods that cost very much. The most I ever paid for a rod is $215.00 and it sits in a case not used.

    My go to rod in the winter time is a DS2 6wt which I traded a float tube for. My summer rod was a gift from a friend here on W FF a 3wt.

    It's the reels that I'm cheap on. I have a reel for my 3wt that I paid $29.95 for and a reel that I paid $40.00 for my other 3wt. Most I ever paid for a reel was 100 smackers.

    I buy cheap and it all works fine. From tippet to backing.
  12. David Loy Senior Moment

    Posts: 2,399
    Wolf Bay
    Ratings: +318 / 1
    The DS2 rods are an eye opener, many based on the RPL blank, one of Sage's best offerings. Possibly the model that put them on top.
    When graphite was young, everyone was pushing it and there was a lot of crap on the market. Fourtysome years later the R&D well is vast and there are good offerings at most price levels.
  13. BoneCollector Lost my MARBLES!!!!!

    Posts: 26
    Clarkston Washington
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    One of the first Cabelas combos I ever got was the Sweetwater 8'6" 5/6wt and that was a very inexpensive setup when I got it years ago. I ended up getting another Sweetwater combo in the same set up for lake fishing just because I liked the rod so much the only time I had one break was from the truck door closing on the rod tip.

    My wife wanted to learn how to fly fish so I naturally had to get her a new rod to use! I found a 9' 5wt Cabelas traditional that was on sale and she loves the rod! Its kind of hard to sneak out of the house without her knowing if I have taken "her" rod!

    The Cabelas rods are great and they will not put a dent in your life savings!

  14. Patrick Gould Active Member

    Posts: 2,356
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +688 / 1
    What about cheap switch rods? Are there any?
  15. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,891
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 0
    I too am a tight wad when it comes to fishing gear.
    I have only one fly rod I spent over a $100.00 and that is my 10' 7wt I use when bone fishing or for the RW trips
    I broke a old Lamaglas 9' 5wt and the factory replaced it with and new one for $70.00 with a life time warranty.
    I like to go for the close outs on all my fishing gear, boots, waders, vests, etc. why pay full bore when ya don't have to.
    Even my Carhart work pants I buy on "Sierra Trading Post" almost 1/2 off retail.
  16. Siskiyoublues Member

    Posts: 96
    United States
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    I've been noodling around with an 11' 3/4 wt from Anglers Roost and it pairs up nice with a 210-240gr scandi line for some fun trout spey.
    It's not perfect, the upper grip isn't big enough and the lower grip could be longer but it works, the blank is dirt cheap and you can build it with proper grips and have a hell of a rod for little $$. I don't feel held back by the smaller grips so I got over it and enjoy the rod for what it is, the only "switch" rod I could afford! hah.
  17. John Wallace Active Member

    Posts: 550
    Ratings: +61 / 1
    My brother has the 11 2/3wt from Angler Roost and is having a blast.
  18. Patagonguy Active Member

    Posts: 153
    Ratings: +88 / 0
    I agree.
    I have several Cabelas fly rods and are great. For the sea and brutes like freshwater dorado and sea run browns I purchased the 7wt XST (Extreme Saltwater tapper) just for $180 some years ago. The rod is deep blue color, great grip & strong wide guides. Very nice cosmetics.
    But the best thing is that's a catapult. For the fight and to cast Clousers and big Muddlers.
    Those Stowaways 7piece were also a dream for long days of trekking and wading.
    Cabelas is always my first choice when I think I need a new toy.
  19. dflett68 Active Member

    Posts: 594
    Ratings: +188 / 0
    that's a refreshing post relative to all the expensive stuff normally getting pimped here. i've used pretty much nothing but cabelas rods and reels for the last 20+ years. like aldo chella, "they are not pretty, they are not romantic, but they know what [fly fishermen] like." when i was younger and really broke, i had an old talon rod from anglers workshop with a tip lost to a rolled-up window and which was out of warranty. i couldn't afford (or was too lazy) to fix it so i fished with it for years without a tip top. i just trimmed it back to the last guide, made a couple adjustments in my casting, and caught tons of fish just like normal. i'm sure i looked silly but it didn't change my results. point is if you want to fish you can adjust your cast to a fast rod, slow rod, ugly rod, or half broken rod - and once you adjust you're just fishing so who cares? unless i win the lottery i'll never pay the crazy money for a big name rod or reel. the value just can't go up in proportion to the price-tag when there's rods out there like the one's SG noted - even when warranty and customer service are factored in. the 34" bow in my avatar shot was bested by an all-cabelas outfit that cost me less than $100 for rod, reel, and line. that was the fish of my life so far, how could a $500 rig have made that moment any better? i'm not saying there's anything wrong with guys who like and can afford to buy the nicer stuff, and i know it is nicer. but for me i don't value the prestige of those brands, and i don't see enough incremental value in the product to justify the incremental cost.
  20. atomic dog Jive Turkey

    Posts: 485
    Ratings: +316 / 0
    I bought my wife a cebelas 5wt rod last year to learn on and to do her first fly fishing with. It may have been the three forks, I don't recall. I do know it was on sale for less than $100 with one of their prestige reels (which I really like) and a floating line. It's a nice rod. Early in our trip I caught the tip on something and snapped it off. She fished with it for the rest of the week with no tip guide, but on the drive home from Idaho we stopped at Cabelas in Post Falls. They handed me a brand new one to replace it, no questions asked, even though it was completely my own fault and I admitted as much.

    I've also been quite happy with my 4wt TFO professional series, which I think was somewhere right around $100. It has held up really well. I managed to break the tip off that rod as well several years back (I'm starting to see a pattern here...) and I made use of their $25 crash replacement program and they were super quick with a replacement tip section.
    Alex MacDonald likes this.