Was handed down a 1980 new in tube trailmaster 7 1/2ft 7wt multi section rod and was thinking of throwing a sage 2280 on it but seems to have a long end after reel seats, will this rod work for bass and steelhead?
Sounds like the handle/grip is set up for a spinning rod, you should be able to switch it around to fly rod. I'd say a good bass rod, kind of short for long fly casts on a river, ok steelheading with a....gasp...spinning reel!
I had a W&M fiberglass pack rod like this years ago. I never used it much, but loaned it out to others for backpacking, and trips where someone wanted to take a rod in their suitcase. The "fly and bubble" technique was very popular and effective for high lakes with no back-cast room, and this rod was perfect for that method. If you found a spot with some back-cast room, you switched to the fly reel. The one I had used metal ferrules, which made it really stiff and heavy.
I've never looked, but I'm sure there are now combo pack rods made with composite ferrules, that would be much better than the old Wright McGills.
Start with a less pricey 9' 5wt see if you like fly fishing (you will!) then buy a more expensive rod and then you have a back up rod. Great if you fish lakes, having a dry line and a sinker both set up is a must. My .02
I fish 95% of the time with bamboo....but that's a whole different story. Have you ever cast a fly rod? What kind of water/fish are you going to target most of the time with a fly rod? Any of your buddies have a fly rod you can try? I'm in south Seattle, where are you? If you're close, you can cast some of mine. I have dang near all but switch and spey rods.
I haven't cast a fly rod in years, I would be going for trout and smaller bass right off the bat then switch to steelhead and salmon when better, none of my buddies fly fish, I see gig harbor has a fly fishing shop with classes I just don't want to buy a Walmart rod and want something better sooner then later
My recommendation is to start with a single-handed rod. Overhead casting is a lot easier, and will give you the sense of timing required if you ever want to learn spey casting. A 9' 6wt. is a very versatile rod - not too heavy for small bass and trout, but strong enough for bigger fish.
I'm a bamboo guy, but I know there are lots of entry level rods available from Redington (owned by Sage), TFO, and others. If you're just starting, these rods usually have a softer action, which makes them a lot easier to cast when you're first learning. Don't go to a discount store - all fly shops carry good entry level rods, and can help you match the rod with a reel and line.
When you are first learning to cast, you'll do much better taking lessons or classes, rather than spending a lot on expensive rods or reels.