The more one learns, the more one understands how much more there is to know. Of every 100 fly fishers, probably 90 consider themselves intermediate. No one wants to think of themselves as a beginner. A fourth of those who consider themselves advanced might be. Since these are all relative terms, it's important to look at course content to see what skills will be taught. If you're planning a trip make sure you understand what actual skills are expected at the destination.
Being an advanced trout or bass angler means just that. It doesn't mean you are an advanced salt water angler. Skills, knowledge and habits don't necessarily transfer well to the next environment or species. Consider the difference between lipping a bass and a barracuda. Or, 20 foot casts on a calm stream vs. 50 foot casts into a 20 mph headwind.
Our experience has been that people are much more inclined to buy new gear for a trip, than to invest in learning the new skills required. Remember, when the trip's over, you can't use that 10 weight for trout. You could use a good double haul if you learned it.
OK, on to equipment. Most fly fishers begin to expand the type of water they fish, the species and locations. This of course invites, sometimes demands, different equipment even if the species remains the same. Typically the first new major acquisitions are rods and the asociated gear surrounding them. Rods that are lighter, shorter, heavier, faster, slower -- just prettier. Though, as we all have learned, going for something that's just prettier doesn't generally improve your life much and drains resources better spent somewhere else.
Expanding your equipment can increase your fishing opportunities and pleasure, but there are a few considerations.
Don't ever buy a rod unless you've been able to cast it. It doesn't matter if your buddy loves his. You wouldn't buy his size shoes if he wore a 9 and you wore a 12. Try different
rods with the same line weight. Use the same line and reel on each rod, so you don't mistake a better line for a better rod.
If you're buying for a kid make sure the rod has lifetime protection. Things do happen to rods, especially beginners' rods, and no one will have fun if everyone is constantly focused on possible breakage. Or worse, berating a kid because of every potential mishap. It's much easier to repair a rod than a relationship.
If you have specific questions about gear, please click on "Contact Tom" in the header and we'll answer them as quickly as possible.