I am fortunate to be on the Scott fly rod and Hatch reel pro staff and own www.maineflyfish.com and guide. I get to travel around the Northeast and talk to people about fly fishing. I often speak to people about getting into fly fishing and they often tell me they went to the big box store and picked up a cheap outfit, which is great that they are thinking about getting into the sport but, very often it stops there. I really don’t think they get the support needed to learn and keep at this sport.
I feel the only place to start is a local fly shop. These people are passionate about what they do and that is their only focus. On their days off they are most likely out there fishing or guiding. They want you to come in and pick their brains. We are fortunate here in Maine to have several great fly shops and guides. They all love what they do and know the waters very well. Their knowledge is priceless and you should not be intimidated by them.
When I first started fly fishing, I would spend my winter months traveling around the state just checking out shops and drooling over the high end rods. I would have my toddler in tow and the owners were very welcoming and supportive. Most of them have watched me and my kids grow and we have become great friends.
Every shop has entry level fly rod outfits, which is a great place to start but I will warn you, if you get the bug you will be soon saving your pennies to buy a high end rod. There is a difference in craftsmanship and quality but in the beginning find out if you will stick with it. If you have the right support you will. So go find your local fly shop.
A great all around rod is a 9 foot 5 weight, medium fast action. You can fish bass to trout with it and throw pretty much any fly needed for those fish. You want a weight forward line, this helps turn over the flies a little easier. A quality reel with a decent drag system; there plenty of inexpensive reels out there that are good. I have had some that were cheap but the line would get tangled in gaps in the reel because it wasn’t made right and I would loose fish because it would jam on the reel. Again, a good fly shop will point you in the right direction. These are only suggestions to give you a starting point, so when you walk into to shop you won’t feel intimidated.
Here is a beginning list of some of Maine’s fly shops:
Eddie’s Fly and Tackle Shop: Bangor
Van Raymonds: Brewer
Annika Rod and Fly: Holden
Maine Guide Fly Shop: Greenville
Eldredge Bros Fly Shop: Cape Neddick
Rangeley Region Sport Shop: Rangeley
Sun Valley Sports: Bethel
Trident Fly Shop: Windam
Theriault Flies: Stacyville
Selene’s Fly Shop: Brunswick
The Tackle Shop : Portland