Origins: Z. Mark Fly Fishing Starter Kits

Every company starts with a purpose.

Z. Mark Fly Gear’s was started with the purpose of providing beginner and veteran fly anglers an option they’ve previously never had - to have a uniquely high-quality fly fishing setup without breaking the bank.

Our mission was to offer a complete fly fishing setup that professional fly fishing guides and veteran anglers would feel confident fishing and recommending to new fly anglers. We simply wanted to provide anglers of all skill levels true high-end gear for an affordable price. Most importantly, our complete fly fishing setup will never need to be replaced or upgraded from, unlike the vast majority of fly fishing starter kits on the market. 

The Early 90’s: More than just Dial-Up AOL.

Z. Mark Fly Gear began in 1992 - The Year of AOL!


While Z. Mark Fly Gear is a product of modern high-end technology, our purpose was built upon the same year when the Cold War was declared over, Microsoft released Windows 3.1, and Wayne’s World hit cinemas: 1992. 

I was 12 years old and a devoted trout fisherman of the nightcrawlers, powerbait, and spinning lure variety. I ventured into the California’s Eastern Sierra with my dad fishing bait and lures since I was 4, but grew incredibly intrigued by the wonder of fly fishing. What are those fly guys doing, I wondered? It looked so cool!

On an absolute whim, I remember buying a #16 mosquito pattern dry fly from a Bridgeport, CA tackle store. Armed with only a ultralight spinning outfit, I stealthily dabbled the fly over the edge of the nearby Virginia Creek and absolute magic happened – a healthy rainbow trout jumped on my mosquito pattern and I officially caught my first fish on the fly! On a spinning rod, no less! Talk about a life-changing experience. Pun intended completely, I was “hooked” on fly fishing from that moment on. And I’ve never looked back.

Fly Fishing School: The Only Time I Sat in the Front of the Class

Neil Taylor, inspiration for Z. Mark Fly Gear


Once we got home from this fortuitous trip, my dad looked into just how to start fly fishing. Can you take a class? YES! As I look back in retrospect, we completely lucked out by finding Neil Taylor’s 3 month-long fly fishing night class at the local Moorpark Community College.

Neil was an amazing fly fishing expert. He was a national fly casting competition winner and personal guide to President Eisenhower on the Platte River in Colorado. He also taught Jimmy Carter how to read a trout stream, and taught casting to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Credentials aside, he was one of the most amazing and caring people I have ever met, with an ability to tell hilarious fishing stories like I’ve never witnessed since. He enthusiastically taught his students not only the technical aspects of the sport, but the big picture as well – that it’s more than a sport, it’s a state of mind and an opportunity to enjoy the natural world as few are ever able to.

Neil opened my eyes to the wonder of this sport, and I can never thank him enough for doing that. I can also never thank my father enough for taking me to his class, and enjoying years of future fly fishing adventures with me. It gave me not only amazing experiences, but purpose, perspective, and direction in the real world. Subsequently, fishing is what I eat, sleep, and breathe. Without my dad and Neil, I never would have discovered this whole new, amazing world. And I thank them immensely for that.

So, after 3 months of studying and training in “fly fishing college,” my fly fishing class “graduated” on the Lower Owens river in Bishop, CA: Best. Day. Ever. Talk about a game changer, it changed my life. I caught 5 beautiful brown trout, tied my own leaders, tippets, and knots by myself, and most importantly, I started to get that fly fisherman “zen-feeling” – that one-ness and spiritual part of the fly fishing experience. It was a such a uniquely tangible piece of the experience and it hooked me.

The New Era: Helping Anglers Find the Right Fly Fishing Starter Kit

Old World Fly Fishing Reels vs Modern Technology of Z. Mark Fly Gear


It’s been 27 years since that fly fishing “graduation” day, and unlike anything else I’ve ever been around – fly fishing has not lost one bit of its luster; it’s still just as fun, entertaining, and spiritual as it’s even been. And I’m just as big a nut for fly fishing as I’ve ever been.

So much, in fact, that I’ve taken every opportunity I had to get my friends into fly fishing, and I’ve had many enthusiastic new anglers emerge. Which is great, but I started to encounter the same issue over and over: Many starting fly fishermen, quite rightly, do not want to spend a fortune on fly rods, reels, and line. I can certainly understand wanting to stick to a certain price point and also the possibility that they aren’t sure they’ll like fly fishing, so they don’t want to spend a lot.

As more and more of my friends found themselves in this situation, I began to research budget fly fishing starter kits because I didn’t want them buying inferior fly fishing combos. I knew that if their fly fishing combo was sub-par, they wouldn’t get the complete functionality advantage of quality gear, and they’d be a lot more likely to not like fly fishing – something I wanted to avoid completely.

That left me in a lurch because I didn’t have any options for them: Either spend $500 on a high-quality outfit, or get heavy "broomstick" rod combined with generic, low-performing fly line, and a plastic fly reel (low quality) or diecast aluminum fly reel (unrefined, heavier, and brittle with looser tolerances and less precision). Those aren’t good options! I was perplexed as to why there was no middle ground available – a quality fly fishing setup at an affordable price.

 The Solution: Z. Mark Fly Gear

So, when I saw an opportunity to help anglers of all skill levels get high-performing fly fishing setup at much lower price than available anywhere else, I jumped. It was a slam dunk decision, just something I had to do because no one else was providing it and budget-minded anglers were getting left out. I started this business shortly after that with the goal of providing that high-quality fly fishing starter kits at an affordable price, a.k.a. the “missing-link” in the world of fly gear.

Through extensive testing with professional fly fishing guides, we developed the best value fly fishing setup there is. Period. I encourage everyone to do their due-diligence before buying their fly fishing gear. In-store and online research is the best option, and researching the competition’s offerings is vitally important.

I’ve been researching intently, and I can’t find another fly fishing starter kit that offers a superior and responsive IM8 fly rod, a quality 100% CNC Machined fly reel, and high-performing fly line (not the low-quality fly line that’s standard on most fly fishing setups solds as combos). Z. Mark Fly Gear simply offers the most value for the dollar compared to any other fly fishing starter kit on the market. Period.

Consumers have been losing out on affordable quality fly fishing starter kits for a long time, and we’re changing that. I literally started this business because the other options were inferior and I had enough. It was time for a solution!

Enter the Green Magic Fly Kit fly fishing starter kit. The Green Magic Fly Kit is simply the fly fishing starter kit leader in value and quality for both beginner and seasoned anglers of all ages.

With a 100% precision-machined NASA-grade billet aluminum construction, the Retriever 5/6 fly reel sets a new bar vs. the fly fishing starter kit plastic or cast aluminum reels. The Green Magic 5 weight IM8 fly rod is not only light and responsive with accurate presentations, but its medium-fast taper provides power and backbone that few other combo fly rods offer. Finally, TrueCast fly line sets a new standard for fly fishing combo fly lines. It is of substantially higher performance and quality than the generic fly line in most all available fly combos. Meticulously tested for performance and quality, the Green Magic fly fishing combo walks the walk. Period.

With a 5 Year Warranty and 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee, you can fish the Green Magic Fly Kit with enthusiasm and confidence. Our goal is to add to a lifetime of amazing fishing memories, and Z. Mark Fly Gear will get you there.

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