Fly Fishing Starter Kits 101

Buying A Fly Fishing Starter Kit?

Fly fishing starter kits are attractive option to both beginners and veteran anglers for the hope of savings on a combined purchase of a quality fly rod, reel, and line that will last for years. However, while the savings are a great reason to purchase a fly fishing starter kit (as opposed to buying each component separately), there is a shocking lack of actual value and real performance delivered.

Traditionally, fly fishing setups sold as combos included the lowest quality rods, reels, and lines to reach the low price point, with no regard to functionality or synergy. The materials are plastic or non-machined aluminum reels (low quality, looser tolerances, feel "cheap"), and heavy, whippy, or non-responsive rods. Adding to that, the standard fly fishing starter kits come with low quality fly line that doesn’t cast efficiently or accurately. Finally, none of these components have been arranged in the fly rod setup to "match" and synergize with one another - they are simply the cheapest collection of options. Click to Learn More.

In plain English, the low quality components in standard fly fishing setups sold as combos mean the user’s fishing experience would suffer greatly, and they would either quit or upgrade to higher quality fly gear. Ask any fly guide or experienced angler who has purchased or witnessed these fly fishing starter kits - they know from experience that value requires quality, and the sheer lack of value is due to low-quality fly reels, fly rods, and fly lines. Standard fly fishing setups sold as combos simply do not deliver value.

What To Look For In A Fly Fishing Starter Kit

To hold value to a fly angler of any experience level, all fly fishing setups must have the following 4 requirements to ensure high-quality and high-performance on the water. Beware any fly fishing starter kit that does not have any one or more of these vital criteria.

1. A precision CNC-machined aluminum fly reel for refinement, tighter tolerances, and ultimately, pure fishing functionality. Plastic fly reels and non-machined aluminum reels are unrefined (feel “cheap” and low quality). They simply do not fish as well as machined aluminum fly reels. Additionally, a high-quality fly reel supplies a butter-smooth drag for ultimate performance. The drag should not be "sticky" or inconsistent, or fish will be lost. 

2. A lightweight and responsive high-modulus graphite fly rod. Heavy, "whippy," or "broomstick" low-modulus graphite fly rods simply do not cast as well and are harder to control. Additionally, the additional weight and inefficient casting motion all add up to wear on your casting shoulder at the end of the day.

3. A powerful, accurate, and high performing fly line. It is crucial that the fly line is not the cheapest generic option. Such lines are hard to control, inaccurate, and make for sloppy fly presentations. Lines are typically a cheap afterthought by kit manufacturers, yet a quality line is vitally important to a successful day of fishing.

4. An expertly matched rod, reel, and line combination for maximum synergy and proper performance. Each component must work in step with the other components, not simply be the cheapest collection of options.

Z. Mark Fly Gear: Best Value Fly Fishing Starter Kits

All Z. Mark fly fishing starter kits offer the “Big 4” requirements all anglers should be looking for when buying a fly fishing setup. The fly reels are precision-machined aluminum with butter-smooth drag systems, the fly rods are light and responsive, high-modulus graphite, the fly line is high-end, and all components are expertly matched by experienced fly-fishing guides. Only high performance gear, no cut corners with low quality components.


The Green Magic Fly Kit is the only fly fishing setup sold as a combo featuring the Retriever 5/6 100% machined NASA-grade billet aluminum fly reel (the industry standard for highest-quality), an ultralight, attractive, and responsive high-modulus IM8 graphite Green Magic fly rod, and powerful, accurate, and subtlety presenting TrueCast floating fly line. 



The SIERRA Fly Kit is a river-ready, high-quality fly kit featuring the Tioga 5/6 precision-machined, pressure-cast aluminum fly reel, a smooth casting and high-modulus IM6 graphite Owens fly rod, and versatile, easy-to-cast Inyo floating fly line. 

The Ultimate Goal

Z. Mark Fly Gear offers non-traditional complete fly fishing setups in that they not only offer the low price of buying the rod, reel, and line together, but include uniquely high performance and high quality components, as well. The goal of Z. Mark Fly Gear is to provide a fly fishing setup that guides and veteran anglers would fish themselves. They know what quality feels and fishes like, and they know what type of gear performs.

Our Promise To You

We want to provide a fly fishing starter kit that never needs to be replaced and will last years. That is why we offer a 5 Year Warranty on all Z. Mark fly gear products. We simply stand behind our offerings and wish you a lifetime of fly fishing enjoyment.