I am looking to get into salt water fly fishing. I tend to only get to flyfish when I am in Idaho. Since I live on the Gulf coast this seems like a bit of a waste.
I am torn between the BassPro Dogwood Canyon combo
or Cabelas Three Forks combo
Then again I see Cabelas has the RLS combo on sale for $199, $100 off. Worth the extra price?
I am a die hard Saltwater fisherman. I live about 50 miles from Daytona and always buy Penn or Shimano.
I've been contemplating that Cabela's setup for a while now. I've been thinking of adding a 3-wt to the mix and that might be right up my alley. I've got a Sage Response 5-wt which is what I'm using for fresh.
For saltwater I seem to lean towards TFO. I have the BVK and Mangrove (both 8-wt). I managed to mangle one of the snake guides on my BVK when I was in a rush to break it down in the dark while being eaten alive by a skeeter swarm. While it was back at TFO I somehow managed to walk out of the shop with the Mangrove. I picked it up since I primarily fish out of a kayak and it seemed to load pretty quickly with just a short run of line out. Unfortunately I managed to break the Mangrove last week on my third outing with it. I have no idea what happened. I made a cast after about an hour of fishing and the front went flying. The second section from the tip snapped almost right in the middle. I suppose I could've hit it with the heavy eyes on the fly I was using with the BVK. If so that's discouraging. It's got the TiCr coating and is explicitly advertised as being able to withstand such encounters. So one break was my fault and the other is TBD. The BVK was back to me after a week. They just got the Mangrove Fri so we'll see.
I really do like both rods. I plan on using the Mangrove as my primary and I'll use the BVK for heavier flies with a sinking tip.
I also like sealed drags for the reels when dealing with salt. Cabela's had (maybe still) the Sage 1800 series reels on sale for $80. I now own one 1850 and two 1880s. Not a bad reel if you don't want to spend a lot of money for a sealed drag. I might get a Lamson, Hatch, or Nautilus later. I don't have any complaints about the 1800s, though.
The lines I'm using are the Airflo Ridge Tropical and Rio Outbound Short. I had a Cortland 440 before the Airflo. The Airflo is a very nice casting, floating line. It really seems to fly through the guides. I've only used the Rio once so I can't comment on it yet.
ETA: I also had the opportunity to try out the new Redington Vapen (7-wt). I liked it. If I hadn't just bought the Mangrove I may have ended up with it. Same price.
The girlfriend purchased a 4 weight RLS combo a few weeks ago, I was able to cast it for a few minutes on the river and it seemed pretty good. The rod seems to me to have a med fast to fastish action and I had no issues at all doing 20+ foot roll casts with a 12 foot leader and a size 12 bead head "surprised the hell out of me". The reel seemed ok but I wasn't able to test the drag, it is loud compared to my Ross reels and has a little plastic clicker on the spool so you will need to remove that if it is too loud for you. She was able to get it when they had them at $179 and I think she got a pretty dang good deal.
The RLS is worlds better than the Dogwood Canyon. We got her a Dogwood Canyon in 5 weight as a starter and it is not the greatest. No action at all on the bottom part of the rod and then the last three feet are all floppy, she outgrew it in about three outings from picking up her first fly rod.
I have a Cabelas traditional which is close to the Three Forks and the RLS is better than it. From handling The RLS and looking at the rod construction/materials I would say it is a good intermediate rod price wise that should work well for awhile and at the price range of less than $200.00 you can not go wrong.