That question must one of the most commonly asked of fly fishing instructors. There are so many types and brands of fly rods, fly reels, fly lines and other fly fishing tackle available nowadays that the question is not easy to answer precisely to suit someone elses requirements so don't be surprised if when you ask the question the answer is not overly specific. Most of the tackle available today is much better than its equivalent of a few years ago. Some of the "super brands" are frankly not always better than less expensive alternatives and in some cases you would be forgiven for thinking that the wheels get re-invented with trivial changes to satisfy today's fashion conscious fly fishing fraternity. Understandable!
With all of that in mind please understand that no individual instructor has the benefit of actually fishing with all the stuff that's out there
but most will have equipment that they have used for some time and have confidence in it. Or they may have gained some experience by using customers equipment. Comparative tackle reviews, opinions and tests in magazines such as Trout & Salmon and Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, are interesting to some and disappointing to many after the recommendations are accepted and goods are purchased. The only way to really try out fly fishing tackle is to fish with it over the scope of situations and techniques that you might wish to employ it for. Unfortunately unless you have a helpful friend to lend some it is unlikely to be possible to do that and next best is probably to take the opportunity to try tackle out at a show or game fair for a few minutes. APGAI and AAPGAI instructors often have selections of gear thanks to sponsorships from tackle companies and if they have the items that you are interested in buying for use during lessons that can be very helpful. I think that one of the most difficult items to buy with confidence is a fly line, just buying the wrong size can mean that your money is wasted. The best solution is to borrow a line to try with your rod before you buy.
The contents of these reviews are simply my opinions. The items described are those that I have had the opportunity use to teach and fish with, given the chance to use alternatives I may well have chosen some different products but if I had the opportunity to try everything that is on the market a lifetime would be too short.
As time passes some of these reviews will disappear as I gravitate on to what I think are better options. Had I been able to do this fifty years ago I would have raved about the beauty and benefits of Sharpes impregnated cane rods, Beaudex reels and Kingfisher lines. Oh how things have changed! The opinions here are hopefully unbiased and given without or favour, accept or reject them if you wish. Remember that for every two anglers there are three opinions!