Another option is outfitters used equipment. Alot of local shops and outfitters demo and rent gear. They are always upgrading and selling their old stuff. Its a good way to get ahold of a named rod with the lifetime warranty. I also think that the reel is just as important as the rod, buy your rod first, and balance it with the appropriate reel. Theres nothing sweeter than casting a balanced setup! As a side note- I learned to flyfish on a walmart uglystick 50$ combo. I know the price tag to flyfishing can be overwhelming when you get started, so why not go cheap and see if its even something you wish to pursue. Just my two sense!