i taught myself how to cast over a period of 3-5 days on an 8'6" 5/6 rod with a 5wt reel and line. served me well, until i knew what i wanted and what to look for in a "real" rod and reel. that same rod and reel that i learned on has just been passed on to a friend of mine who learned to cast it the other day. when hes ready to "upgrade", im sure it will get passed on again.