The Three Forks rod was the rod that I remember seeing growing up. My father, while he owned other sized rods and setups, his favorite rod was his Three Forks, and he probably had one of the "first editions" and I remember when he finally broke it, he ordered another. Now, the Three Forks wasn't my first rod, no, I had a "standard" 9' 5 wt, that came in a complete setup. I enjoyed that rod, but I wanted something smaller for the types of water I wanted to fish.
I followed the old man's lead and purchased a 3 wt. set up from Cabelas. Lucky for me, there was finally a Cabelas in Utah and I was able to pick mine out in person. This was nearly 8 years ago and i haven't regretted it yet. That fly rod lives in my car. The only time it comes out is when I need a little more space and I know for sure that there won't be any fishing happening.
Now, the 7'6" 3 wt is not the only rod in the series, the have rods from 3 to 8 wt., with all standard lengths for each weight. The 7'6" 3 wt and the 8' 5 wt are both moderate action rods, the rest of the series are moderate-fast rods. Aesthetically, the rods are plain, the current models feature a "burnt-olive" blank, dark reel seat with aluminum fittings, and double foot snake guides. The 8 wt. model also features a fighting butt in case you get into something that big. When looking at the rod, there is nothing that stands out and brings attention to the rod. For us, that is exactly what we want!
When using the rod, it's aesthetics seem to carry over. At times the rod gets lost in the movement of your arm and the two become one. This doesn't happen all the time and for the majority of the streams we fish we don't have enough room or time to get into that perfect rhythm. The 8 wt. that we use for Tiger Musky does fall into that rhythm often. A person can easily feel both rods load that we recommend this rod to anyone that we know who is interested in getting into the sport.
From Cabelas you can purchase just the rod, or a combo that comes with line and a Prestige Plus reel. We purchased the combo, for both of our rods, and have been completely happy. Just recently the reel bit the big one and we had to replace it, but dropping it over and over on rocks and in the sand probably helped it to an early demise. The old man still has his original reel that came with the combo however, he seems to have better luck with reels but goes through rods like nobody. Once again, the reel is simple, plain even which goes along with the overall aesthetics of the entire setup.
The line, on the other hand, was my biggest issue. It wasn't a bad fly line, especially for a combo in the price range of the combo. It would load the rod and shoot well enough, but it seemed to sink more than a floating line should. The sinking was not enough to cause any problems with a drift on the surface, but in a floating line I would like to have it float completely. Also, the line they chose seemed to go contrary to the look that they tried to take with the rod. The neon green stuck out like a sore thumb. Now, I completely understand why bright colors are popular, especially for rigs that are geared for beginners and newbies. But, when the old man's combo came with a very understated, matte white color that was easily seen but didn't break the natural colors of the rig, I was slightly disappointed with the neon of my line.
Overall, as mentioned, I readily encourage any friend who wants to get into the sport to purchase the Three Forks. First, from the price point, they probably won't have a significant other upset that they bought a new toy and it's strong enough to get beaten up and still pull in fish after fish. The small flaws are easily forgiven when viewed from the price, but more so when the rod is able to sit in a car, everyday, hot and cold, just waiting for a chance to get a little wet.