We recently got the Douglas ERA series of fly rods in at our shop, and we have been very surprised with how nice these rods are! The ERA comes in two models currently - a 9'5 weight for $149.95, and a 9' 8 weight for $169.95. Both models are 4 piece, come with a Cordura lined rod tube, and feature a lifetime warranty. These rods cast much better than you would expect for their price point, and are a great value for new anglers, a backup for a trip, or just someone that wants a nice fly rod that is enjoyable to fish and doesn't break the bank!
The 9' 5 weight is an honest trout rod that is very versatile - with a medium fast action it is an easy rod to cast for both beginners and experienced anglers, and has a lot of 'feel' when casting. You can fish dries, dry droppers, and reasonable sized nymph rigs with the 5 weight easily, as well as some smaller streamers. The medium fast action lends itself well to landing fish on lighter tippets as well. We cast this rod with a RIO Gold and it casted that line very well, but other good choices would be a Scientific Anglers Trout taper or Airflo Universal Taper. At $149, it's really hard to beat this rod!
The 9' 8 weight is a fantastic bass, pike, salmon, carp, and light saltwater rod. While it's not as fast as some of the more expensive 8 weights, the ERA 8 is an excellent choice for anglers that want to branch into warmwater fishing without spending tons of money. The slightly slower action is excellent for folks learning to cast heavier rods, and it makes it so this rod can really handle a wide variety of fly lines. We cast the 8 with a Rio Bonefish line and really liked it, which is very similar to the Rio Smallmouth Bass line. This rod has a really versatile action, so you can use anything from a long trout style taper for carp to a shooting head for pike. Whether you want to get into bass and pike fishing or want an inexpensive rod to take on a bonefish trip, at $169 this is a great choice.
The Douglas ERA is an incredibly surprising rod that fishes much better than one would expect at a price of $149-$169. If you break it, the warranty fee is only $35 as well! Whether you are looking to get into fly fishing, upgrade your beginner rod, or have a backup, the ERA is a fantastic option at an excellent price.