I'm not sure how to rate this outfit - I'm a complete newbie and couldn't possibly be more of a beginner fly fisher... never touched a fly fishing system before, never had a lesson in my life.
This is a fairly complete start-up system, with a rod and pre-spooled reel and carrying case.
The case is sturdy and well-constructed, and gives me enough room to stuff a couple of leaders and one tippet spool in the pouch-area for the reel.
The rod seems okay - I wouldn't recognize a superior rod from an inferior rod if one was biting my ankle, but this seems supple and I can cast correctly out to about 30 feet already. My one compalint about the rod is that the alignment dots that help you assemble the 4 pieces are on the underside - reel side - of the rod. When you assemble the rod, if you're not very careful, the weight or the reel will spin the dots away from you. Logically, the alignment dots should have been on the opposite side of the rod from the reel..
The reel seems okay, too. I chose the Essence Elite outfit for the superior drag system. I'm using this outfit for trout, but we also have steelhead in the rivers and I decided that having a true drag system might possibly be important. The 5-weight reel is smaller than I expected and that surpirsed me, but the fit and finish are fine.
It ae pre-spooled with Scientific Anglers backing, floating fly line and tapered monofilament leader. I haven't replaced them, yet, but I have the feeling that the fly line is not the best quality. It is more stiff than I thought a fly line would be and hasn't made learning to cast easier. I'm not blaming the tools for my inexperience, but it doesn't behave the way I believe it should. I'll know when I replace it in a couple of months.
I dropped one star because the outfit does not include a manual or user's guide or anything to help an idiot understand the rig. I had to go online to find out how to release the reel - as it turns out, I was trying to do it correctly but wasn't using enough force to pop out the reel. Maybe it's not meant to be a beginner's outfit, but come on! Even a $20 spinning reel has a manual with basic instructions.
I'm happy with the purchase. I think it will be several years before my skill approaches tthe capabilities of this rod/reel combination, and I can finally learn about fly fishing without having to carry an encyclopedia to decipher all the new terminology.
I would recommend the Ross Essence Elite Fly Fishing Outfit.