For the money....
If I were just getting into fly fishing, I believe I would buy a Temple Forks Outfitters rod. I own two of them that my kids and friends use. Both are 8'6"; one is a 3wt. the other is a 5 wt. My personal tastes run towards Winstons, Sage and Scott. I have also owned many, many bamboo rods. But I am not under any delusions that I will catch more fish with, say, a Winston, than I will a TFO. I just like the looks, feel, etc. of a Winston. As far as a reel goes, I wouldn't spend too much money on one, because, for the most part, it's a line holder. Especially in the Smokies. I personally use Hardy reels, again, for personal reasons. But I am not going to catch any more fish with a Hardy reel than with other reels. Spend your money on some lessons or a guide. Stop by or call Little River Outfitters; they won't steer you wrong.
Many go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
- Henry David Thoreau