Re: Rod Prices
Buying your first rod is always a difficult event. It seems you are right on track that you don't want to sacrifice performance for the sake of saving some money. Many first timers buy a very cheap rod and in no time they are moving up to a better casting rod. There are two basic sources of rods available today, US built or over seas built. Many of the very cheap rods are made in China and sometimes better quality rods are made in Korea. The best companies overseas are associated with American individuals who can design rods or know what a good rod is all about. I don't recommend any rods that cost less than $100. The $130 to $200 offers some very good rods that cast well and have good components.
If you think that fly fishing is going to be your hobby then the more you spend the more you will appreciate the rod later on. There are some fly fishers that don't want to spend or can't spend a lot of money on fly rods. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of us, thats includes me, don't want to buy over seas rods. We prefer the American made rods and are willing to spend the extra money to get one. Sage, Scott and St Croix are companies that make all of their rods here in the US. These companies offer rods that are well made, they use good components and use the latest construction materials and design. This rods run $200 to $400 dollars. The next step up is the $400 to $800 rods. In this group you will find the very best materials, the best guides, the best cork and they cast great. In the $400 to $800 range you will find any style of rod you may consider. There are slow action, mid-action and fast-action rods for different applications.
As a beginner you can consider brand rods from Cabela's or Bass Pro Shop. Your best overseas rod in my opinion, considering money, is the TFO Professional or Signature series. These will be overseas rods. If you want a US rod then consider the Sage FLi or Sage Launch. The Scott A2, the St Croix Reign or the St Croix Avid.
Your very best way to choose a rod is to cast each rod to see how it feels to you. Many fly shops have try rods. You local fly shop is a great source of information. The first thing you need to do is pick a price range that you are comfortable with and go from there.