Re: what are your priorities when buying a rod?
[*]do you find fly rods generally too expensive?
Yes. I also am a competitive amateur golfer and find golf clubs to be ridiculously priced as well. I am more than happy to buy closeout gear or even used (from a reputable source) to buy at what I feel is a more reasonable price. I have lusted after the Z-Axis for years, but would not pay MSRP. Now that they are being closed out due to the Sage One, I am seeing prices in the mid $400s for new and even low $300s for slightly used. I will pick one up at those prices
[*]is location of the manufacturer important to you?
As others have said, would prefer to buy American but it is a losing battle. Looking at the Winston Passport for my wife as it is a lot or rod for the buck but it is made overseas. My guess is it is hard to build a solid rod that sells for $200 in the US
[*]would you try a new brand of rod, and if so, what would compel you to try a new brand?
I am always trying out new rods, either ones owned by friends or family. Word of mouth is the main reason to look at something. I don't rely on OEM hype for anything. I put a lot more trust in my fishing buddies. There are a very small number of fly shops where I will trust their opinion as well.
[*]would you purchase a rod online?
From an authorized dealer, absolutely if the price is right. Used rods I am a little more particular, and it depends on my comfort with the seller.
[*]what is your number one complaint about fly rods in your experience?
Too expensive and too much OEM hype ("best this", "greatest that") which makes it critical to try a rod before you buy (with your reel and line too)