Re: So what is it that makes one rod better than the next?
I believe the good rod makers know what they are doing. What they are unable to control is us the consumer. Rods have been designed that use very high modulus fibers with little carbon scrim yielding narrow blank diameters with thin walls. These can be among the most interesting rods to fish with as they are super light weight and remarkably responsive. As I like to say, don't tow your boat trailer with a sports car. These technical marvels are going to be more pron to damage from casting weighted flies or impacts from banging around boats or whatever. So there is a trade off between durability and performance. The rod company can't say; umm, only use our rod for delicate presentation with unweighted flies...unless thy hope not to sell too many. I have long done and advocated owning more than one rod in a given line weight. When bonefishing, I will have at least two #8 rods aboard a skiff, secured beneath the gunwales in the rod holders. My super light weight "sports car" rod will accompany me wading, articulately presenting with supreme accuracy sparse crustacean imitations. My stout, thick walled, larger diameter "truck" rod, heavy but powerful, will be fished from the skiff in deeper water hauling lead-eyed crab payloads. I like both rods and I need both rods. I will further enhance my on flat performance by extending the quiver to include and even more responsive 7-wight and a heavier duty #9. And the same thing tout fishing with a short and long #4, two or three 5-weights and a 6 too. I rarely break a rod but I have and no doubt the sports cars fail more readily that the trucks. But I like the sports cars!