Re: Is it really worth it ?
I'll try an apples to apples shot at this, I'm not fishing today. I have a modest priced 9'/#5, an early Albright EXS, that is a terrific fishing rod. OK, it is made in Korea and, though well built, is not beautiful...in fact it has a funky Formica flake-like paint job. I really like its taper though and it has plenty of power; I have made many a good cast with it and hooked countless trout while fishing it. I have broken it once but a new section was supplied to me at no cost. It is a back-up rod now because I got a Hardy Zenith $659.00 rod in the same size. It is well-built in Korea too and, though better looking than my EXS, it is not a work of art cosmetically...but it is when casting it. It loads in close much better than EXS and is much smoother in its taper transitions as I reach for different presentation distances. Zenith has remarkable reflexes and is a joy to fish with. I have lots of rods from many different price points that I fish with and it means nothing to me what anyone I meet astream thinks about what class of tackle I have...though, as on this forum, my buddies and I may hang around the camp fire dissecting tackle performance and how it enriched our day. You, we, the fly fishers, fish with our fly rods and a good caster will perform well with any reasonably balanced outfit, new, old, inexpensive or dear. A good caster will also discern the differences between a simple, competent rod and the work of a master rod designer.
Even as a penniless trout bum decades ago, the differences between a common fly rod and the craft of master designers was abundantly clear. I am not as strong now as I was then but my technique has continued to evolve and there is no way I am going to ignore or deprive myself of the very real advances in material and design that make the current crop of fly rods the finest ever built.