Re: Is it really worth it ?
I haven't been fly fishing for 40 years. Just a novice trying to learn, and I have had the same question about the differences in a $700.00 rod vs a $150.00 dollar rod. As a spin fisherman, I used higher end rods for the sensitivity, and light weight which matched my style of finesse fishing. The rod helped me catch more fish.
If you can afford it, so be it. A Porsche gets you quality leather, a powerful engine, superb handling, high tech mechanics, and hot women too. A Yugo, well? Tangible upgrades for the money. Yeah, both will get you from point A to B, but you can see, and feel what your paying for when you buy the Porsche. Maybe I am too new to the sport to tell the difference, but cosmetics, and better hardware doesn't equate to 3 to 4 times the price.
If a $700.00 rod is just for those with a passion for the sport, who have disposable money, okay. I pay more for some things the next guy may think is nuts, but I can always justify it in my mind with real (or perceived) benefits. I'm was hoping to find the benefits in this thread in case I need to do some "justifying" down the road.