Re: tfo signature rods
A year or two ago, the shop that I work at had to make a choice on which $99 to $149 price point rods that it was going to carry. The choices were the Ross Essense FS, TFO Signature Series, and the Redington Crosswater. We ended choosing the Ross.
The Ross had the best build quality. The ferrules were the tightest. There weren't any inconsistencies in the cork based on feel and looks. The TFO looked like it had a chunk that could come off anytime. The thread wraps were the cleanest.
The Ross casted the best out of the three. It was a true medium-fast action rod. The TFO felt a bit quicker than that. The Crosswater felt sluggish. Also it cast well both close and at distance. When I generated more line speed, the Ross had the least amount of tip bounce. With a 300 grain shooting head, the Ross seemed to take the load better than the others. I got more distance with it.
The only thing that you may dislike is that the Ross is a 4 piece. Are we still having that debate today? Technology has gotten so refined, that it is a moot point. Many fine casters can't tell the difference between a 2 piece and a 4 piece.
If you look around hard enough, you may be able to find a Sage Launch rod around $150 to $175. It was designed in both 2 piece and 4 piece builds. You will be getting a rod designed and built on Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA. It has a quality build and casts much nicer than any rod in its $250 MSRP category. The rod comes with a full cordura covered ABS plastic tube. As long as you buy the rod through an authorized Sage retailer, the rod will come with an unconditional lifetime warranty.