Difference Between Expensive vs Inexpensive Rods?

triggw

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There's a lot more to it then that. When the word got out I didn't own a Sage fly rod my wife left me, life-long friends blocked me on Facebook and my mother started telling people I was adopted. I've been in therapy for a while now.
Actually, I agree. And a Sage X is cheap compared to therapy;)

As many have noted, the top end rods are better. But the way I see it, if the best fly rod in the world cost $900 and is a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, then a typical $450 rod is a 9, and most $200 rods are a 7-8. I.e., you start to pay a lot for an incremental improvement. We're fortunate to have such a broad array of quality FF gear. You takes your choice and pays your money.
 
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ia_trouter

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Actually, I agree. And a Sage X is cheap compared to therapy;)

Actually--as many have noted--the top end rods are better. But the way I see it, if the best fly rod in the world cost $900 and is a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, then a typical $450 rod is a 9, and most $200 rods are a 7-8. I.e., you start to pay a lot for an incremental improvement. We're fortunate to have such a broad array of quality FF gear. You takes your choice and pays your money.
Every high end rod owner I know completely gets this. They are quite aware a $250 rod is a very good fishing tool. They don't purchase a $900 rod because they think it performs 4 times better. It's indeed incremental. Just like most other high end purchase in this world.
 

mrnotherone

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The only guaranteed difference between expensive and inexpensive rods is the price.

It's reasonable to assume that as price goes up so does quality (materials, build etc) and performance (ability to do what it's meant to), but there are plenty of exceptions and that's before you factor in individual preference or an anglers ability to use the rod.

If you buy a rod simply because it's the most expensive, it's unlikely to be the "best". If you buy the cheapest, it's unlikely to be "good enough". If you buy a mid priced rod do you get the best or worst compromise? Answer:

Always buy the one that makes you happiest. :D
 

1spd1way

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The only difference is how much you paid to be disappointed.
My 5wt Winnie was the worst rod I had.
My 5wt Butterstick is the best that I have.

Stuck in the middle of winter, with white stuff on the ground. With a cold North wind blowing....I'd give anything to be fishing even the worst convenience store rod right now.
 

rsagebrush

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Besides those top of the line supersticks are only useful to those with special skills and knowledge to fully comprehend and take advantage of the nuances of their applicability to those very special challenges that we all encounter once every season or perhaps once in a lifetime. Most of us plebes cannot even begin to understand the abilities we must acquire and hone to make these Jedi sticks perform, and when we are allowed to take a cast with one the simple folk just don't get it.

And most important you must have a fatso line of credit too or a wallet stuffed with hundreds and the desire to be super cool.

But don't fear all that technology will be available in a mid-priced stick in 2 years, or simply wait 3 months and the slightly used ones will be on the market at a deep discount. Then more people can cast really far really fast and not catch fish.

Really they are probably very nice fly rods.
 
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wheeze

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Stuck in the middle of winter, with white stuff on the ground. With a cold North wind blowing....I'd give anything to be fishing even the worst convenience store rod right now.
:) I'm with you there, pal. Heck, it would do my heart good to SEE some open water.

While I've been fly fishing for about 30 years, most years I fished only 40 to 60 times, so I'm not exactly a hard core fly fisherman. But this thread got me thinking, and I realized that, other than when I go up into my tying room to choose a rod for the day, I don't really give my fly rod much (if any) thought after that point. Thinking about it, I believe the rest of my day is focused on the water, the fish, the shoreline, fly selection, stuff like that. I tend to take the rod for granted. My most expensive rod could be replaced for $250. Cheapest? Well, too embarrassing to say.
But I am very happy that there are developers of, and a market for high end rods. If it were not for the accomplished and experienced (and apparently affluent) casters who can feel and use the benefits of each new innovation in rod technology, there would be little incentive for manufacturers to make advances. And those advances eventually work their way down the market as they are replaced by even more advances, eventually becoming affordable by the more frugal or less affluent angler.
As with most discretionary purchase markets, I'm sure there are some new models issued each year whose 'advancements' are vastly overstated by the marketing department. This is critical to survival in a competitive market, I expect. But overall, I believe the existence of high end rods benefits the entire spectrum of fly rods.

(semi-related note: I used to be vocally opposed to competition fly fishing, it being profoundly antithetical to all that I enjoy about fly fishing. But it was pointed out to me that many significant advancements in both technique and equipment have emerged from this activity. While I will likely never participate in a competition, I now have a greater appreciation for its existence and the folks who participate/sponsor. The older I get, the more I realize how little I've learned listening to people who think exactly as I do - I realize that in this age of intractability and our current culture of internet outrage, this can be an unpopular perspective).
brent
 

seattlesetters

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Nothing to really add as an opinion here, as I have grown tired of this topic. However, I do have a few observations:

The word "value" has different meanings for everyone.

We all, to an extent, buy and fish with what we can afford. This isn't necessarily an indication of relative wealth, as some people have mental filters that simply won't allow them to spend $850-1,000 on a fly rod, while some other folks will scrape, save for months, sell off older gear, mow the neighbors' lawns and have a yard sale in order to be able to buy what they want.

We all have a base instinct to justify our choices.

Some have a need to demean the choice of others.

A "marketing department" has never made anyone buy anything. Ever.

Good anglers will catch fish with anything.

A mediocre angler will on occasion out-fish a more skilled angler.

Fly fishing is a wonderful sport that takes us to some pretty special places.
 

jimbaker488

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The obvious answer is that if you can't cast to where the fish are, you can't be accurate. Obviously any rod that can reach the fish or angler who can reach the fish will be more accurate than those who cannot. For closer in accuracy read the post about :



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So are saying that accuracy is completely a function of the anglers skill and has nothing to do with the quality/cost of the rod ?
For example, if an angular is trying to hit a target 2' in diameter at 60 feet where he has the choice of two different rods, one a 200$ the other a 600$ rod, if both rods can comfortably reach that target then the angular will have no advantage in hitting the target with the more expensive equipment ?
 

silver creek

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Jim:

Your original question was:

Some of us who aren't as knowledgebable about the subject want to learn what if anything in terms of performance can a guy potentially realize with the higher priced equipment ? For example cast a greater distance or have more accuracy in casting ?
BTW since I'm asking questions - what's the difference between fiberglass and grafhite rods, is one best for one kind of fishing or another ? One best for small steams, etc. ?
I answered:

Some of us who aren't as knowledgebable about the subject want to learn what if anything in terms of performance can a guy potentially realize with the higher priced equipment ? For example cast a greater distance or have more accuracy in casting ?
The obvious answer is that if you can't cast to where the fish are, you can't be accurate. Obviously any rod that can reach the fish or angler who can reach the fish will be more accurate than those who cannot. For closer in accuracy read the post about :

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/fly-rods/372547-rod-accuracy.html


BTW since I'm asking questions - what's the difference between fiberglass and grafhite rods, is one best for one kind of fishing or another ? One best for small steams, etc. ?
The difference is mass and modulus. The rod actions can match but the rod feel will be different because the fiberglass rod will have more mass so it will feel and cast differently than a lighter graphite rod of the same length, line wt and flex pattern. Read the thread above and then read:


http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/fly-rods/372866-lighter-always-better.html

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/bamboo-fly-rods/365209-bamboo-vs-fiberglass.html

You commented:

So are saying that accuracy is completely a function of the anglers skill and has nothing to do with the quality/cost of the rod ?
For example, if an angular is trying to hit a target 2' in diameter at 60 feet where he has the choice of two different rods, one a 200$ the other a 600$ rod, if both rods can comfortably reach that target then the angular will have no advantage in hitting the target with the more expensive equipment ?
NO, that is NOT what I said, NOR what I said on the threads I referred you to.

Again I state read what Kris Korich says on the post I suggested you read:

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/fly-rods/372547-rod-accuracy.html

More specifically, see Chris’s answer which was the point of discussion on the post above:

The Board • View topic - rod accuracy

Now incorporate his observation with my post on mass and modulus and you have your answer.

Obviously, accuracy is the function of both the rod and the caster. BUT for the caster to be accurate, the rod has to both bend enough for the angler to feel the bend AND give the caster enough time to accurately respond to that bend. Hence, the rod feel is both mass and modulus.

Other than expensive bamboo rods, modern expensive rods are lighter (less mass) than older or less expensive rods. Lighter rods have less mass but they can cast farther because casts with a lighter rod, more of the casting energy goes to moving the line and not moving the rod. But on shorter casts, the decreased rod mass results in less time for the caster to modify the rod stroke for accuracy.

Heavier rods cannot cast as far as lighter rods. So on long casts they are working at the limits of their performance. Rods cannot be accurate at the limit of their performance because they can no longer respond predictably to the caster.

Your question has NO answer that is true under ALL circumstances for ALL casters.

You must have assumed my original answer was that only the angler mattered, and asked this specific question…”he has the choice of two different rods, one a 200$ the other a 600$ rod, if both rods can comfortably reach that target then the angular will have no advantage in hitting the target with the more expensive equipment.”

There are fallacies in that question. Fallacy (1) For that question even to be meaningful, the rods cannot be identical. If the rods are not identical, they CANNOT have identical results. Logically, the conclusion of identical result cannot follow regardless of the casting distance. The answer to your question is defined in the presuppositions of your quesion.

Fallacy (2) You have NOT defined the casting style of the angler. The more expensive rod should track more accurately so it has the potential to be more accurate BUT is the caster able to feel the difference in the rods? Just as importantly, does the caster have the skill to use that potential even if he feels the difference? Therefore different casters can lead to different results.

Had you read what Chris Korich said, you would noted noted he directly answered your 60 ft target question:

“At a 60 foot target distance, the heavier amount of line extended is going to help BEND a rod more deeply. Deeper bending, when not excessive, generally improves LINE FEEL and can easily help a caster execute his/her stroke and resulting cast more accurately.

At 30 feet, especially with modern light graphite and stiffer rod designs, minimal bending can easily rob a caster of adequate LINE FEEL. Hence, it's very easy to misdirect a short cast to a close target.”


So at 60 feet in the hands of a champion, Chris feels that the lighter (expensive) rod would likely be more accurate. But do you have the skill to use the potential in that more expensive rod?
 
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el jefe

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Obviously, accuracy is the function of both the rod and the caster. BUT for the caster to be accurate, the rod has to both bend enough for the angler to feel the bend AND give the caster enough time to accurately respond to that bend. Hence, the rod feel is both mass and modulus.

Other than expensive bamboo rods, modern expensive rods are lighter (less mass) than older or less expensive rods. Lighter rods have less mass but they can cast farther because casts with a lighter rod, more of the casting energy goes to moving the line and not moving the rod. But on shorter casts, the decreased rod mass results in less time for the caster to modify the rod stroke for accuracy.
I think that is an incredibly astute point. It certainly explains the dichotomy of my affinity for both my T&T Heirloom 763 that I use for short distance fishing on creeks, and the heretofore contradictory Scott Radian 906 that I love for longer distance fishing on larger rivers and stillwaters. It turns out I like both for the same reason, but I did not realize that until now. It all comes down to line feel at fishing distances. To your point , I expect the reverse would not be true, that I would not like the Heirloom for big tailwaters, or the Scott Radian for creeking.

Now, if I can only explain why I like the Sage Circa 389 so much...:D
 
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lasor1

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He's my opinion on rods. There are all kinds of great rods out there weather there high end or mid range they all have different feels and functions. I would make a trip to your local fly shop. And spend a little time with feel and casting them to narrow down what feels right in your hand. Take in consideration if you want to throw smallest dries to streamers obviously your not going to get a rod that does everything perfect. Also keep in mind will I be fishing close or do I need something I can sling on the other side of a river. But most likely you won't fish really far out especially dry flies. I know I can't see a size 22 bwo at 50 to 60 feet. Also do you want a rod that is fast or slow action something stiff or a lot of flex are you fishing in windy situations all play an effect on what you want so I would goto your local show and tell them what your looking to do and what type of fishing you want to do. And they can point you in the right direction. Also you can cast on lawn and it gives ideal for rod feel but if you can try on water you will get the best feel and ideal what that rod will do for you. As for me I like high end rods because they seem to work better for me far as presentations to performance as well I take pride in having a quality craftsmanship built rod from the USA. And you will pay more for a rod that is built in the USA. I have also had mid range rods built in Korea and other places that are fine rods too like tfo mystic make some great 200 to300 rods but that being said. I bought my first high end rod it was a sage and it was on clearance and so happened I liked the action and feel when I casted it and it originally was 700 rod I bought it for 350 and everything else set on a shelf for a while till I bought another high end rod and they have there purposes some are for throwing big stuff and some are for small stuff. I know I'm making this story long but to give you an example my buddy had bought 2 dozen cheap to mid priced rods and still isn't that happy because he won't slow down and learn to cast as well as fish a rod he likes he just buys them on sale and doesn't try them out first. So the amount he spent on all that other rods he could've taken the time to goto fly shop and just casted some rods and he could've bought a high end rod and been happy to start with. I suggest that because you will hear on hear that sage Scott Winston orvis and so on has the best rods say a Scott might work for me but not for you so try them all out including high end rods. Because if you are already paying 3 to 400 you might find one better suits you for a few hundred more. And you can catch closeout models on sale like cabelas ha sage circa rods for 440. Was an 800 rod as well as sage ones for 500 also was an 800 rod but I would try one before buying one because you don't want to be stuck with a high priced rod if you can't cast it and like it. Your they only one that can make the decision on what suites you. Hope you find your dream rod and enjoy fly fishing it is such a great relaxing sport and there is lots of great people on this forum and out there the river lake or wherever you like too fish that can give you tips and whatflies fish are biting on now. Thanks and fish on!
 

jimbaker488

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Other than expensive bamboo rods, modern expensive rods are lighter (less mass) than older or less expensive rods. Lighter rods have less mass but they can cast farther because casts with a lighter rod, more of the casting energy goes to moving the line and not moving the rod. But on shorter casts, the decreased rod mass results in less time for the caster to modify the rod stroke for accuracy.

Heavier rods cannot cast as far as lighter rods. So on long casts they are working at the limits of their performance. Rods cannot be accurate at the limit of their performance because they can no longer respond predictably to the caster.

Your question has NO answer that is true under ALL circumstances for ALL casters.

You must have assumed my original answer was that only the angler mattered, and asked this specific question…”he has the choice of two At 30 feet, especially with modern light graphite and stiffer rod designs, minimal bending can easily rob a caster of adequate LINE FEEL. Hence, it's very easy to misdirect a short cast to a close target.”

So at 60 feet in the hands of a champion, Chris feels that the lighter (expensive) rod would likely be more accurate. But do you have the skill to use the potential in that more expensive rod?
So there is a correlation between the cost of the rod and an anglers opportunity to realize more accurate casts.
OK thank you friend, I think you've given me a definitive explanation to my question. Dang I had no idea there was so much physics involved but that's why I'm hanging around here with questions as you guys have answers and I do want to learn.
 

sweetandsalt

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Besides rod mass and design there is an invisible factor too. In the blank rolling process, a finely crafted rod has an expert craftsman meticulously aligning the power and action producing carbon fibers around the tapered form or mandrel that the rod blank is built upon. A rod that is to track true and communicate clearly what the line is doing during the cast, irrespective the level of skill supplied by the caster, is seriously enhanced by this time consuming, laborious and precise process. Time is money I have heard it said and to reduce the final price of some rods, a more mass production fabrication involving a worker simply rolling the pattern of graphite quickly and efficiently to get it into the oven for curing as fast as possible is employed. This lack of crafting results in crisscrossed fibers and lay-up gaps invisible beneath a nice pretty coat of paint. That such discount rods, frequently reverse engineered, re-branded under big box names, internally twist and favor line going one way or the other regardless of caster input is what one gets with low price point product. To the novice it may well be irrelevant and getting out and enjoying an angling experience dos not require a finely tuned fly rod. Further, there are a number of well crafted in Korea rods at reasonable if not rock bottom pricing that are darn good.

Generally though, as casting and presentation skills grow, higher quality rods offer immeasurably greater rewards. The degree to which they make a difference is dependent though on the habitats frequented and techniques utilized by the angler. Only experience and informed perspective make an angler recognize what tackle is optimal for his/her applications and, as always, the truism remains that anglers not rods catch fish. Each individual determines the quality of tools he needs or wants.

Is there a difference between Expensive and Inexpensive rods? Yes there is and it is extensive.
 
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