Difference Between Expensive vs Inexpensive Rods?

labradorguy

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No names Salt. :)

Yes, I loved Big Red. I have since moved on to Igniter, aka Method HD.
What a great stick. 590 is so sweet, and 6126-4 will cast all the way up onto the opposite bank if you don’t hold it back. Amazing rods.
 

el jefe

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"Performance" is relative to habitat and technique. A $1000 Asquith may be brilliant but a $300 ECHO3 might perform a given task just as well depending on circumstances. Know yourself and trust your judgment and it will be clear when you cast it that this is the rod for you, price and brand aside.
That is an excellent point. One of the best graphite rods I've fished on small streams is the Redington CT 376. I'd put it up against anything in that weight and length. On the other hand, when I head to the San Juan it is with either a Sage ZXL or Scott Radian in my hand, or a 5.5 weight Scott S3.:D
 

redietz

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Several factors go into making a rod more expensive, and many of them have nothing to do with performance (whatever that is) :

1) Quality of components: for example, flor grade cork is expensive and can add at least tens of dollars to production costs compared to cork with a lot of filler in it. A reel seat spacer with nicely figured wood is going to cost more than a stamped aluminium one. Nickel silver in the reel seat itself costs more than aluminum as well. The stripping guide(s) on a high end rod are likely to be made from a more expensive material. These things add up, and with the possible exception of the stripping guide add nothing to the way the rod works.

2) Labor costs: a rod made in the USA is going to cost more than than one of same quality made in Asia.

3) Warranty: A good one adds considerably to the cost of a rod. It costs the company money to replace for free or cheap a rod that you broke, and you pay that cost when you buy the rod.

4) Marketing: It costs money to take out full page ads on the back of fly fishing magazines, to travel to all the shows to plug rods, etc.

I suppose development costs could factor in here, too. It takes money to make a rod that feels different than last year's model every year, even the only difference between the rods is just that, they feel different. It's a **** shoot about whether the rod is eventually perceived by the market as better or not. If you stick with a tried and true design (even if that design was another company's last year model), that cost could be reduced as well.
 

flafly14

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T7 which I have previously test cast in Central Park, NYC and was blown away by. T7 will most surly ascend to my #1 sparse fly bonefish rod. 7-weights have never had the broad appeal of either #6 or #8 rods but two of the best casting rods, size notwithstanding, I've cast in the past year are this T7 and Sage's Igniter 9/#7. Yes, yes, I know, these are both expensive rods.
T7 is a great rod. I think you'll like it. I've been running mine with SA grand slam lately. I'd probably recommend it over the airflo tropical ridge that I was running before. Airflo is just way less manageable with all the coiling. But the taper is nice. I was actually throwing the #6 line on my T7 with that Airflo since it's so overweight. Haven't tried the infinity line yet.
 

flafly14

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"In Heaven the police are British, the cooks are French, the cars are German, and the women are Italian. In Hell the police are German, the cooks are British, the cars are French, and the women are Italian...."
Every time I see your posts and read your signature line, I get a laugh. It never gets old because there's so much truth in those stereotypes.
 

sweetandsalt

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T7 is a great rod. I think you'll like it. I've been running mine with SA grand slam lately. I'd probably recommend it over the airflo tropical ridge that I was running before. Airflo is just way less manageable with all the coiling. But the taper is nice. I was actually throwing the #6 line on my T7 with that Airflo since it's so overweight. Haven't tried the infinity line yet.
flafly, Have you read my post about flats fly lines up in Saltwater Articles? Check it out. On my T8 I started with SA Amplitude Bonefish on Akos's recommendation and it was fine but trying my NRX#8's RIO DC Bonefish on it changed everything. I do cast an Airflo Tropic Ridge on Scott's S4s but it is the only rod I have that likes it. Airflo needs and I anticipate is going to get major changes. Where in Florida do you live and fish?
 

sweetandsalt

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Several factors go into making a rod more expensive, and many of them have nothing to do with performance (whatever that is) :

1) Quality of components: for example, flor grade cork is expensive and can add at least tens of dollars to production costs compared to cork with a lot of filler in it. A reel seat spacer with nicely figured wood is going to cost more than a stamped aluminium one. Nickel silver in the reel seat itself costs more than aluminum as well. The stripping guide(s) on a high end rod are likely to be made from a more expensive material. These things add up, and with the possible exception of the stripping guide add nothing to the way the rod works.

2) Labor costs: a rod made in the USA is going to cost more than than one of same quality made in Asia.

3) Warranty: A good one adds considerably to the cost of a rod. It costs the company money to replace for free or cheap a rod that you broke, and you pay that cost when you buy the rod.

4) Marketing: It costs money to take out full page ads on the back of fly fishing magazines, to travel to all the shows to plug rods, etc.

I suppose development costs could factor in here, too. It takes money to make a rod that feels different than last year's model every year, even the only difference between the rods is just that, they feel different. It's a **** shoot about whether the rod is eventually perceived by the market as better or not. If you stick with a tried and true design (even if that design was another company's last year model), that cost could be reduced as well.
Much of this is true though I am not privy to numbers about marketing and Show attendance though no doubt they are high. Also all makers are offering what may be excessive warranty coverage but I'm told those costs are not as high as one might expect because they were generous toward their customers already before the wide adoption of no-fault coverage. Chinese labor, mass production and virtually no development coasts are lower by a lot but Korean and of course Japanese craftspersons are largely on par in compensation and benefits with Americans.

Cork trees grow slowly and there is a lot of demand for cork...true flor grade stuff is getting rare and expensive and there just is no substitute. A fine cork grip both ergonomically and in smooth density is our interface with casting the rod and is important. Note that many good makers are now using cork rings of thinner than traditional 1/2" thickness so they can be cut from less perfect cork bark and a growing and good technique is gluing them up under far grater pressure to enhance density. Density is very important to tactility during serious casting. Old age cork is far denser and also more figured than the paler, younger bark.

Leaving the traditions of fine cane craftsmanship aside, I do not like nickel silver reel seat hardware on graphite rods. It is too mailable and more prone to jamming than high quality, lighter weight, more rigid and inert machined aluminum. And it is not like a quality designed and built, ported aluminum seat is inexpensive either. Of course rare grained, birdseye and my favorite, spalted hardwood spacers can add to cost as well. I don't remember the actual number but a Loomis man told me the Japanese made reel seat for Asquith added over a hundred dollars to its already lofty $1000+ cost. The lustrous and unusual laminated bamboo spacer is made for Shimano by the same shop that makes high end Lexus steering wheels.

Guide sets effect costs and casting qualities too. Nickle titanium guides obviously are more expensive than stainless steel and quality light wire stainless guides like British H&H's are hardly the same as off the shelf snakes. Weight, slickness and durability are factors in play here besides costs. Top graphite rods are employing stripper like Fuji Torzite or Recoils new CIRCoil, titanim framed super ceramic guides cost more and are much better. I had to replace not one but two normal ceramic stripping guides last season for frame breakage or ring pop out. There are high end rods in our fly shops with beautiful wood spacers and crumby steel guide sets and others with woven carbon (plastic) spacers with top flight nickel titanium guide sets...we get to choose.

The day after one of our great rod makers introduces their newest and best series at EFTTEX, FTD or the Edison Show their design team and materials people are working on the next big thing. Creativity and science tend to drive and inspire one another. Many a dead end road is followed producing a disappointment and once on track and in harmony a new rod can take two or more years of trials and porotypes and getting out in the test field and refinement after refinement prior to being close to being ready. A top executive of a top rod company said to me, "We don't introduce a new rod to not be a significant improvement over what wee already have". And it would be hard to sell a lot of them and make some money if they did.

Now, what performance is and how it plays into a rod's cost is a subject for an essay of its own and I need a break for coffee now. To me, my perception of what constitutes superior performance of a rod for a particular application and habitat is what comes first and foremost. No, it is not all about power, distance, line speed though it can be but about superior articulation of my line and fly in whatever body of water I am trying to find a fascinating fish in.
 

labradorguy

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Every time I see your posts and read your signature line, I get a laugh. It never gets old because there's so much truth in those stereotypes.
In the summer of 1995, I was fishing on a flat near Key West with a guy who had that on his T-shirt. It took me about 20 years, but after traveling extensively with work, driving a few nice sports cars, and having a long-term relationship with a beautiful Italian woman, I realized that was one of truest phrases I had ever read...
 
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