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View Full Version : So are the $$$ expensive rods that much better?


HuskerFlyFisher
08-15-2013, 07:00 PM
I was in a local fly shop today scouting 8'4" rods. They have three Orvis models ranging from $198 to $600-ish. They looked and felt the same to me.

What's the diff?

ChemEAngler
08-15-2013, 09:37 PM
I was in a local fly shop today scouting 8'4" rods. They have three Orvis models ranging from $198 to $600-ish. They looked and felt the same to me.

What's the diff?

Did you cast them?

I do believe that some rods are over-priced, and aren't worth the premium price. Most of my rods are mid-range rods, but I do have one Orvis premium rod (that I bought on clearance for 50% off). I must say that it casts exceptionally well. The difference is in all the minor details that make up the premium rod: weight, flex, materials, balance, etc. All of these typically add up to performance.

I am not advocating that people splurge and only buy $600 rods. I know lots of people who are very please with their TFO Signature rods. I have a TFO 7'3" 2-wt that I fished in the park for a few years with, and it is probably my second favorite rod. I believe it depends on how often you fish, how passionate you are about fishing, and how much disposable income you have.

flyred06
08-15-2013, 10:24 PM
I agree with chemeangler. the main difference is components, graphite and a few small other details. A american made rod will always cost more than any off shore rod company. Also just because the rods are high dollar doesn't mean they are equal. Here is an example, not really saying these rods just a hypothetcal example. Just because a orvis rod cost the same as a sage rod doesn't mean there the same on performance. A mid line sage might cast as well as a high dollar St. Crouix. So with that being said, cast the rods you like not looking at any price tags and lay them out as best to least liked then see which one falls in your targeted budget. When you find what you cast and like best then it will not matter the cost because each time you go fishing you will use it more than any other rod you own.

Grumpy
08-15-2013, 10:28 PM
They aren't any better than the arm they're attached to. Having said that, they are fun to fish;)

Grumpy

AL trout bum
08-15-2013, 11:42 PM
I've cast a TFO BVK and a Sage One; I could barely tell the difference.

MadisonBoats
08-16-2013, 06:27 AM
Did you cast them?

I do believe that some rods are over-priced, and aren't worth the premium price. Most of my rods are mid-range rods, but I do have one Orvis premium rod (that I bought on clearance for 50% off). I must say that it casts exceptionally well. The difference is in all the minor details that make up the premium rod: weight, flex, materials, balance, etc. All of these typically add up to performance.

I am not advocating that people splurge and only buy $600 rods. I know lots of people who are very please with their TFO Signature rods. I have a TFO 7'3" 2-wt that I fished in the park for a few years with, and it is probably my second favorite rod. I believe it depends on how often you fish, how passionate you are about fishing, and how much disposable income you have.

Excellent post and explanation! I second the TFO Rods. I would say they are the Honda Brand of the fly rod business. Very good rods, durable, and excellent value for the price.

They aren't any better than the arm they're attached to. Having said that, they are fun to fish;)

Grumpy

Grumpy - So true! You actually made me laugh this early AM!

Bran
08-16-2013, 08:46 AM
You have to cast them, especially when you're putting down the big $ for them. (At least it's big $ to me). I don't know how much difference they make but I find myself picking up my Winston more than any other rods I own.

Streamhound
08-16-2013, 12:21 PM
never owned a big $$$ rod so I don't know. I do own an orvis which my wife proudly bought me and it fishes fine for what I need it to do. Now if I could just get Grumpy's casting arm I would be set!

Would love to own what I consider a big $$$ rod but I got other bills to pay and that money can fun a trip to Smokeys and get me out of warm water ponds.

HuskerFlyFisher
08-16-2013, 12:27 PM
You have to cast them, especially when you're putting down the big $ for them.

so how do you talk a store into letting you take it fishing for some test casts? :biggrin:

The-Sasquatch
08-16-2013, 12:50 PM
They aren't any better than the arm they're attached to. Having said that, they are fun to fish;)

Grumpy

BINGO!

Right on to those saying components is the biggest difference. Heck, if you can afford them and want them, go for it. I can't afford the big buck rods, so I buy vintage haha! If I'm gonna be fishin' with "low budget" gear, it might as well be stylish, right? It's also important that we don't equate low cost with "cheap", nor do we equate high cost with quality.

Float On
08-16-2013, 01:29 PM
I use a TFO rod. Definitely not an expensive. It fishes well and if I do break it, I'm looking at 25$ to get it fixed. I've heard that some of the more expensive rods can cost more to get fixed if something happens. Just something else to think about. It played a part in the rod I chose, mainly for my fishing locations and style. I'm not an very experienced fly fisherman but I did test fire a few rods and I thought it cast just as well as some of the more expensive rods. Looks nice with my green TFO reel to boot. :smile:

Float On
08-16-2013, 01:33 PM
Just saw the post on testing rods. Byron at LRO let me slip out back in the field and let me get a few casts on them.

billyspey
08-16-2013, 06:55 PM
Only a few can cast well enough to be able tell much difference between low end rods and higher quality rods. Choose what works best for you and your budget. I prefer med to fast action rods with a tip to protect 6X Tippett.some good fast action rods does this well. Their are plenty yesterday's high end rods for about the same price as today's low end rods. You need to check around for good options on what they would be.all rods were slow action until Gary Loomis came out with G Loomis GLX which started the growth to faster action rods. Most rods company are still playing catch up today.

waterwolf
08-16-2013, 09:59 PM
I have been in the fortunate or unfortunate position over the years to try almost everything available at one time or another. From the cheapest Clearwater Orvis, to the most expensive Winstons and Sages on the market at any given time.

I feel there is a tremendous difference in rods and IMO performance drastically improves as the price goes up. The problem is what used to be high priced is now twice as much, and now low end rods of the past cost as much as high end rods used to cost.

One of the best all around rods of all time the Sage SP was considered extremely expensive at around $400. Now the top end sage rods run around $800.

I have fished all of the TFO, Orvis, St. Croix etc etc etc, and not any of them compare to the higher end rods that Winston, Sage, and Loomis offer each year. With Sage clearly being the best of all in terms of on stream performance.

The issue becomes that to fully realize the abilities a rod provides, the caster must be competent to cast the rod the way it was designed to be cast. And in my opinion the worst thing for newbies is low end rods which are far too slow and use outdated materials which make casting challenging.

Money is tight for everyone these days, but I would advise saving a little longer and spending the money for higher end rods. They absolutely cast better than lower end equipment.

The-Sasquatch
08-16-2013, 10:06 PM
I do agree about faster rods for noobs. I fish w/ glass, but I would never give a Fenwick or something to a newbie to cast. For a good budget rod, I often recommend the Reddington Crosswater rod. The reel is crap, but the rod cast well. The action is fit for a newbie to the sport.

NDuncan
08-16-2013, 10:49 PM
Personally, I think it depends on what kind of fishing you are planning to do. Tailwater big water and tight mountain streams have their own issues. I can fish tight conditions with a $25 crystal river 7 piece rod and it works fine, and I use it because the conditions don't require long casts, but there is a good chance of losing/breaking a rod and packing down small is a huge advantage in terms of creek access and what not. But I'd never try to make a long accurate cast with it.

waterwolf
08-17-2013, 06:26 AM
Personally, I think it depends on what kind of fishing you are planning to do. Tailwater big water and tight mountain streams have their own issues. I can fish tight conditions with a $25 crystal river 7 piece rod and it works fine, and I use it because the conditions don't require long casts, but there is a good chance of losing/breaking a rod and packing down small is a huge advantage in terms of creek access and what not. But I'd never try to make a long accurate cast with it.

I found that for me a faster rod actually made fishing small streams much easier. I could quickly deliver a fly ten to twenty feet rather than having to wait for a slower rod to load. Many times I found that a full backcast was not happening and a fast rod allowed me to do a half or quarter backcast and still present the fly properly. However, I'm unusual in that I prefer a 9' rod even in the tiny creeks for line control

The-Sasquatch
08-17-2013, 09:09 AM
Preference is huge. On small streams, I use a 6'6" fiberglass 5wt. Short and stout. I have a friend who goes light on small streams. I've seen him go down to a 5' 1wt (that seemed silly to me, but it was more about the challenge and fun to him, and it WAS fun to see!). Another friend who I fish a lot of tight small streams with prefers his 9' 5wt (the Pennsylvania Standard!), and almost always outfishes me. After you've been FFing for several years, you start to get a feel for your casting style and which rods fit your style. I think rods are just an extension of our limbs, so to speak, so finding a rod that feels like a natural extension of yourself when you're on the stream is what's most important.

NDuncan
08-17-2013, 09:12 AM
Agree 100% on the longer rod length. I can see your point about the faster rods and line loading. I was just saying when you have 9+ feet of leader out and a 15' foot roll cast is about the furthest you are going to do all day in really tight conditions, and the hike in and out is going to be really rough going, I to take something that I can fit into my day pack.

But you make some excellent points


I'm really enjoying all the opinions in this thread!

flyred06
08-17-2013, 10:00 AM
I totally agree with waterwolf with his explanation of the rods. Also I fish with every kind of rod you can imagine. I prefer the longer rods also. I have several short rods for particular alabama areas but for boat and mountain streams I like 8'6" to 9' rods. For spots like jakes ceek i will use a 7'7" rod. But as a rule I like long rods. The odd thing is I like glass and bamboo, and most all of them are 8' and less. Go fiqure.:rolleyes:

The-Sasquatch
08-17-2013, 10:16 AM
I don't know if you read thefiberglassmanifest.com or not, but Cameron does an excellent job at keeping us updated on new glass that's coming out. One of the trends he predicted at the beginning of the year, and we're starting to see already, is more glass in the 9' range while still holding the 5wt line rating. I'm sure you know, as a fan of glass, that when you start getting into the 9' range the rods start getting into that 7/8wt rating. That's changing as they're finding new ways to make glass longer and lighter.

flyred06
08-17-2013, 06:35 PM
I don't know if you read thefiberglassmanifest.com or not, but Cameron does an excellent job at keeping us updated on new glass that's coming out. One of the trends he predicted at the beginning of the year, and we're starting to see already, is more glass in the 9' range while still holding the 5wt line rating. I'm sure you know, as a fan of glass, that when you start getting into the 9' range the rods start getting into that 7/8wt rating. That's changing as they're finding new ways to make glass longer and lighter.


yeah i here that and i can't wait. i really like glass rods

The-Sasquatch
08-17-2013, 07:28 PM
Hardy apparently has a 9' 5wt for around $400.00

JohnH0802
08-19-2013, 02:02 PM
I have really enjoyed reading this topic, and it is one that I have thought about a lot. I particularly enjoyed "grumpy's" comment, how true. I think that much of it is about skill. I have done some competition shooting in the past, both IPSC and USPSA. I started out with a stock Colt Government model and saw many shooting with custom guns in the thousands. For me the limiting factor was always myself (i.e. the gun I was shooting was always more accurate than me the shooter!). Having said that I eventually bought a Wilson Combat Pistol and man have I enjoyed that gun. Fly fishing is the same way. Here is what I have come to over time when talking to a new fly fisherman.

My thoughts would be to get some casting instruction first, get the correct technique down, and then once you have developed your casting style cast several rods/brands to find which you like the most. If you are just starting out, keep in mind that you may want a rod that you can grow into some. In my own personal experience, I start with an inexpensive rod, then end up wanting and getting one of the better rods. I have had great experiences with both Sage and Orvis rods. My first Orvis rod was purchased in 1990, and Orvis has replaced that rod due to me breaking it 4 times and it still works great. Sage makes some really nice rods, but their repairs have really been a little problematic lately. I have not thrown a lot of TFO rods, I fished a 12 wt a couple of times for cobia several years back and it worked just fine, but I do not have much experience with them. Get a rod that you cast well and that is in your price range, you can go inexpensive on the reel for a trout rod, but do not skimp on the fly line. Cheap fly line can make the best rod hard to cast.

John

jeffnles1
08-24-2013, 08:56 PM
If you like a medium to slow action rod (my favorite action type) you really should cast a Winston BIIt and a Scott G2. Expensive? yes but casting them is a joy. Scott G2 9' 5wt is the favorite rod in my stable followed closely by the Winston BIIt 9' 4wt.

Jeff

Jswitow
09-02-2013, 10:48 PM
I'm with Grumpy too! That said though, a rod in hand ,on the stream is a good rod....
There can be subtle differences in the high dollar rods, and we Americans are suckers for labels.... That said; I love my Scott G's and STS's! But I'd fish with any other rod, if that was what I had. As the saying goes; "the fish will never know".
The thing to justify the high dollar rods, or make them feasible are the warranties. You should get a lifetime warranty for the high dollar rod, that is a large factor in the high cost. You could buy three of four TFO's for the price of some of the desirable rods, though. I guess in the end, find one you like and fish it, learn how to use it, takes time for most of us... If you like the pretty rods and fly fishing is your passion, then it's your business if you choose to blow some cash on a rod (and reel)... or two!
Tight lines,
John

Grumpy
09-03-2013, 07:59 AM
BINGO!

It's also important that we don't equate low cost with "cheap", nor do we equate high cost with quality.


Well said Sasquatch, i still have my first $700 rod that i bought in 01. The cork right under my thumb came out within a month, no problem other than quality, fixed & still fish it today.
I've never had cork problems with TFO or Cortland rods:confused:

Grumpy

The-Sasquatch
09-03-2013, 12:14 PM
I hear you! I do a lot of small stream fishing w/ an old Eagle Claw Featherlight and an old Martin 66 click pawl reel. The "combo" probably cost me around $30!

SmokyMt4runner
09-04-2013, 06:41 PM
I hear you! I do a lot of small stream fishing w/ an old Eagle Claw Featherlight and an old Martin 66 click pawl reel. The "combo" probably cost me around $30!

I love that rod. Always have one as a spare to my spare and tend to give them to friends i introduce. I still find them for $20 brand new. 6'6 that i load with a 4-5wt. Fun, little rod. It's the rod my 17 year old daughter loves. Nicknamed it the Bumblebee...:cool:

Now, are expensive rods worth it???

It all depends......:biggrin:

Brook Fan
09-05-2013, 01:18 PM
I find myself being too simplistic at times, but I find rods to be like everything else. Multiple variations and niches that add or subtract to the price. I own a TFO, have fished a Sage, Orvis, GL Loomis, and a Bass Pro. They all casted the fly where I wanted and were able to retrieve the fish.
To me a good rod is a simple as
1. Can I use it
2. Do I enjoy it
With that being said give me a stick, some line and a fly and I will still have a good time.

Trico
09-05-2013, 03:34 PM
If you question if higher priced rods are worth the money and you like fishing smaller dry flies try a Winston Tom Morgan Favorite 8 ft 4 weight rod. This is what most would call higher end rod. If your not impressed with this rod perhaps a broomstick with guides and a reel seat will work.http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif

Grannyknot
09-05-2013, 05:25 PM
I suck at casting, so I couldn't tell you, but after 4 hours of 12 foot leaders or streamers on the clinch, my arm thanks me for using an expensive rod.

On the small mtn streams, I don't think it matters too much, although I do like the longest rod that I can manage to wrestle through the rhodo.