Re: 3 wt rod
I know it's a bit further out of your budget, but a couple of days ago I was at LRO and asked to cast the TFO Finesse 7'6" 3wt. They also suggested I try the St. Croix Avid of the same size. The Avid is a little more money, but I think it comes with a rod tube. I figured I'd like the TFO much better, as I have not really liked the St. Croix rods that I have cast. I was surprised to find out I LOVED the Avid. Your mileage may certainly vary, but I think it would be worth it to at least give them both a cast side-by-side.