I view rods the same way that I do any piece of equipment.
No matter how little or how much it cost, its gotta feel and work right .
My go to rod is a Cortland combo that I got on closeout a few years ago.
I never go on a trip without it.
Meanwhile the $600 Loomis along with my other 5 rods gather dust at home.
* * This spring I built a matching set of 4wt rods for the wife and son.
By sheer luck both turned out *excellent .
The balance is perfect and they both perform very well.
Ive got about $350 in the set including a set of Orvis reels.
I just wish they would let me borrow one of them sometime.