High vs low end rods these days... Is the gap narrowing?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Codioos, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. All this talk about Redington CT rods has me thinking. I own an 8'6" 5wt CT and a 9' 5wt Winston B3x. They are different rods with different personalities but am I wasting my money on the B3x? I consider myself the "average" inland NW fisher throwing nymph rigs, dry droppers and the occasional streamer for trout on "average" sized rivers. The CT is slower than the B3x but it still does everything the B3x can. Although I do consider the B3x a better streamer rod.

    I was drawn to the B3x because of the "feel" & flex and the 2.625 oz weight, but my CT weighs 2.7 oz; which was important to me because I fractured both wrists 2 years ago. And the CT has a great taper, too. Consider the math here. CT= $80 vs B3x= $795. That's a $715 difference. WTF. Don't get me wrong, I really like my Winston. But damn! Am I alone thinking this?
  2. There are very good rods at every price point. The really excellent rods tend to be found at higher price points because it costs more for really high quality cork and reel seats and finish. It's futile to beat yourself up over this. Buy the rods you like and can afford. This is the golden age of fly rods.

    Steve Unwin and dflett68 like this.
  3. well... It depends on how much that difference in feel is worth to you.

    For me, flyfishing is my zen moment, and the difference feels good enough to warrant the price difference.

    I cant answer that question for you, all Ill say is that if youre a good enough caster to notice a real difference in rods, its probably worth it to you. If you are just a mediocre caster, not pushing the limits of your equipment, its probably not worth it
  4. Your definitely not alone, but the thing is.... People like to have that $800 dollar Sage, St Croix, Winston, You name it. I know I want one
    But having a functional fly rod that casts nice for $80 is pure awesome, its more fun because you didn't spend $800 on something so you don't feel pressured to catch fish on it.
  5. Someone recently forwarded a picture to me of a 5 lb, 6 oz rainbow taken out of a lake in western WA that is known to grow big fish, but to give them up grudgingly. The photo shows the fish next to the fisherman's rod and reel. The reel was a Pflueger Medalist and the rod looked like an old Shakespeare (I couldn't read the label very well), with a plastic reel seat and a funky cork grip. Those who know this guy marvel at how well dialed in he is to catching big fish wherever he goes. Obviously, not having high-end gear isn't getting in his way.

  6. When I started fly fishing I became a high-end rod snob in a hurry. I had some disposable income and sipped the kool-aid served by my local shop. I'm sure they saw me coming- newbie fisher with a propensity for nice stuff. Since then my disposable income has changed and along with it my rod purchases. Ironically, I found that a lot of the uber expensive rods are actually ill suited to the fishing I like best. My 2cents is get the right tool for the job and then worry about price.
  7. Great input, fellas.

    I can't help but feel I've stoopered into the "brand name game". I agree that not all rods are made equal, but how much more $$$ am I spending to have a certain logo on my gear? The CT is lacking a nice reel seat, but that can be changed if needed. I've caught fish on a lot of different brands and there is one common denomenator: the fish don't seem to care what brand I'm sporting or how new the equipment is. Hell, I've caught fish with just a stick with mono tied to it and a BH nymph.

    Gear is fun. It's part of the sport, I suppose. Richard, your story hits home for me. I have both of my grandfathers rods (Fenwicks) and my dads old Wright/Mcgill and I still use them now and then. FISH DON'T CARE.

    Phrase of the day: "It's all relative."
  8. I say this as an owner of multiple foreign made rods. There's something to be said about buying a product that is made in the USA. I'm sure your winston is a fantastic rod.
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  9. A lot of my self worth is based upon how expensive the stuff I own is. I also judge other's importance, worth, skill, and power based upon how expensive the stuff they own is. Pretty cool huh?
    Rob Ast, Codioos and mgamby like this.
  10. After accumulating a inordinate amount of fly fishing stuff, I now look at each purchase as the last purchase of that type I'll every make in my lifetime. So I always put the effort into each decision, thinking that I want to be happy with it until the day I die.

    Unfortunately, that has become to mean, OK, this is the last 9' 5wt I'll ever buy. OK, this is the last 8'6" 4wt I'll ever buy. OK, this is the last 3wt I'll ever buy.....
    Kyle Smith and Kent Lufkin like this.
  11. echo is making it hard for me to buy anything else
    mgamby and Sawyer like this.
  12. this opens up onto multiple well-beaten debates, and it probably will. but it seems like your question is really focused on performance alone, and on that count i'm sure most can agree that the gap does not correspond to the price gap. factor in emotions around the way it looks, the way it makes you look, various politics, small material differences which don't translate to meaningful performance differences (superior cork? cocobolo insert?), and small performance differences which don't translate to jack in most angling scenarios, and then you start closing the price gap. look what's happened to the prices of old medalists on ebay in the last couple years and you know that probably most of us buy this stuff more on emotion than any measure of actual performance. and the reason we can is that it all gets the job done, cause the job is pretty easy.
  13. All subjective so really no wrong answers. Besides, you and I are deciding who is producing what and for how much.

    Anyhow, seems $150ish with a good warranty is where all the bang for the buck happens (in the lighter weights). Echo Carbon for example.

    Better off coining up for good lines.
  14. cheaper stuff tends to be old technology, not to say its not well made or wont do what you want to do. It's just dated. so start with a base price cheaper rod and add what you feel is important. newer technology = $$ newEST technology =$$$, american made =$$, topshelf warranty =$$, it adds up fast.
  15. I think the difference between mid-range and high-end is really small and really hard to notice on the water. The $250-500 range is pretty phenomenal.
    I have a Loop Xact 4wt, an Evotec 3wt, a Greys XF2 6wt , and a Scott A4 4wt. All four were a combined $600 new with some savvy shopping. Every time I go to the shop and wiggle the rods that cost a whole paycheck I feel like I won.
    Something about low-end combined with fast action is repulsive to me. The cheap dry fly rods from Greys, Echo, Redington etc. have all been pleasant to cast, however.
  16. Fish with what makes you happy...(not just the beer) I've been fly fishing for 48 years and have accumulated a full quiver of fly rods. From Sage to my first Phillipson, but now they sit idle and I fish my re-worked blue collar bamboo rods exclusively. I have so many bamboo rods it's now difficult to choose which ones get to go play that day! Good problem to have...my .02
    para_adams likes this.
  17. Salmo hit it on the nose. Buy what you can afford, get what you can cast and enjoy.

    If you want to spend 1200 bucks on a rod, then do so, don't feel bad. It is always nice to have that one rod that you worked hard for to get. Pinched pennies, sold other stuff (that you will regret) bought a 12 pack instead of a case of your favorite beer. It is your prize, don't let anyone talk you out of it, it is what you want. Fisherman have needs and wants, sometimes wants are a higher priority.

    One of the best rods I had cast was a WW Grigg. Had a few of them and best casting rod I had. Yes, I do own other high end rods but they did the same as the WWG.

    Some people think cause you have a 1200 fly rod, 2500 reel you are a conceded stuck up yuppy, not true. Shoot I remember growing up, around 14 years of age, I owned an Orvis all arounder and a Hardy princess. Most of my steelhead were caught on that combo. The looks I got from other fisherman; stuck up little kid, father must spoil him, get what he wants. Not in no way did my father spoil my brother and I. He worked hard for his money and gave us the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Hell when I walked out of the water in my raggedy jeans cause we could not afford waders at the time, my taped up rain jacket torn from sticker bushes. I didn't care what they thought. But my dad pinched pennies to get me that reel. The rod was given to me from my fly fishing mentor Merlin Stedem. Then the next weekend I would be out with my Berkley cherry wood fiberglass and some god awful looking medalist take off reel enjoying the outdoors again!

    Only thing with me is I like simplicity in the rods overall looks. I hate when rod manufactures put the biggest logo and full of wraps to show off their rods. You know who they are from walking a mile up river from a fisherman. That is what I love about a lot of the fiberglass rod makers. Keep the wraps simple, beautiful reels seats, something different than a reverse wells grip and minimal writing on the blank. That is also why I like a Burkie.

    It is also the pleasure to make your own, find a new blank or an older rod, strip it down and make it how you want. Cant wait to get my household goods from this move, so I can start doing what I preach!

    golfman44, JesseC and Randall Clark like this.

  18. Echo is the rod of the future. Mark my words....

    Fishing it actually makes you better looking.
  19. make sure that whatever rod you buy is going to do the job you want it to do.

    An example: I have the reddington predator as my backup surf rod, because a 40" shovelnose guitarfish snapped the tip of my Xi3 and I was NOT going to miss 2+ weeks of sight fishing the flats here.
    Both rods are good for long bomb casts ( the whole line) BUT the predator cannot roll cast for shit. It may be the worst roll casting rod in my quiver. Now, 25% of my surf fishing casts are long roll casts with a sinking line sight fishing to corbina and spot fin croaker... how pissed off do you think I am that the rod in my hand cant roll cast? Pretty damn pissed. Also, the predator is NOT good for delicate casting with a sinking line, which makes up 40% of my surf fishing casts. SO... right there, this rod ($250 new) cannot meet my requirements for 65% of my fishing on the beach, which to me makes it a shitty choice. The Xi3 ($700) can do all these things with amazing delicacy and precision. For my needs, the extra money was well spent, because the rod simply does things that the cheaper rod cannot.

    I think you should cast every rod in the store, and walk out with the rod that you can cast the best with the lines youre going to use. Dont even think about price until you have already cast rods from at least 3 different manufacturers. (Sage, Reddington, TFO, Echo, orvis etc etc ) Go to a few different fly shops if you have to. Dont think about price, bring your own lines/reels if possible, cast the shit out of some rods, take good notes, and buy what works best for you.
    dflett68 and underachiever like this.
  20. I cannot deny that when purchasing a Winston/Sage/Loomis I feel a bit cooler than when I buy a rod assembled in China or Korea. I've been to Twin Bridges, MANY times. I have family there and I can remember touring the factory when I was a kid. So yeah there is an emotional bond with the company. However, dflett68 hits a great point, a lot of the quality differences between these rods don't mean anything when I hook a 8-16" trout. The only time I notice myself thinking about how cool I feel when using a top shelf piece is when I stop and look at the damn thing or eyeball it in my mancave. And how often do I look at my gear when I'm doing work with it?...not often enough. Honestly I can't shake the feeling that I'm just measuring myslef and skill level in a way. As if the cost of the rod will make any diffence in my skill level.

    I'm not trying to bash on any rod manufactures here. WInston, Sage, Thomas, Loomis, Echo, etc... all make wonderful rods. I was just kicking over a thought I've had on the river when I enjoy the same fun with a rod that costs a fraction of another and why I feel the need to buy the "best". I undertand the feeling of using what you earn and using what you like. I work hard for my $ and river mojo, and maybe I feel some pressure to buy Sage or Winston because of family and friends. Who am I trying to impress here?

    The sad thing is I DO feel like I'm pressured to catch a fish more-so with an expensive rod. It's like everytime I use it I'm trying to sell it to myself. WTF is that about??! And in the same sentence I also feel like I'm one of the cool kids packing around a $1300 outfit. Bullshit. I don't consider myself a yuppy. But neither am I considered a poor man. A fool, maybe.

    And for the record, I would rather support domestic than an import. But this bullshit is, well, bullshit! Sometimes I feel like I would should walk around yard sales to try and pick up a used domestic rod and help one of my own people. I'm ranting here. Thanks for listening.
    Gary Knowels likes this.

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