High Dollar vs. Less Dollar Rods

Matt Paluch

Active Member
Started this conversation in a previous thread (different) and thought it to be appropriate to put it into a thread of it's own since there were many strong opinions about the subject.

I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for in a fly rod. I have come to believe this through working in the fly fishing industry for the past decade... from my first job up to this point. The simple fact is that higher quality materials being assembled by higher quality craftsmen will perform better than lower quality materials being assembled in bulk factories overseas. I made a couple statements on the last thread that people didn't like (or probably just didn't understand)... so here goes.

First... I will stand by the statement that you will break 10 lower priced rods to every one higher priced rod. Why? Because I have sent back 10 times as many lower priced rods for warranty repair than higher priced rods. It was mentioned after I said this that IM6 graphite is more durable than higher modulus graphite. This is true and if every component put onto the rod were exactly the same and the rod was put together by a well trained craftsperson, I would have to retract my statement. Lower priced rods are built with worse components and assembled as quickly as possible. Any time a blank is nicked there is a possibility of breakage. People moving as quickly as they can to put together a rod are prone to nicking the blank, wrapping a guide incorrectly, or any number of mistakes that could cause a rod to break. This is partly why lower priced rods will break more often. Another part would be that people don't take care of their lower priced rods as well as their high end stuff, so it's not all on the manufacturers side. This ratio of 10 to 1 has been true for a long time in several different shops that I have worked for.

Second.... I hesitate to do this again, but let's see how big this fire gets after I rekindle it. If all rods were the same price, which would you buy? Lesser priced rods would cease to exist. Manufacturers specializing in bargain rods know this, that's why they cost less. If Temple Fork, Echo, Beulah, etc. could fetch $650 per rod... they would charge that. These companies make good rods for great prices, they are not competing with Sage, Winston, T&T or other Higher priced rods. There is nothing wrong with loving your lesser priced rod, just don't tell me that you get the exact same quality for less money.
You get what you pay for in anything you buy. It's simple economics. You're stating the obvious... Yes, less expensive fly rods are built with less expensive components - that is why they are less expensive. Is there a point you are trying to make?


Active Member
Do less expensive components necessarily mean less quality? For instance, an anodized aluminum reel seat is certainly much less expensive than a nickel silver reel seat with an exotic wood insert; on the other hand it does the job, is durable and will last the life of the rod without any maintenance. I've owned many rods from many manufacturers and, barring an encounter with a car door or some other my-fault catastrophe, I don't think the price has had anything to do with frequency of breakage. The most breakage-prone-for-no-obvious-reason rod I ever owned was a Sage RPL.


Active Member
Perhaps the "anger" you're sensing is the convinction that those of us who can't afford white-collar rods catch just as many fish, if not more, on our performance rods, and we're damn proud of it. I don't think you really got any one mad, but when you tell someone that your rod is better just because it costs $400 more than theirs, you're going to get a gut check.

You still haven't substantiated your assumptions that imported rods are of lesser quality because of the people who make them. If you care to test out that assumption on other industries, I think you're going to see the obvious flaw in the logic, but OK. Whatever. When it boils down to it, labor costs next to nothing with imports, so they can throw more people at quality control and inspection. For domestic manufacturers, where labor is expensive, it's a better approach to add controls in your processes whenever you have manual inputs. The output is basically the same with either approach, although far more efficient in the case of domestic manufacturers.

If quality imports were breaking 10x as much as high-end domestics, they wouldn't be in business.

Red Shed

"junkyard spey"

Since you've decided to get out of the spey forum and move your thread to the general forum I will have to post my reply again.

"Sage/Redington's customer is top of the line as is Loomis' but it is no better nor faster than Echo's, Beulah's or TFO's.

I believe the statement that high end sticks break less then those of lower price points to be complete nonsense. More then 90%+ of rod breakage is caused by user error which has nothing to do with anyone's quality control."


Be the guide...
I've broken higher end rods much more frequently than the lower end rods I have. Some of those tip sections are so fragile you just look at them wrong and they snap....


Well-Known Member
These threads about rod quality and price point serve the purpose of providing diverse opinions and a smattering of objective information to readers who may benefit from it. And they are entertaining. They've made me wonder if I would be out of line posting a thread asking for information about the best $1200 fly rod, but that would be such obvious trolling.

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
These threads about rod quality and price point serve the purpose of providing diverse opinions and a smattering of objective information to readers who may benefit from it. And they are entertaining. They've made me wonder if I would be out of line posting a thread asking for information about the best $1200 fly rod, but that would be such obvious trolling.
I dunno, with some of the prices of 2 handers these days, it's not too far out of line to define the top end of prosumer products as $1200 or more... I think the Loomis stuff is nearly $900 a pop?

LG Mix

New Member
How much of the purchase price of a higher-quality, more durable, premium rod goes into the beautiful full page ads that grace the various fly fishing publications?

How much do those ads, and the premium prices on the premium rods, influence our thinking?

For that matter how much of what we think is based on verifiable facts and how much is based on emotion and imagination and influential appeals to them.
-- Larry
Oki dokee,

There are a few good points made here, doesn't change my stance... but I'm not out to get anyone or prove that I'm better because I fish with better (or shall I say more expensive) equipment. The statement about 10x more lesser priced rod breakage is from my own personal experience over the past decade from having to send these rods back to their respective manufacturers. I have been part of decisions to drop certain rod lines from one of these shops due to the breakage issue (didn't have extreme issues with echo or beulah). Overseas built rods are generally problem free for the first few years of production as well... after that, things slip. Overall most people will never experience any problem with any price level of rod for a very long time. Most people don't use their equipment enough to break it. And yes, if the rod get's broken it is usually in a non fishing situation. The likelyhood of breaking a rod even when it's user error is greater when you have an overseas rod. Quality control cannot see many problems that a rod might have when they inspect a shipment of rods from overseas, hence the better workers building a rod really make the difference in how sturdy that rod will be. This is why the more expensive on shore rods are worth the money to me.

After having said all of this... I didn't go off because I felt like it. A comment was made in a thread I was reading that stated "I still would not by a Sage, too expensive lots of cheaper and as good options available from other manufacturers." I just don't like it when I spend $700 per rod I own and then someone says that you get the same thing for lots less. It's not true. This doesn't mean that the less expensive stuff is crap, it's not. In fact those rods are fun to fish and are good for the price. So I'm sorry if anyone thinks that I'm dogging their gear, I didn't mean to put you down.


Ignored Member
The last 2 rods I have broken were both Sages. One was my fault, the other was Sage's fault. Both repaired, no questions asked. I fish several brands of rods. A couple of which are what I call boutique rods such as Beulah although I don't own a Beulah but I degress. I have yet to break one of the lower end rods and they do get fished although not as much as the Sages. I have one rod that was custom made for me using a Rainshadow blank that gets used quite extensively and I know some of the components are not top of the line. It has not broken yet after several years of use.

I only have my own experiences to draw on when replying to this thread and my reply would be to say bullshit.

What was that about trolls under the bridge?