High Dollar vs. Less Dollar Rods

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Matt Paluch, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. Matt Paluch

    Matt Paluch 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.
  2. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Caution, there be trolls beneith this bridge!
  3. Chris Puma

    Chris Puma hates waking up early

    fish more & spend less time contemplating fruity questions of how much to spend on your fly rod.
  4. 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?
  5. Matt Paluch

    Matt Paluch Member

  6. Preston

    Preston 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.
  7. Flyborg

    Flyborg 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.
  8. Red Shed

    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."
  9. chadk

    chadk 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....
  10. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active 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.
  11. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    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?
  12. LG Mix

    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
  13. Matt Paluch

    Matt Paluch Member

    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.
  14. LG Mix

    LG Mix New Member

    And then I opened my fortune cookie which said: "Frugality is important."
    -- Larry
  15. KerryS

    KerryS 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?
  16. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

    I feel that this is a problem that you have to identify for yourself not leave it up to a forum to reinforce your ideas or beliefs. Who really cares, if someone has an opinion that an Eagle Claw fishes as well as a Sage Z Axis, leave that up to them to decide for themselves how much they want to pay for their equipment.

    I own all premium rods and don't for one second think twice if someone feels that my Z-Axis, Zero Gravity, T&T rod is an overpriced rod. I simply don't care!

    I can't see how someone or a few who made comments about you over paying for your equipment, has made you lose conviction in your purchases.

    I love cars and even though right now I can't afford a Porsche 911 or BMW 9 series, when I buy one, I won't care if someone tells me that was a snobbish purchase or that I overpayed for what I own. I drive a Civic now and it is high quality cheap vechicle and will get me from point A to point B, but the high end exotics will give me a different gratification.
  17. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    Let's see; you seem to have an unsubstantiated bias against rods made overseas.

    Hmmm, all mandrels are turned overseas. Ask Sage and Loomis where their mandrels come from; it ain't the USA last I heard.

    Overseas rods have access to the same prepreg resin impregnated graphite fabrics as domestic rodmakers, and in many cases are using the same advanced grade fabrics.

    Curing ovens, now there's a technological breakthrough, having seen rod blanks cured in a plywood box heated with light bulbs in Jimmy Green's basement. Some aspects of the production process just aren't rocket science, even tho Orvis ads would have us believe so. I think curing ovens in the far east are every bit as sophisticated as those at Sage, etc.

    Sanding and lacquering blanks is probably too difficult to train foreign workers to do, altho they seem to be able to make $150 running shoes just fine.

    Wrapping guides is done as piece work at US makers, usually by women living in the neighborhood of the factory. Am I to think Chinese workers can't do this as well as American women?

    The only thing the foreign rodmakes don't seem to be doing - yet - is actually designing the rod they export to the US. And I won't be surprised to see that change one of these days either.

    Did you ever pause to think that when a rodmaker wants his product to be associated with prestige, along with making the best rod he can, it's also important to price the product at a level that consumers associate with prestige? One reasons high end rods sell for the prices they do is because they have created an expectation within their target audience that their rods will be expensive. They cannot afford to disappoint folks.
  18. PT

    PT Physhicist

    Does this stuff just roll off your fingertips or are there a bunch of discarded drafts in the waste basket before you hit send?:thumb:
  19. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415


    Amongst to various points you are reaching for, I agree with this one the most.

    "Avoid nymphing whenever possible."

    but I'll be darned if I can make sense of this one

    "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."

  20. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member


    I've got more trivia stuck in my brain than I know what to do with. The forum is a handy outlet for a small fraction of it.

    Believe it or not, I don't harbor any grudge against high end rods, reels (even with unnecessary disc drags), and so forth. I just wish people could get off their high horse and admit that the most valid reason for fishing with expensive gear is because we can, and admit that high end companies do us the favor of charging enough for their gear so that we've got irrational bragging rights during conversations at cocktail parties.