The outrageous cost of spey rods

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by luckybalbowa, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. Are you like me and are amazed at how outrageous the prices are for Spey rods? I know the rods are a couple feet larger and have a little more cork, but do all of these additional costs mean that the rods should be 1 1/2 to 2x the price of a single hander?

    I love Loomis rods, and their spey rods are pretty sweet, but almost $1,000 for a mass produced factory made rod? wow! You know a rod is expensive when you need to get financing in order to purchase it! :)
  2. Well, there's couple of things that drive this:

    1) Supply and demand... Much lower demand for the 2 handers

    2) Quality. I would venture to say that the 2 handeders I've seen are better in terms of fit and finish than a lot of single handers (from what I've seen in the shops).

    3) More material. Not that cork costs thousands, but I can tell you first hand, retail prices for top grade cork rings (1/2") run near $3 per ring!

    Of course #1 is the prime motivator. At this point there are less expensive 2 handed options, but they don't carry the "clout" of the more well know brands.
  3. I don't know how a TFO is for Spey but they do have them pretty reasonable. I think around 250 bucks. Hardy tops the price at 1500.00 here is a good site to check on prices. (Non sponsor direct sales link deleted)
  4. try redington
  5. I just picked up a LL Bean spey rod (streamlight series) for $200. I'm kinda new to the world of two handers but these rods feel very functional and the "fit and finish" part equals any fly rod out there.

    Just sayin that yeah, there are some expensive spey rods out there, but like singlehanders, there are also some more reasonalbly price options. And I think in the comming years there will be even more lower cost options as spey casting seems to be increasing in popularity. I guess it depends on whether you mind being seen on the river with a LL Bean, TFO, Cabelas or Cortland two-hander. i gotta say, it dosen't bother me much.

    Of course, like singlehanders, if you can afford it, by all means, get the American made, top-of-the-line rods. I am sure that there is a difference and someday I hope to be able to find out what it is.
  6. Lucky,
    I'm with you on this. My all time favorite spey rod is a $250.00 St. Croix 14 foot 9 weight. I've never broken it in almost 10 years, and it casts tips, and large flies great. However, I seem to be drawn to those beautiful, pricey Sage Spey rods.
    When we are willing to shell out big bucks for the "snob appeal," (okay, they also cast great) how can we blame Loomis, Sage, and other expensive rod makers for doing business the American way?
    Redington, LL Bean, Orvis, TFO,St. Croix, etc, all seem to have lifetime gurantees on their rods, so that can't be the reason.
    Another thought might be that Sage and G.Loomis and Lamaglas rods are made in this country (Washington State). But that reason does not hold up when you look at the price of cars, which is a real price tag item. Just look at the #1 and #2 auto makers in the world, Toyota and Honda. bawling:

  7. Alternatives

    Most fly rods are over-priced, IMO, but if people will pay it, the companies would be foolish not to take it.

    Spey rods built from house brand blanks by Anglers Workshop get pretty good reviews. I have a 12'er that I like well enough, but it's not my favorite. A thread here begun last month regarding Forecast blanks by Rainshadow drew favorable comments, altho I haven't tried them yet. If you find yourself in Monroe, All About the Fly has demos to try. I don't really need any more fly rods, but out of curiousity, I priced the parts for one of these through one supplier and the grand total is $128.65, plus WA sales tax. Heck, I might order one just to see if that kinda' money can really produce a servicable two handed fly rod. I used to build my single handed rods for about $100 by buying Lamiglass blanks from the closeout barrel, so this Forecast/Rainshadow might be a heckuva' deal.


    Salmo g.
  8. I actually have made one of the famously inexpensive rainshadow spey rods. I built the 7/8 12' 6" model. It seems to cast fairly well, and it got me into the game, but I am wanting a rod with a little more "forgiveness," especially since I am a spey newbie.

    What really sucks for me is that I am stuck here in Utah, far away from any retailer that would have a selection of spey rods in stock. When I am back in my home town of Vancouver, my precious time is spent either on the river or with family. Plus, I never have money then because I spent it all on traveling back home.

    I can build a good sage spey for about $400-425. That was a lot more than the rainshadow rod I built for about $75. G-loomis does not offer any spey blanks that I have ever seen (and I have looked everywhere).

    The whole thing is just so frustrating for me... but flingin that spey line out just about makes up for it :)
  9. If you would like to have a true custom made 2-hander built on a custom blank designed in conjunction with a composites engineer and made just for him, you can't go wrong with those from Robert Meiser. His rods have great cosmetics, are built to your specs, have feather inlays, custom handle work, and sell for between $450.00 and $650.00 (the $650.00 ones are 6-piece works of art).

    The biggest reasons top end 2-handers cost what they do are: 1) limited market; 2) high development cost to roll up a blank, build it into a rod, and then send it out to folks to test cast, which is then followed by a change in design, new blank roll up, and new set send for testing; 3) cost of high end reel seets, guides, cork. Non of these items are cheap; but they do produce the best casting 2-handers.

    The lower priced 2-handers are mostly made out of IM6 graphite to old designs that the top end rod makers no longer use. They cast OK and are fine for the average fisherman; however, if you are a good spey caster who wants a rod that will not hinder your casting, the expensive, top-end ones are the only ones that will satisfy. This is really not different than with single-handers,
  10. Lucky,

    I sent you an email months response...offering a chance to cast numerous rods with some instruction. All free of charge. Offer still stands. I live 35 minutes north of Provo during non rush hour traffic. I think you will find the rod and line selection more than adequate.

  11. Hey Lucky I will agree that two handers cost a lot. I started with the "junkyard spey" because I couldn't afford a "real" spey rod. After close to 2 years I was able to get a 14'-9/10 St. Croix. I also think they were great sticks.
    A lot has changed since those days. There are now some very nice looking and casting two hander for half the price of the higher priced models. What size and line weight of two hander are you looking for? What length of head do you like to cast? What price point?
    Inlands offer is one you should not turn down.
  12. Salmo, herl, et all...

    The price of quality tackle is in the tiny details. Some people value those details. High quality doesn't come cheap. Especially if hand work is involved. If you don't value or appreciate the details, and many don't, there are lots and lots of options out there for the price point consumer. If you think the companies charging nearly a grand for a rod ('just because they can') are getting rich on the deal you are sorely mistaken.

    What percentage of sales at Sage do you think two handers comprise? Scott? T&T? Loomis? Winston??? These are SPECIALTY items. While it seems to be growing two handers are a fraction of the overall yearly rod sales. In order to NOT LOSE MONEY they have to recoup the investment somehow. Are you suggesting that they (both the manu's and retailers) sell them to the public intending to either break even or lose money?

  13. Quality, Performance, Price. You can have two but never three.

    If you want performance and quality = Pricey

    If you want a great price and performance = quality suffers (performs great but breaks a lot)

    If you want a great price and quality = sacrifice performance (no loan needed, looks great and well put together but does not dampen well, fights fish poorly)

    So what does that leave you with ...A sure thing that costs $$$$ or hopefully you get a serviceable product at a good price....Just depends what you want and what you want to get out of it.
  14. I don't know if anyone is really getting my point here. I am just suprised at how much more money these rods cost when compared with the single hand versions made by the same company. Both require the R&D costing... Spey rods would require very little additional labor to produce... Someone mentioned that reel seats and cork are spendy... well, single handed rods have reel seats and about half the cork of spey rods... And with how much cork that rod manufacturers buy, I am sure they get a pretty good deal on the stuff.

    I do agree with the point made that they are a specialty item. When I toured the g-loomis manufacturing plant a couple of weeks ago I was suprised to find out that the majority of the fishing rods they sold were bassrods! The fly rods consisted of no more than maybe 15-20% of their inventory. Of that 15-20% who knows how small their numbers of spey rods were. Their employee told me they sell very little of them.

    But maybe they could boost those sales by cutting the price a little bit? I know that the interest in spey fishing has increased exponentially in the last decade or so.

    I guess that I should expect everything that deals with our past time to be expensive... It just seems so expensive when you live on a college student budget.

    oh, and I plan to take inland up on his offer asap! :)
  15. Inland,

    I'm not sure where you are coming from with that last post. I was just pointing the man in the direction of some lower priced sticks with the disclaimer that they may not be as good as the $$$ ones, but that they are probably close.

    You are right though, if you want the cutting edge designs and premium components, then you are going to have to pay for them.. and it ain't cheap.

    Lucky, I guess that I don't see the same jump in price that you are talking about. If you look at one and two-handed rods in the same series (Sage VT2, St. Croix Legend Ultra) the price increase is only ~30%. There does seem to be fewer low cost models available, but like I metioned earlier, this will probably change in the near future.

    Everything that I write should be veiwed in light of the fact that I have no idea what I am talking about. Most of the time, I'm just bored.

  16. Cutting edge anything always costs. Same with cars. Now days you can get a Mazda or Toyota that will perform as well as a vintage Ferrari without having to pay the price. I just wish the time lag were not quite as long. I once heard that GM lost money on every Corvette they sold (doubtfull) but they did it anyway to boost their image.

    Sadly. that is not the case with Loomis, or any of the rest of the industry. Loomis btw is now part of Shimano Corp. No wonder the larger % of their rods are bass sticks. R&D costs, very limited production, quality components, marketing, all add up, I'm sure. Loomis, Sage, and probably the rest of the biggies claim their blanks are rolled here in the good ole U.S. of A. Their rods are 100% made here. And if we want to keep it that way and keep our own people employed, we have to pay the price.

    There are those who will pay the price to have the latest, greatest. The rest of us (and unfortunately I am in that group) will have to stand in line waiting to grab up yesterdays slightly used hi-tech.bawling:
  17. I dabbled in the spey fishing thing about two years ago and since have gone back to a single hander. The rivers that I fish can be all covered with a single hander. So I really don't feel that I have the need for a bigger/longer rod. But beside the cost of the rod,you have to figure in the cost of a good reel and line. Flies are not that big of a deal as you can toss what you are using on your one handed rod..

  18. Will add this about Loomis. They started as a gear rod company, and I bet the majority of the rods they sell are still gear rods. Will say, costs of rods are going up all over (including gear rods, they are going up as well).

    Will also add, R&D isn't only done with fly rods. Difference between a gear and a fly rod is the use. The rod is more designed for how it casts in the fly world, the rod is more designed for it's purpose and what it will specifically handle in the gear world. You have to realize, just as much testing work goes out in gear rods as they do fly rods. They have to make the tip section function properly with the butt section in a gear rod too. They just don't roll two pieces and toss them together. They also have quality components on a gear rod (in fact, usually more, since snake eyes SHOULD be cheaper to make/buy then a ceramic inserted eye).

    With that being said. It's funny that a bigger mooching stick (or longer drift rod) goes relatively cheaper then the same fly rod (that's buying blanks too). You can buy a sage drift blank cheaper then a fly blank of similar size. At least you used to (been awhile since I built a rod, fly or drift). On a big mooching or float rod, you use a long blank (10-15' 2-3' rod) with as long of handle as a spey rod. Only difference is one is using oversized snake guides (usually) where the other is using titanium or ceramic inserted drift eyes. Craftmanship is the same. Yet, you have $150-350 on a new rod "gear" wise, over $450-1,000 for a "spey" rod. Yes, they have to test out a spey blank to make sure it'll handle the load over the blank casting. BUT, they have to test same rod drift wise to see if it'll cast the weight you're tossing, then to see how it'll handle having a fish on. I've actually been allowed to field test a few rods (mostly drift rods, but some fly) and they both go through similar testing.

    I think it comes down to "If you'll pay for it, then we'll charge that much". I still don't buy the "recoup off the spey" aspect. Especially in Loomis. I know alot of prostaffers and hard core drift fishers who only use Loomis. They have hundreds (yes HUNDREDS) of loomis gear rods on hand (running on the low end $150 and some over $300 easily). I'm sure Loomis (or shall I say Shiloomis) isn't loosing money in any way. Especially since the day Shimano bought out loomis, they've cheapend up the rods (changed the reel seats and eyes to cheaper models instead of the customs Loomis used to use). Yet still charging same amounts. Onto flyrod only makers, that could be a different story. I see Sage is going back to making more drift blanks (I know they used to make drift rods years ago, I know I had a Sage made rod I bough back in the early 80's, maybe late 70's, can't remember when). Not sure year they went "all fly", but remember them even marketing their gear rods in magazines.
  19. Inland,

    I agree that generally, yes, price and quality are direct reflections of one another. However, not always. And plastic fly rods is perhaps the best example I know of. I've seen graphite fly rod blanks rolled in Jimmy Green's basement, Fenwick, Sage, and T&T. The cost of manufacturing a graphite fly rod, single or double handed, is a small fraction of its retail selling price. I know that the companies making these products aren't exactly getting rich, but that was hardly my point, either. Only that they could be sold for less than the manufacturer, wholesaler/distributor, retailer markups, but they aren't. Most likely for logical marketing reasons. I'm not complaining; I'm simply aware of it, and I keep that information in mind when I make purchasing decisions.

    I know that quality is in the details. And if you think there is anywhere near the hand work, precision, artisanship, or other indicators of craft and quality in a $600 - $800 graphite fishing rod as there is in a $1,000 custom split bamboo fly rod, you are sorely mistaken. I've bought 3 bamboo fly rods in the past couple years. They are works of art and worth every penny I paid for them. I've bought two quality brand Spey rods in the past year or so, and they are not worth what I paid for them, but I like them, and bought them anyway.

    As for losing money, I was once able to buy a Sage rod in 1990 that listed for $315 for $129, including tax and shipping. The seller said he still made money on it. No, I don't suggest that anyone should market any product to lose money. I only said that price and quality are not always a direct reflection of one another. You seem to assume that they have to charge those prices in order to recoup the investment, but that isn't always the case, nor anywhere near the only reason for setting a price point. For instance, sometimes part of the "product" is perception in the form of prestige, or even snob appeal. People do like to believe that what they paid was a good deal, and that social attribute does not go unnoticed by those who study marketing. Orvis is a good example, and I'm not knocking their products. They are good, but not that good to the critical eye.


    Price, performance, quality; two out of three. Usually, but not always. See above response.


    I heard you, and that's why I wrote what I did. What the market will pay is always one consideration in the price of goods. Diamonds are another good example where you don't generally get what you pay for, but that's another topic.


    Salmo g.
  20. You should really talk to Bob Meiser.. He sells a lot of his blanks, and I suspect they cost a fair shake less than sage. The last 2 handed switch rod blank I got from him cost $165....

    -- Cheers
    -- James

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