Wow! What a thread. Think I'll jump in and give my two cents. The more exspensive rods are usually better built. As someone who has built a few rods, I can assure you they are not all equall. Many of the cheaper rods made today are wrapped incorrectly. A rod has a "back bone" which must be alligned with the guides correctly. If not, the rod will not cast to its full potential. Multi-piece rods are even more difficult to allign and I doubt it is even considered by the folks building the rods due to the amount of additional time it takes. You may or may not notice the difference. From my observations, most of the sub $100 rods made overseas were not wrapped right. I avoid paying the high prices for the better known brands by purchasing used rods. It's amazing what you can get for less than $300 in a used rod. I've got Winstons, Loomis, Scotts, Sages and Powells. These rods all sold new for more than $550. For a specialty rod like a 2wt, I am buying a TFO for $99. Rather than arguing about the differences between expensive rods and their cheaper brothers, what do folks think about the HUGE differences in price/quality for fly reels? Most of the time the dang thing only holds the line for crying out loud! Except for salmon or steelhead, I've never had much use for a "smooth" drag. But danged if I don't have a whole bag full of reels whose manufacturers claims to have the smoothest drag around. Probably could have saved a lot of money and went with some pflueger medalists, instead of the JRyalls, Abels, Ross, Powells and Hardys. Sorry if I come off as elitist by listing these brand name "high dollar" reels and rods, but as I already stated, I buy a lot of used stuff and did not pay retail for them. I'm really very frugal, mostly due to my wife.