I am sure there are rods that cost less than half the price point this rod will have and be just as nice and catch fish all the same. The issue with fly fishing or fishing in general is you can have the most expensive rod/reel in the world and you cast in a hole with no fish you get no fish. On the other hand if you cast in a hole with lots of fish can you have a $200 rod you will catch fish......The gear is just a small part of the equation. No doubt Sage makes nice stuff but their Marketing has gone off the deep end.
Here at Sage we cant really get much more out of the art and science of making fly rods. We reached the limits of technology years agos and have been changing the recipe just to keep the droolers and gear whores happy. The top end rods of the past 20 years have all been the same. Here at Sage we have an image to maintain and all the other companies are doing it too. We cant come out and say, 'Hey, it the same old song and dance' thats not our job in marketing and advertising, we need to appear updated and on top of the game... its a dog eat dog world and we are all wearing milk bone underwear.