It is all about personal choices.
I will most likely get roasted for the following:
After 24+ years with TH rods including teaching casting and consulting with a USA rod manufacturer these are my opinions. My teaching partner has over 30 years experience with Spey rods.
We have many choices for low priced rods made in Asia and others in the mid to high priced range from individuals who assemble rods in the USA and Europe and use imported blanks. All of these rod are an important contribution to the Spey rod market and fish very well.
Note that a custom cork assembly or fancy reel seat does not make a great performing rod.
Cast the rods side by side with correctly balanced lines, for your casting style,,, if the $1,000 do not have any improvement in performance,,, it is a waste of money.
If the $1,000+ rods from Loomis, T&T, Sage and others did not perform exceptionally better, they would not be in business.
My partners and I have rods from TFO
, Echo, Mystic, Redington and others for use by students who do not have the budget for the high end rods. They fish very well and are great for back up rods in the future.
With every posting discussing the higher priced rods,, we have FAN BOYS jumping in with “buy my rod from XYZ custom maker,,, it is cheaper”,,,,, did you cast your rod side by side with any others prior to purchase or only read the internet glowing reports with photos?
One curious observation, how can a rod assembler determine the best or correct line for a rod without observing you casting the rod?
We have many students arrive at a class (max 5 students with 2-3 instructors) with a new rod. They are given line set ups to cast for light, medium and heavy within the grain window.
The student and instructor discuss which line weight feels best and casts best for the individual. The line weights will also change as a student becomes more experienced and skill level allows timing changes to develop and improve. This is done for both Scani and Skagit types of lines which is what the new casters want for immediate fishing.