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Discussion Starter #1
I recently took a long hard look at my Helios, T&T, and TFO dc, switch rods. Took them out on the lawn, lined them up side by side and I honestly can't tell the difference between them other than the T&T being longer and the cork on each may be preferable to some. I havent had them all on the water yet. I know the T&T will throw more weight but I'm wondering if I have too many trout rods and what I'm paying for.

I love the TFO DC and I love the Helios but the difference is trivial to me. The weight difference is barely noticeable and both have great aesthetics as far I'm concerned. I don't see either cork lasting longer than the other. One is $1000 and the other $350 and to be quite frank if I didn't know anything about rods I wouldn't be able to tell you which was suppose to be more pricey and why

Aside from small custom builders (Meiser, burk, Anderson, etc), what are we paying for? Sure I like the Orvis being from vermont but 3x times as much? Neither one will catch fish better than the other, that's up to me.

Just a thought . . .
 

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I think an underrated aspect of high end rods is the "guts" to place a long, dense sinktip in an anchor without having to roll cast first it up to the surface first. A favorite aspect of my Sage ONE is that whether I fish type 6/type 8 tips with my longer line or 13' of T-17 on a skagit, I don't have to roll cast first to get things up to the surface. Or if I'm using intermediate heads, it will pick them up clean without fuss. Echos, Beulahs, Cabelas, Redingtons, etc are all nice casting rods but they don't handle lines with the same authority as a Sage or Winston or Burkheimer.

But to answer your question, you are paying for better cork quality, marginally lighter blanks, etc. It doesn't matter, I guess. It's a personal preference/what can I afford/how much do I want to spend question when approaching rod purchases. I don't care how people spend their money. I love my Sage ONE and Accel that I bought new and I love my Z-Axis switch I bought on the classifieds for cheap. I liked the Redington Dually I demoed. Most two hand rods are pretty great these days.
 

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I think I can understand and relate to what you're saying here. I have always been hesitant to drop top $$$ on high end rods (particularly new), and yet I do love a quality made product. I do prefer (generally) to purchase locally made products when/where practical. I have found that some of the lower end fly rods do have a bit of a "cheaper" feel in terms of aesthetics and particularly in terms of the handle, and cork quality.

To me, the TFO Deer Creek rods are really nice rods in pretty much all respects, and lack many of the obvious hallmarks of cheap import rods. I did have the cork fall apart on my switch rod somewhat prematurely, which I ended up replacing myself later. For the most part though, I think that when you get into the double handed rods the quality variance isn't nearly as broad as it is in the single handed rods. Even the cheapest ones seem to be pretty nice performing rods, by my standards anyways.
JB
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All good answers, thanks for sharing your thoughts

Apologies if I'm free associating so to speak :)


Hope everyone is out casting . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just a brief follow up


I think I may have been premature as I went out and spent some time today with my T&T and I wouldn't part with it :)

It was exquisite
 

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R J Ruwe
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The difference in price between the best quality cork ring and a lesser quality can be as much as $1.50 per ring. Count them up and see how much they cost. The same is true of the real seat, guides, and other components. Having made custom rods for over 44 years, I always had to explain to the customer why something cost more.
 

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I couldn't disagree more.

I've bought five $800+ rods and I regret buying all but one of them.

I'd rather cast my Echo rods than any of my Sage rods and while my Winston rod casts better than my Cabela's rod it doesn't cast $750 better.

I cry every day when I think of the money I've wasted on big money rods. I've got $2500 worth of high end rods that sit in the closet because I have Echo and Cabela's rods I'd rather use.

Based on the big money rods I've bought the primary reason for big money rods is plain and simple snob appeal. Last time I was on the river I fished near a professional guide and his client, both with big money rods, and I out casted both of them all day long.
 

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If you are buying US-made high-end rods, I think you're paying for labor- the jobs of a few people- and all the other costs associated with manufacture in this country. I don't have a problem with that.

I was fortunate to have my first spey rod be a Meiser. The build is second to none, but more importantly, so is the casting. I have three now, and will have more. I love casting and fishing them, and I love supporting a guy that has built a business from the ground up, and designed the rods he's done it with.

I feel the same way about my Burkheimers.

I'm not a wealthy guy by any stretch, and happily drive a 10 yr old truck. And I have to save an scrimp to buy the rods and reels that I have, and I don't spend on much else. But I love the rods I have, and fish them happily, and know that any limitations on my ability are mine, and not the fine tools that I have been fortunate to acquire.

At Speynation several years ago, Bob jumped up from lunch, excited to go cast some rods. When I asked what he was excited about trying, he said, "All of them. Their aren't any bad rods anymore." I suspect he'd be the first to tell you to get whatever rod makes you happy to cast and fish it, no matter what your criteria are.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thanks SLSS great perspective and anecdote :)

I can't wait to call bob to order a 4/5 spey
 

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All Tangled Up
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Most of the rods I have found to be really fine are on the expensive side -- Meiser, Burkheimer, ACR, B&W. A fine, hand-crafted, well-designed product with top materials, fit, and finish is going to be expensive. However, the converse is not true, not all expensive rods are good. No amount of bling is going to rescue a poor taper.

So what I think one is paying for in top end rods:

Usually, though not always, better fittings, finer finish, lower weight.

For the big-name wide-market rod makers one is also paying quite a bit, I suspect, for marketing, inventory, cost of maintaining a distribution network, cost of holding inventory at the retailer side, and the comfort level the occasional or new caster has in having a "big brand" item. IMO this segment is where the highest risk and worst values lie. Though I do have a shirt from Orvis that I am quite fond of.

For the small shops -- for the most part the ones listed above -- one is getting, by contrast, design know-how and experience that is specialized to and focused on spey. In addition there is also some hand-crafting and the potential for a true custom item. For that one pays a premium for the lack of scale in small production runs, and, expensive labor. I'm not a wealthy guy either, and I drive a 15-year old truck, but I'm fortunate to have a good enough job to afford one indulgent hobby, so, given the choice, with a couple exceptions (e.g. an old beat-up Scott T2H I acquired second-hand) these tend to be the rods I reach for.
 

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Hello.. I have to admit I use only highend rods. Almost twenty of them, all but one from the same maker. Best way to skimp on rods is to make them yourself. Everyone I use are selfbuilds. You can do that yourself, too. Buy an expensive blank, and the components may cost you zilch. You end up by having a premium rod, but with lesser finish. If you buy a budget rod, you have a lesser rod, with the same lesser finish. There´s also some pride in making your own, regardless of result. Many people dress their own flies, but few will ever receive any prize for them..
And you can always buy that old, tatty premium rod, and remake it back to glory. Your style. Yourself. I do that from time to time. I´ve said it before, I regard ALL rods as blanks..
And I also EXPECT better after sales service from a premium brand. Don´t you?? Yours borano20
 

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I have bought several G Loomis rods over the years mostly GLX series and now a NRX and I have never regretted buying any of them. The new NRX 14' 6/7 has the best cork I have seen in years and will be my summer rod from now on.

I also have a couple of Cabelas cheaper rods that I seldom use but they were purchased with the knowledge that they would not be used often. I am satisfied with both of them.

Oh I do have on Echo 13'6" 8 wt. the original Echo. that I have loved and one of my sons now loves it.
 

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I think the OP makes some good points..

If you have a high end rod and a low end rod side by side and they are of the same quality of build and have the same performance while casting and fishing something is wrong with the picture..

that said not all build quality issues are readily apparent by looking.


that said my limited experience with a couple of the manufacturers mentioned are different.

I cast an Orvis Helios the 13 ft 8/9 I think and it was a perfectly good rod performance wise.. not my cup of tea but it cast really good

on the other hand i have cast several of the deer creek rods and have nothing good to say about them.. That said i am glad that temple fork at least tried to do something different than every one else.. I just don't think they accomplished making a good performing rod. at least based on the 6's and 7's

all this to say.... Sometimes you get what you pay for... cast before you buy then buy local so you know exactly what you are getting.
 

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I have both Echo`s and a few Meisers-The Echo`s cast and fish great- I think they are one of the best rods out there,( wish I could buy the blanks and custom make them) the Meisers I build ,and that allows me to own,fish, a fantastic rod,with out the usual retail high mark up.The finish may be different,not quite up to perfect,but I`ve learned how to finish the cork,finish the guide wraps well enough to enjoy looking at them while I fish.I have been able to adjust each cork handle to fit my style of casting.Learn how to build and the addiction just gets better
 

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Meiser, T&T, and OPST two handers; Scott, Orvis, & Winston SH. Danielsson and Hardy Reels
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Interesting discussion

I'm new to the 2H game, but I've been fly-fishing for 40+ years and I've owned a lot of rods. My first two rods were Berkley Parametrics, one 8'; the other 6'3". These were the rods I learned with and for all I knew they were top of the line although I know they weren't.

From then on I've owned pretty much high end rods, primarily from two domestic makers. I've had good, great, and not so good rods from both. I'm sure as many different casters there are, there are as many good rods. BUT, you have to cast them more than once to know for sure. I think that is why the used rod market is so active. The latest and greatest in someone else's hands may not be so in mine. So, my current philosophy is that there are no bad rods, and if I am selective and PATIENT (not my strong suit), a rod I want will show up on the used market and I can get a top end rod out of Montrose or Twin Bridges for far less than a new one would cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, I went out this morning for the first time since my divorce started in 2012. What a great feeling it was to be back on the water and not to have it just be an escape. The T&T was flawless and had me zipping lines all morning :) I shook off the rust and the familiar sight of an airflo Scandi head flying through the air was refreshing.

Worth every penny as this moment was priceless
 

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I think this discussion is a tough one, and ultimately is up to the individual. When I sold rods, many folks just wanted a decent rod that would get the job done properly and catch fish well, w/ out breaking the bank. A mid-priced rod seemed to fulfill thier needs and wants, and then some.

However, there's the individual that wanted the latest and greatest, sometimes they believed it would give them an edge, or it was about simply having the best, and guess what, they came back happy too. From my experience, folks that purchased mid-priced tended to argue against high priced rods as being superior. On the other hand, folks that purchased high-priced tended to argue that their expensive rod was far better.

I suspect many of us approach this topic based on our own experience, and of course, why wouldn't we? It seems to me it will be difficult for us to have an objective discussion on this topic. I like SSLS's comment, buying amarican made supports a strained US economy, and you get a great product.

As a consumer & fly angler what's important to you? Catching the fish? Enjoying the casting dynamics? I am a gear nerd, I appreciate quality engineering in more than just fly rods. With all that said, my first DH was the 13' 7/8 deer creek and it's a great rod for the money, handles scandi and Skagit lines well, swings the fly and catches fish, gets the job done, right? After a time I wanted to try something new, picked up the 7136 z-axis. At first I didn't like the rod, heavier swing weight, my casts didn't look so good now. After practicing with the Z however, I realized it demanded more of me as a caster, soon I couldn't believe the performance advantages over the deer creek. I could adjust loop shape with any combination of lines, including mid-long bellies, lines that never faired as well on my deer creek. The complexity of the taper on the Z just seemed to give me that edge, to play improvisational instead of sheet music.

I then stacked the TFO against a friends Beulah 6126 & 7132, to be honest these rods seemed very similar, as though they are easier to cast, Tapers that cast for you in a sense. I know some will want to tar & feather me, but after stacking these rods against my Z 7136 and later Burkie 7117 & 8134 I just can't help but feel the Z & burkies have tapers that demand more from me, but also allow me to use a wider variety of lines, tips & flies In a dynamic fashion that I just didn't get with TFO & Beulah. Remember, these are my opinions, and for the next guy, a load of garbage.....and that's the point ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wonderfully said. I played with a new rod today and just like you said. It demanded much more of me than my DC and to be honest I haven't quite refined my cast on it but I'm loving it. I really like the DC but I think you're quite right or we have had similar experiences. The DC series is an easy driver and I like that for when I'm feeling lazy or I just want to relax. The T&T as Fred has stated to me in another thread, requires more attentiveness. But the cast is more precise when I nail it.

Thank you all for sharing.

Enjoy the weekend


I think this discussion is a tough one, and ultimately is up to the individual. When I sold rods, many folks just wanted a decent rod that would get the job done properly and catch fish well, w/ out breaking the bank. A mid-priced rod seemed to fulfill thier needs and wants, and then some.

However, there's the individual that wanted the latest and greatest, sometimes they believed it would give them an edge, or it was about simply having the best, and guess what, they came back happy too. From my experience, folks that purchased mid-priced tended to argue against high priced rods as being superior. On the other hand, folks that purchased high-priced tended to argue that their expensive rod was far better.

I suspect many of us approach this topic based on our own experience, and of course, why wouldn't we? It seems to me it will be difficult for us to have an objective discussion on this topic. I like SSLS's comment, buying amarican made supports a strained US economy, and you get a great product.

As a consumer & fly angler what's important to you? Catching the fish? Enjoying the casting dynamics? I am a gear nerd, I appreciate quality engineering in more than just fly rods. With all that said, my first DH was the 13' 7/8 deer creek and it's a great rod for the money, handles scandi and Skagit lines well, swings the fly and catches fish, gets the job done, right? After a time I wanted to try something new, picked up the 7136 z-axis. At first I didn't like the rod, heavier swing weight, my casts didn't look so good now. After practicing with the Z however, I realized it demanded more of me as a caster, soon I couldn't believe the performance advantages over the deer creek. I could adjust loop shape with any combination of lines, including mid-long bellies, lines that never faired as well on my deer creek. The complexity of the taper on the Z just seemed to give me that edge, to play improvisational instead of sheet music.

I then stacked the TFO against a friends Beulah 6126 & 7132, to be honest these rods seemed very similar, as though they are easier to cast, Tapers that cast for you in a sense. I know some will want to tar & feather me, but after stacking these rods against my Z 7136 and later Burkie 7117 & 8134 I just can't help but feel the Z & burkies have tapers that demand more from me, but also allow me to use a wider variety of lines, tips & flies In a dynamic fashion that I just didn't get with TFO & Beulah. Remember, these are my opinions, and for the next guy, a load of garbage.....and that's the point ;)
 
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