Driftless Trout Anglers

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TedderX  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, June 14, 2016 2:02:34 PM(UTC)
TedderX
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What companies are consistently thought of to be good quality rods and reels?
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Jimbern  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 6:17:20 AM(UTC)
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Kind of a broad question. But, in general, modern rod materials have leveled the playing field. I believe it's best to go with the company that offers the best repair/replacement warranty— especially for rods. You WILL need it.
William Schlafer  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 6:45:08 AM(UTC)
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As Jim mentioned, it's become harder to see the differences between the inexpensive rods and the pricey high end models. You might be able to make the argument to the average fisherman that there's value in a $1000 rod. But for most folks, the $200 model will meet all their needs, and catch just as many fish.

For most Driftless Area streams, the reel is just a device to hold line. If you fish bigger rivers, or salt water, or feel a need to make long heroic casts, then a more expensive reel with a sophisticated drag and expensive machining may be justified. Most of the better fishermen I've met, use old beat up simple reels.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
OTC_MN  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 7:43:21 AM(UTC)
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The volume and variety of quality rods and reels is pretty amazing compared to even 10 years ago. True in both fly and conventional markets really. The ability to get quality products from offshore manufacturers even in relatively small quantities has democatized manufacturing and really leveled the playing field. You don't need to build your own manufacturing facility, or order 10,000 rod blanks at a time anymore. A friend of mine is starting a custom rod blank company and he's able to order 50 blanks at a time if he wants to - blanks he designed to his specs. The same is true with reels. Just an abundance of options.

That's lead to really competative pricing on quality equipment. As Bill indicated, you can get rods for $200 now that, performance-wise, don't differ a lot from $1000 enthusiast rods. Again, see the same thing in conventional gear. You can drop $900 on a Megabass rod, or get a rod that performs only minutely differently for a quarter the price from a dozen different manufacturers.

It's a double-edged sword though. Embarassment of riches, but hard to make a decision.
"Our tradition is that of the first man who sneaked away to the creek when the tribe did not really need fish."
- Roderick Haig-Brown
kschaefer3  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 8:41:30 AM(UTC)
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Quality is fairly subjective. Since I have a different view, I'll offer up my opinion.

I don't disagree that there are tons quality rods out there for a reasonable price (reasonable is also subjective). The St. Croix Imperial is a perfect example. I also believe that there is a pretty big difference between most $200 rods and most $800 rods. There are rods in the $200 rods that I think are exceptional, and some $800 rods that I think are trash, but for the most part, I think a person can tell the difference in quality between price points. Ultimately, it depends largely on what you are looking for out of a rod, how often you use it and how picky you are.

I suppose the best way to tell would be a blind test. Strip off any identifying marks and cast a bunch side by side. That would be interesting. Anyone want to organize it?

You really asked what companies are considered quality on a consistent basis. So an actual answer to your question. My lists would probably be considered on the higher end, and others may disagree or have a bunch more to add.

Rods:
Sage
Winston
Hardy
Scott
St. Croix

Reels:
Lamson
Ross
Tibor
Hatch
Zugbug  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 9:18:26 AM(UTC)
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One of the differences between the expensive rods and the moderately priced equipment is where it was manufactured. Most of the expensive rods are made in the USA, and many of the less expensive fly rods are made overseas - frequently Korea.
AKinMN  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 9:46:08 AM(UTC)
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I am with Kyle on this. For the most part, the high end rods are noticeably better than lower end rods. For me, it's the lightness in hand and ease of casting (take a Sage One or Orvis H2 for a casting sessions). Lower end rods mostly still have that clunky feel to me. With that said, if your casting style leans more towards moderate action, a super fast high-end rod isn't going to work for you no matter what it costs.
Trouts  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 9:52:21 AM(UTC)
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These discussion are interesting in that they always end up the same not matter what you are talking about (food, cars, shotguns, rods, reels, etc). People try to act like the much cheaper option is the same as the one costing 4x more and that is just not the case 99% of the time. Generally speaking you get what you pay for. There might be a few small exceptions either way, but its all up the the individual on what they want. I think most guys only fly fish a few times a year and would not notice the difference between a $200 rod vs. something say in the $600-$800 range. The $800 rod is not going to cast 4x better, but there will be a difference in how smooth it casts, accuracy, light it feels, warranty, etc.. You are also paying for better fit and finish with the higher priced rods. I notice the biggest difference when dry fly fishing. A more refined and smoother tapered rod is much more noticeable when making delicate casts in tight quarters. If I'm throwing a double nymph rig into the middle of a run, then the casting performance is not as noticeable nor is it usually needed as much.

I do agree that rods made today are much better on the lower price point than those of say 10-20 years ago. My suggestion is that if you are looking to purchase a new rod that you get out and cast as many as you can. All the companies Kyle listed are a good place to start. Buy the rod you like the best and who cares what it costs.

Edited by user Wednesday, June 15, 2016 10:04:44 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

“If the trout are lost, smash the state. More than any other fish, trout are dependent upon the ambience in which they are caught… At the first signs of deterioration, this otherwise vigorous fish just politely quits, as if to say, ‘If that’s how you want it…’”
trapper  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 10:07:12 AM(UTC)
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For the record: Kyle3 is a very good caster
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TedderX  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, June 15, 2016 2:36:12 PM(UTC)
TedderX
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Joined: 5/22/2016(UTC)
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I agree with everyone's sentiment but I was looking at specific companies.

For example if I buy a Jeep Wrangler, I know it'll have better offroad performance than a Subaru Outback.

kschaefer3 wrote:
Quality is fairly subjective. Since I have a different view, I'll offer up my opinion.

I don't disagree that there are tons quality rods out there for a reasonable price (reasonable is also subjective). The St. Croix Imperial is a perfect example. I also believe that there is a pretty big difference between most $200 rods and most $800 rods. There are rods in the $200 rods that I think are exceptional, and some $800 rods that I think are trash, but for the most part, I think a person can tell the difference in quality between price points. Ultimately, it depends largely on what you are looking for out of a rod, how often you use it and how picky you are.

I suppose the best way to tell would be a blind test. Strip off any identifying marks and cast a bunch side by side. That would be interesting. Anyone want to organize it?

You really asked what companies are considered quality on a consistent basis. So an actual answer to your question. My lists would probably be considered on the higher end, and others may disagree or have a bunch more to add.

Rods:
Sage
Winston
Hardy
Scott
St. Croix

Reels:
Lamson
Ross
Tibor
Hatch



Thanks for your reply. Is Orvis and Reddington not considered all that grand? I assume they would be since you seem them often.
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