difference in price [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: difference in price

07-17-2006, 01:44 PM
I'm an intermedieat flyfisher and have always used really really cheap and junky rods and reels and lines-

I'm thinking of buying a combo 6 wt - st croix, Tfo, etc or (any of your best suggestions) and I'm wondering - what is the difference between a 140$ combo and a 340$ combo. (rod, reel, backing, line)

I'm only intersted in performance and getting the most enjoyment out of my fishing experience - and best bang for the buck - If the noticable difference in performance aint that much I might just get a couple 170$ outfits - a 4wt for dinky brushy streams and a 6 wt for lakes - medium trout

but if you think I'd get more enjoyment out of using a 350$ outfit - I'll probobly just get a decent 6wt for now as I prefer stillwater fishing-



07-18-2006, 10:14 AM
You'll get as many different answers as you will get replies, this is a personal decision

For me, it's all about long-term performance and an appeal to my sense of aesthetics.

No even more, I like it to reflect my passion for the sport when I look at it.

For instance, remember those plastic LOOP reels? They might have made a lot of sense. But compare them to the Danielsson machined reels with the titanium colored anodized finish, or an Abel or a Tibor. Or beyond my reach but hotly desired - Bogdan or discontinued Charlton.

When I release a huge steelhead, sit on a bleached timber to take a hit from the flask, I want to look over and see the tool that did the deed with me as something worthy of my deeply commited passion for flyfishing. I can't look at a cheapo rod or plastic reel and see that unless it was handed down by great grandpa or it was a first rod from uncle ernie or some other sentimental worth.

At the end of a hard season of hardcore flyfishing when the reels come into my room and sit on my tying table, these performance reels tell tales of the travels to the marls of Acklins for speeding bones, the tarpon they tamed, the cow stripers they battled, and the steelhead and salmon they lay next to for in-the-water photos without losing their drag settings from the soaking.

The rods are taken down, laying in waiting for the call to accompany me to some wild retreat whether tropical, mountain stream, rainforest or salty brine. Years of service behind them and decades to go.

As a guide, instructor and totally addicted angler I need to look at my gear, leaning there on that driftwood, and think "man that's my gear because it looks like how I feel about flyfishing".

But I can't speak for anyone else, and I did not even mention pink... :lildevl: :devil: ;) ;)

07-18-2006, 02:16 PM
And for the contrarian view...

For most of us a trip the the Acklins or British Columbia or any of those other fancy places just isn't in the cards. Whether it is because we'd like to be able to send our kids to college or have enough to pay the electric bill. For 99% of the fishing most of us are likely to do a $80 outfit from Walmart is probably sufficient. I've watched piles of kids land good size fish on $10 Snoopy outfits from KMart. To me that expensive gear is absolutly insane.

I just don't understand the aestetics argument. You hear people dreaming about some piece of expensive gear. When they finally get it they use it for a few months and then resell it because they have a new piece of dream gear. It's like they are never satisfied. What's wrong with buying something servicable and then using it until you become so familiar with it that anything else feels wrong. Then instead of dreaming about new gear, go fishing instead.

I'd rather save my money and spend it on some fly tying materials, or a decent book, or a nice meal with my family or if I really feel the need for aesthetics, a decent bottle of Single Malt Scotch.

07-18-2006, 03:14 PM
There's room for all points of view.

07-18-2006, 03:21 PM
I guess what I'm trying to accomplish by the post I made was to find out just how much money is neccesary for optimum experience,

I've enjoyed myself a bunch just using my cheapo rod, - kids broke the tip (or I did) in the mini-van door and I stuffed a new one on the end and now ts about two inches from the next eye down. I got the reel and line for a gift 25 years ago and its a right handed reel (I reel with my left) and the line is way to long and barely fits - forget the backing - never the less I have enjoyed myself fishing with this bastardized ill concieved outfit here in the cascades and even in british columbia.

But I've wondered what it would be like to have somewhat of a fine, balanced rod and reel and matching, proper, nice line with good backing. So, in my experience - one of those st croix premiere combo outfits that come with a case for 130$ bucks on the internet would be quite a jump in quality. Everythings all put together for me so all I have to do is fish.

A few years ago I decided to get the finest line available but made the unfortunate mistake of not pre-testing it before I flew up to BC for Kamloops rainbows. When I arrived and began fishing I discovered that the fine line had been miss-packaged and it was sinking line and not floating line - so there I was.

Suddenly, I have a few bucks on hand and joined this site in an effort to learn about good equipement and what would be the best bang for the buck for me.

the general concensus pulled from the archives was to go to a local shop. I do believe in shopping locally, so I went to the local sporting goods store but the fly guru guy was at lunch. NO problem, I went a cross the streat to the new flyshop in town- closed mondays. Fine- they had their chance. Back to the internet.

After studying all of the combos Cabelas had to offer. I decided on the st croix avid and cabellas sla reel. One problem. Only comes in a two peice in the deal offered by the Cabellas. So I decided on the SLA reel and the legend ultra - a hundred bucks more - I'm up to 360$ now (from the 130$ St croix premeir) This is a big soul searching purchase for me. I plugged my nose and hit the "order now" icon. BACK ORDERED. Cripes. Probobly a couple months down the road. So I searched more Cabelas - Sage Launch - back-orderd.

They have a ton of TFO Lefty Kreys available - I wonder why? Also Redington but not sure they have the same quality line with the outfit.

So I guess I'll drive into Bend and talk to a real person, several, and see what they try to Sell me and cast a few rods. I want the best bang for my buck - asthetics mean nothing at this point- (obviously) I just want something that really works well so I can save up and someday return to BC and get full enjoyment out of a decent outfit.

I just wonder if I'm gonna notice the difference between a 100$ rod -( which would be a huge jump) and a 300 dollar rod (legend ultra) :Eyecrazy:

Any help and advice would be appreciated


07-18-2006, 04:51 PM
Holy Cow! Juro that is quite a yarn :chuckle: . I don't get quite so romantic about my gear as Juro. Then again I do not fish nearly as much either :mad: Fuction over asthetics for this fella:D Having said that:

I would opt for a rod that has a lifetime warrenty / repair deal. Like a Sage, St Croix or Orvis(25 years). That way when you slam it in the mini van door it only costs a small handling fee to get fixed.
I am sure TFO has the same deal I dunno.

For example; (in my opinion) A good set up would be a Sage FLi & and a compatable reel, Ross Flywater, Orvis Battenkill , Teton , Lamspson etc... There are many good reels for trout.
This combo will not break the bank & last for many years. You are on the right track by going to a flyshop & cast a few rods. You can test several brands & action types. Try a few different lines as well to get a set up that matches your particular style or fishing conditions. I have a St Croix 6'6" 3 wt that I hated untill I changed lines. Sometimes it makes a difference.

Have a look at the St Croix Avids too. I do not think they are real expensive

My 6wt set up is a 9 foot Sage LE two piece (discontinued) and a Teton Trinity reel. Not real expensive set up but with reasonable care it will last a lifetime, or thereabouts.

As far as looks go, It looks great! especially bent over double with a Landlocked Salmon on the line.

07-18-2006, 05:03 PM
OK I spun it up a little for fun. But not much :D

I am not above my means, but penny-wise is pound foolish. And in each of our lives, there is something, or some things that we hold to that level.

A watch? A car? Firearms? Silk suits? Stereo? A guitar? :cool:


Well sorry I usually try to stay on topic but I blew it this time.


Let me try to make amends with a sincere reply...

Buy the best you can afford because you will likely upgrade sooner if you don't. Most guys I know bought a trail of increasingly priced rods until they hit a plateau, which is different for all individuals.

I have no idea where your plateau is or will be. However if you buy as high as you can you will think less about upgrading and you might get a good price on eBay when you decide if the item has some appeal.

Sorry I can't help more.

07-18-2006, 05:48 PM
As a Rep in the tackle fly business I fall somewhere between Juro and Baldmountain. Allthough I do appreciate Baldmountains desire for a good single malt (Whats in the flask Juro?). A few quick points:

1)Do not go to Wal Mart, although my company and almost every other major player in this business sells something to them, the negative quality of their product will effect your experience.

2) Don't buy top of the line in your first outfit unless money is no issue in your life. I appreciate a Hardy Bougle or a Summers Bamboo rod as musch as the next guy but most beginners haven't developed their casting style and have no idea what kind of flyfishing thy'll prefer. Certain Rods (and lines) fit casting styles differently, and at this point you just don't know what type of rod feels more comftorble in your hand. I was fly fishing hardcore for almost eight years before I discovered that I prefer slower rods.

3) Find a local flyshop, take a class if possible. Their expertise is valuable, spend a little more for it. The internet is a great place to buy if you know exactley what you want but not a good place for a beginner to make choices on flyfishing. If you can find a local Trout Unlimited or flyfishing club, most flyfisherman don't mind taking a newbe out, even letting him borrow equipment. I kept backup/loaner outfits available for almost every kind of fllyfishing I do even before I was a rep.

4) As far as priorities in spending, spend your money on your rod and the flyline. This is where expert advice comes in handy. Certain lines match up better to certain rods. Unless your going to chase Saltwater,Steelhead or Salmon settle for a solid simple click drag reel, a drag is not necesscary for most smaller gamefish, although their are a few decent disk drag reels for around 100$. If you can find a good solid simple reel for 60$ and spend the extra money on Fly line you'll be better off.

07-18-2006, 07:03 PM
I spun it down a bit. On purpose. ;)

burk, all good advice. Especially..

1)Do not go to Wal Mart


Juro is right though. Sometimes it feels really good to own a top end piece of gear. I just get a bit frustrated sometimes because my budget doesn't allow it. (I've also been drinking Mikes Hard Lemonade instead of single malt. :frown: )

Don't overlook the TFOs they are a great value for the price. Even the top casting guys appreciate the TiCr rods.

07-18-2006, 09:12 PM
Here's my 2 cents. Freshwater fly rods can be found at any price, but I think you can break them down into a few price ranges:
~$100 - Good for a beginning fly caster.
~$200 - Good for a beginning fly caster with a little more $$$ to spend, or for an experienced fly caster looking for an inexpensive rod. Best bang for your buck.
~$400 - Excellent near premium quality rods for anyone from the intermediate to the expert fly caster. Also excellent bang for your buck.
~$650 - Premium quality rods for the expert fly caster. Takes an experienced fly caster to notice a difference between this and the next cheapest rods.
$1000+ - Ultra premium rods or bamboo rods for fly casters with money to burn.

The line and the rod are the two most important things so spend the majority of your money there. You should figure on getting a premium line which will run you $60. Since you are already an experienced fly fisherman, I highly encourage you to pick yourself up one nice outfit instead of trying to get two basic ones. You can get one 8'6" 5 wt that'll do very well for both streams and lakes, and in general that's just a great all-around rod length and weight. So if you're looking at $340 for an outfit, this leaves you with $280 after getting the line. You're definitely going to notice a difference between a $100 and $200 rod. My advice for freshwater setups is always to spend the majority of your money on the rod and get a very cheap reel ($35-40). It's really only going to be a line holder. You can always upgrade to a better reel when you have some more money to spend, and you'll already have a good rod and line. So spending that much on the reel, you'll have $240 or so to spend on a rod which will get you something very nice. The St Croix Avid series have been a well respected rod for quite a while now and falls right in your price range. The model I'd get is this one:
A865.4 8' 6" 5 4 Mod. Fast 3.3 $220.00

07-18-2006, 09:15 PM
Well, Fella's I'm now a fan of the local fly shop, now that I've found the right local fly shop for me, Which is in another town but he's got him a lifetime customer now.

After getting home with my purchase I'f found that I've followed ya'lls advice to a Tee. I bought a 5wt 6# Sage Fli and a 60$ reel and he threw in the backing, a quality line and leader. So I got exactly the combo I wanted and was able to spend most of my money on the rod and feel like a got somewhat of a deal.

Thank you for all of your replies. They were all right on the money. I feel like I've done exactly the right thing, which doesn't always happen.


Dble Haul
07-19-2006, 07:56 AM
Juro is correct in that people are going to spend their money on top level items, even if they aren't fishing gear. It reminds me of a Geirach story....

John is fishing a stream with a custom made bamboo rod. Someone pulls up in an SUV, and starts an idle conversation with him. After a while, the stranger asks about the rod.

"Oh yeah," John says, "I had it custom built for me."

"Really? Do you mind if I ask how much it cost?"

"Not at all. About $800."

"Dear God, that's outrageous!" The stranger is beside himself. "Nobody should pay that much for a fishing rod, bamboo or not!"

At this point John looks over at the stranger's $50,000 SUV and says, "Yeah, but I only paid $1,500 for my pickup truck."

07-19-2006, 10:52 AM
...I'd rather save my money and spend it on some fly tying materials, or a decent book, or a nice meal with my family or if I really feel the need for aesthetics, a decent bottle of Single Malt Scotch.

If buying good fishing equipment and meals for the family (or scotch) were mutually exclusive, I'd probably agree with your point of view.


07-19-2006, 05:47 PM

Most of the really good fly fishers I know identify very well with the fellow who owns the $1500.00 pickup.

07-19-2006, 06:58 PM
All the LL Bean gear is a great value...I've goy many expensive rods,and think they're worth it to me,but several are Bean rods,and they're great..
Also..absolute satisfaction guarantee..On all their stuff

07-19-2006, 06:59 PM
Wadecalvin, if you are experienced as a fly fisherman and have outgrown the "cheapie" gear you've been using and, based on your budget...in my opinion, go with the $340 (or thereabouts) setup.

Following the great advice already given by all of the fine folks here, spend your money on the rod and the line.

Great choices, some already mentioned:

As a combo..

Sage Fli, 8'6", 2 or 4 piece (go with the 4 if you travel more)($255-295) and a Scientific Angler System 1 reel (click and pawl)(about $70). If you want to move up a tad on the reel, go with the System 2L reel in the 4/5 or 5/6 size (about $120-130), or an Orvis Battenkill BBS III (about $100), both of which have disc drags. The Battenkill would be a great choice for a disc drag.

St. Croix Avid 8'6", 2 or 4 piece ($200-220) with the same reel choices.

Either of these rods will give first rate performance without the really premium price but are built to high standards. If you plan to fish mostly bigger rivers, lakes or in a float tube, up the length to 9 ft.

These choices are by no means the "end-all." There are many other great choices, but these are readily available by companies that will be around a long time.

Honestly, as someone already mentioned, the click and pawl reel is a great place to start for the reel. For about 90% of all trout fishing, you're going to strip the fish in by hand anyway, so the disc drag isn't really necessary.

Try to cast the line with the rod you're interested in, because as someone else mentioned, it can make all the difference in the world!

Good luck!:)

Zugbugz - Arizona