A good mid-priced fly rod is a dime a dozen. Here's how to pick a winner.
Fly fishing seems to only be getting more expensive. If you find yourself ready to move on from the entry level gear and more into a mid-priced fly rod, before making the jump to elite status, you might need some help. A lot of companies out there make $250 to $450 rods, but are they really worth it? Here's what to look for and how to find out.
First off, whatever rod you choose has to have a lifetime warranty. If that is not the case, the rod is simply not worth it. Fly rods break too easily and if you buy from a company that doesn't back up their rod, why should you trust it? There are varying different degrees of lifetime warranties, but as long as the word "lifetime" is in the warranty section, this passes the first sniff test. For example, Clutch makes a good stick at the high end for a mid priced fly rod. At $450, this is a good decision.
Another good indicator in the quality of a mid-priced fly rod is the amount of graphite modulus in the rod. A solid mid-priced fly rod should be up in the 40 to 50 million or more modulus, depending on the action of the rod you want. If the company doesn't say, they probably don't want you to know. The more modulus, the more energy the rod will have, and ultimately, the more it will cost.
Normally, most real high end rods are 60 million modulus or more. For this reason, I'm a big fan of Walton Rods. They actually list on their website rods of 68 million modulus graphite with a lifetime warranty. At only $295 and handcrafted in the USA, it's worth looking into.
Next, see if you can find out where the rods are actually built. Most rods that are made overseas cost a fraction of their retail value. Another thing to consider, most rods that rely on a retailer network to sell their rods cost a fraction of that value also. What you are actually paying for is the in-house employees, marketing, social media campaigns, and fishing trips for the owners. This is all well and good if it's a good rod, but to each their own.
For this reason, I'm a big fan of Colton. They make great rods at an affordable price. Period.
Overall, confidence is really the name of the game. A $60 fly rod will catch a lot of fish. A $1000 fly will catch fish, also. What it comes down to is the skill of the fly fisherman and if they can utilize the high end gear.
Again, this is where those quality mid-priced fly rods hit such a sweet spot.