So finally, we come to the last important decision you have to make on a fly rod and that's price. Now you can get a really good fly rod for around $200. A rod that's going to perform extremely well for you. Can you get a really good fly rod for $50 or $20? Probably not. You can get a fly rod, and it will probably cast, but you're probably not going to be happy with it. It was most likely not designed by a fly rod designer, it probably isn't going to cast very well, and it's probably going to fall apart. So, you want to spend $150 to $200 minimum to get a decent fly rod. $200 fly rods these days are just superb. They are great casting tools, they look nice, and some people never want to go any further than a $200 rod and you don't have to.
Now you can spend a lot more than $200 on a fly rod. People are always asking me, what do I get for the extra money? Some people just like to buy the most expensive fly rod they can without thinking about it. But, most of us really consider these more expensive purchases, so what do you get with a more expensive fly rod? Well, often you get, not always, but with all Orvis rods, when you buy the premium end of the line, you get a rod that's made in our rod shop, 100% in USA. So, if made in USA is important to you, you're probably going to have to spend more than $200 on a fly rod.
The other thing you're going to get is better materials. Now, what are these better materials going to do for you? Well, the rod's going to be lighter for a given weight, it's going to be stronger - it's going to be very strong - and the materials that are super light and super strong are aerospace grade - graphite and resins. The materials themselves are very expensive, but it's going to give you a rod that's lighter and yet stronger than a less expensive rod. It's probably going to give you a rod that you're going to cast a little better with. Although, I think, in your first year of fly fishing, I don't think anyone can tell the difference between a $200 and a $700 rod. So, I'd wait a couple years before you move up to a more expensive rod, and then you will be able to feel the difference in taper, the lightness, more of the sensitivity in a more expensive rod.
And another thing you get with the premium fly rod, is you get a prettier rod, you get a better looking rod - the fittings are going to be top the line and the cork is going to be top of the line. It's going to have a lot more care put into the finishing of that rod, a lot more hand labor, and you get a prettier rod tube. So, don't be ashamed of a $200 rod, it's going to do just fine for you. If you can afford it, get a more expensive rod. Pick one that meets your budget.