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If you're interested, I see that Hook and Hackle is closing out their St. Croix Imperials at 40% off, which makes them $90 net. They still have 8'6" 5wts left, which would be a good rod in a good size (for local trout fishing) with a good warranty to learn on. AND, it would still be a good back-up rod that you could continue to fish once you become accomplished. The trouble with going too low on the quality scale is, IMHO, that the rod is pretty useless once you progress anywhere above the "thrashing the water and bushes" stage of casting:
http://www.mailordercentral.com/hookhack/products.asp?dept=146
 

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TroutHunter said:
I heard from a well known guide that a custom rod manufacturer said that it never cost more than 100.00 to make a great rod...just makes you think what we are paying for when we buy those 600.00+ rods...the name?

TH
$100, even at list prices, will definitely buy the components to build a "great" rod, i.e. a crisp rod with enough power to throw tight loops if needed and decent enough components. But generally speaking, even the relatively mediocre quality components on high end Sage, Winston, Orvis, etc. will cost well over $50 wholesale which doesn't leave much room for the blank cost. It's the warranties that really drive the price up. Orvis started 'em and everybody else jumped on board. Classic case of an entire industry chasing and conforming to a bad business decision. That's why the second-hand value of a rod is, or should be, about half of new price -- the warranty only follows original owner. Of course now that "handling" charges have been padded by the mfr's, the difference in full-bore repair charges and the warrantied coverage is narrower. So my used price guideline is probably changing.

For example, my trusty old Sage DS905 which I've probably fished between 300-500 days, had the butt section replaced under warranty, but has been mostly a back-up rod for the last 10 years is apparently worth around $125 or so on the used market. It was only a bit over $200 new, so this baffles/amazes me, especially with the expired warranty as mentioned above. But if that's what some people want to pay for it, I'll gladly take it and build, say, a Dan Craft SigV or FT out of the proceeds.
 
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