I believe that most anglers cannot feel a casting difference between a $150 rod and a $750 rod. So the other day I challenged that theory. I had been “blind testing” (graphics covered) some budget rods, and when that was over, I added a high-end rod to the mix and had some buddies cast them all again. The “premier” stick came in second place. (I’m not going to say who won, and who didn’t, because it was a very unscientific test that only partly bolstered my hunch.)

Still, I think the company that has the guts to do a blinded side-by-side “cast off” with their cheap rod versus an expensive rod (or rods) and wins with a statistically significant number of casters will have the mother of all ad campaigns. But it won’t be easy to pull off. A lot of those high-end rods have a distinctive look–be that their paint, their ferrules, the wraps, etc.–that’s hard to disguise. But is that what most anglers are paying a few hundred extra for?

In fairness, I also contend that yes indeed, casters that reach a certain skill level can definitely feel the difference between a low-end rod and a high-end rod, just like an experienced guitarist can hear the tones and feel the actions that make a Martin or Taylor something special.

The real rub is understanding where that line gets crossed. That’s different for every angler. To be sure, marketing has as much an influence as does the time one actually spends casting.