Are Rod Prices Out of Whack?

I was thumbing through a flyfishing catalog the other day (a favorite winter pastime), and I couldn't help feeling a little sticker shock over the high end rod prices. For a top-of-the-line Sage, or Orvis, or Winston, or Scott, you're talking an average of about $700. I thought, "Seven bills for a fly rod? Wow."

I remember buying my first high end rod. It must have been about 18 years ago. I was recently married, and somehow I talked my wife in to letting me buy a Sage 590 RPL. I must have paid about $350 for it, maybe $375, and that was a big deal. Don't ask how I pulled it off, but about a year later, I talked her into letting me get a Browning Citori shotgun. (We're still married. She was obviously a keeper.) I think I paid about $900 for the gun.

So just for kicks, I went to the gun store the other day, and noticed a Citori Lightning sells for $1899. In other words, a little more than twice what it was back then. Just like the fly rods cost about double what they were. Seems like the fly rod prices aren't that whacky after all. And I'd bet the technology and materials are a whole lot different in flyrods today, than they are in guns. What's more, the rod manufacturers have also introduced a ton of great sticks at lower prices. You can get a great St. Croix Imperial, for example, for a couple hundred bucks or less.

Maybe my sticker shock was unwarranted. Maybe the rod companies have done more than their share to make better, slicker rods, and also keep people in the game. Just a thought. What say you?

Deeter