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Hi all,

I was in a sporting goods store in Victoria last week (looking for an Amundson wind warrior if anyone has any opinions?) while out there fishing and visiting. I very helpful young guy showed me a beautiful Sage Z-Axis. A very nice fishn' pole indeed. Then I saw the price tag!! EIGHT HUNDRED AND TEN FLIPPEN DOLLARS, plus taxes!!! The reason this seemed exceedingly steep was because I had just come from the other end of the store where they sold guns. For $810 I could have bought any one of a number of very well made, name brand ,new rifles or shotguns. Boys and Girls, there is no way that ANY fly rod could be more expensive to develope, manufacture and market, including the liabilty insurance issue, than even the simplest bolt action hunting rifle. So my my question is, are we getting hosed by the fishing equipment manufacturers? I think we are, but it has no bearing on whether I love to fish or not. What do you think?

Beeker

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Well I can tell you as someone who has always cheaped out on my rods. I just purchased 2 Z-AXIS rods and its absoluley the best money Iv'e spent by far. I dont really care what it cost them to make it. To me the rods where worth every penny Its like having a magic wand in your hand compared to my cheap stuff .

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The Z-Axis' aren't to much, did you look at the prices of the TCXs???, as GrnDrake said if you use one you quickly forget about the price once you start feeling what you can achieve with your line so easily. My next rod will be a Z, probably 690.

 

Remember as well Sage's are virtually hand built in the USA, labour cost is a huge factor in price.

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GrnDrake and Jayhad,

I understand that an $800 rod is better than a $400 rod , is better than a $200 rod. My own gear proves it to me. What I'm saying is, by comparison, an $800 Remington has far more material costs, waaaaaay more machining costs and has almost as much hands on work as any fly rod. Almost all done in the USA and paid for in US dollars. So how are they able to keep the cost the same as what Sage, etal, charge for a graphite tube. Remington is not under charging, you don't stay in business for over 150 years by doing that. Ergo, rod companies, while producing many fine products, must be getting away with an incredible mark-up. Agreed?

Beeker

 

P.S. If I could smoke it past the missus, I have a Z-Axis in a heart beat.

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My pet peeve "issue". Having built rods for a number of years and in that time used many different grades of components, as well as currently designing select fly rods and doing product development for Amundson Fly Fishing, I think I have a handle on costs, including production labour, company overhead, advertising, promotions, etc, etc, that go into the "retail cost" of a fly rod.

What really is the major parts of the retail price of a fly rod?

-Promotions

-Advertising

-Warranty

-Retailer Credits for discontinued models

 

I haven't listed "Dealer Margin" because I don't think they are unreasonable, considering the cost of educated staff who are at your service when you walk into a shop.

I think that the costs for promotions and product giveaways are obscene.

I think most of the time you pay "up front"(included in the retail price) for "lifetime warranties" that most times are not "lifetime".(Even though 'twas I who developed/instituted the Wind Warrior Lifetime Warranty)

If a company discontinues a rod model, dealers are issued credits so they can "blow out" the old model stock, so they don't get hosed like you do if you bought a rod and 6 months later they are being blown out the door for 1/2 price. Remarkably, some outfits manage to do this every 5 years !

"Made in USA" labour? Down near the bottom of the equation, as much as outfits would like you to believe otherwise. The cost of skilled labour in Asia is not "a bowl of rice and piece of fish per day" like the perpetrated myth, either. In fact, in relation to the cost of living, skilled labour is Asia cost about the same as in North America. Work ethic and production is much higher and the level of practical technology is much higher.

 

Oh, I could go on and on!! :)

j

 

 

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Oh, I could go on and on!!

j

 

Please do,makes for some good reading.

 

800$ for the Z is a bit steep are they not 590$ here in town.

 

Jack,how much does life time warranty cost compared to 1 year say?

 

 

 

 

Tungsten,lovin his Z's

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The average fly rod warranty return is 4-6%. Some companies(TFO, Amundson, several others that I know of, choose to manufacture 3% extra components to satisfy warranty claims either through distributors or dealers warehousing. The cost of that extra manufacturing is peanuts, warehousing and shipping to the customer is equal to 4-6% of wholesale cost for one year warranty. Many dealers will purchase replacement tip sections for certain models and keep them in stock. Lifetime warranties with cost of shipping and handling born by the user are not much more(about 8% of wholesale). But some manufacturers, using insurance actuaries, have calculated that a customer will potentially break a rod three times in their lifetime and the cost of replacements is factored into the wholesale price, up front. This is in addition to the extra shipping and handling fees that one pays to exchange a broken section or rod. This is where everyone pays for the guys that adhere to the "It's got a lifetime warranty so i can be careless with it" philosophy.

I personally despise "unconditional" lifetime warranties because I believe it rewards the irresponsible and punishes the people who "take care of their stuff".

j

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Doesn't volume figure into the equation? There are far more of each model of Remington made each year than Sage rods. Probably more than every fly rod manufacturer combined. Plus you're looking at lots of sweet gov't contracts since Remingtons are probably used by various police and military around the world.

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Jack, in regards to your comment on 'Dealer Margin' I have a pretty good idea of what mark-up is on these rods (and most other manufactures) but just how much is the average angler willing/expected to absorb. And yes I know, inventory, wages, rents, advertising, licensing and the like all cost money.

 

Look at a store like Whole Sale that carries 8 or 10 different manufactures as well as each manufactures whole line-up and ask yourself how can they afford to have so many selections? well that's mark-up, now look at a smaller store trying to compete with the big boys (because we've pretty much forced them to with our shopping habits) and they have to mark-up even more to allow them to bring in the selection we want.

 

I sometimes wonder, is pricing set at what we are perceived as willing to pay and not necessarily what we need to pay to allow the manufactures/shop owners to break even (not sure how profitable one expects to be in this industry)? I think in the end we can only look at ourselves as to the reason for these prices.

 

I had a conversation the other day with a couple guys after looking at a rack of rods (high end to low) you could find flaws in almost every rod, guides, components, finish, wraps, cork, ect. Although some of the less expensive, off-shore built rods looked a lot better than the supposed American made rods.

 

 

Colin

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WS and other large chains do not carry "the whole line" of anyone's stuff. But they buy enough volume of the select, popular models that they do carry, to "earn" a healthy discount from the suppliers.

I also have my suspicions(any builder will have the same suspicions) that some "retail prices" are essentially driven by the U.S. market and what the traffic will bear.

The whole thing drives me nuts at times, Colin. I'm sure it does you also. I spent most of my past two winters glued to a CAD program that is mirrored in the Amundson design and engineering dept. putting together the very best rod that I can, factoring in all the peripheral issues and still coming out with a design that will work the way I think people will want it to work, be able to supply it to dealers for a price, so they can sell it at a fair price, then I look at some of the sloppy crap that passes for a supposedly "high end" rod that wouldn't cast a line without a harpoon gun and wonder what people are thinking when they oogle over 'a name".

OK, I'll get off my soapbox, now. :derby racer:

 

j

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I understand that an $800 rod is better than a $400 rod , is better than a $200 rod.

 

 

I've casted a lot of rods and only partially agree with this statement. A $200 rod is vastly better than a $50 rod, but as you move up, the gap greatly decreases. A $600 rod is not that much better than a $400 rod and a $400 rod is not that much better than a $300 rod. To some, they may cast the lower priced rod much better, that's why it's so important to go out and cast the rods instead of listening to the full page ad in the magazine.

 

There are a lot of good rods out there today, and there's not many 'dogs' around anymore (as long as you don't shop at Canadian Tire or Wal Mart)

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"that's why it's so important to go out and cast the rods instead of listening to the full page ad in the magazine."

AMEN, in spades, Tim.

 

With any fly rod, it must fit the person, not the other way around. Fly fishing is recreation, NOT "work", so no matter what name is on the rod, if you have to work to make it cast properly, shouldn't it stay on the store rack ???? There are lots of rods out there, some are actually meant to fit your style and good or bad habits.

j

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Please do,makes for some good reading.

 

800$ for the Z is a bit steep are they not 590$ here in town.

 

Jack,how much does life time warranty cost compared to 1 year say?

 

 

 

 

Tungsten,lovin his Z's

 

Thanks alot Mike I was quite content to walk past any rack of rods over 200$ before you let me play with your Z. :laugh: All the places I phoned in calgary where pretty much the same price for the 4 piece at 830$

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Thanks alot Mike I was quite content to walk past any rack of rods over 200$ before you let me play with your Z. :laugh: All the places I phoned in calgary where pretty much the same price for the 4 piece at 830$

 

After my gear got stolen last winter I'd bought 3 sage launch' and an z-axiz when the dollar was par and prior to the sage price hike..........33% on the launch.....and 25% on the z-axiz...........seems that it was my best investment of the last 2 plus years...........................maybe I should of bought the whole rack............I'll have to spin that to the misses.

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Thanks alot Mike I was quite content to walk past any rack of rods over 200$ before you let me play with your Z. :laugh: All the places I phoned in calgary where pretty much the same price for the 4 piece at 830$

Hey no prob,i checked there Web site $635 US.Crazy prices,but i guess if people are paying it then why drop the price.

 

 

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The Z-Axis' aren't to much, did you look at the prices of the TCXs???, as GrnDrake said if you use one you quickly forget about the price once you start feeling what you can achieve with your line so easily. My next rod will be a Z, probably 690.

 

Remember as well Sage's are virtually hand built in the USA, labour cost is a huge factor in price.

IMO, they definitely gouge the consumer. sage rods are like taylor made golf clubs. every 3-5 years they change their latest and greatest line of rods and then sell the previous line for a fraction of the price. I wanted an XP when it was sages top of the line rod but couldnt justify spending $700-$800 . as soon as the z axis came out the xps were being sold for $350(bought a 6 weight and a 3 weight for $350 and $325 respectively). If you really want the z axis wait for sage to introduce their next "must have rod" and then the z axis will be available for 50-60 percent of what they are charging now. they prey on the guy who has to have the top of the line rod regardless of price.

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I think yak hit it dead on with the comparison of high end golf clubs, does a 700$ driver make you score better? possibly , but I would say that would all depend on the person holding it. I myself can not justify the price tag on some of these rods , and it is not just Sage. Does an 800$ rod catch more fish?

It was explained to me very simply by a knowledgable and respected young man off this forum on how to catch fish.... present your line... and present your fly, not once was it mentioned to make sure you have an expensive rod.

 

just one persons opinion.

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If Sage, Orvis, and Taylor Made for that matter were in the business of gouging their customer, they would be out of business. There is too much competition, even for high end rods, for companies to charge outrageous prices and get away with it. I've had friends in both the fishing and golf industries. Neither got rich. The margins are just not that high.

 

If there was nothing but money to be made in the high end rod business, there would be more people doing it. Competition ensures that prices remain reasonable for the quality of the product.

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If Sage, Orvis, and Taylor Made for that matter were in the business of gouging their customer, they would be out of business. There is too much competition, even for high end rods, for companies to charge outrageous prices and get away with it. I've had friends in both the fishing and golf industries. Neither got rich. The margins are just not that high.

 

If there was nothing but money to be made in the high end rod business, there would be more people doing it. Competition ensures that prices remain reasonable for the quality of the product.

why is then that these rods are worth half price as soon as the next line is introduced. did sage take a $300 loss on all the XPs once they started selling the zs? I agree that the guy trying to sell them out of a specialty flyfishing store isnt geting rich or gouging the consumer but you cant tell me that sage isnt making a bundle on every z axis they sell. Are the materials sage uses in the z axis that much superior to the TFO line to justify athe 500-600 dollar difference or are they merely duping the consumer with the name on the rod?

I am extremely happy with the 2 xps i have but Im even more pleased that i waited to purchase them for half price when the zs came out. i expect if a guy is patient the zs will also be half price once sage introdcues their next "inovation" to the flyfishing world

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The Z-Axis' aren't to much, did you look at the prices of the TCXs???, as GrnDrake said if you use one you quickly forget about the price once you start feeling what you can achieve with your line so easily. My next rod will be a Z, probably 690.

 

Remember as well Sage's are virtually hand built in the USA, labour cost is a huge factor in price.

 

OH!..........since when are they made in the states..as you suggested, they are exported to China , m8 , where they are assembled there, and the labour as you all know is extremely cheap...sorry to burst ur bubble, but not everyone believes or thinks that the almighty rod is a 'sage'...it is an overrated, over price rod ..period..that the Americans decided to plug to the highest level..as a custom rod builder of 17 years , catering to the Scandinavian market, excluding the Canadian and American market, I can tell you plainly that there are far better builders than Sage..it was NOT a major front runner , when I was in business, for other brand names were giving it a run for it's $$$$...

 

..In my way of thinking, if a rod feels good to you, as you are test casting it, then that should be the decided figure in it's purchase...NOT who's name is on it ..manufacture or promoter...and the price range over $200.00 to sky's the limit..$1200.00 for a Sage....pffffffffft!....is an American ploy to rip ppl off... making you think that the higher the price...the better u r getting..there u go again ..the Almighty Green Back!..................Wolfie

 

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did sage take a $300 loss on all the XPs once they started selling the zs?

Yes, they most likely did. They probably recoup some of that through tax write offs and the rest is probably made up with increased sales of the newly released line. The reason given to me by a fly shop owner for rod manufacturers discontinuing a line and introducing an only slightly revised version every few years is to get them reviewed in magazines. The mags don't tend to write reviews of gear that has already been out for a while. When the new line of rods comes out there's always going to be an initial rush of bleeding edge upgraders (same thing happens in the computer and electronics industries - just ask Apple) who cause an initial sales spike. When sales taper off, it's time to discontinue that line and introduce the new one, get it reviewed in the mags, then watch the sales jump up again.

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Yes, they most likely did. They probably recoup some of that through tax write offs and the rest is probably made up with increased sales of the newly released line. The reason given to me by a fly shop owner for rod manufacturers discontinuing a line and introducing an only slightly revised version every few years is to get them reviewed in magazines. The mags don't tend to write reviews of gear that has already been out for a while. When the new line of rods comes out there's always going to be an initial rush of bleeding edge upgraders (same thing happens in the computer and electronics industries - just ask Apple) who cause an initial sales spike. When sales taper off, it's time to discontinue that line and introduce the new one, get it reviewed in the mags, then watch the sales jump up again.

lol, well dont buy that but regardless, i will wait for the new xyzpz axis to come out and then buy my zs for $350. reminds of a famous PT Barnum quote....

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why is then that these rods are worth half price as soon as the next line is introduced. did sage take a $300 loss on all the XPs once they started selling the zs?

 

do they take a loss when the next line is introduced? Probably, but my bet is that loss is factored in when the original sale price is set. I would assume they budget for some percentage of the total number of rods manufactured to be in circulation, unsold, when I introduce a new line. Those rods become unsellable at the old price when the new line is introduced, as people will automatically assume the new rod is better. So if they are willing to pay top dollar, they will almost invariably by the newest. So now I have all these rods just sitting there. Is it better to dump them at a price I think I can sell them for and recoup some cost, or just eat them? Easy answer. So part of the sales price of a new rod will be to make up for the planned "obsolesce" (which probably is not exactly the right term) of that line of rods in the future.

 

Edit:

Yak, I just saw that you don't believe the above (just saw headscan's post).

 

Really? Since every single product that Sage manufactures (or Orvis, or Taylor Made) will be replaced at some point, and every time there will be some amount of the old line still out there, unsold. You don't think they allow for that in their pricing policies? I sure would, and I know they do too.

 

Edit again:

The reason given to me by a fly shop owner for rod manufacturers discontinuing a line and introducing an only slightly revised version every few years is to get them reviewed in magazines. The mags don't tend to write reviews of gear that has already been out for a while. When the new line of rods comes out there's always going to be an initial rush of bleeding edge upgraders (same thing happens in the computer and electronics industries - just ask Apple) who cause an initial sales spike. When sales taper off, it's time to discontinue that line and introduce the new one, get it reviewed in the mags, then watch the sales jump up again.

 

So after the initial burst of cutting edge buyers and early adopters, come the more pragmatic buyers. I am one of them. I will wait for the next generation and buy the old one if I am looking for top quality gear. OR I can wait for the early adopter to get tired of his new toy, see the latest and greatest come out from another manufacturer, then buy the item he is tired of used on eBay. Most of my golf stuff comes to me used. People who are looking to buy game and can't seem to ever do it are my best friends!

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The cost does seem high for some of the products but there has to be a demand for them. On the other hand from when I started there is a wide variety of quality products readily available both on the fishing and tying side. You don't have to go high end, especially to start to fall in love with the sport.

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do they take a loss when the next line is introduced? Probably, but my bet is that loss is factored in when the original sale price is set. I would assume they budget for some percentage of the total number of rods manufactured to be in circulation, unsold, when I introduce a new line. Those rods become unsellable at the old price when the new line is introduced, as people will automatically assume the new rod is better. So if they are willing to pay top dollar, they will almost invariably by the newest. So now I have all these rods just sitting there. Is it better to dump them at a price I think I can sell them for and recoup some cost, or just eat them? Easy answer. So part of the sales price of a new rod will be to make up for the planned "obsolesce" (which probably is not exactly the right term) of that line of rods in the future.

 

Edit:

Yak, I just saw that you don't believe the above (just saw headscan's post).

 

Really? Since every single product that Sage manufactures (or Orvis, or Taylor Made) will be replaced at some point, and every time there will be some amount of the old line still out there, unsold. You don't think they allow for that in their pricing policies? I sure would, and I know they do too.

 

Edit again:

 

 

So after the initial burst of cutting edge buyers and early adopters, come the more pragmatic buyers. I am one of them. I will wait for the next generation and buy the old one if I am looking for top quality gear. OR I can wait for the early adopter to get tired of his new toy, see the latest and greatest come out from another manufacturer, then buy the item he is tired of used on eBay. Most of my golf stuff comes to me used. People who are looking to buy game and can't seem to ever do it are my best friends!

Call me skeptical, but I still dont believe these companies are taking a loss on the old line and dont believe they are not making a big markup on the new line as well. While not involed in the rod building industry, I am familair with markups on consumer products in general and would be very surprised if the $800 z is costing them more than 2 or 3 hundred to produce. I realize there are other costs as well ( marketing,R and D etc, ) but they still make a big chunk on every rod they sell.

lol, agree with the golf equipment. While I dont generally buy used , I play Taylor made clubs ( like most guys my equipment is better than my swing ;) ) and always wait for them to outdate a current line ( usually every 3-4 years) and then buy the old line for half price. The new line has minor differences at best ( much like fly rods IMO), so for half price I essentially play the same technology.

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