I have a slight disagreement with Chris. Often the more expensive rods do cast better or weigh less so they take less stress over the day and at the end of the day is when you might notice the difference.

On the other hand who cares in 95% of your fishing time if you can cast 80' or 75' or if you are a bit more tired at the end of the day. I used to have a high end Thomas and Thomas. I traded it for 3 lower end rods of different weights giving me more opportunity to fish different situations. With thos rods I have as much fun as the T&T and that is what really matters.

Conclusion: buy what you can afford and don't sweat it. When you are on the water a broom stick can work fine.