Lots of great thoughts here. I have to admit that I have never actually felt like the industry expected me to buy a new rod every year. It's their business and letting the other guy get ahead is always dangerous, so they move forward with the latest and greatest. For me, the strides they make provide the technology that I will enjoy in 10 or 15 years when it becomes old fashioned.

Most flyfishers I have met have an old favorite that they still fish regularly even though they may have picked up the latest and greatest, because they appreciate what the old can do. One of my favorite rods is an inexpensive old fiberglass rod from the '70s that I bought at auction and rebuilt. Total cost: $38.00.

Maybe a few years after the kids are through college, I will spring for a high-end rod, and I really hope that all those manufacturers are still out there.