When it comes to fishing rods, the debate is endless as to whether to spend a lot for a good rod, or whether a relatively cheap rod is good enough.
To begin with, I would like to point out that just because a rod is expensive, it doesn't necessarily make it any stronger. What it usually means, is that it's more sensitive, to where you can really feel everything that touches the line. These rods include the Fenwicks, G Loomis and higher end Shimanos. While this is ideal for certain applications, such as jigging, dragging and drop shotting, it is of no consequence when it comes to still fishing applications such as carping, fishing live bait with bobbers and most trolling situations.
Futhermore, when rods get the rough treatment mine do, it seems that the cheaper "indestructable" type of fishing rods I use such as the Shakespeare Ugly stick and Rhino rods take a beating way better then those ultra thin / ultra expensive graphite jobs. This is especially true when I fish with my kids, who at their young age, don't have an appreciation for respecting the equipment as much as I try to show and tell them.
From past experince, the one brand I stay away from is Quantum. I've had bad experiences with a couple brand new stiff action graphite Quantum rods, both snapped quite easily, one for no apparent reason. When it comes to graphite, any nick or fault in it wil cause it to snap without warning.
When it comes to fighting fish, preference is really what it's all about. Let's face it, almost any rod you by for more than $20 will pull out a 5 lb bass or 10 lb pike, which are usally the higher end of the sizes one can expect to catch around this region. I prefer wobblier rods as opposed to stiffer ones, I've even set up a fly rod with spinning reel for bass for that extreme wobble that makes it feel as if you're holding the fish on a leash. I must admit that although it's an amazing fight, it's cost me a couple lost fish do to not being able to get a good hookset.