I need a bit of help because I haven't bought a fly rod for over 20 years when I bought a really beautiful Hardy Sovereign 8ft6 two piece rod that I still use as it just has a few scratches. Back then, graphite rods were newish and expensive, but now that's tried, tested and generic technology. So I would expect new rods of a similar quality to my current one to be available for a lot cheaper. In a couple of weeks I'll be heading off to France for a couple of weeks and will be staying five minutes walk away from this stretch of river:
As you can see, it's a shallow, quite fast-flowing mountain stream just starting to slow down at this stage (I've fished the same stream about 10km upstream a lot back in the day, but not this part) and it's essentially under a canopy of foliage pretty much all the way. To me it says that a very delicate approach is needed, short upstream casts with floating line, probably a lot of flies left up the trees. Alternately, ultra-light spinning tackle or even just a worm on a hook with a split shot on the line, but in my experience that leads often to deep hooking of juvenile fish and I want to avoid that.
I can't easily bring the old Hardy as it breaks down into too cumbersome a package for this trip, in a small car laden with baby gear and everything else. So if I want to take fly gear in addition to my travel spinning rod, I'll need something that breaks down into four sections.
Now a perusal of eBay shows that I could pay anything from £20-30 for a Shakespeare offering to hundreds of pounds for the usual Hardy or Loomis equivalents. I don't want to go up there since this is a rod that will be used very seldom. So my question is really whether these days, there's any noticeable technical difference between for instance this Shakespeare, or this one from Grey's of Alnwick.