Another good point. Modulus or IM rating on retail rods is simply a marketing gadget. Unless they state the numerical modulus, it is just a lable intended to catch customers. One companies IM8 is equivelant to anothers IM4 or even less. A St. Croix, Loomis, Lamiglas, or other high end blanks will have a much higher (real) modulus rating than any retail offering. Having said that, there is also another level of blanks that only custom builders build on. Retail rods trying to meet price points will never use these blanks. Yes, they are very expensive, but for the accomplished angler, they are a valuable tool. Like I stated in an earlier post, 95% of anglers can't tell the difference between a $35 rod and a $150 blindfolded. But 5% of the most serious anglers, you know the ones that seem to pull a steelhead from a manhole while everyone else is just washing lures, can and does realize the value in such a high end rod blank. Handle and reel seat construction is almost as important as the blank itself. Lower end retail rods will bushing their reel seats with anything laying around, mostly masking tape or cardboard sleeves. High end rods will utilize graphite bushings, or direct bonding methods. If you want to feel every pebble on the bottom and be able to tell if the steelie nibbling on the bait is missing a tooth, a high end blank and reel seat are whats needed. There are basically three levels of rods available to the public. Lower end retail rods ($20-$40) available in the GM's, Meijers, Walmarts, work decent and will provide basic effective fishability. Mid level rods ($50-$80) available at most outdoor stores like GM, BPS, Cabelas, and local bait shops, are a step above in components and quality. They will give most fishermen a rod that is all that they ask for or need. High end rods ($150-$200) are available at very few specialized rod shops and in some retail stores with a specialized section. Without shelling out more dollars for a full blown custom rod, they are very good rods that most fishermen will never outfish. Custom rods ($150-infinate) are an altoghether different animal. You can pick out a blank that will set you back $350 alone if that is your want or need. Handles and other components can be personally customized to meet your own very specific specs. Guides are another area where custom rods are leap years above the offerings of retail rods. A $500 best of everything custom rod won't catch fish in the hands of a lure washer, but in the hands of an accomplished, serious, seasoned fishermen will be a machine worthy of its pricetag. No matter if you spend $30 or $250, a rod can and will break for any number of reasons, plain fact. All things equal, a $250 rod will almost never break or fail compared to a $30 rod. Start banging either of them around on tree limbs, dropping them on rocks, or high sticking, and all bets are off. Choose a rod that fits your needs, experience, and your budget. The good news is that there are lots of choices in retail rods that will do very nicely for most budgets and abilities.