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With the less expensive mass produced rods always check to see how well the carbon fiber is wrapped on the final segments. If it is not smooth and has ridges do not buy the rod regardless of what the sales people say. Some Daiwa cheapo rods can be good and load in the mid section the way a good light weight rod should for effective casting and fighting a fish. If you can pick up an older St Croix you will find that they are by far and away the best rods for the bucks.

All that being said a rod tube to transport the thing is still an absolute essential regardless of how cheap the rod. There have been a few times over the years that I have reached the pond or stream only to turn back because I was too cheap to buy a rod case!
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