Like a lot of older guys with a small amount of extra money from selling a couple of boats and bikes I went through the buying phase and had to track down LHW Hardy Perfects, had every one of the lightweight lineup, and even had a titanium reel that cost more than most new, off the bench bamboo builds. Most of those reels sold from $250 and up and though there are a couple I wish I'd have kept I slowly sold them off to pay for what was more important. Money to go on trips to actually use the gear instead of just admiring it in OK. Now I still have a Hardy Cascapedia since it was my favorite and balances and looks right on one of my bamboo rods I still have. Other than that you will find me fishing most Medalists again, a couple of lower priced LL Bean reels, and a vintage Shakespeare reel made in Redditch England by the Young people. I much prefer click and pawl reels versus disc drag and love the sound of running fish. To that end I put almost any fish of size on the reel quickly. Been doing that for years and it's ingrained in my actions now. Oh, I strip smaller fish but given the chance anything of size goes on the reel.
For those who knock some of us who have had rods and reels costing more than some of us old folks first house, if we can afford it and take pride and care of our equipment, why should it bother someone who fishes a lowball combo off the shelf at Wal-Mart? If you're happy with your outfit and I'm happy with mind can't we all just get along. You might meet me on the water with a $3,000 bamboo and the $500 Hardy reel or one of my 50+ year old Shakespeare Wonderods and a Medalist, or perish the thought one of my old Perrine automatic reels. Let's just bs about the fish and the flies and the gear without concern for the high or low cost of it.