You are right about many of the shops disappearing. Most of my earlier purchases were from Don's of Edmonton, sadly gone for a while now, and all fly rods could be tested with a shop loan reel on the grassed area behind the store.If all this technical squabbling isn't amusing you, probably best to just ignore us.
Thanks for your reply. Maybe I just worry that one of ye will actually blow a blood vessel.
I've never been able to test a rod. I bought my first when I couldn't really cast and used it for 30 years. A beginner doesn't learn anything from waving a rod around. These days it's almost impossible to try before buying as all the shops have disappeared. We mostly have to rely on recommendation and reviews don't we?
The Lodge at Rutland has also allowed me to test rods in the harbour area at the front.
And if in the higher purchase zone, Atomsix will send you a rod to test.
But as you say, not so easy for most