I guess we have all had ideas like that. From
the first 'fixer-upper' we started on to where
ever we are today. There is also the fun of
having a good rod builder produce your new rod
from the components you select. Or you could
have him pick out what he thinks you should have
for the type of fishing you intend to do and use
the rod for. I once thought I would like to have
a certain rod done in all black and silver. I could
just see it in my mind. Silver windings, silver
handle, silver butt cap and silver guides. Everything
else jet black.
I held that picture in my mind for some time,
even asked a few questions about availability.
Until, that is, one day I saw one done exactly
like that. Now, no offense to the thousands who
have rods just like that; it is not my choice.
Glad you like yours. Glad I didn't build one.
Some say you can, or can have made for you, a
rod using a blank from a major company that is
superior to one made by the factory. No offense
to you custom rod builders out there, but, remember,
these guys make rods all day long, they get pretty
good at it. If not, they get a pink slip. I have
been to the two major makers and a few lessors,
they take their jobs darn seriously. The folks
producing these sticks take a great deal of pride
in their workmanship, at least the ones I watched
I suppose if you are really great at it, you might
fiddle with the spine of the rod to suite some fancy
you have in mind. Perhaps some type of coating on
the wraps that you feel superior. Maybe some other
things I have left out, but for me and a whole lot
of guys I know, the factory rod is the way to go.
The savings often are not that remarkable from the
factory rod to the custom one when you get to the
end numbers. Might it be possible to make a rod
that is even better than a factory one? I have to
say I guess it is possible.
And don't forget the guarantee. Do they both have
the same one? Chances are they do not, in fact,
probably not. That has to count for something. How
about when you break the tip of a two piece rod?
You can not send it back to the company that made
the blank for repair. Will the guy who made it for
you still be in business? At home? Alive? How long
will it take him to get a new tip section and make
it up for you? Worth anything?
This sounds like I am against buying anything but
a factory rod. Not. Just wanted you to have a fair
idea of some of the things you may be getting into
by doing so. Whether you build it yourself or have
one built up for you, there are limitations.
Then, of course, there are neat things on the plus
side. You may have the only stick in the world like
it. There is a certain pride in things like that.
A feeling of satisfaction when fishing with a rod
you basically created, heady stuff indeed. But
there are a few things on the down side too.
Let's say you buy a factory stick and after
one day decide you are not quite as happy with
it as you thought you were going to be. Will
your fly shop try to work with you on a
different rod? I think many would. Worse yet.
The rod stinks. Putting the small shaft inside
the butt section seems to have been a dumb idea.
How were you to know if you didn't try it?
Oversized guides and three extra to make the
fly line run smoother has made the rod heavy
and clunky when you cast. Who would think that
those extra coats of finish over the wraps
would hurt any thing, shucks, you were only
trying to cover up the first coats that were
a little rough and never quite dried like they
should have. Bad things do happen to good people,
often when they are building up their first rods.
The biggest thing to me is the resale, or lack
thereof. Remember, for instance, a custom build
Sage 9ft 9wt XYZ is not the same as a factory one
when it comes to resale. Unless the builder is a
bit more than world famous, you will not get
anywhere near the same price. Here is an example
I pulled from the bulletin board just recently.
"Haven't had much luck
selling this very nice Sage Xi2 custom 6 weight
so am looking for a possible trade for a comparable
8 weight. The components on the Xi2 are great - Struble
U22 (titanium) reel seat, TiC guides and tip-top,
abalone winding check, flor grade full wells
grip - really a nice light duty saltwater rod. If
anyone might be interested in trading for an 8
weight of similar qualities, please give me a
shout. Thanks all."
I am sure the rod is fine, I have two of the Xi2
and love them, but the market shrinks when the rod
is not factory made. ~ JC