The Rest Of The Components
by Al Campbell
Like I said earlier, there are dozens of places to get the parts for that
new fly rod when you're ready to build it. The question is, "Where is
the best place to shop?" That's a big question without a simple answer.
It gets confusing just looking at the list of suppliers for rod parts, but I
think we can whittle it down to a few good places to look.
The first place to look is probably your local fly shop.
Many fly shops carry kits and components to build fly rods. The most
common limiting factor is that they often carry only components from the
fly rod companies whose rods they sell. For instance, if it's a Sage
dealership, you might only be able to purchase Sage blanks there. If
you like Sage, that's great; if not, you'll have to search elsewhere.
On the positive side, they can often give you a hand with the tough
questions you might have concerning your new adventure.
Another good place to look for parts is in the
workshop of your local custom rod builder. He's got to have parts;
if he didn't he wouldn't be a rod builder. Many custom builders offer
a retail supply for hobbyist rod builders. A definite plus to this type
of supply point is the knowledge the custom builder can share with
his customers. If you reach a difficult point in the process, he's close
by to explain or demonstrate how the problem can be overcome.
Many custom builders and fly shops (sometimes
working together) offer workshops and classes on rod building you can
enroll in for a modest fee. If you need close, personal guidance in this
project, you'll need to sign up for one of these classes when they become
available in your area.
For many people, none of the options listed above
are available. Their only recourse is to search the mail order houses for the
supplies they need. In some ways this is better. Many mail order houses offer
several lines of rod building supplies for the hobby rod builder. If you lick
a few stamps and punch a few phone buttons, you should be able to request
enough catalogs full of rod building supplies to last you a lifetime if the prices
didn't change yearly. In any case, you should be able to obtain enough
catalogs to do some price comparisons and locate the company who offers
the parts you need. In fact, after searching the catalogs, you might change your mind
on some of the parts you were ready to order.
Wait! Before you order from that catalog, take a moment
to consider what you really need. By now you should have a list of items you
need, and maybe a list of a few things you want. When that new catalog arrives
you will be flooded with images of pretty rod lathes, fancy rod dryers, thread
and tool selections large enough to fill your living room and dozens of other
lovely things that'll make your mouth water.
Make a list of the parts you must buy to create a complete
rod before you do anything else. If you have a few pennies left over, you might
find it convenient to add a few 'extras' to the order, but you really must make
sure you order at least the necessities for this rod. Remember, I've been there;
it's too easy to get lost in the glitter and forget a required part for that new rod.
Before I list the component catalogs, let me add a note.
This is not intended to be an endorsement of any company, brand, person or
source. These are some of the companies I've purchased components from in the past.
At the time of my purchases, I was satisfied with the quality and quantity of the
items purchased. I'm intentionally leaving out many suppliers and catalog houses;
not because they aren't worthy of your business, but because I've not had any
business dealings with them in the past I'm also leaving out the 'wholesale only'
outlets since they only supply parts to companies in the retail or custom shop realm.
This list is not meant to slight anyone, nor is it meant to endorse anyone.
My comments are based on my personal dealings with these companies, nothing
more, nothing less.
P.O. Box 1010
Woodland, WA 98674
ph: 360-225-9445 fax: 800-278-1069
Possibly the most complete retail rod component catalog I've
seen. One source for burl cork. I've ordered extensively from this catalog
in the past. Good prices too. Many of the color pictures in this weeks
segment are from their catalog.
Blue Ridge Rod Company
P.O. Box 6268
2162 Renard Ct.
Annapolis, MD 21401
ph: (706) 353-8309
812 13th Ave
Sidney, NE 69160
ph: 800-237-4444 fax: 308-254-2200
Ask for the rod building catalog. These guys sell a little bit
of everything. Good selection of fly rod parts.
Dale Clemens Custom Tackle
444 Schantz Rd.
Allentown, PA 18104
ph: 610-395-5119 fax: 610-398-2580
The grand daddy of custom rod builders. Lots of parts and tools.
The Hook & Hackle Company
7 Kaycee Loop Rd.
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
ph: 800-552-8342 fax: 518-561-0336
Bob Marriott's Flyfishing Store
2700 W. Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92833
ph: 800-535-6633 fax: 800-367-2299
Very complete catalog. You'll enjoy the reading. There is a $3.00
charge for the printed catalog, but you get a $5.00 coupon with the catalog
to use on your first order, or you can use their on-line catalog and order from it
without paying the printed catalog fee. The black & white pictures in this
segment were supplied by this company.
Cortland Line Company
3736 Kellogg Rd.
P.O. Box 5588
Cortland, NY 13045
ph: 607-756-2851 fax: 607-753-8835
Some real nice stuff and a fairly complete selection.
For a complete list of suppliers, check out the
Rod Building Suppliers list!
Like I said, I left out quite a few suppliers. These are
only the companies I've personally dealt with in the past. Most rod companies
offer kits and supplies to the hobby rod builder at a retail price. If you have a
favorite rod company, you might want to invest a bit of your time to check
them out for the parts you want.
A special thanks to Anglers Workshop and Bob Marriott's
Flyfishing Store for their help with some of the pictures for this series.
Order a couple of catalogs, get the parts you need, and
be ready to create a burl fly rod handle the next time we meet.
Until then, keep the dust off your guides and fish a lot. ~ Al Campbell