One of the nice things about being an outdoor writer is having the
opportunity to do product reviews on some great products. Product
reviews can also be a source of great frustration to a writer if the
product being reviewed isn't very functional or isn't very nice to look
at. Nobody wants a bad review for the product they developed, but any
honest writer won't give a good review to a bad product.
So, what do we do with those products
that just don't measure up to the standards good flyfishing
products should achieve? We package them up
and send them back with suggestions for improvements. That's why you
rarely see a product review here that isn't at least somewhat positive
about the product being presented.
Likewise, when I have the opportunity to
review a product that just blows my socks off, I pass on the
praise for that product in more ways than a review. If you know
me or have joined me in the rod building chat on Thursday nights,
you know which rod company has a product that I feel
is the nicest product on the market. Quite simply, it amazed me, and I
gladly tell others about it because I believe it's a great product.
The product I'm reviewing today is another
one of those products that blew my socks off. In 27 years of
custom rod building, I've never seen a prettier reel seat than the reel
seats Robert Venneri sent for my review. Considering the fact that
I've attended many major flyfishing shows, that's saying a lot.
Robert Venneri's custom reel seats are a
work of art. The wood burls he uses are rich in color and texture.
I like to describe burls of this caliber as having deep character.
The photo doesn't do the quality of the wood and nickel silver
components justice; no photo could. It takes human eyes and
human hands to appreciate the quality of this workmanship.
Each piece of nickel silver hardware is cut
and crafted with the fine details of hand crafted jewelry, rather
than the stamped-out models seen on many factory reel seats.
Each piece of hardware fits precisely to the wood; no slop, no
slip, no gaps. They are a testimony to custom craftsmanship
and an artist's hands.
Ok, ok, so the wood is beautiful, the
hardware is beautiful, things fit together nicely, it probably
costs a pretty penny too, right? Not exactly; if you buy one
of the nicer factory reel seats, you'll pay $60 to $100 or more
for the pleasure, but the most expensive reel seat in
Robert's catalog is just $55, and neither of the reel seats pictured here
is that expensive. At 35 and 45 bucks, I'd call these reel seats
inexpensive, considering the quality, beauty and craftsmanship. You'd
pay twice that much for a reel seat approaching this quality from any of
the major manufacturers, and you wouldn't get anything as nice as the
reel seats Robert produces.
If you're looking for a beautiful reel seat
to grace that new fly rod you're building, visit Robert's web
page before you shell out the bucks for anyone's reel seat.
I'll bet you spend your dollars with him. After
all, a quality custom fly rod deserves a quality custom reel seat like
one from Robert Venneri.
For a look at more of Robert's products,
web site or, e-mail him,
or call him at 1-845-246-5882. You'll see, his is custom Catskill
craftsmanship at its best.