Customer Service [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Customer Service


MarkS
03-17-2003, 12:21 PM
Recently posted on the Bluewater board about a broken rod while shark fishing. The rod was an Elkhorn 12wt, built off of a blank that I purchased at one of the fishing shows a couple years ago. (probably cost $65) Breakage was entirely due to angler error.

Wasn't expecting replacement, but figured I would ask at the Elkhorn booth (very discretely, I might add) just to find out. I was directed to the owner of the company, and explained the circumstances, emphasizing that the breakage was NOT due to any defect.

He promplty popped open on of the 12 wt blanks and handed me a replacement section...$20, and asked that I let him know if there was any problem.

From all I have seen this is a standup company. I don't know how they manage the rod and reel package for $170, but I'm sure there will be lots of Elkhorns on the water this season.

Best regards,

Mark

Eddie
03-17-2003, 08:20 PM
"I don't know how they manage the rod and reel package for $170..."
I would be surprised if it costs them more than $15 to manufacture those rods, and the reels...I don't know, maybe $30? Direct market. No reps, no dealers. I think that's how they can sell that package for $170.
Good news regarding their excellent customer service.

MarkS
03-18-2003, 10:42 AM
Eddie, I presume you mean it costs them $15 to manufacture the blank....how do you think this compares to the big name brands?

Other than the fact that people will pay that much, why are Sage, T&T, Scott etc blanks up in the $300 range?

Not pointing fingers...just curious.


Mark

Eddie
03-18-2003, 11:33 AM
No, I mean the whole rod. I have a friend that imported spinning and casting rods and this is what he told me they cost to make. They had "premium componants" and retailed for $170+. That is the basis for my assumption. I have another friend that could import Fly reels comparable to the Sage discovery reels. He said they cost $3 to make and could retail for $30+. The Elkhorn reels seem nicer. That was the basis for my wild assuption on the reels.
I suspect that US made gear is more expensive because the componants are much better, the materials are better, the workmanship is better, labor costs more, and the development is more expensive. I suspect(but don't know), that many of the off brand rods are based on copied tapers from successful premium rods. Most US made gear has a higher mark up at the retail level. I don't know any of this for certain.
It used to be that PREMIUM rods had a better warrenty, but Elkhorn's appears to be great. Those rods have a good reputation too. If I didn't want to pay for a more expensive (and imho better) rod, I would consider an Elkhorn or a TFO. If an Elkhorn or TFO rod cost the same as a Sage, T&T etc., which would you choose?.....I guesse they ARE worth more.

flyfisha1
03-18-2003, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by Eddie
...If I didn't want to pay for a more expensive (and imho better) rod, I would consider an Elkhorn or a TFO. If an Elkhorn or TFO rod cost the same as a Sage, T&T etc., which would you choose?.....I guesse they ARE worth more.

... and this is why I stick with Loomis and St. Croix. I'm building a new 8-wt. with an IMX blank for $140 with the best components available. I would view this rod as superior to other models on the market for three times as much. Cheap is cheap, and there's something to be said for thrift, but I'll take peace of mind with a proven rod any day, even if it's a little more than some of the others out there.

juro
03-18-2003, 12:22 PM
Interesting points being made although I'd have to see to believe some of those figures. Good point about dealers, reps, import duties and taxes, marketing, sales and distribution, etc, etc... but I like to visit my local store and wiggle the rod before I buy if not cast the living crap out of it.

Personally, I like to put my dollar into the best quality I can stretch to afford. Since I fish every spare moment and guide for stripers, then I savor the use of the best I can buy in that line weight and configuration. But for occasional trips to bonefish country, I was happy with what I could scratch together the first few times but over time I will buy the best I can for that as well. I have my eye on a high-end 5pc for my next trip and will keep buying those lottery tickets. Do I want it? You bet, I want that new rod bad and I will be the first to admit it. It just seems fitting to me, being a non-golfer, non-skiier, and a guy who's definition of expensive audio is a $49 set of PC speakers. Because trips to steelhead country are damn near religious for me, I want spey rods that will deliver the highest performance and aethetics I can possibly afford. Fit and finish matters to me, I've invested too much of my life into it to be happy with a spinning reel seat on my fly rod.

The way I see it, if you're serious about a fishery you're probably going to upgrade so I believe in buying as high-end as I possibly can. If you're just going to expand your coverage to flirt with other fisheries, then the low-end gear is a good way to get coverage until the upgrade opportunity arises, and knowing fly-fishermen that upgrade is just a matter of time. But like many of you I've got a garage full of upgraded bargain rods.

IMHO - you get the most out of a high-performance product that has settled into a medium price due to new product lines or set at a price to compete. But if your passion is the sport, the high end gear is where you will finally settle.

Your results may vary,
Juro

MarkS
03-18-2003, 01:05 PM
intersting comments by all.

I agree entirely that the top-end stuff is certainly better (though probably not for everyone), and I continue to like the T&T Horizon and the new StCroix Legend Elite was pretty nice too.

The value-added is not a linear function, though. The benefit of going from a $100 rod to a $200 rod is a lot more than from a $500 to a $600. So I'm trying to figure out where the extra cost comes from.

If an entire Elkhorn rod costs $15 to produce, how much does it cost to produce a top-end rod? or a top-end blank, since I prefer building my own rods?

Might be a while before I'm comfortable buying Horizons in every line weight.....

:(

flyfisha1
03-18-2003, 01:58 PM
My guess, which is based upon knowing the approximate wholesale prices of a few of the high end Loomis and St. Croix fly rod blanks, is that many of the "premium" graphite blanks cost anywhere from $30-$60 to produce.

juro
03-18-2003, 05:24 PM
Mark,

In essence we agree about best return on investment, that is to say I believe that "you get the most out of high-performance median price" gear (not top-shelf upper echalon gear).

But there were two misinterpretations of my post I feel compelled to correct:

(1) "top-end is probably better" / "linear value-add" etc...

I couldn't agree more that the point of diminishing returns is lower than the top-end rod price, but if you are a dedicated practitioner you will eventually go there given the opportunity and by that time it has nothing to do with return on that price difference and more to do with prestige.

(2) "Horizons in every line weight"...

would be more in line with "flirting with every fishery" which is where I suggested that low-end purchases are a great option and probably the best option, I don't think anyone is suggesting high end across-the-board purchases.

Point being that high-performance median price gear gives you a good value-add and some longevity without feeling like you've outgrown the cheapo label too quick.

.02

Juro

Eddie
03-19-2003, 09:12 AM
A Yugo gets you to work. If you have the money, and feel like spending it, you might buy a nicer car. Not for the difference in gross function, but because of all the little things that add up to a better ride.
Is it worth it? It is for many. Nobody buys a car based on how much it cost to make.
The good news is that there is good inexpensive gear for people that don't want to spend the big bucks, and for those that do, there is excellent gear. For some, it's the little things that add up.

MarkS
03-19-2003, 09:27 AM
Juro,

Hope I didn't come off as pointed in my reply....in fact, I think we entirely agree.

I have T&T Horizons in my most commonly used line wts, 5 and 8, and then step down for the less commonly used lines for me...Cabelas's blanks in 6, 9, 10 (I have heard rumors that these are Loomis, and a good value at $90 for the blank) and the above mentioned Elkhorn in the 12wt.

Fly rods, as any product (cars, stereo equipment etc) have a non-linear value-added function, and it's just a matter of finding the right point on the curve for each of us.

Great fishing to all,

Mark

flyfisha1
03-19-2003, 09:47 AM
Cabela's blanks are made by Loomis? Really? I always thought that they were Pacific Bay blanks, since the components offered on their rods and in their tackle craft catalog are PB. If they are loomis, I'd be a bit surprised, since the action of Cabela's fastest blanks are relatively slow in comparison to that of the IMX and even the GL3. I have a "6-wt." rod built around one of the FT blanks that casts a 5-wt. line beatifully, while a 6-wt. line seems a bit heavy for it. This is my all-around trout rod, as a result. The action is certainly not what I would consider fast, though it was advertised as such, and considering this rod was built for light saltwater use I'll most likely replace it with one built around an SCIV or IMX blank.
But, perhaps the blanks are just old Loomis stock.

Roop
03-19-2003, 09:49 AM
My $.02 for anyone who cares.

When I was younger and knew everyhting, I knew that you didn;t ahve to buy an expensive rod to be a good fly fisherman. Especially if you were focusing on trout - i.e. not haveing to cast farther than 20'.

My first SW fly rod was an LL Bean guide model - what a piece of crap. A perfect example of "you get what you pay for"

As I got older and learned that I didn't knwo everything, my next SW rod was a St. Croix Legend Ultra, as my casting improved I grew to love that rod.

Several rods later, having traded Striblue for a T&T, I am convinced that you should buy the best rod you can afford for SW. I advise anyone who asks me about what rod to start SWFF with to buy the best they can afford from Sage or T&T and use a Pflueger for a reel if they have to.

You get what you pay for, the trick os to pay as little as possible.;)

Roop

BigDave
03-19-2003, 10:04 AM
I'm not going to go into all the rods I have an why I bought them but the one thing I will say is this: when you get into the "premium" level of flyrods the differences between them are purely a matter of taste. Do you like fast action or slow? Gaudy trim or an understated appearance?

As far as I'm concerned, all that matters is the way they perform with my casting stroke, the reputation of the company and the warranty (all unconditional warranties are not the same). I have come to apprciate the latter after breaking 2 rods last year and having varying results with the replacements.

MarkS
03-19-2003, 10:33 AM
Hey Chris,

They could be Pac Bay, I have jsut heard rumors that they are Loomis. I'm surprised at your experience with the FT 6wt. I use one for light salt and large mouth bass, and typically cast 8wt shooting heads with it.

I also have the 9 and 10wts (buy 3 blanks and get $20 off each...makes them $70 a piece) and find these to be significantly faster than the GL3 rods (not the MEGA, but the regular GL3)

These rods certainly meet my value point...although having had someone break the 10wt recently I am facing the dilemma or replacing it with the cabela's blank or getting the Horizon blank instead.

If you are interested in parting with the FT 6wt...I might be able to help you out.

mark

flyfisha1
03-19-2003, 10:41 AM
Hi Mark,
Thanks for the reply and offer, but this was my first rod built and I couldn't part company with it if for nothing more than sentimental reasons. The 6-wt. FT you have, is it 2-piece or 4-piece?

MarkS
03-19-2003, 10:49 AM
Chris,

I have a 4-piece 6wt, a 3 piece 9wt and a 4 1/2 piece 10wt.

My wife uses a 4-pc 5 wt for trout, although she caught LOTS of pinks with it on our tirp to Alaska a few years ago.

I know what you mean about the first rod you built....wouldn't trade it for anything.


:D

Mark

Bob Pink
03-19-2003, 10:07 PM
comments from the caveman side of town,

I seem to be migrating back towards the 'price-point' families of rods. (In my case the Temple Forks') They have proven themselves to me over the past two (maybe 3) seasons as being durable, they seem to match my casting style and the cost allows me some flexibility in having a wider selection. Case in point, on my Andros trip I brought 5 rods. A 4pc T-F in 7, 8 & 9wt and Redington 5pc in 8 &10wt. I used the T-F exclusively while there and mostly the 7&8wts. I admit that I never tangled with a bone larger than 5# but I never felt that these rods were being 'pushed' to the limit of their effective ranges. ( Ask me again if I ever tangle with a 10 -12# bone :rolleyes: )
Now, do they have the same 'fit & finish' that a T&T or Sage rod does? Of course not. Will the components stand up over a lifetime of fishing? Unknown for the moment. do they stand behind their product? Absolutely as they had one of the fastest warrenty turnarounds for me last summer.

Would I like to enjoy the aquisition aspect of this 'sport' that involves owning the best quality products that suit my fishing habits & style? Of course, but for the moment I'd rather have a wider range of tools in the toolbox for the same $$

caveman out.....

Slinger
03-20-2003, 01:47 AM
This post started about Elkhorn, so may I digress. The deal they offered at the shows was too good to pass up, so I got the 10wt. The rod is a rocket, the reel is crap. The name of this post is "customer service". Sent Elkhorn a E-mail more than three weeks ago to ask about a spare spool, they never returned my mail. Decided to go ahead and put a line on the first spool in the mean time, the spool crushed under the tension of the backing. I took it to the Wilmington show where they were very polite and gave me a new reel and promised to respond as soon as they got back to the office, That was 4 days ago, haven`t heard anything yet, maybe they are driving to Colorado. Not too likely I`ll be buying another spool.
Temple Forks, got the 9`for 9wt. last year, love that rod. Tip broke end of last year, packed it up, mailed it back and they replaced it no problem. Opened new rod at the casting clave, while the TFO reps were there, tip on new rod broken. Sure send it back we`ll replace it. Why should I have to pay again?:( :confused: :(
Sure do like that TFO, but the guide set is kinda cheap. One season of fishing and the guides are noticably groved, but for that price who can complain?
Slinger

MarkS
03-20-2003, 11:06 AM
Hey slinger,

I sent Elkhorn an e-mail as well...about a week before the show, and just got a reply this minute. I assumed that all hands were at the various shows around the country.

I remain pleased with both the blank and the service...can't speak to the quality of the reels.

Enjoy the 10wt.

mark

juro
03-20-2003, 02:31 PM
On the positive side, we are all very fortunate to have SO MANY choices nowadays, none of which suck! Good news on the consumer side for sure.

Fishing just 'round the corner!