Why build? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Why build?

01-25-2005, 10:52 PM
Custom rod building...practical? I recently spoke with a shop owner and custom rod builder who explained that his shop offers free custom rod building lessons for the cost of the components, of course. Outside of the personal pride and self satisfaction one gains from building their own rod please explain what else can be gained from the experience. Obviously I have no background in this, however it appears that one would be hard pressed to improve upon today's premium rods considering the all of the R&D and experience that's dedicated to them. I agree that there's an amount of satisfaction attached to tying one's own flies or reloading your hunting ammunition. I just can't see how rod building is an advantage. I would never attempt to build my own hunting rifle. Please enlighten...thanks.

01-25-2005, 11:32 PM
One can use whatever reel seat you wish of the proper inside diameter on the rod. You can use whatever color thread you wish. You can shape the cork to be exactly the way you want it to feel in your hand. You can use whatever guides in whatever plating you wish. You can add feather inlays, or weave your name in thread, etc. on the rod.

In short, you can have things on the rod that the factory won't bother with doing or will charge you quite a bit more for adding to the rod, unless you get the rod from Meiser or Burkheimer because they build custom rods on their own blanks.

Other than the above, there is absolutely no reason to build a rod from a blank. Just like there really is not reason for most hunters and shooters to load their own ammo. Or for a hunter to make a stock of his own either from scratch or from a semi-inletted or finished blank.

01-26-2005, 06:29 AM
I've often said 'I don't fish for fish, I fish for satisfaction', and it's quite true. Fish are a part of it, but certainly not all of it.

Likewise, I think a large part of building a rod is about the satisfaction the builder receives in using that rod or handing it down to his son, etc. (in addition to the choice of components as Russ mentions).

03-15-2005, 03:26 PM
Rod building offers you choices.

I fish mostly spinning rods, and can choose my guides (try finding Titaneum SiC guides on a shop rod), choose my blanks, and since I like a TN handle, can do that w/ a split grip.

04-03-2005, 09:10 AM
Take the best rod that you have and pick out the things you would do to change it if you could. Add to that the satisfaction of knowing that you built the rod that you are catching your fish on. Mix in a little (kill some time with things you like doing), and a dash of (pride and accomplishment) and you have just a few of the reasons. Can you do this for a hobby? of course Can you do this for a living? you betcha. But most of the rod builders and rod makers I know do this because they love doing it, they enjoy working with their hands, and have a "real job" that they go to every day. Can you get more for a custom built rod than a shelf rod? Sometimes you can. In my case and many others I am sure, I sure don't do this to make money (thank the Good Lord). I do it because it is almost as enjoyable as using them when I can.

04-03-2005, 01:26 PM
its something to do in the winter

04-03-2005, 09:21 PM
You can build a high end $600 rod for $400-450. That's 3 rods for the price of 2.

Gary W
04-14-2005, 06:34 AM
I like a thicker than average good quality cork handle.
I like a strong but progressive blank with good recovery.
I don't like a hook keeper that snags up the line and digs into my fingers when walking with the rod.
I like Fuji Sic single leg guides.

I coudn't find a factory built rod with these spec's, so I built one. I'll be building another; it's my favourite rod.

04-28-2005, 12:43 PM
1) Its fun
2) I get what I want.
3) It requires a certain crafty, tinkering mind set that is sort of medititive, calming and theraputic (in a wholistic sence its good for you to make your own and do for your self).
4) Its cheeper thatn paying someone else to do it.


04-29-2005, 12:21 AM
ill play devils advocate.

at a local fly shop one of the customers spent around 500 on parts for his custom t&t build will all nickel silver struble parts, hopkins holloway, feather inlays... etc
he broke that rod accidently while fishing by steping on it.
now what, all that time he spent on that rod has gone to ****. i think one of the benefits of buying a factory rod is that when you get their warranty the whole rod is warranted. you do not have to build a new rod. just mail it in and they send you a new one

04-29-2005, 11:44 AM
Ill Play Builders advocate:

Creative energy is always looking for a place to express itself. It dosnt mater whether your building fly rods, tying flyís, or what ever. Why do you do that? well I say why not? If you donít, or cant generate, or be guided by that creative energy then you really wouldnít understand anyway, and maybe you are better off just being a consumer. For some of us in may boil down to saving a few dollars, but for the most part its not about money, its about the satisfaction of having accomplished something unique and you cant really quantify that can you.

So you build a rod on a Sage blank, and you break it. Then you pack the whole thing up with a check for $20-$30 or what ever it is these days, send it back to Sage and they send your rod and a new blank section back in two weeks, and you spend an evening re-wrapping and finishing the guides. Many blank manufacturers offer similar return, warranty and repair services. No big deal. I have built and broken allot of rods, and I have learned allot about fly rods and taking care of them in the process.

I also buy factory built rods, because its convenient to do so, and there are some incredible rods out here for very reasonable prices.

I started fly fishing with a two piece split cane rod, and an antique fly reel that belonged to my grandfather. After I trashed the rod I got a two piece Daiwa glass 7 wt. which I still have. I know with certainty that I could still do most of my fishing with that setup, and do it well even though most of the guides are bent paperclips stuck on the blank with electrical tape. But these days I have bigger expectations for my equipment, and an engineers appreciation for high tech design, materials, and the quality of the workmanship etc.

So Im a builders advocate I would build rods regardless, for the same in-calculable reason I make bird houses. You suit yourself. Be a consumer if you must, but donít try to argue that its not worth it because that really depends on the definition of "It" dosnt it.

This is a photo of a custom built 7wt Sage Xi2 and a nice little steelhead. The reward is really priceless.


04-29-2005, 03:30 PM

Like natrix pointed out, if you bread a section of a rod you built, most manufacturers will provide you with a replacement section for under $75.00 provided you send the complete broken rod to them. All you do is rewrap and finish the new replacement section.

Now to play devil's advocate: Why on earth should a blank manufacturer or for that matter a rod manufacturer have to replace a rod or blank section for free that was broken because someone was careless and stepped on it or closed a car door, trunk lid, tailgate, garage door, or house door on it? Shouldn't such "user error" breakage or carelessness be the responsibility of the owner of the rod or blank?