Replacing cork grips and reel seat
Recently, I have purchased a well respected British Spey 15 foot 10/11 wt rod ( it must remain nameless ) with a sweet yet powerful action. The quality of the rod far exceeds the quality of the reel seat (also nameless) . Further, the upper section of the grip has a bulge about three inches below its top. I find it is uncomfortable and, more importantly, it is difficult to release shooting line with this bulge. I prefer a straighter grip such as on my T&T and Loop.
I have never buuilt a rod so perhaps my question is obvious. Can I remove the current grips and reel seat and replace them with more fitting and cosmetically appropriate items, without damaging the rod's integrity?? I would not plan to do this myself so could you suggest a person to do so??
Re-Treading a Double Fister
You did not mention if the rod you would like to modify is cane or composite. Either way, it is not all that difficult to strip the corks and reel seat off ANY rod and replace them (although if your rod is cane (bamboo) the bigger concern would be the possibility of negatively effecting its value by this type of modification.
I was forced to modify several of my rods because I use antique fly reels with longer reel feet. These larger older reels require custom-made reel seats. But I never had to worry about negatively effecting the value of these rods I was modifying because I built them all originally to begin with. Thus, it turned out to be a sorely needed up-grade that in essence increased the value (for me, anyway).
I cannot recommend someone who can modify your rod for you. But I can tell you it's very easy to do yourself and you should consider it.
The magic tool that will guarantee good results: a Dremel with a cutting disk attachment. The hardest part of stripping harware off a rod is the reel seat. But a Dremel takes care of that in several minutes. CAUTION: just don't nick the rod underneath the seat when you're making the cut. If the nick is deep enough you could damagae the rod.
Step 1 = remove the stripping guides on the butt section (if necessary) Razor blade: gently cut the threads, remove guide(s), clean rod surface beneath them.
Step 2 = remove corks of foregrip. Sharp knife, razor blade, whatever is necessary to completely remove cork
Step 3 = remove reel seat. Take off tightening rings if down-locking seat. Dremel and disk grinder: with a spiral cut starting from top of seat, work your way down to the bottom of the seat, taking care to only go deep enough to cut the reel seat itself. Usually there are tape shims beneath the seat so there is an insurance policy in place. But with no guarantee of that, USE CAUTION
Once spiral cut is made, peel (or pry) off reel seat
Step 4 = remove corks on butt (and butt cap if there is one)
Step 5: sand the entire butt surface then prepare to replace the following IN THIS STRICT ORDER
a)) butt grip b)) reel seat c)) foregrip d)) stripping guides
Any rod building manual will describe how to do this properly
Replacing guides is easy. Getting the wraps to look like the rod's original wraps is a bit more of a challenge but not insurmountable.
GOOD LUCK and remember the Dremel !
Marketic: Great reply! Yes, the Spey rod in question is carbon fiber/ graphite. Thanks. Parenthetically, I purchased my first new (also English)cane rod in the early 1960's and the last in the mid 70's. Since the advent of modern carbon fiber rods (Scott G series for me ), cane has not seen water. While I own a Dremel with cutting heads, I will need to venture into this "gripping" experience with an experienced hand. Will keep you posted and thanks again. SWA
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