components- what REALLY matters?
Hi all- just finished my first rod - a cheapy - turned out ok - It was a forecast from Hook & Hackle and the components seem fine to me, but hey, what do I know?
So I ordered a Dan Craft FT 9' 5wt and am thinking about sticking on a component kit from Hook & Hackle.
But fefore I do that I'd like to know If I would be screwing up to do so.
I want decent guides so I can chuck it some distance. I don't care about looks. I want it to cast good and I don't want to take away from the performance of the blank. But I don't want to spend even 20 bucks extra if its not going to matter all that much. There are several rods I need to build and I don't want to shoot my entire wad on just one.
I want to keep it light - so I'm gonna use single-foot guides
Whats the bottom line? What really matters? Or maybe I should re-phrase it like this...Is there any absolute JUNK you would absolutely stay away from? (Including cork, reel seet etc.)
Should I oversize? Use Sic, Titanium Gold, Hialoy? Or is there anyone out there who can tell me - Hey, its all a bunch of hogwash. I'm begining to think its all mostly hype and most of it doesnt matter that much in the real world. (as if fly fishing has anything to do with the real world)
Ok here is what I've found out in building over 7 rods. Pre turned cork handles usually are not that great . I've never sunk the money into the premium turned handles. I like REC reel seats and this last rod I tried I used the Recoil guides.
The best guides out there. They are very light and flex with the rod. Pac Bay and Perfection make nice snake guides.
The stripping guides that I use to use were Fuji. I tried the Pac Bay nitrate coated guides on the latest rod and there was no rust. Sic guides are very good.
Also, I tend to use over sized stripping guides on my saltwater rods.
My reason for building a rod is to put on components that a little better than you get with a production rod. That being said T&T makes some fine looking rods and use very good components. If I had the money I would invest in a mini lathe and turn my own handles but that is really getting into the hobby.
Like most things you get what you pay for so the more expensive the component the better the product. Check out some of the rod building sites on the net and you'll get a sense of the craft.
Since you requested it, here is my no BS answer to your inquiry based upon 35 years of rod building and 48 years of fly fishing.
Cork quality is directly proportional to cost and the best cork is not available as pre-turned grips, it is only available as individual cork rings that you have to turn into a grip either on the blank (my preference) or on a threaded rod or mandrel. However, poor quality cork is not going to effect the preformance of the finished rod, just remember to fill in the rather large pits of the lower quality corks with a cork dust and glue mixture.
In guides, avoid unplated snake guides because they will never hold up. In fact, unplated snake guides will begin to groove within a year or two. As to which coatings, platings, brands, single foot, or double foot are better, that is entirely up to you. If you want to use single foot ceramic or SIC guides instead of snakes or the REC REcoil guides, go right ahead, they just cost more. For strippers, either ceramic or SIC, frame color your choice. For tip tops, again it is entirely your choice, traditional fly loop top, ceramic or SIC, or REC REcoil all work well.
If you are looking to get the most bang for your buck, use cheap pre-formed cork grips, chrome plated snakes, hardaloy stripper, loop tip top, and Fuji or Pac Bay graphite reel seat. This will give you a serviceable, although not the prettiest, good casting rod that will preform very close to one made with SIC strippers and the snake guides with the harder platings on them at a lot lower cost.
Remember two of the easiest places to save money when building a rod yourself are the reel seat (the Fuji and Pac Bay graphite ones are typically around $5.00 or so (instead of the $25.00-$50.00 for the top-of-the-line nickel silver with wood insert ones) and through using hardaloy instead of SIC strippers.
Me, I prefer to use top quaility cork, SIC strippers, snakes and reel seats; but if cosmetics don't matter to you, they are not necessary.
Thanks guys, thats just what I wanted.
All great advice..
Personally I'd avoid getting too carried away with oversizing guides. You can actually lose distance wth the amount of vibration line can have while passing through guides that are too large. Good plating on guides is much more important than their size.
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