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Old 11-08-2002, 07:01 AM
MattS MattS is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Portsmouth, NH
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Blank Recomendations

I would like to build my first fly rod this winter and need some blank recomendations (other components are also welcome). I would like to build a 9 wgt for the salt.

I currently own 3 rods I love: a Sage 910-3 RPLXi
a Redington DFR 908-3 and a T&T 908-4S (I sold my LU and GL3 'cause they were a tad soft for me in these wgts)

Based on this what blank(s) might you all suggest I start with. I thought I would refrain from spending serious money on the blank for my first rod as who knows how it will actually look or fish! I was thinking maybe a Pac Bay, Graphite USA or some such but am open to more knowledgable suggestions.

Thank you in advance,
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Old 11-08-2002, 07:34 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
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For similar niche I decided to build the Sage 10wt 4-pc VPS (formerly known as the RPL). It's not a 9'er but it does cast with a feel like many other brands' 9wts and will break down for travel. It's not too much for bonefish, not too little for baby tarpon, and great for stripers and blues. They don't make the 9wt in this series in this style.

I had the same thought about how well it would come out, but working with our sponsor Rod Builder's Workshop I am confident it will look su-weet. The handle is on and it looks great, now onto the guides and wraps this winter.

I've cast the rod in it's factory version at the shop, very nice. It was more expensive than some of the others but less expensive than the finished rod off the shelf. Plus I could pay for the parts as I had more change to spend if I needed to.

I think in the end it's about the pride of putting one together.

Good luck!
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Old 11-08-2002, 07:52 AM
JimW JimW is offline
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Location: As long as it's Salty
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I'd second a trip to Smitty's. The first rod I built was a hook & hackle blank, similar in price and performance to the pac bay. That rod turned out fine, I was most concerned with how the finish would come out on the wraps. Turns out the finish was the easiest part of all. Buy the parts from Smitty, the tips you will recieve are more than worth it and you don't pay freight. There are a few things he showed me that I will not post online, I probably could not explain them anyway.

The St. Croix ultra legend is a nice blank for the price if you like fast rods. You might consider a burled cork handle if you choose to turn your own.

Best of luck with your project, it's a great way to get through the winter.
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Old 11-08-2002, 11:49 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: NW Washington
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The hardest part of doing the rod is putting the guides on in a straight line on the side oposite the rod's spine.

That said, I made the mistake of once making a rod with a cheaper blank than the manufacturer whose rod action I liked. Remember it takes just as long to turn a blank you won't like the action of into a fisnished rod as it does one that you do like.

The first rod I built was on a Fenwick HMG blank back in 1975. These were very expensive blanks at the time but they had the action I desired so I bit the bullet and spent the money. I was not unhappy with the resultant rod and fished it for 6 years until it was stolen. Then I made the mistake of getting a cheaper blacnk, heck I got two of them for the price of a more expensive one. The rods were OK, but I never really liked their actions, too slow for me. This was really false economy. I ended up giving them away the next year and bought two G.Loomis blanks because I liked their actions.

I never made that mistake again. Pac Bay blanks are OK but they do not make a rod with an action like the Sage rods you mentioned as favorites. They are even a little slower that the Loomis GL3.
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Old 12-04-2002, 11:01 PM
BH Spey BH Spey is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Midwest
Posts: 4
First Rod


Unless you will be building the rod in a shop with the close supervision of experienced builders, or are extremely talented and confident of your abilities, I would urge you to consider building your first rod on the cheapest blank you can find. There are a few websites around that specialize in discontinued blanks (D&E Rods) or blem blanks sold by the foot ($4/ft - JJ King). I've built about 20 rods thus far, mostly for myself, and built them all at home after having rented a video and read a Clemens book. My first couple of rods, while not bad - are nowhere near the quality of my later rods. During the learning process I picked up some very inexpensive blem blanks in the $25 to $40 range, two of which are now my favorite rods. So just because its a blem blank doesn't mean its inferior junk.

If you are planning on spending a good chunk of change on t top of the line rod from a premium manufacturer, you are going to have much higher expectations for how you want the finished product to look. Its often difficult to meet those expectations on your very first project.

Good luck to you!
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Old 12-05-2002, 08:45 AM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Central MA
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Rather than buying a rod that your unsure of the action I'd buy a blank that you like to start. If you want to practice winding & finishing guides, or fitting a grip for that matter you can recycle an old or broken rod. It doesn't have to be a fly rod for practice, you could even use a dowel.
John Desjardins
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Old 12-05-2002, 06:56 PM
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FredA FredA is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Bicep to elbow
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No experienced advise to offer but I'm pondering the same question for a first build. My brain is telling me to go the cheap blank route but my heart is suggesting otherwise. I may have a compromise, for me. When I bought my 10 wgt DFR I test cast a number of rods and the only two that stood out for me were the DFR and the 9 wgt, 2 piece Backwater (the 3 piece Backwater didn't do it for me). The Backwater blank and components seem relatively reasonable for a rod I really like and I think that is the direction I'll go in.
Fred A.
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