Many customers come to me and ask "Why would I need a custom fly rod, when I have one that already works?" My reply is always to have them perform the same experiment. Take the tip section of one of your personal rods and place the bottom on a hard surface while gently holding the tip up at a 45 degree angle. Take your free hand and press down in the middle of the fly rod section. As the spine of the fly rod rolls to the belly of the curve, notice where the guides are in relation to the spine. If they are not perfectly in the outside or belly of the curve, then you have a rod which will never generate more than marginal accuracy and is imparting huge rotational stresses on the shaft and may lead to failure. Every time you cast, that fly rod is rotating on both the fore and aft stroke. Exactly how could that contribute to accuracy on the water when you are trying to set a #14 dry fly in front of a feeding trout?
The basis of every custom graphite rod is to make it the best instrument for fooling fish that is possible. The first step is to locate the proper spine of each section and ensure that all work keeps these in the optimum plane.
Next, guide location is systematically perfected to distribute the weight of a fighting fish so that the blank is not stressed to failure when you are landing the big one. Guides must also be arranged so as to not allow line slap which will reduce casting distances when trying to shoot line to the far bank. This is a crucial step as no two fly rod blanks are the same.
All of this boils down to an increased amount of time and attention to fine details, because no two rods are identical, even if they come off the same graphite mandrel.
There has been a great deal of marketing money spent to convince the general public that faster and faster fly rods are a good thing. The downside is that at some point, heavier lines are needed to flex those same rods and a 5 weight is no longer truly a 5 weight. All of my graphite fly rods are tested after wrapping to find their true weight and are rated on a scale from 1 to 10.0, with 5.5 being a perfect 5 weight and the action is assigned a numerical value based on the actual tip flex under load. There is no more guessing as to how a rod will react based on what a designer estimates the rod should be when it is completed.
• Each graphite fly rod starts first as a quality blank from any number of top manufacturers based on what you desire in a finished product. I can get blanks in weights 00-14 from Winston, Thomas & Thomas, Sage, St. Croix, CTX, Gatti, Orvis, Dan Craft, Lamiglass, MHX, Baston, Sevier and TFO.
• Rods can be built as single hand, switch rods, or in the spey tradition.
• Standard reel seats include a custom wood spacer in hardware from REC and Struble or can be upgraded to nickel silver components.
• All grips are custom turned in cork or cork burl and can include an inlay at no extra cost. These are turned here in the shop, so any profile you choose is available.
• Each custom graphite fly rod is shipped, free in the Continental U.S., in a padded and divided Codura rod tube.
• Custom monograms, engraving, inlays and thread work is available.
Current Wait Time for custom work is 30-60 days (as of 11/1/10). Wait times are subject to change, but I can give you an estimate upon placing your order.
I keep a small inventory of finished fly rods in stock for immediate delivery. Look through these finished fly rods, and if one meets your needs, I can ship it out immediately. If you do not see your fly rod on this page, I can build it for you to your specifications.