Philosophical Rod Building Question

buckeye

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 7, 2008
225
40
Florida
Name
Bob
Boat
none
I read all the comments and arguments about building on the spine vs. straightest axis, guide spacing, guide sizes, acid wrapped vs. conventional wrapping, load testing, balance, etc. While these are all things that may effect the feel and performance of a rod for the professional fisherman or someone who is on the water nearly every day, but how much do they make a difference to the average fisherman? I see guys using custom rods and most of the time they talk more about how they look (thread work, weaving, type of guides, finish, etc) then how they actually feel or perform. ( I should mention that I build rods for my own use but do not build rods for anyone else.)

I'm just curious what your experience is? Can the average Joe fisherman that buys a custom rod tell the difference and appreciate the things that go into building a true custom rod?
 

Pipejumper

Member
Dec 17, 2014
33
15
45
Name
Larry
Boat
22' Alumaweld Intruder
When I go golfing I have a bag full of clubs but only use my driver, 3 wood, 7 wood, 7 iron and putter. My wife who grew up golfing uses every single club. She wins every time.

I think fishing rods are the same way. The causal fisherman doesn't appreciate, or more importantly have the ability to capitalize on the advantages, of custom and/or high end rods.

With that said, I also believe that some pros geek out on things that don't matter. In particular in my neck of the woods, Oregon, I see guys extrapolate the benefits of custom high end rods into fisheries where they add no value. For instance trolling Salmon with a diver and flasher with the rod in a rod holder negates most of the benefits of the high end rod they became familiar with drift fishing salmon on the river with the rod in their hand.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

gecsr1

28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"
Jul 15, 2005
14,274
3,681
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" / PlainJaneRods
Well I also build rods for my self, and on occasion for friends, also do some rod repairs for friends...
my theory if you build them right , they will fish good,,,,It's not how expensive the components are it's how you use them...
and I enjoy rod building as a hobby...

Gary aka Plain Jane Rods....
 

cmepen

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 16, 2009
4,437
1,774
Chula Vista
Name
Einar Lohner
Boat
Cabo Marine 226
This is a very existential question. Can "Joe" apriciate or tell that he is using a custom built rod? I would argue that he would be capable of realizing the value of a custom built, for him and application, rod over a factory rod. I was schooled that the first rule of fishing is to look good. With my looks it helps emensly to have a custom built rod to distract others from my obvious lack of good looks. More to the point a custom rod will be better fitted to Joe and how he fishes, allowing for a less fatigued fisherman at the end of the day. If Joe is casting often, a well balanced rod will enable him to cast more often without fatigue, giving more oportunity to catch rather than just fish. A rod built on spine will allow Joe to fight the fish rather than the torque created from a rod built without the spine being considered. A rod built for Joe by a custom builder will take into consideration what Joe needs as well as wants. On a custom rod, blank type, guide, grip and reel seat selection take into consideration: weight, durability, type of fishing, cost... What do factories consider first when building a rod? I believe it is cost and ability to sell. Taking all this into consideration it is easy to surmise a custom built rod for Joe will allow Joe to fish longer, harder and be more successful in his fishing. Joe will realize this while eating a nice fish dinner. I am not sure if this answers the question or creates more. Tight lines!
IMHO friends don't let friends fish factory rods
 

FAT CAT

FAT CAT
Nov 11, 2007
8,678
2,476
Baja Sur, MX
Name
Bill Burkett
Boat
22' Twin-Vee Catamaran POLE CAT
Well, this is a very complicated question and like everything else in rod building there is really no right or wrong answer.

In my opinion most people are not experienced enough anglers to really tell the difference between a custom rod and a good factory rod. That probably explains why the thread art is what they're talking about. However there are many anglers that are on the other end of the spectrum and all they're interested in is the rods performance. Most of this second group are also not experienced enough anglers to know what their talking about, but they do believe what they "read some place" and you'd be wasting your time to try to change their minds with logic (lot of examples of this on topics other than rod building too).

When I started building (about 40 years ago) Dale Clemens motto was "you can build a better rod than you can buy." At that time the saying was pretty true, as most factory rods were all made very cheap. They might only have 3 or 4 guides, usually made of solid glass and cost about $30. But, that was changing by the late 70's. Fenwick started producing really well made rods and the other manufactures soon followed suit. Today, you can buy as good a rod as you'll ever need from virtually every maker, so a custom builder needs to spend more time promoting the - one of a kind made just for you idea, as the factory rods will work just fine and likely cost less.

I've found that the thing a new customer notices first is his name on the rod.
 

gecsr1

28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"
Jul 15, 2005
14,274
3,681
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" / PlainJaneRods
Well, this is a very complicated question and like everything else in rod building there is really no right or wrong answer.

In my opinion most people are not experienced enough anglers to really tell the difference between a custom rod and a good factory rod. That probably explains why the thread art is what they're talking about. However there are many anglers that are on the other end of the spectrum and all they're interested in is the rods performance. Most of this second group are also not experienced enough anglers to know what their talking about, but they do believe what they "read some place" and you'd be wasting your time to try to change their minds with logic (lot of examples of this on topics other than rod building too).

When I started building (about 40 years ago) Dale Clemens motto was "you can build a better rod than you can buy." At that time the saying was pretty true, as most factory rods were all made very cheap. They might only have 3 or 4 guides, usually made of solid glass and cost about $30. But, that was changing by the late 70's. Fenwick started producing really well made rods and the other manufactures soon followed suit. Today, you can buy as good a rod as you'll ever need from virtually every maker, so a custom builder needs to spend more time promoting the - one of a kind made just for you idea, as the factory rods will work just fine and likely cost less.

I've found that the thing a new customer notices first is his name on the rod.
Wow well said.... very well said......
 

Capt Richie

Atlantic Custom Tackle
Aug 10, 2008
4,078
641
nassau NY
Name
Richie
Boat
32 albe
The word Custom is used very loosely in this business...Custom for who? If its not build for you its not custom.. Semi custom better than a factory yes..

A better tool is a better tool ..But if you never used a off the rack tool how would know..

IMO using a blank & design thats not catalog or off the rack is what makes the difference ..
 
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SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
7,482
7,847
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
Yes and no. Example, last summer we hooked a 75 yellowfin on my factory built SS6470 on 40lb test. My buddy who a smaller guy pulled on it for about 15 minutes and said he couldn't do it any more and handed me the rod. He said the rear grip was too long and he was having a hard time standing straight up and still be able to crank on the reel. I could see the awkwardness and knew the same rod that he has killed many fish with before was now not going to cut it. I picked up one of his personal rods who was a deckhand style grip and saw that he normally fished with a much much shorter rear grip than me, mostly because his arms are a lot shorter than mine. I had never really noticed this before probably because I tend to fish my rods pretty similarity to factory builds, but for him it was a major issue and he immediately understood the value of a custom rod (or at least correct reel placement). If that same rod would have been incorrectly splined, or poorly (it wasn't, thank goodness) I don't think we would have got the fish.
 
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gecsr1

28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"
Jul 15, 2005
14,274
3,681
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" / PlainJaneRods
Yes and no. Example, last summer we hooked a 75 yellowfin on my factory built SS6470 on 40lb test. My buddy who a smaller guy pulled on it for about 15 minutes and said he couldn't do it any more and handed me the rod. He said the rear grip was too long and he was having a hard time standing straight up and still be able to crank on the reel. I could see the awkwardness and knew the same rod that he has killed many fish with before was now not going to cut it. I picked up one of his personal rods who was a deckhand style grip and saw that he normally fished with a much much shorter rear grip than me, mostly because his arms are a lot shorter than mine. I had never really noticed this before probably because I tend to fish my rods pretty similarity to factory builds, but for him it was a major issue and he immediately understood the value of a custom rod (or at least correct reel placement). If that same rod would have been incorrectly splined, or poorly (it wasn't, thank goodness) I don't think we would have got the fish.
Sounds like to me he made a poor choice in his factory built rod purchase, factory rods are available with shorter rear grips...
lesson learned...
i am not endorsing factory rods, as I custom build my own rods... B
 

SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
7,482
7,847
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
Sounds like to me he made a poor choice in his factory built rod purchase, factory rods are available with shorter rear grips...
lesson learned...
i am not endorsing factory rods, as I custom build my own rods... B
Was my rod, we were fishing on his boat and was the closest to it when the clicker started to sing. I've had this rod for 6 years, and even thought I custom build everything now, it's hard to replace a perfectly good factory rod.
 

Uncle Joe

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 28, 2011
250
111
NY USA
Name
Joe
Boat
24 FT Grady White
I read an interview with a professional bass fisherman a while back...I forget who exactly. All his rods are very plain yet custom built for him. He said he didn't want an elaborate looking rod as it may distract him from what he was out there to do. Catch as many fish as he can as fast as he can. Ever watch the tournament anglers fish? It doesn't look like fun....they just crank the fish in.
That is a whole other ballgame. There is a place for performance and a place for highly decorative rods but I think the decorative ones should perform well or who would enjoy fishing them?
 
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gecsr1

28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"
Jul 15, 2005
14,274
3,681
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" / PlainJaneRods
I read an interview with a professional bass fisherman a while back...I forget who exactly. All his rods are very plain yet custom built for him. He said he didn't want an elaborate looking rod as it may distract him from what he was out there to do. Catch as many fish as he can as fast as he can. Ever watch the tournament anglers fish? It doesn't look like fun....they just crank the fish in.
That is a whole other ballgame. There is a place for performance and a place for highly decorative rods but I think the decorative ones should perform well or who would enjoy fishing them?
That's my motto "Plain Jane Rods" LOL
 

Uncle Joe

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jun 28, 2011
250
111
NY USA
Name
Joe
Boat
24 FT Grady White
That's my motto "Plain Jane Rods" LOL
:) Lots of guys are fishing those white blanks with white wraps and minima guides...not sure who makes those blanks but they are some boring looking rods.
 

gecsr1

28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"
Jul 15, 2005
14,274
3,681
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" / PlainJaneRods
:) Lots of guys are fishing those white blanks with white wraps and minima guides...not sure who makes those blanks but they are some boring looking rods.
Not mine LOL
 
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Capt Richie

Atlantic Custom Tackle
Aug 10, 2008
4,078
641
nassau NY
Name
Richie
Boat
32 albe
decoration has zero to do with a custom rod If anything to much takes away from building a good tool..

Like I said Custom is a very loose used term in custom rod building...We tend to look at decoration as a rod builders skill...Just lipstick on a pig in some many cases...
 

Nirvana

But I don't want to edit this section
Aug 20, 2010
1,020
385
Sequim, WA USA
Name
Grant Darby
Boat
Which one?
I know framers that use custom hammers, cord grips, shaped handles.....decoration has EVERYTHING to do with their tools. I don't know any bad framers that show off their tools, and good framers don't have to, unless you notice and then you can't shut them up. One of the best builders I know states "artist in thread" on his cards. Plain jane tool is great if it does what it's supposed to do....beautiful tool that does the same job is even better.
 
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Olddog8

I've posted enough I should edit this section
May 13, 2012
940
1,199
Poway,ca
Name
Rick
Boat
Sold long ago
Yes and no. Example, last summer we hooked a 75 yellowfin on my factory built SS6470 on 40lb test. My buddy who a smaller guy pulled on it for about 15 minutes and said he couldn't do it any more and handed me the rod. He said the rear grip was too long and he was having a hard time standing straight up and still be able to crank on the reel. I could see the awkwardness and knew the same rod that he has killed many fish with before was now not going to cut it. I picked up one of his personal rods who was a deckhand style grip and saw that he normally fished with a much much shorter rear grip than me, mostly because his arms are a lot shorter than mine. I had never really noticed this before probably because I tend to fish my rods pretty similarity to factory builds, but for him it was a major issue and he immediately understood the value of a custom rod (or at least correct reel placement). If that same rod would have been incorrectly splined, or poorly (it wasn't, thank goodness) I don't think we would have got the fish.
I have the opposite problem, I have long arms and like a longer butt section, that is why my rods are custom, either by myself or a real rod builder. I wish I had an even longer butt section on my rail rods than I do, I'm too tall to get comfortable on the rail.
 
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gecsr1

28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"
Jul 15, 2005
14,274
3,681
Poway Ca
Name
Gary
Boat
28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II" / PlainJaneRods
I have the opposite problem, I have long arms and like a longer butt section, that is why my rods are custom, either by myself or a real rod builder. I wish I had an even longer butt section on my rail rods than I do, I'm too tall to get comfortable on the rail.
H
I have the opposite problem, I have long arms and like a longer butt section, that is why my rods are custom, either by myself or a real rod builder. I wish I had an even longer butt section on my rail rods than I do, I'm too tall to get comfortable on the rail.
Just curious
I have the opposite problem, I have long arms and like a longer butt section, that is why my rods are custom, either by myself or a real rod builder. I wish I had an even longer butt section on my rail rods than I do, I'm too tall to get comfortable on the rail.
Just curious how long you like your rear grip...I noticed you are in Poway, so am I.
 

Capt Richie

Atlantic Custom Tackle
Aug 10, 2008
4,078
641
nassau NY
Name
Richie
Boat
32 albe
Yes and no. Example, last summer we hooked a 75 yellowfin on my factory built SS6470 on 40lb test. My buddy who a smaller guy pulled on it for about 15 minutes and said he couldn't do it any more and handed me the rod. He said the rear grip was too long and he was having a hard time standing straight up and still be able to crank on the reel. I could see the awkwardness and knew the same rod that he has killed many fish with before was now not going to cut it. I picked up one of his personal rods who was a deckhand style grip and saw that he normally fished with a much much shorter rear grip than me, mostly because his arms are a lot shorter than mine. I had never really noticed this before probably because I tend to fish my rods pretty similarity to factory builds, but for him it was a major issue and he immediately understood the value of a custom rod (or at least correct reel placement). If that same rod would have been incorrectly splined, or poorly (it wasn't, thank goodness) I don't think we would have got the fish.

Perfect example you think he gave a uck if the rods had a fancy butt wrap or matching colors LOL He wanted to land the fish..I sure he wouldn't have gave a uck if the rod was black on black if it was built right for him..

Dont fall into that trap,,,
 

Capt Richie

Atlantic Custom Tackle
Aug 10, 2008
4,078
641
nassau NY
Name
Richie
Boat
32 albe
I know framers that use custom hammers, cord grips, shaped handles.....decoration has EVERYTHING to do with their tools. I don't know any bad framers that show off their tools, and good framers don't have to, unless you notice and then you can't shut them up. One of the best builders I know states "artist in thread" on his cards. Plain jane tool is great if it does what it's supposed to do....beautiful tool that does the same job is even better.

Showing off his hammer HUH LOL

I
 
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north coast

Well-Known "Member"
Aug 2, 2012
94
26
mass.
Name
kent
Boat
north coast
To me, a custom rod was for a guy that knew exactly what he wanted, through experience, and factory designers didn't offer a specific style rod he needed to do a certain job. So he went to a builder and worked out exactly what he needed to do that job.
Then you have the guy who just wants something fancy and different and blingy.
This is the guy that probably wouldnt benefit,as much from a well designed rod, for a specific purpose.Nothing wrong with either.and both are part of custom rod building today.

Personally,I think it's gone too far with all the crazy marbling, feathers,abelone,crazy inlayed grips,alligator and snake heads etc etc etc..... But an ass for every seat I guess.
I've been building for over 40 years.
I built for a few different shops many years ago. I do put my own turned eva grips on and try to make a nice, functional handle, and I do use higher end guides and components but None of my personal rods have fancy thread work. ( or alligator heads :))they're tools,to do a certain job.
 
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