Recently my brother who lives in Southern Cali tasked me with a saltwater fly rod build. He's fly fished a little bit before but more on the light side, 4wt Trout fishing. He told me he was interested in fly fishing the surf and also doing some inshore Calico Bass hunting but wasn't exactly sure what he needed. So I dug around the web and came up with a rod that I think would handle both. I made the suggestion and we struck a deal. I ordered the rod blank, and all the components. He wanted to go with a Calico Bass theme so I did. I picked up a 4 piece, 8WT, Batson RX8 blank, this blank is rated as fast action. I wanted to make sure the rod would be able to cast a 250 grain 6.5 ips sink tip into the surf on a windy day and maybe even cast some serious sinking action for Calico Bass who reside in/near kelp beds and rocky areas. I ordered a Calico Bass decal and picked the thread color to match the Bass' orange high lights. The orange turned more orange bronze like since the blank is a dark matte gray but it was just right. I also used orange metallic thread but again, rather than bright orange it was more like a metallic orange bronze look. It took a little getting used to since it wasn't what I was expecting but it all grew on me and I had his approval to continue with it. In the end, it grew on me and the end result looked better than the brighter orange that we were initially shooting for. Again, it came down to using the Color Lock or not. I seem to keep having my battles with the color lock (and from my research I see I'm not the only one, some people avoid it for that reason and other reasons as well). When it works it's great, but if all the stars don't align, not that great. In the end, if I can avoid un-needed re-work I'll avoid it. So in general the threads end up darker on a dark blank when color lock is not used on Nylon thread, still looks good just different and in this case again I think it looked better with out the Color Lock, not as "bam, in your face bright", but more understated and classy imho. Then again, it all comes down to personal preference of the person receiving the final product. Also, he wanted a rod case, so I went to the store bought all the parts and put together a rod case, with a tethered cap, padded bottom and top inside for protection, and a Cobra Weave Paracord handle with a custom paint job with final clear coat. I stressed over the entire project and had fun as well. The rod case was more of an extra included in the name of brotherly love! Ok so here are some specs. XF908-4 Rainshadow RX8 Travel Fly Rod Butt cap: Cork Fighting Butt Reel Seat: Forecast I Seat (silver woven Texalium insert) Grip: SUPER Grade with cork composte Winding Check: Brass with PVD TiCh Plating Hookeeper: Fuji folding hook keeper Tip Top XTCFTL4.5 SS316 Titanium Carbide Pltd Fly Top 4.5 Tube Large loop Guides: all size 3, SS316- Snake Fly Guide Grd-TICH gun smoke Guides: SS316 - Tich 'Z' ring -TiCH gunsmoke Thread: Pac Bay Nylon Orange / Metallic Orange Epoxy: U-40 Dura gloss LS Supreme Cork Sealant: U-40 Cork Seal Here are some pics, and as I've stated before, I'm no pic taking pro..