High Dollar vs. Less Dollar Rods

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Matt Paluch, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    In my rod building days, before I made any real money, one located the "spine" of the blank by placing the butt of the rod blank on a smooth surface. Supporting the rod near the tip with the open palm of one hand so that the rod is resting at about a 30-45 degree angle to horizontal. Using the other hand, applying a downward presure to the rod blank to bend it slightly. At the same time, rolling the butt of the blank on a smooth surface. This is what I meant when I said I looked down the rod to determine if a rod was wrapped correctly.

    As you do this, the rod will "jump" into a pronounced curve. The inside of the curve is the spine. You then mark the inside of the curve.

    On two piece rods (there were dang few multi's back then) determining spine on the tip section was important.
    According to my friends who still build rods, nothing has changed. Check out what the editor of RodMaker Magazine has to say about this subject.

    http://www.flyanglersonline.com/features/rodbuilding/tips/rt52.html

    Most of what I posted was taken from my copy of an old and tattered Flex Coat "Step By Step Rod Building guide", which I've had and used since 1987. That's some 20 years of rod building and everyone I know who builds rods is very careful to allign them properly. I'm certain the lower priced rods are not getting this attention. My purchase today of a TFO 2WT is a different story. The rod appears to have been constructed properly. When I get a 2wt line, I'll let you know for sure.

    As far as being able to determine through casting if a rod is correct, I stated one might not be able to notice (I might, depending on how poorly it was misalligned), however the rods casting potential would never be realized. This is a true statement. Some casters may never be able to throw 60-80 feet of line, no matter how well built the rod!
     
  2. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    yeap, confirmed why I ain't here much anymore... but to nb___ken; I said the" average" high end buyer, not the average angler, so please clarify your response before you respond again. I was not talking about the beginner. I don't even think this thread was about the beginner and the begining FF rods and those marketed to them, it is a thread of TFO and other lower cost rods, versus Sage and Loomis and other upper end rods and not theoir low end rods built to compete, which they have to do . Period. Nothing against them. Have legions. However, the originator of this thread makes a living selling these exact specimens and was just simply stating a thought from the other side. So, "Say what" ??????

    I am not even sure why anyone wanting to spend the money on a high end rod would buy a "rack" rod from a flyshop,mega store or anywhere else. There are many highly skilled rod builders out there that wrap rods from all these mentioned makers and others, and do so with much higher quality, care, and craftmanship. Perhaps care is the defining word.Me thinks, there is a difference between a S--- 590 rack rod and a 590 wrapped in the Willamette valley and elsewhere.
     
  3. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

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    CCS wasn't really developed (at least it wasn't known) back when I worked there, and for that matter there wasn't anyone trying to logically quantify and measure performance in relation to rods. I'm glad someone is finally doing it. Now if only the manufacturers would follow a power standard like CCS so we can talk apples-to-apples when we suggest a line weight :)
     
  4. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

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    :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):) i disagree!

    im abusive, so id destroy a mega loop opti reel, there suppose to stay shiney:) i would bet all my equipment that if you did a poll in this state alone that the cheap would out way the highend like 20-1 and most them low ends live by the best water, and catch fish too. the high enders just pay 3 hundie to fish it:)
     
  5. Randy Knapp

    Randy Knapp Active Member

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    I had a custom bamboo rod built on a Phillipson blank. When I would fish it for awhile it would twist in the ferrule so the guides on the top section would not align with the bottom. I took it to a local bamboo rod maker in my club and he showed me the problem. When you put one of the tip sections on a table holding the butt down and then pulled down the tip top and let go, the tip would rebound in an obvious oval. By turning it on each hexagonal side and re flexing it, it eventually rebounded straight up and down. He stripped the tip and realigned the guides and I never had a problem again. I don't think a misaligned spline on a graphite rod has the same marked effect, but I suspect it is still a factor. It is almost critical on a good bamboo rod.

    Randy
     
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Aside from the twist, how did it cast before you had it repaired? How does it cast now? Any difference?

    K
     
  7. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    Davy,

    I believe the short answer as to why one would buy a high end "rack" rod is the warranty. If you break one of the store boughts, its easier and quicker to get a replacement. Rod manufacturers don't warranty the custom builders work, only the blank, which the custom builder then rebuilds, usually at an additional cost. This replacement process could end up taking weeks instead of 3-4 days. You'll get no arguement from me that custom rods built on the same blanks beat a "rack" rod hands-down. With a custom you can get shaped cork, custom reel seats, measuring marks and fancier guides for about the same amount of money. They won't catch you any more fish, but they do look and feel nice.
     
  8. montnative

    montnative born and raised in the Beartooths

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    Ever since I was a kid I have had a 1964 6-7 wt fenwick rod (my Grandfathers), and until last year I have thankfully used it without reserve. I have always thought it was funny when in the late eighties when this revolution called fly fishing came about and gear geeks came out of every nook and cranny that you could find and brought with them the high priced gear from HELL.! The sad thing is that many of them are my best friends and fishing compatriots. Being from a middle-class family from Montana these high falutin rods and reels were always out of reach,and I was always razzed for my set-up. Now to my point those guys all caught fish but not as many as me ,and I usually had the trophy for the day too. So last year I retired the fennie and went in search for a new set-up And this is what I found. A 5-6 wt lamiglas 4 piece with no finish coat of paint and a pflueger reel for about 185$ and once again its doing just as good as my friends 600$ or more set-ups and I have even been ask to trade it to them straight up because it is one of the best rods that I and some of them have ever felt. So finally I would have to say its nice a IT may keep you warm and fuzzy at night if you have a high priced set-up but its not necessary and you may regret it later when you see a cheaper one that's better.:thumb:
     
  9. Randy Knapp

    Randy Knapp Active Member

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    Kent,

    That bamboo rod cast fine except for the twisting in the ferrule that caused me to have to constantly disconnect and reconnect the tip section. I had another custom bamboo rod where it was the base section that was off spline. I no longer have either rods because I sold them along with all my graphites and other 'boo rods because I found I just prefer glass. The reason is that other materials just are not as forgiving and durable for me personally. Bamboo, however, is the easiest to repair for someone who knows what they are doing. Glass is also fairly easy to repair by fitting another piece of glass or even graphite into the tube with epoxy and a repair rap. There are times when I miss the sensualness and indescribeable attractiveness and mechanics of my bamboo rods which is why I always seem to long to have another. I don't get that from my glass rods, but their practicality usually overides my longings for something more esthetically attractive and natural. I never or at least rarely long for a grapite rod for some reason. If money were no object and I desired a high end rod, I would probably buy one in bamboo or glass, and I would probably have it custom made.

    Randy
     
  10. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Yup, this is from 1998.... Since then the CCS system has been implemented and used to do reproducable experiments on the affect of spine on a rod. Like I said, it is possible for some variation to occur, but in general it is a very small percentage. Currently what I'm saying is pretty much what folks like Tom Kirkman is saying. Spine adds such a small difference it's not something a person can notice. Because of that, just build on the straightest axis. It won't hurt to spine a rod, but it sure as heck won't make or break how a rod performs....


    We could go on and on for this.... Since the casting thing isn't truly a verifiable thing, why don't we do this. Based on CCS I can take a rod and spine it, then try to check the CCS of it when 90 to the spine. If you can show me via reproducable techinques that the spine is a major component of measurement I'll believe you. The *real* problem is, that all of the spine stuff isn't based on anything more than intuition and word of mouth education. Heck, most people don't even know what *causes* spine.

    Obviously we can say that you're one of the folks that have done this for years. And perhaps my first statement was too strongly worded (saying everything is black and white).

    What I should say is: in no way am I saying that spining a rod isn't something that can be done. What I'm saying is that the specific idea of spining a rod is doing extra work that provides no substantial benefit.

    Personally I'll do rods either on the spine, or on the straightest axis. I *prefer* the straightest axis mostly because it's more asethically pleasing, but will spine it if someone feels that the spine being on the fighting side of the fish will make a huge difference.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  11. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    I think extolling the virtues of 800 dollar rods is getting old. The angler makes the rod, not vice versa. Yes there are some pieces of equipment that are superior to others, but most is overkill. I fished steelhead over 40 days between january and april and my equipment is far from the top of the line. Guess what, it didnt give out, it works great. There are alot of people that have alot more money than they have time...I'm the opposite. Shit forget the rod, your waders are the most important piece of equipment you own. I am having a sweet sweet CND Solstice rod hand built by James though, so I guess you could say I'm upgrading!
     
  12. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Montnative,

    That old 1964 Fenwick you have was considered to be a high-end glass rod back then. They sold for about $85.00, which was a bunch at the time. Minimum wage was like $1.35/hr, good wage jobs paid $2.50/hr, and Docs made about $16,000/year. Also, the most expensive rods in that time period were the bamboos or custom glass rods made by Russ Peak, and you could get Orvis Wes Jordan, Leonard, Winston, and Powell bamboo rods with 2-tips in an aluminum case for $125.00-$150.00, or a Russ Peak custom fiberglass rod for $150.00. The were plenty of cheap glass rods on the market back then made in Japan and sold by companies like Berkely, South Bend, Eagle Claw, and Browning that were priced right around $10.00-$20.00. Herter's (sort of like the Cabella's of today) sold fly rods that were priced from $20.00 to $45.00 and fly rod blanks from $7.50-$20.00, along with fly rod building kits for $20.00. The middle-priced rods of that era were the Shakespeare Wonderrods, and they sold for $35.00-$40.00.

    My point is that the old Fenwick glass rod you have was among the high-end rods of the time it was made, very much the equivalent at the time of the highest priced Sage, G. Loomis, T&T, Orvis, St. Croix, etc. rods of today.

    And for those of you who mistakenly think that all fly rods have been fairly expensive until recently, there have been cheap fly rods, cheap fly reels, cheap fly lines, and cheap imported flies available in the US going back at least into the 1920's. To say other wise, is just displaying ignorance of the facts and history of fly fishing in the US of the last 50 years. The main difference today from the 1950's and 1960's is the number of local fly shops were folks can get good equipment of all price ranges. Back then, there were hardly any fly shops and most folks got their rods, flies, reels, lines, leader, etc. at the local general sporting goods store, unless they lived in a large city with good trout, salmon, or steelhead fishing nearby. And almost without exception, if you wanted a top quality bamboo rod, you had to get it from the builder, which meant paying for the rod and shipping cost then waiting as much as 2 years to get it. Things are much different now and far more customer friendly as a result of the astronomical growth of local fly shops since the 60's.
     
  13. jonezy2488

    jonezy2488 New Member

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    My rod cost $65 dollars and its awesome.
     
  14. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    Mello,

    Let's simply agree to disagree on whether or not the spine really makes a difference in a rods performance. I might add that some people are perfectly happy running their cars with only 7 functioning cylinders instead of eight. With todays high tech computerized electronics this is easily accomplished and most folks wouldn't even notice or care. Those who demand more performance from their vehicles would make certain it was running on all eight. I'm one of those people.

    I would like to point out that you must have overlooked this quote from the same article.

    "So am I saying to disregard the spine? Not at all. It is important to place the guides either on, or opposite the spine for best performance. "

    I'm not sure I would notice an incorrectly spined rod while fighting a fish either, though, I'm pretty sure I could feel the handle twist/torque in my hand while making my casts . The main difference being I know what the rod should feel like when it loads and unloads at both ends, fighting a fish would be unpredictable. IMHO, the two affect a rod much differently.:beer2:
     
  15. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    No, I didn't miss it in the least bit. The article like I said was dated from 1998. Tom has written several articles online that countermand that specific comment. The one thing about any kind of skill is that it is not static. As new info becomes available, this will be used to modify current thoughts.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  16. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    You're correct. Times are changing and skills must become more refined as manufacturing technology improves. I wonder if Sage, Winston, T%T, Powel and the big boys are aware of the revelations since 1998? They don't appear to be, as one can pick up any of their rods off the shelf and find them to be spined. I wonder why they're wasting their time doing this? Seems to me they could save a boatload of money by just slapping on a set of guides as you, and some others, suggest.

    I've not seen very many "crooked" rods/blanks from them either, probably due to quality control during the manufacturing of their blanks and the use of the latest technology. The rods definately still have a spine and they still build them using the spine for some dang reason.
     
  17. Wayne Kohan

    Wayne Kohan fish-ician

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    Actually, I've built on one Sage blank, and the Sage blanks come marked with dots to tell you wher to put your guides. And it happens to be on the straightest axis, not the spine. At least not with my blank. I built it on the dots and love the performance.

    I don't think checking the spine on a rod already built would be the same as doing it on the blank before the guides placed.

    Like James, I'm an avid reader of the rodbuilding board, and believe Mr. Kirkman when he says that the spline makes no difference in the performance of a rod. Casting in no way imitates rolling a blank slowly on a flat surface........


    Wayne
     
  18. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    I've not built a Sage multi-piece, but have heard they come marked. I've always assumed the markings were there to indicate the spine for the amateur builder.

    My first posting to this thread was more on topic than it has evolved into lately. I apologize to all for it turning into a philosophical thread on proper rod building with historical and theoretical leanings. According to those responding to me, there apparently is no correct way to build a rod. To them I say, continue to build them however it pleases you, after all its your rod

    I was merely trying to express my opinion as to why some rods are "better" than others. Consider that this is just my opinion as I don't dabble in the less expensive rods out there. I assume, from the inexspensive rods I've held and cast over the years, that not much time or care was spent producing them, hence, they don't cost as much. Cost is usually justified by labor expenses (hourly rate + time to complete), economy of scale, components and what the market will accept.

    I'm sure there are some inexspensive rods out there that are built well, TFO's, Lamiglass, Cabelas and St Croix come to mind. I've owned them and even caught fish with them. Rods don't catch the fish, experience does. Use whatever you're willing to afford, as long as it pleases you.
     
  19. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Once again, the rods from most of the major manufacturers are built on the straightest axis. Usually this is due to the cosemtics of it all. There may be some that build on the spine, but it's a step that isn't usually taken.

    Also once again, the straightest axis is not always where the spine is. There is NO way to visually inspect a blank to find the spine.

    For whatever reason, things are getting snippy. And for whatever reason, you're loosing context in this discussion. Each of the points brought up have been hashed over a couple of times. Let's not get all bent out of shape on this subject, as up to this point things have been pretty civil.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  20. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    I'm not trying to be "snippy", I'm just unwilling to take your opinion as gospel when it comes to how a rod is built. Of course one can't visually see a spine, one must follow the directions I posted earlier to check if the guides are on correctly. You put the butt of the rod on the floor, put the tip section in your palm, apply presure causing the rod to bend, and roll it. If you do this, even on a wrapped factory rod, the spine will reveal itself. Most will visually "jump".


    You wrote;

    "Once again, the rods from most of the major manufacturers are built on the straightest axis. Usually this is due to the cosemtics of it all. There may be some that build on the spine, but it's a step that isn't usually taken."

    Not that it is that important, but how exactly did you come to this conclusion? For the sake of this discussion, I'm really curious, which rod manufacturers did you call? Powell? Winston? Sage? Scott?

    As I said earlier, lets agree to disagree, we're both stubborn. you'll not convince me the better rod companys and builders do not spine their rods.
     

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