High Dollar vs. Less Dollar Rods

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

  1. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Note to FT: Only because this is the second time I've seen you post it, but your memory of long gone pricing doesn't seem to be serving you accurately. I don't know what Fenwicks sold for in 1964, but they were commonly available at $30-35 in the early 1970s around the Seattle area. I think that Fenwick was a bench mark for quality at the time, good casting rods that were well made with lightweight anodized aluminum reel seats and medium quality lathe turned cork grips. Fiberglass SA rods of the same vintage sold for $65-85. They weren't any better quality than Fenwick, but SA put more effort into marketing image, perhaps following in the footsteps of Orvis, like some of the more expensive rods available today.

    The to spine or not to spine discussion is interesting. I first learned about rod spine when making bamboo rods in 1971-73. I was told it was necessary and never bothered to question it, as spine was obvious via the test described in Randy Knapp's post above. I spined all rods I built thereafter and to this day. Rajeff's comment mentioned above is also interesting in context because I recall that when he worked for Sage, he said they built the rods on the cosmetic spine, inferring that it was more a marketing issue than a performance one.

    Sg
     
  2. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Sage factory, lamiglas factory tours. Talked to a guy who works and Loomis and verified this.... 3 of the major vendors.... Talked online extensively and on forums with the likes of Tom Kirkman, et al. The opinion I have isn't just taken out of the ether. It was researched and verified. Like I said before, it doesn't hurt to spine a rod, but don't expect your 5wt to make you a better caster instantaneously.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  3. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    The cane thing is interesting to me as I don't know squat about it :) It does seem to follow from reasoning though. Being a natural product, even the closest of tolerences on it won't be the same as the quality control of resin in prepreg....
     
  4. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    James,

    That's right. Individual segments split and tapered from the same culm possess differing flex and harmonic resonance (I think that's the term). Old cane rods from Orvis' Battenkill series, for example, will cast differently from one rod to the other. This is why some of the old (and present) one man shops taper splines close to tolerance and then hand test the flex before final dimensioning. It's human subjective precision that produces an uncanny near objective uniformity in rods of the same model. Guys that can do this are really, really good at the craft.

    Sg
     
  5. Steven Mobley

    Steven Mobley Member

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    Oh boy! Did I ever step into a hornets nest of controversy responding to this thread. Who would have imagined? :confused: I just read the rodbuilding threads at this site for the first time this evening. If I would have known so much time and verbiage had already been exhausted adnauseum about rod spining value, I never would have posted in a million years. In all my years of rod building I've never known of this hotly debated "controversy". I think I'll stick to building rods and fishing, letting others enjoy pounding away at their keyboards.:beathead:
     
  6. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Honestly I think missing out on debate is to the detrament to the end user. If one can step away from this with additional info, you're better for it. In this case it can either cement your beliefs or perhaps sway your opinion on this spining subject. Personally I think debate is good, as I feel that I build better rods because of it. For what it's worth, I used to be a spiner, until I went through around similar to this. After evaluating where my beliefs lied and how I came to integrate them info my thoughts, I paused and re-evaluated things.

    At any rate, I do think that while a lot of typing was done on this subject things turned out pretty good. Reasonable discussion and no real blow ups... That doesn't happen much on the internet! :)
     
  7. Matt Paluch

    Matt Paluch Active Member

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    Boy, I feel like there were a few blow ups on this thread. Unneccessary ones at that. Not on the rod building part though. I find the disagreement on whether or not building on the spine is important to be very interesting. So much so, that when I attend the fly fishing retailer show in september, I will ask every rod builder there about their opinions. I will also see if it's possible to cast different rods whose builders use the spine and ones who don't. I'll report back with what the manufacturers say and see if it makes sense to everyone. Hopefully no bloodshed will result.
     
  8. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    Even if spine doesn't really matter as far as hitting the other endzone with the end of the line and if Sage really did or does that ( just for cosmetics), if one is going to spend that kinda coin on a rod it ought to atleast appear to be straight when one looks down its path. yes?
     
  9. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    That's the crux of the matter. The spine of a rod often has little to do with the cosmetically straightest orientation of the rod. The spine is created (as noted before by Flyborg) where the original prepreg strip is tacked down to the mandrel. This straight line is what forms the stiffest axis on the rod. It is *only* on cloth prepreg thickness different for that one straight line. Where this whole spining thing gets all weird is that the rolled blank is done based on a cut that formed and shaped such that it makes the appropriate taper.

    It's kinda like those prepackaged cresent rolls. They come in little triangles.... If you take one, take it to a wood dowel and wrap it, you'll see some sections with more dough, others with less. the spot that is *consistently* thicker (where the straight line dough was attached) will be the spine.

    Now during the kilning process the mandrels (especially the tip) undergo thermal and physical stresses. This is due to the heat warping the cloth, as well as the stresses associated with the prepreg adhesive going viscous. This in turn during the cooling cycle will cause the mandrel to warp to one side or another, or even get (in the worst case) corkscrewed or sine waved. The more consistent processes allow for a specific set of heating and cooling such that this is minimized, as well as more consistent tacking and rolling techniques.

    In short, there is little to no relationship between the spine and the straightest axis of orientation....
     
  10. FT

    FT Active Member

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    Salmo G,

    There may well have been some Seattle area stores selling Fenwick glass fly rods for $35.00, but that doesn't alter the MSRP Fenwick had of $75.00 or so on the rods. The big difference between the SA's and the Fenwick were two-fold: 1) the SA rods had metal ferrules, and 2) SA only sold them through dealers that qualified to sell SA Airflow lines. Plus SA had a strict policy of enforcing their MSRP by having the dealers who sold their lines and rods sell them at MSRP or they would no longer get product. Fenwick had no such policy; therefore, large retail sporting goods stores often sold them for a lot less than MSRP. Also, SA marketed their fiberglass rods as "scientifically" designed to ballance and cast properly with the AFTMA line wt designation on the rod.

    St. Croix also had a line of well-respected fiberglass rods on the market back in the 60's that were priced around $60.00. Don't know if you know this or not, but George McLeod was involved in helping test and design the heavier line St. Croix for use on salmon and steelhead. In fact, he still fishes with them and has told me he still has a few that have never been out of the case just in case he breaks one.
     
  11. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    FT,

    Your point about MSRP is well taken. I never saw Fenwicks at that price point however. SA relied more on marketing hype, ala Hardy (who made the SA reels), and it must have worked, as I bought the system 6 rod for trout fishing. Their glass rods had internal spigot glass ferrules, not metal ones. You're probably thinking of SA's initial graphite rod offerings which did sport metal ferrules - truly a bad idea that didn't last long. My good friend had one of those in an 8 wt, and he would have been so much better off with Fenwick's HMG 9' 8wt, which was a dandy little rod - and would be still today if it were made and marketed.

    I didn't know that St Croix sold rods that far back. Honestly, I don't think I heard of them until the 80s, but I'm a little provincial and didn't get around much.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  12. Rasheed

    Rasheed New Member

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    I've always been one to avoid crowds, which requires heavy hiking, biking, and bushwhacking. So I try to avoid spending too much as I tend to beat the crap out of my gear. Plus I have two young boys, that I encourage to fish as much as possible, who often forget that flyrods are not lightsabers.
     
  13. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    What? They're NOT?

    Welcome to the forum Rasheed.

    K
     
  14. readingwater

    readingwater New Member

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    after reading some great posts
    and after lurking about over this very imformative web site for some time
    i decided to join the community
    howdy

    ---this subject fuels some very strong opinions
    its about money and quality and the leveling effect of flyfishing
    lets take Quality
    because i think thats the one everyone swings at in life
    flyfishing is a place i go to
    an activity that turns the sour and stink of the world
    into the sound of water over green rock.
    walk around a mossy embankment and one finds a holding place
    quiet and deep
    that you swear God made just for you
    The quality of hunting trout with laser like attention
    ---touching the color of a brown
    ---shooting that pocket with a tight dry fly touch
    ---resting on a bolder as you dry out in the morning sun


    money has always divided us
    upperclass in need of a lower class

    i consider myself (my wife and two children) in the positon
    where-- when comes down to it --money wise
    i cant put out 600.00 for a sage
    would i like to own a sage ---sure ----built in washington state
    built by folks who are a part of our costal community
    expirenced fabricators committed to producing quality instruments
    so i might go out and make the most of my joy
    and by doing so we see that its a community supporting each other,
    strengthing our cultural heritage and keeping the money in the great state of Washington

    or --is it just a scheduled looksie over in bambridge to see how all your dollars are spent
    behind the glass
    is it like going to the zoo?
    do they charge a fee?

    Ive never been there--

    but you see, i got kids to feed
    and sage has got to make a profit (what exactly is the profit margin for each rod)
    for its workers?????(how much do THEY make) and who else ???
    Quality is what you give the reed
    when i go fishing --the very few times i actually get a chance
    (because when your a poor boy like me you gotta work a lot)
    everything goes into that water
    any weather is fine weather
    and my rod is ferruled perfect ---eye to eye
    and my cast feels great---and the curls are getting better cause i practice(during lunch time at work)
    I clean and repair and care for the tackle we own and fish with year after year
    what rod do i use?
    the one i give a damn about ---take special care of it to
    how much money did i spend on it --as much as our budget allows---(used, used,used)
    a budget that i also give a damn about and maintain weekly
    a budget that supports financialy some very special people in my world
    So
    after all that squeeze----
    can you afford the quality that there selling?????
    and if you can, lets get out there together and see who enjoys themselves the most---
    out on the waters edge
     
  15. Tim Lockhart

    Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

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    RW – Welcome! Glad your feet are finally wet. Wish more of our ‘silent partners’ would weigh in. :thumb:
     
  16. JD

    JD New Member

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    :beathead:

    Fly fishing is normally done to catch fish, is it not?

    Yes, you can get there from here!
     
  17. Chris Puma

    Chris Puma hates waking up early

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    stop with the dramatic bullsh*t! unless you have an 1/8th of bud in front of you right now there's no reason to get all flip pallot on fly fishing. if i read one more short story using vivid imagery of walking into a clean crisp pool of water and casting my dry fly with utter precision to a sipping brown trout i'm going to vomit all over myself. do people who write this stuff wank it to their own posts?
     
  18. Dave Hartman

    Dave Hartman is tired of trout

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    Flip Pallot is a pot smoker?
     
  19. Chris Puma

    Chris Puma hates waking up early

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    all i know is the first few minutes of walker's cay was him going off on a huge metaphorical and quite over dramatic rant of the ocean, fly fishing, and his life.
     
  20. David Loy

    David Loy Senior Moment

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    And a wanker?
     

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