The outrageous cost of spey rods

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by luckybalbowa, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. inland

    inland Active Member

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    Salmo,

    I have tinkered in cane rod making and at least have an idea of what it takes. Still fish one of the rods I made over 10 years ago. What I do know is that to make a cane rod is pennies to the dollar, equipment wise, of what it would take to get set up to roll high quality plastic blanks. Unless you can bum time on the 'pressure wrapper' you are pretty much screwed in getting a high quality repeatable product. What about mandrels? Any cost in making new mandrels for two handers? Any idea how much it costs to have mandrels precision machined? Making a curing oven would be comparable for the small timer. What about the machine to sand the ridges left from the cellophane? After spending a few hours at Burkheimer it kinda hit home what is at play to make a graphite rod. And his is a micro operation in comparison to the big boys.

    A lot of mouths to feed when selling those top end sticks. Marketing bills to pay. Middlemen. Retailer. Factory has to turn a profit. They aren't there just for our enjoyment.

    William
     
  2. luckybalbowa

    luckybalbowa Member

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    wow...

    I just checked out the meiser fly rods... pretty neat looking stuff. I can see spending the $600 he is asking for his spey rods. I have not cast them before, but if they are as good as people say, then hey, why not get that extra hand craftmanship? their blanks look to be reasonably priced as well... can't wait to buy one :)
     
  3. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Bob Meiser rods are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I've only cast one a handful of times, but was a dream. Kept teasing my good friend Fred that I was going to have to "lighten up" his motorhome of some of Bob's rods (he had like 12 to demo for people at a speyclave). After finishing a bottle of Macmallan, I think I probably could've got a couple. LOL. But couldn't do that to Fred, great guy. I will say, I will have at least one (maybe two) of Bob's speys before the year is over (I hope).
     
  4. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

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    Meiser rods are sweet! I have cast quite a few different one's out at Aaron's Saturday morning on the river! He has most of the line up as far as I know.

    The rods are beautiful and the blanks are awesome. I will probably build one on one of his blanks when I can, although getting one from Bob would be just as good!

    As far as spey rods being expensive, yes there are very expensive ones, but you don't have to break the bank to get into it. I started with about a $500 setup with a Heritage rod, Tioga reel and a Rio Midspey floater. I could have spent less on the reel, but I wanted something with a decent drag and quality.

    I built my second spey, a Rainshadow 11' 7" beauty for a very reasonable cost, including the rod building class up at All About the Fly with Ron. It turned out awesome and is a blast to fish with!

    So yes you can spend a lot on a spey rod, but you don't have too. My next spey setup will be a Skagit setup. Don't know if I build it or just buy it, but you've always got to plan on the next toy!! :cool:
     
  5. speyforsteel

    speyforsteel Degenerate Caster

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    My favorite single hand rod 9 ft 6 inch 5 weight=475.00 - reel=285 lines standard=50.00 and multi tip=115.00----middle of the road price range
    my favorite double hand rod 14 ft 8 weight = 595 - reel=400 - lines standard=70.00 and multi tip=140.00 .That seems decent to me as the rod,reel and lines are much bigger.Little boats cost less than big boats and a big wrench will cost more than a little wrench.It all seems fair to me.One irony is that the fat girls want Burger King but the thin girls want Ruth,s Criss steak house go figure
     
  6. Prettyfly

    Prettyfly lurker at large

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    Do you remember when VCR's first came out?.. what was the average cost.. It wasn't until marketers were convinced of it's success that they began producing them at a faster rate..

    VCRS have been on the market what??.. 25 years and now you can get them for what?? $39 dollars

    DVD players... Same idea... They've been on the market less and you can get them for the same price..

    Computers... you can get a computer now for under $500 brand new.. They took less time to go from ridiculous prices to unbeatable..

    Market value. If the people need it, Marketers figure a way to make it available.

    If you want the price to go down, you have to prove there is a market for it. The only way to prove there is a market for it, is to buy the expensive gear today...

    But when you buy gear that's hand made, not mass produced, youre doing yourself and the individual spey rod builder a world of benefit.. Just think about all those once awesome brand names that people wanted not that long ago (Levis, mossimo, bum equipment, etc) That were once considered some of the best quality clothes... now you can by them at Walmart and Kmart. What is Walmart and Kmart synonomous with? Cheap quality...

    But the current price just goes to show that spey casting is still too new here in north america to justify cheap spey gear and it's the pioneers today who will greatly affect the change in price for those tomorrow.

    IMO when you buy a product that you know is actually from somewhere else, but instead of buying it from that particular place you buy it somewhere else you just cheapen the product. If they're american made, they should be called american double handed rods, not spey rods. :hmmm:

    But no need to argue, that's just my opinion. :)
     
  7. gt

    gt Active Member

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    well i see this pricing by the major mfg's as excess profit taking. some of the small producers are barely making it, but folks like sage are just rippin you and me. just consider for a moment what happened when loop took the prices of 'their' reels to the extreme. the good folks at danielsson, the actual makers of the 'loop' reels, pulled the plug telling them they were charging you and me way too much. so now, you can purchase a danielsson direct for about 40% less than loop was charging, for the exact same reel.

    combine that practice with controlling the distribution of product to a select few shops and then dictating to your local fly shop what price they have to charge. most folks call that price fixing in anyother market place. this niche market could benefit greatly from some competition. and perhaps some of these smaller producers of rods will begin to make a significant enough inroad to take market share from the big price fixers.
     
  8. Sinktip

    Sinktip Monty

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    I just got set up with a Spey rod, and was really suprised at how many different price ranges there are for them. I ended up getting a TFO 14' 9 wt. for starters, after using Davy's. For me it was a toss up between a Loop blank that Ron had, "The Shop" or a ready to go setup. The pricing on spey gear was pretty shocking to me, and it seemed that you could drop alot of cash on something that might not be the setup for how you cast or fish. I would love to get a nice highend rod as much as the next guy, but if I can't learn how to cast on the entry level gear then a $1,500 rod won't help me. IMO

    Outrageous cost - :hmmm:
    What Porter said.

    Monty
    I'm not cheap, I'm just thrifty!
     
  9. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah, see, I never buy speys new. I think the most I spent for a setup was $450 dollars (and that was a nearly unused Sage spey rod, Lamson spey reel, and WC multitip line). Think most I ever spent though on a rod alone was $300.

    Now, I'll spend the extra here (hopefully soon) for a Meiser rod. But besides that, I prefer to buy used. Before anyone wants to say "you're cheating your local flyshop". First, I never frequent them (and never really have back in the day), second most of the gear I bought was from guys upgrading to other rods they planned on buying at a shop. So nobody was cheated (and have bought some on ebay, but that's a different story too LOL).
     
  10. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    I just think one should buy what one likes and can afford no matter if its $100 or $1000. There are a lot of worse things money can be spent on, and I don't think these rod manufactures are getting rich off the high end rods though. I think they barely get their R&D investments back infact. The money is in the cheap stuff. Ofcourse I could be and probably am wrong.
     
  11. wolverine

    wolverine Member

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    I was fortunate to get mine as a gift. I still can't spey cast it properly, but I can do a reasonable decent job throwing heads overhead. If I was just starting out and needed a rod I would build one. One of the east coast catalog/net shops has Batson Forecast complete spey rod kits on sale for $85-100 depending on length & line wt. Use it to learn on and then upgrade to a better rod when your skills improve. Just like in golf. You're better off spending a few bucks on cheap clubs and take lessons from a good pro than dropping 2 grand on a set of new Calloway's and just hacking your way around the course.
     
  12. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Inland,

    Hmmm, I wasn't trying to be argumentative. I responded initially to Lucky's post to suggest that although a lot of Spey rods are costly, there are less expensive alternatives that don't require much, if any sacrifice in quality. Now he has that information. Also, it is apparent that quality is an attribute that lies in the eye of the beholder, and is not always measurable by an objective yardstick.

    Yes, mandrels are expensive. So are steel planing forms. I don't think that's at issue. A lot of nice graphite blanks came out of Jimmy's basement without use of a power wrapper. We wrapped the cellophane by hand. Of course, wrapping a cane blank can be done by hand, too, but a power wrapper for that certainly eases the chore. So yes, there are sunk costs and marginal costs in rodmaking, whether bamboo, fiberglass, or graphite. There is or can be still quite a disparity between the cost of production and the retail sales price.

    Sticking with bamboo, it doesn't cost more to produce a quality bamboo rod at Winston or T&T than it does at some of the smaller lesser known one man shops around the country. And to the extent quality can be measured objectively, many of these rods are every bit the equal of the well known brands. But because the well known brands are well known, they can charge and receive $3,000/rod, whereas the lesser known, with the same costs of production, sell for around $1,200. Marketing and market perception are as big a factor in pricing as costs. The same principles are at work in making and selling graphite rods. That was my point, and plenty of evidence indicates it's a valid one.

    Nonetheless, I agree with Davy above. Everyone should buy the rods they prefer and can afford, regardless of price.

    Interestingly, I've cast a lot of lower end rods the last couple years and have been very impressed. Only found one out of a few dozen that I flat didn't care for. This was among single handed rods. My conclusion is that it's become hard to buy a bad one handed fly rod, regardless of price. That is due largely to the improved quality of imported rods, I believe. That does not yet extend to two handed rods. Quality hasn't yet trickled down all across the board, but it probably will in time. Nonetheless, it looks like good Spey rod blanks can be economically had from Anglers Workshop and Rainshadow and possibly others.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  13. inland

    inland Active Member

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    Salmo,

    Just BS'n. The wrapper I am talking about is the tool that tightly wraps the graphite fabric around the mandrel. Maintaining even tension along the taper. Maybe there are easy to make hand tools to do the same job. Would be interested as I never get tired of playing around.

    William
     
  14. Dan Page

    Dan Page Active Member

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    Quality always costs. You can always buy used or do any of the mentioned options.
    Once after telling a non flyfishing buddy of mine what I paid for a new T&T spey rod, he ranted and raved about how crazy I was for spending that much on a fishing pole. A few minutes later he began to tell me about this Harley-Davidson he was about to buy.:rolleyes: I didn't say a word.
    It's all relative!! :cool:
     
  15. Jim Fitz

    Jim Fitz Member

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    2nd what James says - I e-mailed Bob today regarding the blanks he sales. He e-mailed back within minutes and suggested we chat directly about what I am looking for which I will do pretty soon. Bob's rods are works of art. Makes the rods I have built look like a stick just cut from a tree.

    River Run Anglers "might" sell Bob's rods. I was thinking I saw some of those trees in Aaron's graphite forest. This is getting off topic as Bob's rods are not on the cheap end of the scale. They certainly do get rave reviews. As James said, you can get his blanks for less than a fortune and building a 2 hander is not all that much more $ than a 1 hander.

    It seems a safe prediction that going forward, more blank (and rod) manufacturers are going to fill the void and provide more selection (hitting more "price points") and also fill in the range of sizes - that is, more selection in the 10, 11, 12 foot lengths as you move from 1 to switch to 2 hander. Just a prediction. (Wish folks at TFO sold TiCr blanks in 10, 11, 12).

    James - I was going to read the spey rod/CCS data thread you started on the rod.building.org forum but it was a lot to take in and decided I will print out and read later when I have more time.:thumb:
     
  16. Dan Page

    Dan Page Active Member

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    Jim,
    You can't go wrong talking to Bob.
    River Run Anglers has several of Bob's rods there to try. Call Aaron and ask about the ones he has available.
    It seems reasonable that if thousands of people took up spey rods that huge productions could lower prices. Of course the best rods would still cost the most. With huge productions and huge sales and more R&D there would likely be even better rods come forth.--Super Rods!
     
  17. speyfisher

    speyfisher Active Member

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    Shuuuuush

    more people on the river!!!!:beathead: :beathead: :beathead:

    I am all for competition. I think we are seeing a lot of it. Meiser, ACR, Burkheimer, CND, TFO, ECHO,,,,etc. And I don't like "price fixing" anymore than anyone else. But,,,,there is a bonafide reason for the way things are in the fly fishing industry.

    It all started years ago with the concept of fly fishing pro shops. Where quality products, service, knowledgable advice, instruction, etc. were to be the norm. As opposed to cut rate, out the door, mis-matched outfits, resulting in "I tried flyfishing once" Once being the key word here.

    The powers that be realized that in order for this to work, it meant that all shops, large or small, had to be able to operate on a level playing field. Otherwise people would have gotten advice & played with the toys at the little guys shop on the river, and then bought from the big guy when they got back home to the city.

    I've lived in the big city and used to shop at Bob Marroitt's store. It's a nice store. And I was able to get some good deals once in a while on close outs. But it's nice to walk into a small shop, see a rod or a reel that I may be interested in, and know that I will be able to get just as good a deal as I could anywhere else. And I can have it NOW.:thumb:
     
  18. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    To sum it all up, the CCS data is what it is. It sounds like Dr Bill will be explaining more about tip and reserve power in an upcoming issue, which may help. But at this point, there are no dynamic tests that accurately describe how a 2 handed will load (especially since it's loaded from water). I think Harry Emory is pushing for some resonant frequency tests which may help :)

    At any rate, that post ended up being fractured in to about 3 seperate topics. There's lot to read, and overall it's full of good info.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  19. SSPey

    SSPey Member

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    whatever happened to test casting?
     
  20. speyforsteel

    speyforsteel Degenerate Caster

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    Test casting was replaced by impulse buying.
    That is the bad thing about double handers not many shops want to stock two dozen rods as they are not what brings in paying customers River Run being the odd ball shop,that guy is possessed with the spirits of the river spey