First rod recommendations


a.k.a. Griswald
I am building my first rod this winter under the tutelage of a fellow who has built alot of them (but he is no pro) I am afraid of "buying too fancy a rod" and goofing it up...thinking maybe buy cheap on rod number one and go from there?

Here is my question...I am going to build either a 4 piece 5 wt or a 4 piece 7 wt...

I like a med fast action and see that Sage VPS blanks are on sale everywhere...

Is there something else (cheaper) that anyone recommends? I hear rainshadow blanks are good...also any good online blank sources? (I know about Hook and Hackle)


Willie Bodger

Still, nothing clever to say...
I haven't fished it in a 5 wt, but I went to Gregg's Custom Rods and got an American Tackle Matrix 4 pc 4 wt rod. I believe the blank was either $40 or $50 and I really like the way it casts and fishes. I've used it to throw big heavy weighted sculpins on a type IV full sink line (not great but it worked) as well as smaller streamers. And it looks pretty cool in the sunlight with that 'matrix' area on the butt section. Then again, the RX7 is a nice med-fast action rod as well but it is definitely more money.

I've heard good things about rainshadow as well. Flyshopkristin (All About The Fly, Monroe) promotes their product and she provided me with a catalog of blanks and components. They also provide a rod building class for pretty cheap, and they have all the equipment you'll need to build it. I'm thinking of building a rod later this winter, and plan on taking advantage of that class.
Check Dan Craft Enterprises, he has a great catalog, and is based in Oregon. I have built 3 of his blanks, and found them all nice to use on the river. I had a problem with one and his customer service was bar-none the easiest of all rod manufacturers to deal with.

I would recommend his signiture III blank. Most of his are pretty fast, I had a FT blank and don't know if I casted anything faster. the signiture III is medium fast, i think closer to medium, but exceptional quality, customer service, and price. It would be a great first rod to build.

sorry about my babbling, send me a pm if any of this is unclear.

I would suggest Angler's Workshop if you haven't seen their website or catalog yet. Their prices are as good as anyone's for most components. I have dealt with Hook and Hackle and had good service, but their prices are not any better than AW's even with the 20% off. Unless of course something is on a big time sale.

I would get the Sage VPS though. I built a 5 weight last winter and love it. It can throw dries and streamers and nymphs very well.

This winter I'm building a fiberglass 3 weight, 6 1/2 foot. Got everything from AW's and have loved the great service, either by phone or by e-mail.

By the way, just because it's your first rod, don't worry. I think my first rod is still one of my best made rods as I went slower with each step, reading about rod making as I went. It will turn out fine.


James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
Don't worry too much about "ruining" a rod. At worst, you can always just strip the guides off and put them on all over again. With that said, I would suggest if you are concerned, get a blank on sale, and use that. I would second the Dan Craft recommendation, but I've had *very* good luck with Anglers Workshop as well. If I where in your position, I'd do something like so....

Preformed cork grip
A4 reel seat
Batson Forcast double foot snakes
Forecast RX6 blank or RX7 blank or sale Dan Craft blank

The epoxy is the hardest part, and most of the problems arise from getting used to using the 2 part resin, how it flows etc.... I'd get things wrapped up first, then take a deep breath and post back here again before you put epoxy on.

Of course the other option is go take a class, and I've seen some pretty darn nice rods made from those classes! I'd either suggest Gregs Custom Rods out of Lake Stevens or All About the Fly in Monroe. All of the folks I met there are first rate, knowledgable rod builders, and I think would be excellent places to take a class.

Finally, I'm long winded an opinioned, so don't take my word for it. But in general, this is NOT very difficult, and the results regardless of how it looks will be something you will treasure :)


FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs
Matthew, I have, currently 3 rods that I have built on Rainshadow blanks. A micro 5' 2 wt, 2pc fly; 13' 8/9 wt, 4 pc Spey; and a 10' 9 wt 2pc. I'm planning on building all the rods I need to replace my factory-built ones. I learned the basics of construction at a class offered by Utmost Enterprises in Sequim this past Spring, where I put the micro together. Results have been great. I have been complimented on them by most who have seen them. I'm not a greatly gifted craftsman so this may be an indicator of what your results will be. Utmost will sell you Rainshadow blanks that are cosmetic blems for a *really* low price ( without warranty mind you) if you are concerned with doing a poor job on a very expensive blank, and have everything you may need to build one. They are in the Sequim phone book.
If you like, PM me for my Ph # and perhaps i'll be able to answer any of you questions.
Matt - you can also see what is available from Utmost in the cheap seconds category via their website.

I believe places like Greg's sells seconds as well. Not a bad way to go if you want a practice rod. At the same time, it is hard to screw it up if you are careful. The wraps might not be the prettiest but it will catch fish.

I have built rods on Rainshadow blanks. Nice blanks and they sell some of the best components as well. I am personnally a fan of Dan Craft blanks. Best bang for the buck for a very good rod IMHO. None of them are what I would call expensive.



Active Member
Patricks on Eastlake typically has a bin full of Sage factory seconds. My buddies and I all have RPL's from the bin that have become our "go-to" rods.

Not a big deal, but I wouldn't do a 4 piece rod for my first one simply because of all the additional ferrule wraps.



Afoot and Lighthearted
Dan Craft FT's are AWESOME (it stands for "fast taper", I think) . I've built 2, and they fast became my favorite rods. Use REC recoil guides, and be prepared to put your Sage rod's in the barn, forever. You can build rods from scratch, it's really not difficult. The problem will be how to STOP buying blanks, LOL.

I built my own wrapper too. It's cool to be on the water, swinging a home-tied fly, and fishing with a home-built rod.


Afoot and Lighthearted
REC is the company and RECOIL is the model of guide. The are "memory" metal, that will spring back to their original shape, if bent. I beleive Loomis uses them on their GLX line of rods. I don't consider myself a experienced rod-builder by any means (I've only built 5 rods), but of all the guides I've used, REC RECOILS are the slickest, guides that generate the highest line speeds of all I've used. They are single foot wire, with even the stripper guides made of wire (no ceramic rings), so they're incredible light-weight too.

edit- one thing I notice about the Rec Recoil guides, they make a audible "zinging" noise as line is shot. Not unpleasant, actually I kinda like it. Just something I notice.
I heard that some of the big names who used recoils stopped because of the noise issue - mainly didn't want to face returns because it bugged some purchasers. I have used them and love them. Slick, impervious to corrosion and wear, and you can bend a single foot to the blank and it will spring right back (don't do this as it may affect the wrap unless you are showing off to your brother once in a while). They are titanium alloy of some secret recipe. Some folks act like these and other superwhammerdyne guides are too expensive (say $2.50 per recoil vs. $.75 for a regular) but when you consider the overall cost increase against the cost of a high end factory rod - big deal.

Calvin is right about Patrick's - at least the last time I wandered by - they had some Sage seconds for very cheap compared to list. May want to call them about that.

Boondock - FT does mean fast taper. I got to run over one of my existing rods so I can justify building one of those. I built one for a brother but UPS lost it in shipping. That hurt $ wise.bawling:


a.k.a. Griswald
Thanks you all, I got the Sage 4 piece 5wt kit from MRFC for Xmas.

I will let you all know how it turns out, I will take pics and post in gallery when I am done.:thumb:

Matthew Grunwald