My brother and I trekked over to Bob's shop in Medford today to work out the details of our 4/5 switch rods. I think I learned more in three hours of talking with him than I have in the last few years of visit websites, lurking on blogs and shooting the breeze with fly shops owners. Not only did he spend half his day teaching us the ins and outs of spey rods, he re-shaped our current rod handles to custom fit our grips. One of the biggest things I learned was how important it is to have the rod handle shaped just right. I held his personal spey rod and could immediately feel the difference between his handle and the handle on my Z-Axis 7-136. His low profile grip allows you to feel the blank load as well as encourages a delicate top-hand grip. He went ahead and turned a handle for us and talked us through how he shapes the cork. By the end of the turning session my brother and I were convinced of three things, 1) Bob Meiser is the Bob Ross of spey rods. (If you don't know who Bob Ross is, he's the dude with the afro and beard who painted those awesome oil paintings and would always say, "now let's add a happy little tree.") The guys is simply amazing at what he does and it's inspiring to watch him work; 2) The handle and shape of the cork is way more important than we thought; and 3) our handles on our Z-Axis rods are not even close to what they should be. Here's the cool part. In addition to building the handles on our 4/5 switch rods, Bob offered to re-shape the handles on our current spey rods. Within 45 minutes he had custom shaped our handles giving our rods a much improved and balanced feel. The guy does amazing work and I've already got my other rods set out to send his way. I would highly recommend talking with him about grips and why they ought to be shaped. Better yet, get one of his rods...they are work horses and works of art.