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Considering building a couple of fly rods. First time. Learning curve?


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#1 Chris_NH

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 08:02 AM

Hi. I love to fly fish and am considering building a couple of fly rods. I like the idea of creating something nice and customizing it, but I'm not sure it's worth it. How steep is the learning curve? Does the first rod typically come out decent?  Insofar as cost - is it much more expensive than simply buying a fly rod with a similar blank?

I see talk of drying devices and big lists of other tools... are there kits to be had to eliminate a lot of the grunt work? I'm not looking to spend 3x what it would take me to buy a similar quality rod so that I can do it myself... is it possible to do this reasonably and enjoy it?

 

I'm looking to build a mid range 7-1/2' 3wt and a 8-1/2" 4wt to start, since I spend the most time fishing those rods. I typically buy lower/mid range rods in the $50-90 price range and would want to upgrade at least a little bit with a build it myself if I were to do it.

 

Any input to help make the decision would be appreciated.



#2 Jay McKnight

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 10:14 AM

There really isn't an all-purpose answer to this question my friend, everyone's view point is different. I've never once stopped to think about the risk vs. reward, and even the ugly ducklings I built in the beginning are prized possessions. If you're not afraid to make a mistake or 2, and if you're not afraid to learn as you go, you can't lose. My first wrapper was a cardboard box with a V cut in either end, used a coffee cup and a book for a thread tensioner. You can turn a rod by hand to finish it and get beautiful results. I don't build fly rods, but I'm quite certain there's numerous kits available that will suit your needs. I hope this helps you out, and I really encourage you to give it a shot.



#3 Dave-G.

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 12:17 PM

This 21 part series will give you an idea what you are getting into. That said , I built a rod wrapping jig similar to the one in the series probably 20 years ago now but never got to the powered drier, I am the powered drier ! You can build a really nice performing rod for around $100 if you buy right. If they don't perform better than what you are using now that would be surprising but the components should hold up better. Guys here can lead you to that stuff. Here is the video series ( some of it is old school but you will get the flavor of rod building:  https://www.bing.com...eries&FORM=VDRE



#4 Chris_NH

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 01:04 PM

Thanks for the info. I'm on part 15 of the building series and am intrigued.

 

Was looking at St. Croix blanks and they're a bit pricey.  Is there a well respected manufacturer with a good warranty that's less expensive?  I think I'd like to do the first one on the cheap just in case I decide it's more than I want to tackle. :)



#5 Dave-G.

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 01:37 PM

Thanks for the info. I'm on part 15 of the building series and am intrigued.

 

Was looking at St. Croix blanks and they're a bit pricey.  Is there a well respected manufacturer with a good warranty that's less expensive?  I think I'd like to do the first one on the cheap just in case I decide it's more than I want to tackle. :)

Yep, if I was going to spend the money St Croix wants for their blanks then I'd buy a Beulah Platinum blank for just a few bucks more. But there are several others to choose from for less. Some a lot less. Get through the videos, people will be along to help.



#6 Greg LaPolla

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 02:20 PM

Thanks for the info. I'm on part 15 of the building series and am intrigued.

 

Was looking at St. Croix blanks and they're a bit pricey.  Is there a well respected manufacturer with a good warranty that's less expensive?  I think I'd like to do the first one on the cheap just in case I decide it's more than I want to tackle. :)

 

 

Take a look at Pac Bay, American Tackle  and Batson.  You should be able to find a a blank for around 50 bucks or a little less if you shop around.  You can also get ahold of Karen at Bingham Enterprises and check out her SHX line.    Roger has some very inexpensive blanks he sells on the auction site, just search for "by Roger".



#7 Dave-G.

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 02:52 PM

Pac Bay Rainforest II should be a nice blank ( pretty thin, decent power, moderate / fast action as I recall, really the best deal I've seen around on this blank is Anglers Workshop unless Karen can match that and she might). It's a blank I will probably use to build my wife's next 5 wt on actually. It's a dark forest green blank FWIW

 

Last year I built a 9'5wt on a Batson Revolution 2 pc that performs very well, in the range of a Sage Graphite III or certainly above a Graphite II. I own a Sage Graphite III 5 wt in 8'6" and the Revolution is a bit smoother with a little more range offered as you might expect from a 9ft vs 8'6" rod of otherwise equal character. A Sage Graphite II has more mid rod bend ( more moderate action).tHe Revolution Doesn't have the Sage name and is matte black in color LOL ! It lays a fly down nice and is sensitive to the strike.

 

Karen's SHX's  are supposed to perform very well, I've never built on one myself but plenty of trusted people here have, and not only sell finished rods built on those blanks but also own them themselves. So it's a well liked blank. But I can't say a whole lot more than that about them personally.



#8 Chris_NH

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 04:01 PM

Thanks for the info.

Checked out the by Roger blanks. An affordable little 7.5' 3wt caught my eye. I like that many of his come with 2 tips. :)

Will check out the others later.

Is there a way to guarantee that the reel seat and handle will fit a particular blank?

#9 Goduster

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 04:11 PM

You will most likely have to ream the grip and arbor the seat, but should fit just fine


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#10 Carl Z

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 04:27 PM

The risk is you might get addicted to rod building.  There are so many interesting blanks and neat things to do.



#11 Dave-G.

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 04:39 PM

Thanks for the info.

Checked out the by Roger blanks. An affordable little 7.5' 3wt caught my eye. I like that many of his come with 2 tips. :)

Will check out the others later.

Is there a way to guarantee that the reel seat and handle will fit a particular blank?

I just ream the grips with a Harbor freight rat tailed file. I could do it quite quickly actually if I ran it in a drill but I do it by hand. I'm in no rush to build my rods. I file and turn the grip and file some more, probably takes me near an hour to get it out to size in some cases and to have the fit and taper I want. The files are cheap ( had to turn out a handle on my lathe for one of them ), not everyone's favorite way to ream a grip but it works for me. All rods have different diameters and grips don't come pre reamed to size. It's just part of the deal if you are going to get into this.



#12 FisherQueen

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:00 AM

You can get a reel seat cheaper, but if you want something classy looking, search for "fly reel seat cap ring" on the auction site. His buy-it-now price is around $25 but his auctions usually go $18-19. Very very nice on a 3 wt.  I second what folks say about Karen's SHX blanks when you start looking at the longer 4 wt, especially the ones in Titanium finish. For around $40, they are nice looking and great fishing blanks.  She can also set you up with the components you need.



#13 Goduster

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:20 AM

Another option for reel seats as well as supporting the sponsors that help make this site possible is the Lemke line of rel seats. Not as cheap as the one's on the auction site, but the quality is surpassed by none.


Ron Weber
Southwest Custom Rods

www.southwestcustomrods.com


Your Lemke reel seat dealer
http://www.southwest...l-seat-hardware

 

Authorized  Snake Brand guide dealer


#14 John T.

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 09:37 AM

What Goduster said in post #13.


John T.

 

 

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#15 jimbofish

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 12:15 PM

Is there a way to guarantee that the reel seat and handle will fit a particular blank?

Order a kit, or, at least, order the blank from the same supplier and let them know that you want it to fit that blank.

 

Some of the smaller suppliers can be contacted by phone or email and will put together a set of components to meet your preferences and price range.  They can also offer options over the standard kit items.  For a first build, your odds of getting parts that result in the rod you imagined are better than trying to put it together yourself, IMO.





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