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First Fly Rod Build


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#1 smalliesteve

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 06:15 PM

So my wife was kind enough to buy me a fly blank and reel for Christmas. I've been talking about getting starting fly fishing for a long time, but just haven't gotten around to it. I'd put together a bit of a plan for my intro setup a couple months ago and she took note of my daydreaming and bought the blank and reel I was looking at. I've built about 10 casting and spinning rods already, so I'm comfortable with the mechanics of building. 

 

Blank is a black Matrix 8 ft 4 wt 2 piece, reel is a Piscifun Sword 3/4 size, gunmetal and green (Chinese Amazon $35 special). 

 

Intended use is primarily panfish in ponds, with some likelihood of stocker rainbows and maybe light smallmouth work. Started out thinking that I'd get the whole setup done for under $100 (blank was on sale), but now it's escalating as they always do... Rod is looking like $130 on it's own. Still not bad though.

 

Quick question on the reel, has anyone used one of these? I know it's a cheapy, but I was actually surprised at my initial impression. Realistically for me it doesn't need to do more than hold my line, but the drag is really smooth, spool doesn't wobble, and finish looks good. Didn't notice any rough machining. On the downside, the knob doesn't turn over smooth, and the drag clicker gets quieter with increasing drag pressure, and the clearances where the frame sticks into the groove in the spool rim are a bit excessive, but other than that it seems like a steal.

 

 

On to the rod. 

 

So my build plan is as follows:

 

Add 4" to butt to get to 8' 4" (nothing magical about this, I just like it)

Pac Bay A4 seat in titanium finish

Plain cork 7" half wells

green and metallic copper wraps

Joe Arguello agate stripper: dark silver, either size 10 or 12 in either green or amber some decisions to be made there

Minima's 1X 6, 7X 4's

TiSic tiptop size 6

 

Any comments on setup etc? I understand guide placement checking by static loading, but my test casting is going to be straight noobie s!!t, so probably not a good reference point. Any good placement guides to start with? 

 

TiSic tiptop is probably overkill, but I like the idea of a ceramic insert due to amount of transition angle through the guide, and the titanium for weight of course.

 

Also any tips on a good 4wt WFF line? I saw that BPS has Rio Rio Grande on sale for $55 from $85. Also there's a Cortland Precision HTx for around the same money. 

 

 

Thanks for your help! (I read a lot on this site, so many of you helped me already without knowing it)

 

 

 



#2 Steve C

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 08:22 PM

Why not go with a PacBay fly tip-top? They are inexpensive, light and very functional. I use them a lot. As for guide placement, I don't bother with casting them.  The static test is enough IMHO.  

 

As for the reel, I have no experience with it, but on a 4 wt, I'm rarely putting panfish and small trout on the reel anyway.  Rio Grand or SA Frequency Boost are both good economical lines for loading fast action rods IMO.  



#3 Carl Z

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 08:45 PM

As much as I like Joe strippers, I would not put one on this rod if you are going with minima 4's  I would use a size 12 or 10 minima casting guide.  I also wouldn't go down to minima4 size 4's, maybe 5's.

 

See this for a nice picture of one of Steve's rods.

http://www.rodbuildi...des#entry228528

 

and for guide sizing
http://www.rodbuildi...showtopic=33959

 

Unless you already have it, I would go with a matching minima tip top.  I wouldn't bother with TICR tiptop for a fly rod unless I am pimping the whole rod out.  the Matrix blank isn't worth the extra cost.

 

It will be a really nice rod once you're done.



#4 Goduster

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 09:47 PM

I have to agree with Carl on using one of Joe's Agates on that particular build


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#5 smalliesteve

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:01 PM

Is the opposition to the agate just due to the associated costs?



#6 Goduster

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 10:39 PM

Not in the least, the agate's are far more susceptible to breakage as the are fairly fragile. You have to remember, it is YOUR build and only has to please you. That is pretty much the same way I would build it with the exception of the seat, tip and agate. (Of which I guess I have completely changed your configuration with the exception of the minima's) I try to keep cost out of the equation and go with durability


Ron Weber
Southwest Custom Rods

www.southwestcustomrods.com


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

 

Authorized  Snake Brand guide dealer


#7 smalliesteve

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Posted 27 December 2015 - 11:41 PM

Not in the least, the agate's are far more susceptible to breakage as the are fairly fragile. You have to remember, it is YOUR build and only has to please you. That is pretty much the same way I would build it with the exception of the seat, tip and agate. (Of which I guess I have completely changed your configuration with the exception of the minima's) I try to keep cost out of the equation and go with durability

 

 

Hahaha go on, what seat and tip would you go with? 



#8 Goduster

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 12:23 AM

Well seeings as I am the distributor for the Lemke line of seats, knd of a no brainer for me, but that choice is up to you, and I do not even try to compete with any of the import lines of seats, For a tip top, any std fly top will suffice, AT, Pac Bay, Etc.


Ron Weber
Southwest Custom Rods

www.southwestcustomrods.com


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

 

Authorized  Snake Brand guide dealer


#9 smalliesteve

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 12:44 AM

Shoot me a price list on the seats. Prob doesn't make much sense as I'm looking a a fragile $30 stripper guide, but I don't want to go much over the cost of the A4 I'm looking at. The agate was kinda meant to be the party piece on this one.

 

I can custom turn an insert no problem, so a skeleton's not an issue for me (I think). Prefer a titanium finish. 



#10 Goduster

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 12:46 AM

Shoot me your email. I have a blue/grey as well as a grey in the LC1 anodized skeletons


Ron Weber
Southwest Custom Rods

www.southwestcustomrods.com


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

 

Authorized  Snake Brand guide dealer


#11 BGreer

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 08:23 AM

I cant add to anything to the build that others haven't mentioned.

 

Since you are just getting into fly fishing, all fly lines are not created equal. 

The Rio Grand fly line is kind of an odd line. By that I mean: A few years back, the Rio Grand line was one half weight heavy than its rating.

So if you bought a 4wt Rio Grand line, the first 30 feet of the line would weigh right in between a 4wt and a 5wt line.

 

Since then, the Rio Grand fly line is now a WHOLE weight heavier. So if you buy a 4wt Rio Grand, is weighs what a 5wt line should weigh.

It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's basically a marketing ploy.

 

There are a whole lot of different types of fly lines. Be sure to read their descriptions.

A good line at a good price is the Hook & Hackle Hi Floater lines.

 

Brian



#12 Steve C

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 09:23 AM

I cant add to anything to the build that others haven't mentioned.

 

Since you are just getting into fly fishing, all fly lines are not created equal. 

The Rio Grand fly line is kind of an odd line. By that I mean: A few years back, the Rio Grand line was one half weight heavy than its rating.

So if you bought a 4wt Rio Grand line, the first 30 feet of the line would weigh right in between a 4wt and a 5wt line.

 

Since then, the Rio Grand fly line is now a WHOLE weight heavier. So if you buy a 4wt Rio Grand, is weighs what a 5wt line should weigh.

It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's basically a marketing ploy.

 

There are a whole lot of different types of fly lines. Be sure to read their descriptions.

A good line at a good price is the Hook & Hackle Hi Floater lines.

 

Brian

  I know of at least one fly shop that has dropped the product because they can sell a heavier rated line that accomplishes the same thing.



#13 Bigdadyrods

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 10:27 AM

I have to agree with the masses here. You are building what we call the Blue collar rod. A very good rod for the money mind you. But this is a standard run of the mill rod. Again, nothing wrong with it. I have and still build on occasion on that same blank. I still have a few green ones lying around in 4 pc.
Joe's agates, to me, get placed on a bamboo rod, an older Sage remake or a fine glass blank, like an Epic, CTS,etc. I've put a few on some older Lamis too for customers.

Remember, this is your build and you will not be wrong with what you're talking about as for options to put on the rod.

I think what other guys are saying is if they were building that rod.....they would use this and that, not THAT!!. But I can't say this enough, it's your build.

I'll stick my neck out and say what I would build that rod blank with.
Start with the seat. I'll find a Pac Bay A5, or a Batson BUL5 skel lying around and cut a piece of wood for the spacer. Not anything with a lot of grain. Walnut or cherry. Maybe use a piece of cork for the spacer, as this is a 4wt. Cutting my weight down.
Next is a 6 1/2 or 7" western cork grip. Either glue up some rings or find one already made lying around in the cork box. Standard cork mind you.
I try to always spend the money for an aluminum cork check but rubber is good.
My stripper guide will be a Batson XLN guide, maybe a PacBay Minima XT4XG guide, or even for a little fun, PacBay XBG or lighter weight, XSB--all in a #10 size. All of these are in the silver configuration. Wanting to go black, you change the colors.
My running guides are PacBay wires-XSNLG in lightweight silver. Sizes would be 1-#2, the rest #1's to the tip. A matching tip top from PacBay would finish it off.

Oh yea, the hook keep would be a rather inexpensive one from any company.

I don't have much money invested in this rod but will do everything I ask it to do and do it well.

Could I use a more expensive seat? Sure could. But it holds the reel,thats it. If I want bling, I'll buy a Lemke seat and put it on. Ron delivers a great seat and I'm tickled to death with them. But I can save myself $30 or more going with the cheaper ones.
Stripper guides?? Why spend $25 and shipping for a guide that will work for $1???? Now I'm buying my guides from the same place, so the shipping is spread out. Runners are about $.75 each--at retail. I buy wholesale so.....Tops are $1.35 Yes, I could buy some universals for $1 each but I still have a ton of PB wires at a whole lot less when I bought them. Hell, I bought 400 at a time in just one size.

Nothing wrong with AmTak or Batson guides either. Good quality products. It's just that I have all those PB's sitting around and my bigger distributer is getting rid of some of her product that she's carrying, so I get a good deal with what she has on hand and I'm not ordering and waiting for delivery.

I hope I didn't offend you.

Randy

#14 smalliesteve

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 02:45 PM

No worries Randy, I appreciate the feedback.

 

Why the A5/BUL5 over the A4? Is it just a question of size? I must confess I'm not following the sizing strategy on fly seats very well. From what I've read, they're somewhat arbitrary from one manufacture to another. How do I pick out the one that will be best? Just based on length? 

 

 

I didn't anticipate the agate being universally disliked, but that's OK, I'm not building the rod for you guys! ;)  I've kinda already committed to the agate in my head...so I'm going to do it. I know if I didn't, I'd always look at it and wish I had. Thanks for the head's up on the fragility though. I had no idea. I'll have to be extra careful with it. I haven't broken a rod or a guide in the last 20 years, so hopefully this one will last too. If I do break it, I can always swap it out with a minima or something.

 

 

On the line, is the RIO good stuff, what If I order a 3wt instead of a 4wt? I'll confess I'm mostly attracted to it due to the discount, maybe I'm getting played.

 

Thanks again



#15 John T.

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Posted 28 December 2015 - 03:12 PM

Opinions on fly line is like the blond vs. brunette vs. redhead.  I have a mixture of three or four brands of line.  I like my Orvis 2 wt. DT and my Cortland WF 5 wt.  I had Cortland 7 wt. level for about 35 years.  Finally threw it away; should have kept it as it was still like new.  I don't get caught up in brands.  My 2 wt. was on sale at 40% off.  I'm cheap.  Just ask anybody on the forum.

I like blondes since you can see them in the dark. lol


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