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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Really thinking about going forward and getting a custom fly rod made up via the shop on the eastern shore (can't think of his name at the moment). The blanks would be St. Croix and I probably would be ordering a custom Avid. Any concerns? Are there many advantages of getting a custom rod? Thanks.
 

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I inherited two nice custom rods and am fortunate enough to know the maker.( Orvis brand). I also recieved a gift certificate for another from my wife. You can usually get a nice quality rod made to your specs. but my biggest problem is------ It's lifetime warranty is for the builders lifetime and I know he's not gonna outlast me. Not knocking custom rods they are pretty good but I tend to break at least one rod every year or so. I rarely use my custom rods because I'm affraid I'm gonna break them.
 

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It's hard to say, mostly personal prefrence.

On a StCroix Avid blank there is probably not much difference between custom and rods StCroix turns out themselves. StCroix builds with quality components, has a good guarentee program and replaces a tip fast at low cost. If replaceing a broken tip from a blank rather than finished rod You would have to re-wrap it, all they supply is a new blank tip, Your builder will probably be willing to re-wrap if thats needed. It's rare a butt section fails. Of course custom the rod can be built up anyway you like, color, reel seat etc, Lots of pride of ownership. I have a couple of Fly rods on StCroix blanks I like a lot. Also a couple of Gloomus to. Built up they cost about as much as if I had bought the rods from a dealer, i used top quality components which keep the price near store bought level

At the low end I recently built a 4 piece 5 wt for pond fishing. less than 100 dollars using a good quality blank and inexpensive components. I could have bought a import rod for about the same amount. The one I put together is to my eye a lot better, blank alone is worth the trouble,

With conventional tackle there is a lot of cutting and altering of blanks for personal requirements, Surf rods from the factory are never to my liking. Fly rods most people build them like the blank was intended to be set up.

Just make sure the shop knows fly rods, it is different, the guys that are good are real good. someone who builds mostly spinners of bait rods may not fully understand what it takes.

Boats
 

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Custom Rods

There are few advantages today to custom fly rods.

Having said that I purchased a custom Sage Xi2 10 wt and a Sage Z-Axis 9 wt this fall and winter. The price of each was $489. The builder sells on ebay but I bought directly from their fly shop. They have made 5200 custom rods in the past 22 years and have a eBay feedback rating of 99.7%. The quality of the wrapping, finish and components are absolutely great. The cork quality is not quite up to factory standards but OK.

There could be some concern about the warranty. The builder is in his 50's but his son 22 is in with him and they just built a new fly shop. The stated warranty is that you pay the Sage $40 fee and he does the rest free. All I have is his word but I think his word is pretty good. If you know the builder well and trust that he will stand behind the purchase, I see no problem with it.

In a side by side test with my buddy's factory Xi2, I swear the custom casts better. How could that be? The only things I can think of is that the rod is slightly lighter, the guides are harder and slicker and the guides were put on the spine of the rod. On the other hand it could be my imagination the rod is better. The bottom line is that I am very pleased with the price, quality and performance of the two custom Sage's I recently purchased. I was also able to substitute cordova covered cases that also hold the reels in place at no additional cost. I do not use the aluminum tubes at all and have a bunch of them.

I used to build custom rods for myself and a few friends. Built over 55 rods and some are still favorites of those who have them. All custom builders are not created equal. It would be good to inspect some rods that the shop you mentioned is building.
 

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From his site he knows Surf and bay rods well. It's impossable to buy an adequate Surf rod off the shelf. Striper fishing with Wire store bought rods are not very suitable either.

As far as designing a fly rod, well you buy the blank and put ready made seats and guides on. About the only options are Thread colors, wrap, grip shape and perhaps a larger stripping guide. The rod blank maker did the design.

I would suggest buying a factory rod.

Boats
 

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thier isn't anything wrong with a good custom rod. The only real difference is in the warrenty and the resale value. Ask the builder if he gives the same warrenty that the maunf. does. The maunf. will warrenty the blank as a blank but the builder should rewarp the rod at his cost. Also make sure you are getting the blank you ask for. Also compare the manuf. cost to the custom cost. if their is only a few dollars difference. then pay the few dollars. It will be worth it in the long run if you think down the road you would sell the rod to up grade. With all of that said. I'm going to build a few rod this year myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
paxfish, No, I didn't try them at TieFest but did give them a try resently. As an OK (certainly not good) caster, it's hard for me to gauge a good from a great rod. I'm hoping the better rods should help my casting to a certain degree.
 

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I had the opportunity to see one of the rods designed by Joe and took it out back to cast it with him on the lawn at tiefest. I don't have a wealth of experience but I do love my St. Croix Legend Ultra's and the rod I cast with Joe was a dream. I would imagine you could cast some of the custom built rods at the shop. :thumbup:
 

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custom rods

Interesting thread. For surf rods, well, it's tough to imagine what could be better than the Loomis 10.5" factory surf rod that I have, but it cost $245. For my conventional surf rods I build them myself or have them built to my specs, but they last forever, and I can't imagine a nicer blank than the S-glass blank my favorite rod has, so I haven't got a new one in decades. For fly rods, I don't see the point of getting a custom rod unless the price is great or you can't find the blank you want anywhere else. As someone else said, custom builders make them along the same lines as anyone else, they aren't usually much less expensive, and the warranty process is more complex, if not more iffy.

FF
 

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I am friends with the T.L. Johnson who owns T.L. Johnson flyrods and he made me a custom rod as a christmas present. Best rod ever. I'd say go with a custom and take a look at the T.L. Johnsons
 

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I have both and I can't stand using my custom rods for fear of breaking them. I know I can get them repaired, but what if I break it two or three times, or slam it in the car door, does it then become my responsiblity. With Loomis, I pay my 50 bucks, they send me a new rod, not replace just the section, and then I put the broken one in the box put the prepaid label on it and ship it back. I had several St.Croixs and I would send them the broken rod, they would replace the section and the rod never seemed to fit as well as it did with the originial section.
 
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