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Small batch rod companies
http://forum.flyfishinginmaine.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=23432
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Author:  Ken B [ November 30th, 2019, 7:59 am ]
Post subject:  Small batch rod companies

Has anyone cast any of the rods from these new small batch rod companies like Maine Fly Company? Just curious if they are using big rod company blanks and rebranding or if they are China or Korea based blanks. And if they cast nice?

Ken

Author:  Dave M [ November 30th, 2019, 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

Ken.......

I haven’t, so take this with a grain of salt, but........It’s very difficult today to actually find a BAD rod. I’ve cast some of the low end rods from the so-called Big Boys, and they cast from just fine to......believe it or not.........outstanding.

Now, on those low end rods the cork goes from bad to downright shitty.........the wraps are usually no where near as tight as on a top end rod........there’s probably runs or sags in the epoxy on the wraps......but the blank itself usually casts just fine.

Truthfully.......a lot of those really inexpensive rods are using IM-6 graphite ( used to be called Graphite II)........ so they’re using 35 year old technology.......but those were top of the line 35 years ago. They aren’t as light......or strong....as today’s Graphite 5; but perhaps the finest graphite rod ever made......the Sage XP.......used Graphite III........so there you go.

If you can get your hands on one try it.......I’m guessing you’d like it just fine. It may not be as pretty as a top end Winston or Sage, but we usually reserve the term “pretty” for bamboo rods. And truthfully......most of us don’t give a rats patootie about whether our rods are pretty.......we just care about how they cast. I’m guessing those Chinese and Korean blanks cast just fine, fwiw.

Dave M

Author:  Parker [ November 30th, 2019, 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

Ken,
To Dave’s point, it’s tough to find a bad rod.
Our neighbor at camp is from a state south of here and desperately wants to fish well.
He bought a deal rod from China for something like $56.
His wife asked me to help him cast as he was having trouble.
Turns out the rod was mislabeled as a 6 wt, put a 5 wf line on it and it was good enough to cast 70 feet.
There was a person in the Rumford area that built rods, mostly would wrap whatever you wanted if you supplied the blank.

Long way to get to if you see someone’s work that you like ask who made the blank, but don’t discount one from China without casting it first.

Author:  Tinsnip [ November 30th, 2019, 2:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

I've wondered the same thing myself.

As a sort of extension of your question, would you ever buy a rod that you've never held in your hand? Online shopping makes it pretty easy to order stuff from anywhere, and a couple beers late at night can make rods made by companies you've never heard of sound magical. I've only ever ordered a rod without holding it once. It was my gift to myself on my 65th birthday—I call it my "Lifetime Achievement Award"—the Orvis Helios/Mirage combo (I love the thing). Prior to that, I always found a shop and a proprietor I trusted and at a minimum, wiggled 'em in my hand. Most of the time, I would get a chance to cast 'em in the parking lot or something.

So even though I've come close to a couple of fiberglass rods from "new" guys out west, I've yet to click the "place your order" button. One of these days though...

Author:  Ken B [ November 30th, 2019, 4:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

@Tinsnip- good follow up question. My answer is yes. In fact, most of the rods I own, I bought without ever casting. I bought on reputation and research and have never been let down. I bought 3 Orvis rods and a Hardy Zenith this way. The nearest fly shop is an hour from me and just not convenient so online buying has been the norm.

That follow up is really at the crux of my original question.

Ken

Author:  Parker [ November 30th, 2019, 5:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

Ken,
Blue ribbon flies sells a rod by a local maker CF BURKHEIMER. Not a name I have seen anywhere else.

Quote from the web site “ Most rods are made to order by Burkheimer, so please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.“

They are expensive but less than the new Helios. So if I was in that price range for a rod I would call and see if I could talk to the builder. And this is exactly what I told Bill a few weeks ago.

I have purchased rods Online like you have, since mikes shop closed the nearest shop is fredricks of Freeport and I do not care for their rods. Other than 2 Orvis superfine rods and 2 cheap 4 piece rods to be travel rods all my rods were purchased in person.

I would buy a Winston online but I have cast several and they match my casting speed which is slow to medium. So with some research on models I could be confident of getting a rod that I would like.

Knowing your flex preferences is key to getting a rod you will be able to cast well. Especially if the rod maker is not well known. Talking to the builder would be essential for me, otherwise how will you know what you’re buying?

Author:  Dave M [ November 30th, 2019, 6:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

Tinsnip wrote:
I've wondered the same thing myself.

As a sort of extension of your question, would you ever buy a rod that you've never held in your hand? ...



I almost said “No.....never”.......until I realized that I did, once.

Headwaters Bamboo had a promotion that said they’d ship out a rod, and just let you cast it, and if you didn’t like it ship it back, no questions asked. I thought “Ok.....I’d really like a 4 wt. bamboo. This one probably sucks, I’ll take three casts, conclude it does suck, then ship it back, for a full refund.”

When I cast the rod I was shocked. I thought “Hey! Not only does this Rod NOT suck.....it’s actually quite good. I like it.” Needless to say, I kept the rod.

Frankly......I wouldn’t advise anyone to ever buy a rod that you didn’t cast first.....as that’s a recipe for disaster, but sometimes ( not very damn often, but still) it works out fine.

Dave M

Author:  Mike Holt [ November 30th, 2019, 7:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

Quote:
Knowing your flex preferences is key to getting a rod you will be able to cast well.


I agree with Parker your flex preference is the key. If you ever get the chance to cast a rod weight you're interested in the three general casting groups (slow, medium, fast) do it. One of those will be your flex preference. You'll know because it will the most comfortable for you to cast. The rod will fit your casting stroke.

People would come into the shop and take a rod down to the dock and cast it. I'd watch them cast and if the rod was ready for the next stroke before they were I'd get them a slower rod to try. If they started their stroke before the line straightened I'd get them a faster rod. If the timing was right and the rod fit their stroke I'd start looking for the rod tube. :D

An interesting thing was that once they knew their natural stroke it made it easier for them to step outside their comfort zone. If someone established they had a "slow action" stroke and they were going fishing on the flats and needed line speed they knew they could get it with a faster rod. All they had to adjust the speed of their natural casing stroke by speeding it up. With a little conscious effort adjusting to the rod is easier if you know your starting point or preferred flex.

Author:  1weight [ November 30th, 2019, 8:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

I can't add much if anything on those rods. But knowing ones casting stroke as Mike stated and knowing the manufacturer has helped me. All the rods I've purchased myself in the last 10-12 years have been bamboo off Ebay. They are all Orvis rods in varying lengths and weights. they all cast very similar and match my stroke as my first good rod was an Orvis superfine series graphite. If one of my purchases is off a little in it's stroke and mine I just adjust with a different line weight and can usually dial everything in this way.
Now a while back I decided to bite on a cheap silk line. Supposedly a Double Taper and about half as much for what I like. I have used it, and it will cast a fly. But I've as a kid braided baler twine that has a better outcome than this line did. It stunk as if 50% of the silkworms had died and were still in it. It's about as loose as the braid on a cheap clothes line. In fact it is almost as if you pulled the filler strands out of a clothes line and varnished it. With some of the bugs still in the resin. I even thought that maybe it would suffice as a streamer line, NOT as it is so loosely woven that it like casting a sail. Very poor choice for any amount of money.

Ron

Author:  titleguy [ December 1st, 2019, 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

Parker wrote:
Ken,
Blue ribbon flies sells a rod by a local maker CF BURKHEIMER. Not a name I have seen anywhere else.

Quote from the web site “ Most rods are made to order by Burkheimer, so please allow six to eight weeks for delivery.“

They are expensive but less than the new Helios. So if I was in that price range for a rod I would call and see if I could talk to the builder. And this is exactly what I told Bill a few weeks ago.

I have purchased rods Online like you have, since mikes shop closed the nearest shop is fredricks of Freeport and I do not care for their rods. Other than 2 Orvis superfine rods and 2 cheap 4 piece rods to be travel rods all my rods were purchased in person.

I would buy a Winston online but I have cast several and they match my casting speed which is slow to medium. So with some research on models I could be confident of getting a rod that I would like.

Knowing your flex preferences is key to getting a rod you will be able to cast well. Especially if the rod maker is not well known. Talking to the builder would be essential for me, otherwise how will you know what you’re buying?


Burkies are very popular two handers on the west coast, similar to Meisers, only more expensive... Extremely nice rods, a piece of fly rod art- I hope to own Burkie one day.
I recently purchased a rod with knowing anything about them other than online reviews, from the Pieroway, a company in Calgary. I was looking for a glass trout spey. Gorgeous rod, super soft and lots of fun to fish with. I was a little apprehensive, but the online reviews were really good. It took about 4 weeks to arrive as Geoff built it up to order. The price was phenomenal and as mentioned really fun to fish.

Author:  Salmosebago [ December 2nd, 2019, 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Small batch rod companies

I actually like having rods with different actions as it forces me to accommodate it. YEARS ago my father in law gave me a Fenwick glass rod he built probably 20 years previous. The first time I took it to the Pesumpscot I wanted to toss it in the trees and leave it for dead. I was primarily fishing both an XP and SLT at the time - TOTALLY different than the Fenwick. I kept fishing it simply because of his "mojo" and I smiled when I used it. Long story short - I learned to relax, slow down my cast, and enjoy the feel of that rod. I still can't fish worth a **** but I use my rods more for the day/method I'll be fishing, than the way I cast. Bottom line for me - adapt. Like others have said - tough to find a "bad" rod - it's more likely my "bad" casting! Getting better at casting with the "wrong" hand is this years goal.

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