Originally Posted by cnnashman
I think it comes down to " are you willing to take a chance" you did and won, so far. IMO if that blank had a structural defect it would of shown itself already, especially after handling all those fish.
I have a few rules with blemished / second-string blanks.
The first is never to spend much money on one, because, like that pinhead Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get. If you don't spend much, then you don't have much to lose. This is also why, like Billy said, you don't put gold cermet guides on one of these.
The second rule is not to have expectations that are too high; or, to put the same thing another way, don't be too disappointed if your rod breaks (this is also why blems are really only worth buying if you can get them very cheap). A rod or blank is a blemish for a reason, and if it snaps on you, ya gotta be able to shrug it off, and put the broken pieces to use, like making tapered reamers, handle extensions, or whatever.
The last thing is that as soon as I get one, I put it through a torture test: I do a lot of test casts (including overloading the blank slightly), hang a healthy weight from the rod tip, wiggle it like Jerry Sandusky, etc. I do this with all blanks, pretty much, but I do it more so if I'm not sure whether a blank is sound or not. If the blank survives my initial testing, then it's probably going to survive being fished. You obviously can't do as much with a factory rod, especially in a tackle shop, but I would bend/cast it as much as I could before I bought it.
And then, if you make it this far, just go out and fish it. If it hasn't broken yet, then it's probably a blemish for cosmetic reasons, and will fish just fine. At this point, Chief, you can fish the rod as though you paid full retail for a first-stringer - it's probably just as good as one, especially after you've been around the block with it a few times.