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Al: Need some wisdom

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Al... I've been following the activity here for a couple of months now, and have grown to respect your advice. All my life, I've been happy with run-of-the-mill $50+/- rods, but decided recently to order a custom rod.


I wanted a 2-piece 7 foot spinner that would be suitable for plugging from the beach, and could also be used for bay fishing from a boat. I was matching it with a Shimano Stradic 4000, spooled with 10# Vanish and 20# Fireline (spare spool).


The builder and I settled on a St. Croix blank (2S70HF2), which is rated for up to 1.5 oz and 10-20 pound test. I asked for 6 Fuji SiC Hi-V frame double foot spinning guides (GLVSG 25, 20, 16, 12, 10 and 8) with a GPST 8 tip... 10 inch cork butt with rubber butt cap, Fuji reel seat, 3.5 inch cork foregrip, and a hook keep wrapped in slightly above the foregrip. We settled on the price, and he began the project...


Honestly, the gentleman did an outstanding job assembling, wrapping and finishing the rod... but it's not what I thought we agreed on, and I'm wondering -- from a rod builder's perspective -- what you think can and should be done.


The rod arrived with five guides and a tip, all wrapped in on the upper half of the blank. The stripper, or butt, guide is not on the lower half where I'm used to seeing one, which seems to create a larger than normal distance between the reel and stripper guide. The guides are spaced roughly 6.5, 13.75, 20.75, 29 and 40.75 inches from the tip.


Plus the hook keep and butt cap were not provided.


The rod casts OK, but I didn't set out to get an OK rod. Here's my question(s): how difficult would it be for him to strip and redo the blank, and am I within reason to be asking for that... at no charge? And, since I'm not a rod builder, is it up to me to be specifying the number of guides and where to wrap them? I mean, maybe five guides is the right amount for a plugging rod... I'd appreciate your thoughts.

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I can't tell you how many times I have run into this situation and ended up getting new customers.


My recommendation would be to bring the rod back to the builder and explain to him your dissatisfaction and see what he will do to remedy the situation. A reputable builder will do what is necessary.


As far as the rod being incomplete with no hook keeper and butt cap, that is unacceptable. That was part of the agreed upon price.


With respect to the guide placement, I would think at a minimum that the stripper guide would be on the butt portion of the blank. However, I would first want to test cast it to determine the proper guide placement.


Your problem is not unusual. There are alot of "rod wrappers" out there that put themselves forward as "custom rod builders". The true custom rod builders are a special breed that are in a class by themselves and take pride in their work. These builders command higher prices but their work speaks for itself and results in multiple orders and many referrals from satisfied customers.


Al G.




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Amen Al!


One thing I have noticed in this game is that there are far more "Rod Assemblers" than there are true custom rod builders!


Honestly, I have seen gorgeous rods with all kinds of closed thread wraps and thread art, that are made WRONG with respect to catchin' fish.


In my chosen profession, I work with alot of chemical engineers. From them I have learned an important mantra, "Form Follows Function" This means that what a given piece of equiptment is designed to do is paramount, what it looks like is secondary. Don't get me wrong here. A custom rod should be a nice clean piece of work, but a well designed rod catches fish reguardless of what ornate wrap is forward of the front grip.


Alot of folks do the opposite. They like to look at a custom rod as a piece of artwork first, how it fishes second.

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