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Custom Fly Rods -  How I build 'em & materials I use...!

The Fly Rods shown on this site were created by me with what I feel are the best high quality components to have on a custom fly rod since that is what the customer expects. Most customers will have no issue with purchasing a high quality product at a premium price because . . . . .,

 -------  It's the poor quality rods that cause the issues!--------


I do not have various levels of builds for the customer to choose from as I have only one...the best of what the customer wanted. I have had this option for years and it seems to work quite well. I prefer to set the basic design and construction standards and let the customer give me the other details that they would prefer for the purpose at hand that are personal to them. . .then I make it all happen!!! 

The Rod Blanks, both Fiberglass & Graphite that I regularly use for the builds on this site are from highly reputable manufacturers such as EPIC & CTS, both of New Zealand along with another supplier here in the USA from Bellwood, PA, Mike McFarland, who is well known and respected as a fly rod designer in both fiberglass and graphite.  Other high quality blanks can be used for custom builds upon request - North fork Composites, Diamondback Rod Co., Steffen Brothers glass and graphite, etc. . . .These manufacturers take great pride in their craftsmanship and are willing to guarantee its quality to be the best they can produce. I can also build you a rod from a blank that you already own.

The FLOR grade cork for the grips is purchased in bulk from Portugal and then hand sorted from the lot for the specific build.  The cork grip is assembled with epoxy adhesive, shaped by hand on a lathe to the customer's specifications.

Cork that is the best for high quality fly rod building  is getting to be a rare commodity this day & time due to so many other uses for the same natural products. Thankfully, cork is a natural wood product, actually the bark of the Portuguese Cork Oak tree, and is a renewable resource, even though a rather slow one!

All of the rods and blanks listed as available will be
built to the quality level one would say is . . . .

"TOP SHELF"... and as defined,  
"Top-shelf things or people that are of a very high standard or quality." Yep, that's what they are!!
And that is exactly what the customer expects!!

The finest glass & carbon blanks -
The finest reel seats - Lemke, Struble & ALPS
All pieces are selected
, dried and stabilized in house
True hand sorted FLOR grade cork directly from Portugal
Snake Brand Universal snakes

FUJI & ALPS Stripping guides
Arguello & Struble Agates
100% Japanese Silk for fiberglass fly rods

Nylon for graphite & heavie
r fiberglass 
Epoxy finish on all thread and decal areas

I do not have various levels of "builds" as others
may have, I have only one . . . .
. .
the best it can be for the customer...!

And the PHOTOGRAPHY . . . .all done in-house by me!


The Reel Seats made by Joel Lemke are the primary models used for all of my designs and, as you can see, look like jewelry once on the rod. They are available as anodized aluminum in various colors as well as plated in Bright and Dark nickel. The reel seat is then coupled with a piece of solid figured or burl wood that has stabilized, turned on a lathe to fit the seat hardware and hand polished to a high gloss or satin finish. Sometimes a satin finish is used because it allows one to see the wood details even better without all of the glare from a glossy finish. The wood and metal combination is as beautiful to admire as well as it is functional.

     For heavier rods, and even on lighter ones, some customers like the look of an all-metal real seat.


STRUBLE Manuf., which is also a supplier of high quality reel seats as well as AGATE stripper guides, are also utilized on some of my rod builds. As I understand it, Joel Lemke was one of the design engineers for STRUBLE many years ago before he ventured out on his own. 


ALPS (Batson Enterprises) also makes a great line of high quality reel seats that I pair up with wood inserts to use on some light and mid-weight graphite rods. On the heavier weight graphite and glass blanks, I use the triangular aluminum reel seats. These will be the EPIC 888 8wt and the 10wt EPIC BANDIT as well as any of the heavier line weights in graphite designs!

The Snake Guides and standard tip tops being used are made by Snake Brand and are the most consistent in manufacture, sizing and finish compared to other brands I have used.  Snake Brand snake guides come in ECO plated, which is much better than chrome, as well as a dark nickel plating and are the ONLY snake guides I place on my fly rods! 


The Stripper guides & Ceramic tip tops used are either FUJI or ALPS brands and will match the snake guides used for each rod. Some designs have the ECO plated snakes and some have a dark nickel plating and the strippers will have the same to blend well in the design.

AGATE inserted stripping guides can be also be ordered as an added design element instead of the "modern ceramic" stripping guides. Fly rods with line weights of #6 and above will be built with a ceramic tip top due to the increased line wear from the heavier lines. However, regardless of the line weight, dirty fly lines are very abrasive and can reduce the life of the running guides and definitely the tip top since it sees wear all of the time in a concentrated area.

We can't forget the WOODS that are used with the Reel Seat hardware.  Each piece of wood for an insert is vacuum stabilized with resin prior to turning and fitting to the hardware. No factory made wood inserts are ever used as each one I make is custom fitted to the hardware I have in stock before it gets installed on the blank.


Domestic hardwoods such as Oak burl, Cherry burl, Maple, Maple burl, Spalted Maple, Desert Ironwood, Bocote, Buckeye burl and some Spalted Alder from the Mt. Saint Helens area. The exotic woods, as I call them, are African Rosewood (Bubinga), Indian Rosewood, Honduran Rosewood, Zebrawood, Cocobolo, Goncalo Alves, Honduran Cherry, Brazilian Cherry and Indian Sheesham  -  just to name a few!

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