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August 30, 2011 / flogginwater

Frustration, Disgust, and a Dream

Bugger. I was in the shop tonight, snapping some pictures of my new rods to get up on here – when I discovered that my repair work on the damaged section of my 11′ build didn’t take. Damn thing was still broken, the only thing holding it together was the thread wrap on the outside of the repair, and the layer of Flex Coat I’d applied over the guide thread wraps. Bugger!

This rod really is starting to become more effort than it’s worth. I’m heart broken over it – because of the two rods I wanted to build – THIS one was the one I most looked forward to fishing. THIS is the one I’d had high hopes for, and put the most thought into. THIS one is the one I sunk the most money into. And THIS one is the one that is leaving me cold, embittered, and more cynical than I already was.

It’s taught me more lessons in rod building and repair – mostly about what NOT to do, than I’d really anticipated. Never again will I buy a no-name, no warranty blank from some schmuck off eBay (who, I’m betting, knew these rods were crap. He’s probably a god damned golfer.)

So I’m attempting one final repair. I’ve re-epoxied the interior fiberglass joint, and cut a sleeve from the remainder of the tip of that fiberglass rod to fit *over* the broken graphite shaft, and epoxied that in place on top the whole mess. After the epoxy had firmed up, I wrapped the whole god damned thing in wrapping thread again, and now it’s hanging up so the epoxy can cure. I’m going to try to paint the whole mess to match the blank before I wrap the snake guide back on it – it was fugly enough with an enlarged wrapping thread base from the first repair. This new repair is much uglier.

I’m this -> <- close to saying "fuck it" and scrapping the whole project, cutting the guides and the tip top off, and throwing the damn thing in the trash. I can't salvage the reel seat or cork – THAT part I built to last.

From here on out – Batson Enterprises will be the least expensive, lowest quality (and they’re not low quality at all) blanks I’ll use for building rods. I really enjoyed the process of building my own rods – and really, really wanted to experience the joy of FISHING with them. So far I’ve only experienced that on the bastard step child of the half-pint 5 weight, for a total of about 40 minutes right now. Given the quality of the other blank, and the mis-information I was given about them when I bought them, I half expect the little rod to break with every cast. I hate that feeling. I wish I had a spare $400 sitting around so I could buy a pair of Steffen fiberglass blanks to replace these two rods.

And God willin’ and the creek don’t rise – I’ll have at least ONE of them sooner rather than later. I’ve been pouring over the list of rods/blanks that Mark Steffen rolls – and I’ve narrowed my choices down to a few – a 6′ 2/3 weight, or 8′ 5-6 weight in fiberglass, or a 9′ 4-5 weight in graphite.

I’m considering other makers – St. Croix, North River Composites, Cabela’s PT blanks, Pac Bay’s Tradition (they have a 2 pc 10′ 5 wt blamk) or Lamiglas G1000 blanks. We’ll see, I guess. A boy can dream.

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2 Comments

  1. Jay / Aug 30 2011 07:48

    Sticking with the name brands with warranties is probably a safe bet. It really sucks when you learn a lesson the hard way (I'm pretty sure we've all done it at some point), but at least you can speak from experience when you talk about what blanks to use and what to avoid. I haven't built my own yet, but I've done some refurbishing (new guides and handles). I'm grateful to have learned something from your experience.

  2. e.m.b. / Aug 30 2011 07:48

    I bet you're spot on with the golfer thing. 😉 I'm really learning a lot from your posts…I was thinking about getting a blank this winter too. Oh, and keep on dreaming…

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