Re: First rod advice
In some cases, spending less can mean more work. Snake guides are an example. You can find them for less than a buck each but the feet might require more prep to sit well on the blank, to clear off burrs, and to create a nice ramp for thread. I've found it worth it to spend the 2 or 3 bucks for Snake Brand guides (2 for bamboo as the feet are flat and 3 for graphite as the concave feet fit well on the round blank). They come out of the bag essentially ready to wrap. Another example can be pre-formed cork grips. I've bought some cheap ones that had the inlet cut already. Even though the reel seat 'fit' into the inlet the cork was so thin and dry that some cracks developed. I find it worth it to make my own and buy higher quality cork.
You don't need to buy a $50 reel seat or a $300 blank but I wouldn't skimp too much. If you're fishing the rod 2 years from now you might wish you could go back and give yourself another $40 to get a nicer seat or better cork, etc. And a bit more money for components that are easier to work with can make your first build experience much more enjoyable.
- William Jensen