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Old 08-01-2011, 12:18 PM
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Default Build your own tarpon rod?

The problem with a lot of free time not spent fishing is a lot of free time spent thinking about fishing. I've decided I would like to pursue tarpon on the fly rather than with just the cheater stick next year, but as a broke grad student I need to do it on the cheap. I know that price-wise it is far less expensive to build my own, and I like the possibility of being able to tailor it to my own tastes. As much as I'd like a G. Loomis 12 wt or something on my rod rack, my wallet does not agree.

I've seen that Sevier makes a "Tiger Eye" blank in 4pc 12wt for under $90 dollars, and I've found a green heart abalone tarpon decal that I want to act as the thematic inspiration for the entire rod, with green and blue threading and hopefully a matching green heart abalone insert (or at least one that mimics the effect).

Click the image to open in full size.

I am brand new to the fly rod building business, and I haven't seen a lot of customs in the tarpon-sized dept. Is this simply because the relative size of the market, or are there other factors involved? I am going to continue researching building my own rod, but am I crazy for seeking to built a 12wt as a starter? Am I going to run into problems with grips and seats or do the standard sizes more or less fit? I saw that with regard to dimensions, there is only a 0.05" difference in butt diameter, but I am not totally up on the specifics of rod building yet.

Who knows when all the money will come together for this creation but I won't be fishing for tarpon until next spring or summer so it's no hurry! I will continue trolling the fly rod building section and watching youtube videos and reading as much as I can on the subject!

A.J.
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: Build your own tarpon rod?

The reason you don't see too many dealers selling rod blanks heavier than a 9 or 10wt is only because (like you imagined) there's not much of a market for it.
A 12wt rod is no more difficult to put together than a 5wt.
You should be able to do it fairly cheaply and you may even find a GLoomis blank. I know they use to sell Loomis "blems" (factory seconds) but I haven't seen any lately.
I think you'll find the the major expense for a 12wt outfit will be in the reel.
There's not a whole lot of "affordable" reels of that size


edit
I'm having second thoughts about that last statement
I have a System II 10/11 that I only paid $100 for
I'm sure you could find something similar if you looked around
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Last edited by Rip Tide; 08-02-2011 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: Build your own tarpon rod?

Thanks for the reply! I know that G.Loomis is out of the retail blank business now, unfortunately, so most of what I'm finding around is closeout sale stuff on "discontinued" product. I saw an American Matrix blank in 12wt but it was a 2pc so I kept looking. The Tiger Eye blank in 12wt I found is a 4pc and is advertised as a saltwater rod, both of which sound tempting.

After further research I've been thinking of putting the REC Recoil guides on the rod, and I find a company that makes ultra-thin abalone veneers with which I could wrap the reel seat insert to match the decal. However, now I need to find a high-quality photo of the finish of the tiger eye blank so I can photoshop everything together and see if the colors I have in mind match!

An added advantage of making a rod on the cheap: I don't mind throwing a more expensive reel on it, but I'm not one to complain if I can get a good one for inexpensive. The reel will be the next step, and maybe by then Allen Fly Fishing will have a 12wt in green anodized
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Build your own tarpon rod?

Morning gator,
I'm a huge Gary Loomis fan from way back. He is now producing blanks again for custom builders. Here's a link for his new company with information where you can find his blanks for purchase.

Good luck with the new venture.
North Fork Composites | Designed by Gary Loomis - Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Build your own tarpon rod?

Hey John, I checked out the NFC site but I was unable to find a rod larger than 8wt. The larger rods could be hiding somewhere as he mentions fishing for some of the larger saltwater pursuits in his description of the saltwater rod blanks.
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Build your own tarpon rod?

Oh, I see that now. Give em a call and see if they have anything.

As of yet I haven't bought any of his new companies blanks to try, but in speaking to them they told me if I "liked the feel & action of the old IMX, then I was gonna love these new blanks."
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