I looked at the link to e bay for the Sage 490-4. He is way less than the factory rod. Here is why this is not a good thing. First of all it makes the rod factories mad. Why should they sell you a blank so you can undercut them? This makes them jack the price of the blanks up, or stop selling blanks all together. There are parts wholesalers who will stop doing business with you for selling rods less than factory price. They might not come right out and just say "not selling to you", but they will start getting backorders for half the parts and take months to get them, or slow it down till they go away. G Loomis, before they sold out to Shimano is a perfect example. First they raised the price of the blanks a lot. Then they stopped selling many of the blanks, dropping more than 50% from the blank program. Then they changed the colors of the blanks to colors you can only sell to punk rockers and color blind people. I have built rods for years, and can say with absolute certainty, that guys like this one on e-bay harm the entire rod business, both custom and factory. If Sage sees what is going on with this guy and get mad, and it would make me mad, they may do the same thing Loomis did. Then how will you like it when a Sage blank costs you a small fortune and only comes in pink? Or that lovely metal flake silver G Loomis has? One more thing, he seems to have happy customers, but if his builds are so good, how come he can't seem to get a reasonable price for his work? Guys like him hurt the entire industry.
One last thing, his rods are small factory rods built on a Sage blank. Custom rods are where the customer tells the builder exactly what he wants, and the builder then makes the rod to the customers wishes. Custom. This guy is abusing Sage and the word custom.
I just got done looking at the photos of this guys Sage, and figuring out what parts he used. I then set down and figured out the cost of the parts:
Sage 490-4 blank $345.00
Pac-Bay TiCh Stripper guides $3.27 and $3.03
Hopkins Holloway snake guides 8 @ $3.35 for a total of $26.80
FG12 Modified Western grip $20.95
Strubel winding check $3.50
Strubel U24 seat with group 1 insert $56.75
Hook keeper SSKT $2.20
Refundable shipping tube for the blank $3.00
Shipping appx. $8.00
For a grand total of $476.95 in parts.
Now this guy is selling the rod for $510.00 leaving $33.05 in labor. I'm sure he's getting the parts wholesale which is where he's making some money, around $120.00, but do you see why doing business with guys like this hurts the industry? And again calling these rods "custom" is false. No reputable rod maker will undercut the source of his income. Custom rods look like this: