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Thread: questions on building a fly rod

  1. Default questions on building a fly rod

    Hey guys i got a couple questions, I don't want to pay $680.00 for a Sage ZXL fly rod so i'm thinking of buying the blank for it. The problem is that i don't know where to start after that. I think that once you got the cork you could epoxy it on the rod but i don't know for sure or anyting after that. And i don't know where to get the supplies for doing this stuff. I'm asking this question becasue i need help, and i don't want to screw this up. I am 15 right now and i'm 10+ months away from being 16, and my dad said that when i turn 16 i could get a nice fly rod. But i think he will say no to getting one that much. (Which i can't blame him for) but i want one that will do everything for me. I have serched and searched for years on the internet and looking at orvis, sage, winston, thomas&thomas, scott, cabelas, and many many others. I did email this guy who said he makes custom rods and i wanted to know if anyone had any experience with this guy and his company name is clearwater fly rods. So ANY HELP would be appreciated,

    Thanks brandon

  2. Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    The best advice I can give you is go to I belive they have some free pointer videos. get a good book on rod building and read it twice before ya start. They also have kits for eyes and handles.There are ofcourse other good places. Good luck with yuour adventure, its kinda like tying flies theres alot of pride when you catch a fish on somehting you made or when some on the stream comments on how nice it looks.

  3. Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    Here is a great article that takes you through the fly rod building process from A-Z. After reading the first page just click on ďnextĒ near the bottom of the page and it will take you to the next chapter. There are also sidebars to click on for video clips of the steps on the page. Read through the entire article first, and you will have a much better idea how itís done as well as what tools and materials are needed, and more importantly not needed. Post picís of your project from start to finish, and donít be afraid to ask questions. As another poster wrote Mudhole is a good place to start, I also included a couple other rod building links. Good luck on your rod.

    A guide to building your first fly rod, by Bob Widgren

    Home - Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Inc.

    JS Fly Fishing: Rod Building Supplies, Fly Tying Materials

    FishSticks4u - Index

    Rod Building Supply Components Fishing Rod Blanks Rod Guides Reel Seats Cork Rod Wrapping Threads

    C&M Custom Tackle Rod Building Supplies

    Custom Fly Rod Crafters Home Page

  4. Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    Just wanted to echo what the others have said (there are plenty of good resources on the subject), and to let you know that it's a great project and not nearly as difficult as you might think. We'll want to see photos when it's complete!

  5. #5

    Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    I've built rods for a number of years now, and would, if you don't mind, make a couple suggestions.
    First off, you may not want to start on a Sage ZXL blank. Start somewhere a "bit" less costly and work your way in to it.
    It's not hard building a rod from a blank, but there are skills, a learning curve, needed to complete one. Practice, practice, practice FIRST before you use any materials that are difficult if not impossible to "un-do" (ie; epoxies).
    Building rods is like tying flies ... NOT something you do to save money. The better your components are, the more costly the build will be. The bigger the name brand, the more costly it will be, too!
    Before you buy a blank, read everything you can get your hands on about rod building. Ask questions, at your local fly shop, and on here. We'll answer everyone you ask!

  6. #6

    Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    I would agree with what has been stated before. Also you might take a look at the Rod Building Phorum. You will find many good articles and advice about components, blanks and techniques. You will also find a list of suppliers. You may or may not save money when building your dream rod, but you will have designed something that is unique. One of the better achievements and thrills in fly fishing is catching a fish on your build rod with your own tied fly.

  7. #7

    Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    you've received a lot of great information and i like to see that others are getting into rodbuilding. some more for you to peruse:

    this web site has a very good community of various types of fisherpeoples, many with excellent skills and wiling to share information, even for beginners. read the FAQ which offers info and go from there. it's one of my favorite rod wrapping communities: :: rodboard
    there's a list of vendors that help support that web site along the left side and all remain there due to good service. some of the smaller ones like custom tackle and dan craft can really chat your ear off which i link to good customer service.

    since there's a lot of crossover in readers and participants, i hesitate a bit but this one has a lot of beginners. so you may want to ask yourself as another beginner, which offers the expertise you're seeking. my impression in the past has been they reinvent the wheel often, but it's friendly and popular. and of course there are some talented people there, particularly in the bamboo section. offers a nice walk-through but first you must click on the FEATURES link to the left, then rodbuilding, then graphite rod building. it'll outline the steps and thought processes with photos.

    besides the other web site previously mentioned, and websites are good, but get a book or two as well. being partial to, i recommend tom kirkman's book Rod-Building Guide. it's less than $20 and though not specifically fly, has the same inherent practices and talks about fly as well.

    also, contact struble, mudhole, anglers workshop, batson enterprises and pacific bay. each can send you their full-color catalogs so you can see what your options are when it comes to components. when you wrap your own, the choosing of the details is the really nice part.

    for starters, like stated previously, try wrapping a much cheaper blank first. batson's RX6 blanks (nice dark blue) and the sevier/tiger eye blanks (a bit faster in action and a very cool golden brown which comes alive in the sun) are great blanks to start off with and general trout sizes come in under $50. hook and hackle offers some of the RX6 blanks under $30 and they are actually very nice blanks to fish with, just need to realize at that price point, being standard IM6 material and not the high end lightest blanks out there you compromise just a tad (not in workmanship or quality though). they are also usually imported from korea at that price. which is FINE really, especially as a practice rod which may end up being one of your favorites.

    and since this is your first and if you don't have a mini lathe or a cordless drill setup (or even a drill press) to create a grip from glued-up cork rings i would suggest using a preformed grip for your first.

    and good luck

    fresno, ca.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Southeast Pennsylvania

    Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    I've seen people recommend using an arrow shaft to practice wrapping guides.
    Makes sense to me, and maybe buy some small diameter dowels to practice
    tying the top sections.

    My grandfather had an old bamboo rod (saltwater boat rod), and the guides
    were held on with electric tape! I was about 15, and asked to restore it. I
    have to say, it was a darn fine job, and after 30 years, I gave it to my uncle.
    I should take a pic, as I had some fancy red and blue wraps that extended
    about 4" up from where a hook holder would go.

    The ZXL is a fine rod from the factory. The blank is $350, $75 for reel seat and cork as nice as OEM, $20 for guides, figure $20 for epoxy and thread:
    you're saving $200, but you don't get a rod tube and the full factory warranty.

  9. #9

    Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    Then, unless you're going to use a cardboard box to hold the blank, you'll need a winding board, and a drying motor for after the epoxy (well, you could sit and turn it quarter turns for a couple hours till the epoxy set up). Then you need a rod sock and a metal tube. THAT all only adds about 300 bucks to the mix. Just one more reason I would suggest starting on a less costly rod first, and see if it's something you're going to like doing. Rod building isn't for everyone, although anyone could do it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Southeast Pennsylvania

    Default Re: questions on building a fly rod

    Quote Originally Posted by Auntie Em View Post
    Then, unless you're going to use a cardboard box to hold the blank, you'll need a winding board, and a drying motor for after the epoxy (well, you could sit and turn it quarter turns for a couple hours till the epoxy set up). Then you need a rod sock and a metal tube. THAT all only adds about 300 bucks to the mix.
    Agreed. My estimate was for a rock bottom build.

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