Published Oct 31. 2003 - 19 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 8. 2020

Too many rods?

How many rods does one guy need?

The answer is obvious, right? As many as he is capable of obtaining. Yeah .... but ...

At last count, I have seven working rods, one broken rod, and three blanks waiting to be built. For a guy who primarily fishes for trout - this is crazy. Sure - there was a time when I fished for everything that swam within driving range of my house (and still would, if I could), but the past few years I'm been a trout fisherman almost exclusively. I haven't used my 8wt rod in three years, I think.

Some of it can be attributed to the fact that I build rods. Hard to have a rod building hobby without actually building rods, you know? It ain't a cheap hobby, however. Blanks are pricey - especially the "premium" name brands. It got to the point that to fund my winter rod building projects, I'd list just about all my rods on auction sites at the end of the season. Really - almost total tackle turnover every year! The downside of selling all your tackle is that you've got nothing to fish with should you be invited during the off season - to say nothing of the opening day deadline to having new rods built. The upside, of course, is that you can make a few extra bucks and move that profit toward upgraded equipment.

Every rod in my quiver is custom built, all but two by me. It's not that I don't like "factory" rods, it's just that I'd rather not pay the full retail price. Most of the rods are the result of deals on discontinued stuff. I built a Sage 690SP for under $200 - and that's with a Bellinger reel seat and the finest cork. What a sweet rod.

There are a few rods that will never be offered for sale. My Harry Boyd bamboo, for instance, is here to stay. It's a 6' 4wt based on a Paul Young taper. Not only is it a really fine casting rod - it definitely has an emotional attachment. During the occasional dark day, I'll take it out of the tube and just smell the varnish. That's good tonic for whatever might ail ya.

There's a few others that won't be sold anytime soon. I built a 486RPL a few years ago that instantly clicked with me. For my casting style, it is the perfect trout rod. I can use it for everything - dry flies, nymphing, swinging wets, and even casting streamers. It's a great rod. I didn't do that great a job building it (grip too fat, ugly trim wraps, blah blah blah), but I'm not gonna risk a rebuild job on it. If I broke it - I'd be pretty upset. Another is the rod I built from the Lamiglas Appalachian blank that Todd sent me. What a fine rod. It is a perfect counterpart to the Sage. With those two rods - I could catch trout anywhere on the planet it seems.

The oldest rod in the collection is my 890RPL. That's the first non-factory rod I ever had. A builder back home (outside of Utica) made it for me back around '93 - I forget his name now but his business was The Green Drake. I've used that rod for salmon, steelhead, bass, and pike. It's another one of those rods that just feels "right". So much so that I've never been tempted to upgrade.

I've got some nice blanks to build this winter. A 9' 4wt "Austin" series blank from All Star. These have been generating quite a bit of buzz among rod builders. I am anxious to try this one out. Sharon sent me one to review for GFF, but unfortunately I won't get a chance to review it till Spring, when I can fish again. Who knows - maybe things will free up and I can get out a couple times later this Fall.

I picked up a Sage 383 SPL from discontinued stock. I've been curious about these rods, so I thought what the heck. The price was right and a good "smooth water" rod would be nice for a couple places I fish.

With all those rods, there are still others I'm itching for. I'd like to build a rod from a Steffen Brothes glass blank, for example, as well as one of Diamondback's "Diamondglass" blanks. I've had a couple good fiberglass rods and they are great to fish with, but I sold them in various fits of stupidity.

Too many rods? Not enough?

I dunno. Seems just about right to me.


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