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Mass Produced Rod Vs A Custom

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I am in the market for a new plastics, light jig, spinnerbait, paddle tail swimmer and swim jig rod up to 3/4 to 1 oz tops. I bought a Powell Endurance 723 but it had to be returned due to an issue I documented in an earlier post. I am looking up to $200 for budget and I am trying to decide whether to buy an off the rack rod or have one made for me. I would appreciate any input on off the rack rods that may fit the bill and input from people that have had customs made.

If I decide to go custom what should I take into account other than what seems to be obvious (length, power, reel seat, grips, hook holder, guides)?

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I would say custom but also keep in mind that to make a rod that is individualized to your specific needs is costly for several reasons. First you have the labor that is factored into the cost of the rod. Second you have the individual components and accent/trim pieces. There also may be a shipping charge as well. Also the amount of time needed to complete the build will be weeks if not months so consider when you need the rod by.

Talk to a custom builder about what $200 total shipped to your door will get you. There are alot of nice off the shelf options out there for under $200.

Compile a list of rods that fit the bill for what you want and compare it against what you think you will get for a custom.

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I have already done that in the past. Basically I would get the following setup for a custom, or something close for about $200 shipped

MHX 843 Blank, 1/4-3/4oz MH/F

Fuji ECSM seat

Fuji Alconite guides 7, 4.5........ & top

Cork spilt grip

single color wraps with trim band

Off the shelf I am looking at the G Loomis E6X 834, Dobyns Savvy 733, Powell Max3D 7''3" MH, Pinnacle Perfecta 7' MH and maybe a Duckett.

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I'd be looking at an off shelf Avid before trying to spec a custom for $200. IMO, you're not getting much rod in a custom for that kind of money.

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I'd be looking at an off shelf Avid before trying to spec a custom for $200. IMO, you're not getting much rod in a custom for that kind of money.

Lol I'm liking a lot of what your saying tonight Scott. I'm not in business of selling rods but this was my thought exactly.

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If you go to a custom rod builder and tell him the type of rod you would like to have, and your budget, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will get twice the rod you were expecting.  But first you have to do your homework.  One of our sponsors is Batson.  You can go to their site and pretty much design your own rod, from grips, to blanks to reel seats, to guides.  Once you have made your decisions, simply call your custom builder and read the menu to him.

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Sometimes you can find good blanks on closeout and components as well or catch a sale. Hard to say what would be best.

If you have your heart set on trying a custom save up a bit longer or sell some things you don't need to free some funds to increase your budget.

Check with a few custom builders to see what they can do for price. Maybe you can find a guy that would build it without alot of labor costs.

Side note: the ALX Zolo B rods are a little over $200 but are close to a custom rod in build. They have really nice blanks and tapers. It is the closest production rod that I have to my custom K2.

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The trick is waiting till Mudhole has free shipping on orders over 100 bucks.

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I'd be looking at an off shelf Avid before trying to spec a custom for $200. IMO, you're not getting much rod in a custom for that kind of money.

I agree, although St Croix is not one of my favorite brands.   From an economic standpoint most rod builders are not building 100-200 rods at a time, they are pretty much buying components at retail price.  A rod company builds thousands of rods, parts are wholesale to them and their labor is cheaper than an individual rod builder.  

 

A good example of this for me was last year, my buddy has a Cabo 40 reel as I do.  He had a custom 8' rod built, I tried it and liked it.  Went to see the rod builder 40 miles away, the identical rod to my friend was about $250 and 2 month wait, this rod builder is very busy.  Not wanting to wait that long I bought a brand that I'm very familiar with, it's also 8' mh with the same lure parameters, visually hard to tell the 2 rods apart.  Casting distance for the 2 rods is about the same and we both handle the same size fish, I see no difference in performance but my rod was 1/2 the price.  As important as the rod performance is the customer service, my rod has a lifetime warranty with a great reputation and purchased from West Marine.  If there would have been a problem, which there wasn't  I have 2 ways to go for satisfaction, makes me more comfortable than dealing with a single individual.

 

A custom rod does do wonders for one's ego, my ego is fueled from the fish I catch not the wand in my hands.

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If you go to a custom rod builder and tell him the type of rod you would like to have, and your budget, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will get twice the rod you were expecting.  But first you have to do your homework.  One of our sponsors is Batson.  You can go to their site and pretty much design your own rod, from grips, to blanks to reel seats, to guides.  Once you have made your decisions, simply call your custom builder and read the menu to him.

Of course the client has final say, but design and component recommendation are a big part of what you pay a good rod builder for. If you've done due diligence and/or know through experience exactly what you want that makes it easy for me. However, I encourage novice's to custom rods to keep an open mind and consider the builder's advice in decision making. 

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I have already done that in the past. Basically I would get the following setup for a custom, or something close for about $200 shipped

MHX 843 Blank, 1/4-3/4oz MH/F

Fuji ECSM seat

Fuji Alconite guides 7, 4.5........ & top

Cork spilt grip

single color wraps with trim band

Off the shelf I am looking at the G Loomis E6X 834, Dobyns Savvy 733, Powell Max3D 7''3" MH, Pinnacle Perfecta 7' MH and maybe a Duckett.

You have over $100 worth of components listed. You're not likely to find a good builder who will build that for $200, not to mention $30+ for shipping.

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You have over $100 worth of components listed. You're not likely to find a good builder who will build that for $200, not to mention $30+ for shipping.

I have a real nice 7'2" ML RX8 I'm trying to sell. I just want my money back out of it and to do that, I have to have a $200 price tag on it. Just delivered a 5' UL RX7 on Saturday. That one was $198 out the door.

Unless you're really good friends with a builder, I doubt you'll find a $200 custom. If you do, He's just making it harder for other builders to get what their work is really worth.

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I'd be looking at an off shelf Avid before trying to spec a custom for $200. IMO, you're not getting much rod in a custom for that kind of money.

 

I completely agree.

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Ok here we go :)

 

Customs or Mass Production.

 

First thing before going down the road is how much personalization you want for your rod? This is where it starts. Not all mass produce rods are bad, they are just different.

 

Truth be told, a lot of these "mass" produced rod companies buy blanks and components from a company like ours. We sell in high volume to OEM and Private labels all the time. They assemble the rod then put it on the market. Other companies go to factories and piece things together. 

 

WHY custom you ask?? Here is the heavy story. Ill try to keep it short.

 

Every person fishes completely different. Some are power fisherman, some are finesse, some are a mix. But rod companies can not afford to have a rod lineup that has 80 bass models to try to outfit every type of angler. But we can. We have 750+ blank models and over 220+ of them are in the bass market. We have 5500+ components to satisfy nearly every fisherman. Why have so many models? Well every person fishes differently and wants something a bit more personalized. In crank bait alone we have 40 models. Some like glass, some like graphite, some like a blend of both. So when a private label or OEM/Private label has a specific model in mind we can out fit them. We have a complete design team as well. If we don't have something in stock that works, we can design and supply. 

 

Now lets get back to customs. A custom rod allows you to personalize any part of your rod to maximize its full potential and made personally for you, the angler. Comfort, handle length, guide sizes, number of guides, building on the straight edge vs spine, what type of components: reel seat, guides ( rings and frame materials ), Tip Tops ( ring and frame materials ), type of grips and lengths, trim rings and winding checks, even color etc.. 

 

It may be daunting, but you get to customize all these to you! Could you imagine the cost of you were to get a custom suit made or a custom pair of shoes?

 

Take 2 different anglers with the same fishing environment, line, reel, lure, etc.. but lets just change height and weight. One is 5'5" 140lb and the next is 6'4" 260lbs. Both persons should not be using the same handle length, rod size, etc.. Much like anything customization will solve these issues.

 

This is also the reason why many anglers have a myriad of different rods by different manufactures due to wanting different things. Lets give this example, Manufacturer 1 has a white rod with cork split grips but with blue components and Manufacturer 2 has a black rod with eva full grips and silver components. But you want a white rod with silver components and eva split grips. You would be stuck because then you would have to look at Manufacturer 3 or 4 etc.. to find your right combo. You get the picture. 

 

Custom rods allows you to solve any and all issues that you may encounter. 

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You can pm me and I'll give you the name of a builder that doesn't charge much. I think my Mhx build was $150 shipped. I picked the blank,guides,reel seat, and thread color.

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Another consideration is resale, If you decide to sell a home brewed rod it's not worth a dime.. Just buy a rod and be happy. If you can't find one you like there's no way your going to have a rod built for $200.00 total that you will like at all.

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The issue I had with off the shelf rods and why I went custom -

Very few manufacturers tell you what you're getting in a blank. Rarely could I find a rod that had the exact components, length, and power I wanted. Maybe it had everything I wanted minus the guides, grip length / material , reel seat, etc. Plus they are mass produced meaning at times sloppy work being crooked guides, excess epoxy, the reel seat and grip didn't align perfect, etc.

In order to bring out the full potential in a blank it has to be built right. I seriously doubt a large percentage of companies static test, rather mass build off of blueprints. Only the individual can decide if the juice is worth the squeeze. For me it was. Save another 60 bucks and get what you want is my advice. I think the only rods I've seen consistent build quality from are Kistler, ALX, Megabass, and some other Jdm companies. I was at Sportsmans warehouse this morning looking over rods from Powell, Duckett, and Fenwick. The majority of them were far from flawless.

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Yup your right!

 

So Hogsticker, when are you going to come out west and touch and feel our products? Might as well since your in the same state! ;) 

 

It all comes down to the engine and who is designing in and making it. 

 

Personalization is key, don't worry too much about resale value, unless your going to get out of the sport and want to sell everything.. 

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Yup your right!

 

So Hogsticker, when are you going to come out west and touch and feel our products? Might as well since your in the same state! ;)

 

It all comes down to the engine and who is designing in and making it. 

 

Personalization is key, don't worry too much about resale value, unless your going to get out of the sport and want to sell everything.. 

Plus, a well built rod from a reputable builder should command a decent resale price over a "home brewed" build just slapped together. 

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Mike, I am interested to hear your thoughts. Can you build a decent custom for $200? All these people are saying it's not possible, but I remember reading on here a few times where you said you could. At least I think I did.

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13 and Dobyns are the only 2 brands I've been completely 110% happy with everything. I own/owned Daiwas Kistlers st croixs Shimanos Crowders BPS quantums Shakespeares Sill Stars Pinnacles Okumas. I wouldn't go custom on workhorse rods that get beat up bad. More risk of breaking. However you can't beat custom so for me personally custom is the way to go for finesse.

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You can pm me and I'll give you the name of a builder that doesn't charge much. I think my Mhx build was $150 shipped. I picked the blank,guides,reel seat, and thread color.

Shoot at that price the rest of the rod builders might as well give up and ask if you want fries with that.

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I like how with custom rods you get the first shot at newer components or designs. Spiral wraps are just starting to get popular with mass produced rods but have been very popular among custom builds. Torzite guides are another example.

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I like how with custom rods you get the first shot at newer components or designs. Spiral wraps are just starting to get popular with mass produced rods but have been very popular among custom builds. Torzite guides are another example.

Rod companies watch custom builders to see what is trending and what they can rip off next. I saw my first rod with micro guides at the ICRBE in 2006. Steve Gardner built this really nice rod with these teeny tiny guides. Smallest I've ever seen. It took the manufacturers about 3 years to start marketing the micro guides. Problem that the general fishing public, or the rod companies for that matter, fail to realize is micro guides are NOT for every application and that's why many hate them.

Split grips appeard in the custom market years before they were on manufactured rods. I believe Rich Forhan started that trend. Now its hard to buy a rod without a split grip.

What would be nice is if the makers of mass produced rods would learn a little fit and finish from the custom builders. Gaps in wraps, sloppy finish, poorly fitting cork, glue squeezing out between the reel seat and cork....and that was all on one single NRX!! If someone is gonna pay that kind of money for a poorly executed build, why not consider custom and get a great product for the same price!

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What an interesting discussion! I'd never really considered a custom rod build until Batson gave that great explanation. Custom rods are still way out of my price range due to being in college, though..

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