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Deputy Dave

My new Kistler Z-Bone

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The weather here in Indiana finally let us get out on the water one evening this week and I got to use my new Z-Bone rod. I bought a 7.6ft HF several weeks ago and actually got to catch a couple small fish on it. (under 3lbs.) I was absolutely blown away by the sensitivity of this rod!!! I own several Helium's and really thought they were probly at about the high end when it comes to sensitivity but this thing is amazing!

Unfortunately this is not a rod your going to be able to go in your favorite tackle shop and pickup and play with but do yourself a favor and visit the Kistler website and take a look at these new rods. I'm going to just have to have a couple more of these.

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i would be on board 100% if the warranty didn't suck so bad. I'd rather just get the LTX 2. Top of the line rods should have top of the line warranties to go with their top of the line price...

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i would be on board 100% if the warranty didn't suck so bad. I'd rather just get the LTX 2. Top of the line rods should have top of the line warranties to go with their top of the line price...

Well said !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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yeah , i don't care if god himself designed and turned these blanks , that warranty is worthless . here is the explanation of their 90 day warranty -

  All Z bone rods carry our 90 Day limited warranty guarantee! After that, if you take care of your rod and don't treat it like a winch, a net or a snagged bait remover...you will experience a lifetime of performance from your custom Z bone rod

i think we all take care of are rods , i guess no one needs a warranty  ::)

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That z-bone warranty is a joke considering that rod is made using Gary Loomis NorthFork Composites (NFC) blank which has a lifetime warranty.

Trey Kistler is dreaming if he thinks very many people are going to pay $275-$400+ for the rod with that pityful warranty.

That rod is a sore spot with me considering NFC sent all the initial production run of the 7' HM blanks to Trey Kistler and my rod builder is still waiting on my 7' HM blank from NFC.

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Blanks by Gary Loomis.  Reel seats and guides by Fuji.

What exactly is Kistler providing that any custom rod wrapper can't?

I see no added value to his new MARKETING campaign.

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Blanks by Gary Loomis. Reel seats and guides by Fuji.

What exactly is Kistler providing that any custom rod wrapper can't?

I see no added value to his new MARKETING campaign.

Kistler is actually decreasing the value by not honoring/offering the full warranty passed onto him by Gary/NFC.

On a more positive note, Deputy Dave I am glad you like the new kistler zbone rod and hope it serves you well.

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I'm not justifying or supporting their warranty in any way, shape or forum, I too think they could do a much much better job in that area in support of their customers. However, I said all that to say that I've been fishing for about 37 years now and can remember breaking 2 rods in my life. Both were very much my fault and not in any way the fault of the rod or the manufacture. Let me add that I'm not a guy that has 3 or 4 outfits and fish 4 or 5 times a year. I've always had 15-20 rods at any given time my entire adult life. I own a Skeeter bass boat and fish tournaments weekly throughout the entire season. I currently have 21 rods that are kept in my bass boat and used for tournament fishing. Most of which are Kistlers. I do have 5 St Croix Avids, 2 Loomis IMX's, 2 Shimano Cumaras and a couple Crucial spinning rods. So, I do have a little money invested in rods. I guess I'm just different in that when I purchase a high end rod (Kistler Z-Bone) I don't get paranoid about what I'll do if this rod breaks. I instead concentrate on the deal that I'm getting, the quality of the rod, how buying this new rod will improve my fishing and last but not least I enjoy the excitement of buying another new rod. Maybe I've just been alot luckier than most guys and not had alot of rods break on me or had any manufacturing defects in rods over the last 3.5 decades of hard fishing.

I'm having a tough time trying to articulate what I'm trying to say here and I'm sure it won't read anything like I'm actually trying to explain it. When I was reading all the reviews and articles about the new Z-Bone rods that were about to hit the market I guess I just was trying to determine if I could financially justify another rod right then and if so which one I would buy and what technique it would be used for. I don't ever remember giving any thought about what would happen if I broke it 2 or 3 years from now. When my brother and I went out on the lake last Tuesday evening and I got to use my new rod for the first time all of my thoughts were about how much I liked it and how surprised I was about the sensitivity of my new rod. I didn't say to my brother " If I break this new rod I have to hurry up and do it in the first 90 days or I'm screwed" Actually, that thought hasn't even crossed my mind. I'm just enjoying my new rod!!!

Like I said earlier, I guess I'm just different than most and I don't get all hung up what I'm gonna do if something bad happens. I just enjoy my stuff and use it. We're all different (if we were all the same just think about how long the lines would be!) so to each is own. One of the 2 rods that I've broken in my life was in fact a Kistler. It was last season and as mentioned earlier was my fault. It cost me $50 they sent me an upgraded model (the one I broke is no longer in production) that was 7 years newer. I can live with that!

In the mean time I'll just keep on throwing my be-loved Kistlers with their very weak warranty and enjoying the crap out of the time that I'm on the water and able to fish!

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Blanks by Gary Loomis. Reel seats and guides by Fuji.

What exactly is Kistler providing that any custom rod wrapper can't?

I see no added value to his new MARKETING campaign.

With the exception of a VERY VERY few (St Croix maybe ???) who else makes their own blanks, reel seats, guides etc...????

I'm pretty sure that most just assemble other manufactures parts and then put a sticker with their name on the rod and call themselves a rod company...

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Blanks by Gary Loomis. Reel seats and guides by Fuji.

What exactly is Kistler providing that any custom rod wrapper can't?

I see no added value to his new MARKETING campaign.

With the exception of a VERY VERY few (St Croix maybe ???) who else makes their own blanks, reel seats, guides etc...????

I'm pretty sure that most just assemble other manufactures parts and then put a sticker with their name on the rod and call themselves a rod company...

most rod companies have some one else build their rods to their specs , they don't just pick a random blank and slap a sticker on it  ::) :;) anyhow , enjoy the rod , ya bought it cause you like it , don't let our dislikes of kistler for making that ridiculous warranty stop you from having a good time  :)

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Dave, congratulations on an awesome rod!

Regarding the warranty, I feel it's a business decision on Kistler's part. Instead of pricing in the additional "insurance" cost of a strong warranty, they [probably] believe that they will have better sales and margins by keeping the MSRP lower. Apparently, they believe lower price (and Gary Loomis reputation) are greater sales drivers than a lifetime warranty.

I personally like the features of Kistler rods, but I'm not completely comfortable with the business model that at times lacked transparency about the product design and their policies. I also think the constantly changing "vintages" of rods make it difficult to develop specific expectations for a particular model. On the other hand, constantly changing model years means that closeouts are constantly available at extreme discounts.

Because I found discounts great enough to offset my skepticism, I purchased 3 rods. So far, I'm very impressed with two and have yet to pass judgement on the third.

At this point, I am not ready pay full price for a Z-Bone with a 90 day warranty. (and I can't afford $400 either :) ) I'd either need to see a discount approaching 50% or an improvement in the warranty to incent me to purchase an expensive product without a track record demonstrating reliability.

If my income level was a couple tax brackets higher, I would probably have a couple "custom" Z-Bones already :)

Leon

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I emailed Kistler rods on the warrenty issues, and here is the response:

Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 7:01 PM

To: trey@kistlerrods.com

Subject: RE: Kistler Custom Fishing Rods Customer Service

Trey,

I really love the idea of building your own rod.  This is a great concept and I can now get exactly what I want.  Also, I have been a huge G Loomis fans for the past 10 years or so, and fish their rods exclusively.  I was very excited to learn that you are using the new Loomis blanks.  I have found your website very helpful and easy to navagate, and I do not have any questions regarding it.  My only question is concerning the rod warrenty.  If I remember correctly, there was a 90-day limited warrenty.  As you are aware, with my Loomis rods I can get them replaced no matter what happens for $50.  Is this the case with the new zbones?  The warrenty is the only thing holding me up at this point.

Thanks,

Jason

If you know of another custom rod builder that will offer you a better warranty on this quality of rod, then let me know so I can ask him how he does it. Be careful not to compare a Loomis stock rod with a Custom Kistler Z bone built on a Gary Loomis/North Fork Composite blank. Not even close. Once you try one, you'll know why you don't need a warranty and why others are selling all their other rods and buying more Z bones. Did you know that other high end rods such as those made in Japan do not have one day warranty and folks still buy them because the rods are awesome? You have to make the decision whether to buy a warranty or buy a tool that will increase your success rate. It's your decision now that you know the facts. Thanks for checking us out.

Trey Kistler

Kistler Rods

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That doesn't ease my mind whatsoever. I understand they are probably great sticks, I just don't want to risk a pile of cash that size on a freak accident that may or may not happen as a result of my own actions. With a purchase that size, I want to have some assurances that if someone closes the door on my car and snaps a rod tip, I'm not going to have to murder them...

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He is quite the salesman. Good luck to him.

I guess if you can afford one z-bone (I can't), you can probably afford a second one. With that warranty (or lack thereof), you'd better be ready.

Although I would bet not many will buy a second one if the first breaks.

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i would just buy a NFC 766-1 blank ( 7'6" heavy , moderate fast action flipping rod blank ) and have it custom wrapped and have the FULL warranty ..... :)

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With a purchase that size, I want to have some assurances that if someone closes the door on my car and snaps a rod tip, I'm not going to have to murder them...

I don't understand this mind set at all. How in the world is Kistler responsible for replacing a rod that is broken by a negligent act like closing it in a car door? I have a warranty on my truck, but if I crash it, Ford doesn't have to replace it. Trey has a very good point. You can purchase a rod or purchase a warranty. I imagine I'll have a couple of Z-Bones in the near future!

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With a purchase that size, I want to have some assurances that if someone closes the door on my car and snaps a rod tip, I'm not going to have to murder them...

I don't understand this mind set at all. How in the world is Kistler responsible for replacing a rod that is broken by a negligent act like closing it in a car door? I have a warranty on my truck, but if I crash it, Ford doesn't have to replace it. Trey has a very good point. You can purchase a rod or purchase a warranty. I imagine I'll have a couple of Z-Bones in the near future!

what's not to understand? Other companies offer some sort of warranty that saves my butt if either myself or a friend is to blame for a freak accident. Even Kistler has been known to take back rods with no questions (although some reports conflict)...Until they can offer a similar warranty on a high end rod, I'm not going to risk the money...

besides that, I'm not going to bet that much cash that I'll never have a problem with a rod...who knows what types of defects might show up after 90 days?

If I break my Shimano, my St Croix, a Loomis, or even a different model of Kistler, I have some sort of recourse. Why is it too much to expect the same from a  $250-350 Z-Bone?

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With some of the other companies offering better warranties on comparable rods, I really don't see a Z-Bone in my future.

St. Croix warranty:

GOLD STAR SERVICE PLAN

Ahh..but what if you're not registered as the original owner of the rod. Or your buddy stepped on your rod, or slammed it in a car door, or worse yet, used it to free a snag. No worries. St. Croix's Gold Star Plan eliminates the uncertainty of a dubious warranty claim. Here's what to do.

1. Return your damaged rod to St. Croix. Use our Discount Shipping Program to save money.

2. Include a note requesting our Gold Star Service, along with a check for $50 to cover the repair or replacement of your rod. Our Technician will determine whether to repair or replace your rod keeping in mind we'll only repair it if we can make it perform like new.

3. That's all there is to it. And there's no additional s&h charge for customers in the USA. Canadian customers must pay an additional $20 for s&h, and all other International customers must pay an additional $30 for s&h.

Acceptable methods of payment include personal check (drawn on a USA bank account) and credit card (VISA, MC, American Express, Discover).

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With some of the other companies offering better warranties on comparable rods, I really don't see a Z-Bone in my future.

St. Croix warranty:

GOLD STAR SERVICE PLAN

Ahh..but what if you're not registered as the original owner of the rod. Or your buddy stepped on your rod, or slammed it in a car door, or worse yet, used it to free a snag. No worries. St. Croix's Gold Star Plan eliminates the uncertainty of a dubious warranty claim. Here's what to do.

1. Return your damaged rod to St. Croix. Use our Discount Shipping Program to save money.

2. Include a note requesting our Gold Star Service, along with a check for $50 to cover the repair or replacement of your rod. Our Technician will determine whether to repair or replace your rod keeping in mind we'll only repair it if we can make it perform like new.

3. That's all there is to it. And there's no additional s&h charge for customers in the USA. Canadian customers must pay an additional $20 for s&h, and all other International customers must pay an additional $30 for s&h.

Acceptable methods of payment include personal check (drawn on a USA bank account) and credit card (VISA, MC, American Express, Discover).

you gotta love St.Croix !!! , a few rods i have planned to get built are gonna be built on their blanks  :)

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    Dan, breaking a rod in a car door is not a freak accident. It is a result of negligence any way you look at it. Some things happen that are simply our own faults. We cannot ask a manufacturer to take responsibility for damage caused by our own haphazardness. If a company puts a liftime warranty on their products, you can bet that they are charging you for the warranty.

    Now let's talk about Kistler's 90 day warranty. Let's just assume that anyone who spends that kind of money probably goes fishing more than a little bit. In a 90 day period I'm fishing at least 10-15 times. In ten days of hard fishing any real factory defects should be detected. After that it is on you to take care of your gear.

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Somewhere between the contractual pricing and agreements with NFC it may have been infeasible to add the [lifetime] warranty insurance at a reasonable price.  Thus, Kistler may have felt the product was more appealing to sell at a lower price point, than to embed the lifetime warranty insurance prices into the new product price.  Thus, it is possible that a $400 rod might have cost as much as $500 to include the insurance.

That said, I'm pretty conservative and insure almost everything.  I would prefer to spend more for a product with a better warranty.  I cannot get personally upset with Kistler because they are launching a new product with a different pricing (no embedded insurance).  I just won't buy it if I'm uncomfortable with the breakage risks relative to the product's value as a tool.  On the other hand, I would be quite upset if there was a significant decrease in the lifetime warranty coverage of products that have already been sold.

Admittedly, I would like to see a more precise description of the warranty coverage and obligations from Kistler.  They are rather vague by MY standards.

On the other hand, I've been able to purchase Kistlers at prices low enough to offset my discomfort with the constant changes in their business model.  Wow, these rods are great!! (two Argons, one Helium 2, and another Helium 2 due to arrive this week).  I guess I am no longer unbiased :)

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Dan, breaking a rod in a car door is not a freak accident. It is a result of negligence any way you look at it.

what about the time that I broke a St Croix Avid that was in my trunk. During my drive, the rod had somehow rolled on the reel and elevated the tip so it got stuck in the arm that opens the trunk. (It was a 2-piece). When I got out and opened the trunk to retrieve the rod, it snapped in the trunk hinge. Is that something that someone could have reasonably expected to happen? Absolutely not. It was a freak accident and was not my fault. It's not St Croix's fault either, but as a company, they took care of it and I ended up with a Legend Tournament and a love for St Croix at the end of the day...

Some things happen that are simply our own faults. We cannot ask a manufacturer to take responsibility for damage caused by our own haphazardness. If a company puts a liftime warranty on their products, you can bet that they are charging you for the warranty.

EXACTLY!!! The price of a Z-Bone is so high! higher than other rods that DO have lifetime warranties! For me, part of buying an expensive rod is having the reassurance that the company will help me out if something happens to it. I'm more than willing to pay a little more if I know I can replace the rod cheap if something happens. It's like paying for insurance.

Normally, I would not ask the company to take care of an accident, I get that point. It's not their fault but when so many others in the fishing rod industry are offering some form of recourse for broken rods for A LIFETIME then I'm not going to spend my money on a rod with no such assurances. It's just part of the purchase decision for me. I'd love to have a Z-Bone but I don't want to spend a lot of money without any reassurances when there are other companies out there with warranties that are way, way better.

Now let's talk about Kistler's 90 day warranty. Let's just assume that anyone who spends that kind of money probably goes fishing more than a little bit. In a 90 day period I'm fishing at least 10-15 times. In ten days of hard fishing any real factory defects should be detected. After that it is on you to take care of your gear.

That is assuming that rods do not develop issues over time. Can you say for sure that a $250-$500 rod will absolutely, 100%, NEVER, EVER have a problem 90 days after you buy it?

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With some of the other companies offering better warranties on comparable rods, I really don't see a Z-Bone in my future.

St. Croix warranty:

GOLD STAR SERVICE PLAN

Ahh..but what if you're not registered as the original owner of the rod. Or your buddy stepped on your rod, or slammed it in a car door, or worse yet, used it to free a snag. No worries. St. Croix's Gold Star Plan eliminates the uncertainty of a dubious warranty claim. Here's what to do.

1. Return your damaged rod to St. Croix. Use our Discount Shipping Program to save money.

2. Include a note requesting our Gold Star Service, along with a check for $50 to cover the repair or replacement of your rod. Our Technician will determine whether to repair or replace your rod keeping in mind we'll only repair it if we can make it perform like new.

3. That's all there is to it. And there's no additional s&h charge for customers in the USA. Canadian customers must pay an additional $20 for s&h, and all other International customers must pay an additional $30 for s&h.

Acceptable methods of payment include personal check (drawn on a USA bank account) and credit card (VISA, MC, American Express, Discover).

you gotta love St.Croix !!! , a few rods i have planned to get built are gonna be built on their blanks :)

Do you need the receipt? I broke my 6'8" MXF on a Steelhead while fishing in a river for Smallies.

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I tend to agree with the views of Deputy Dave & Bird Dog on this matter but I can definetely understand why some would be reluctant to buy this rod because of the limited warranty when there are other fine sticks on the market with a more genorous warranty. That said I love the idea of being able to customize the rod which has me intriqued enough where I might consider getting a Kistler which I've never purchased up to this point. Also, with most rod companies going to split grip handles which I personally dislike I can now order any length etc. with a real handle. The cool thing is if you like a split grip you can do that too.

Generally if there is a defect in a rod I would likly discover it within the 1st 90 days and any issues that may develop would probably be minor stuff like a guide insert falling out, things of that nature which are inexpensive to repair. If the rod breaks it's because I probably done something careless with it.

I don't plan on getting a rod anytime soon, I already have about 40 rods with about 20 currently being used. That said I usually buy a couple every winter in an attempt to upgrade and I keep the old ones in case I lose a guide insert etc. which gives me something to use while the main one is getting fixed. Maybe some day I'll have a garage sale and get rid of a few. :)

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This again brings attention to the cold weather fishermen.  What if I purchase a Z-Bone in November, and can not use it until our WI state opener in May?

I've had others say, 'if you knew how great this rod is, you will find a way to fish with it in the first 90 days...'  Give me a break.  That's almost as bad a 'if you knew what these rods went through in our factory, you can be assures you'll never have a problem with the rod.'

GIVE ME A BREAK!

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