Batson Enterprises Custom Rods
Custom fishing rods - the experts at Batson Enterprises tells us what it's all about. They give insights to rod technologies and components for rod building.
Bill Batson: My father started this company 36 years ago, and he wanted something that we can have as a family and something that we could make a living and feed other families with. We sell all the parts and pieces to build fishing rods. We sell to the custom Rod builder, all the way to the largest OEMs in the industry.
Mike Thorson: My name is Mike Thorson, I am vice president of engineering here a Batson Enterprises. I've been with the company for 12 years. Prior to Batson, I was product manager at St. Croix rod for nine years.
Bill: First of all you start with a blank. We have 750 rod blanks. We're the largest supplier of blanks in the industry. And then you go from there; to the guides, to the reel seats, to the cork, to the butt cap, to the tip top. Ya, we have over 5000 different SKUs.
We probably have 100 different butt caps to choose from. We have you know, so many different types of material that we use. For guides we use titanium, we use 304 stainless steel, 316 stainless steel, aluminum reel seats. From T 6061 marine grade aluminum, to glass filled nylon. There's so many different different variations when you talk about components. So ya, you can find Batson parts on a lot of manufacturers rods.
Bill: Oh there's many different reasons why you would go custom. When you customize it means you can add color to it, you can add more guides, you can shorten or lengthen the rear grip of your handles so it would be more comfortable. You can balance it. You don't get all those things off the shelf if you walk into a tackle store to buy a fishing rod.
Mike: When you're developing your first custom rod, like I mentioned earlier, the rod blank is probably the engine. Obviously there's quite a bit more to it. You have your handle, your reel seat, and then your rod guides.
Things that can affect the performance of a rod. You want to make sure that the handle length is correct. That helps balance the rod while you're fishing with it. The distance from the reel seat to the first rod guide is critical for best casting performance. The number of guides you use on a rod can affect how the rod flexes under load. You want to make sure you have the correct amount, and the correct guide spacing.
Something that we do here at Batson Enterprises that aid the first time builder is we have recipes created for the vast majority of our rod blanks. And you can, you know, pick out a blank or say that you want to drop shot fish, or pitch for bass or whatever it may be, we'll give you kind of a good better and best scenario. And we'll also outline in that recipe what kind of guides to use, what kind of grips to use, what the best reel seat choice would be, within your price range obviously. What the guide spacing should be. We take a lot of the work out of it for you so you can you be successful with your first build. That comes from all our years of experience. And then we actually lay the rods out here to make sure that they can perform properly on the field. If you want to find that information on our recipes you can look at RainShadowRodBlanks.com or GuideSpacing.com.
Bill: Under the Batson umbrella, I should say, there's a bunch of different labels. The RainShadow blank, the Alps components, the Forecast components, or even Jaguar Designs. So all these labels are under the Batson umbrella. For instance the RainShadow is our blank line. So anything that's a blank is under the RainShadow name.
Mike: RainShadow all the blanks are designed by myself. We have again various sources whether manufactured. Part of the process includes qualifying each vendor extensively, seeing their facility, seeing their engineering team, working very closely with them on each individual design. I always visit the facilities and then we bring the product back here. Extensive testing before it's ever put on the market.
Bill: The Alps product line is our reel seats and guides. More of our high-end product line is our Alps product line.
Mike: Alps is a product line that is developed in Taiwan, but Alps relies heavily on joint engineering efforts from both our engineering team and their own.
Bill: And then we have the Forecast product line, which is more of our price-point sensitive components. And the only difference between the two is better materials in the Alps. Alps come with titanium, the Forecast doesn't have titanium. You know things like that.
Mike: Forecast is kind of our own brand which we have manufactured by various sources throughout the world and that's all design in-house year. And then we job out the various designs to different manufactures, but it's all made our specifications and so forth.
Bill: Jaguar Designs is our design team.
Mike: Jaguar Designs is a division of Batson enterprises and primarily our function is to design custom products for pretty much anybody in the fishing industry. Generally it's rod building components or blanks. We can develop custom reel seats, either aluminum or injection molded, graphite rod blanks of all different qualities, fiberglass rod blanks, cork and EVA grips. Just about anything you can think of that you build a fishing rod with, we can design exclusively for know the customer.
We also pride ourselves in consistency in our inspection process is very first-rate in my opinion. A lot of companies don't offer that, were they've looked at every single blank that comes through the door. We have specifications for each and every one. It has to meet our criteria before you would ever see it, and were pretty fussy.
Bill: Our family owns the company but it's it's a whole team and the team is our family everybody works is like family to us.
Mike: Ah the family culture and the people are wonderful to work for. I've been in the industry for over 30 years. This is without question the finest group of people I've ever worked with. I haven't added it up recently, but it's got to be over 80 years of experience with the design and manufacture of fishing equipment. I don't think many people can say that.
Everybody here either build rods or fishes or both. I think that's extremely important because they walk the walk, as well as talk the talk, so to speak.