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ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Tony Vieson (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: October 01, 2021 07:56AM

I imagine this will get some debates going. The part for that makes this the most difficult is not being able to put my hands on a Rod Blank before buying one. Which leaves me with the opinions of others based on there experience. With that being said, let me try and set a control group if that is even possible.

Brands I have personally held in my hand.

Bass Pro Carbon Lite - Not a bad rod per say. When a first started my journey into competitive BASS fishing, it provided a decent rod and reel combo for a decent cost. Sensitivity is so so, not a particular light rod, has heldup over the years.

Abu Garcia - I can't remember the model of the first one I had, but while throwing a buzz bait, top half of the rod around the 3rd of 4th eye just snapped. Had another Spinning Rod that was a Veritas that I wasn't impressed with that I sold to a buddy for half of what I paid for it and he broke it literally in half setting the hook on a fish a year later. They are in my opinion a cheap garbage rod, but I know some who swear by them.

FX Rods Xtreme Angler - I have no complaints with this rod. Weight to me seems very reasonable. Performs very well as a crank bait rod. The action and speed of the rod does exactly as I need it to as a crank bait rod.

Okuma TCS Rods - The weight of the rods is suburb, but the longevity has left a little to be desired. Broke the TIP on one, bent the eyes on the other 2, and the collar on the real seat that is mostly there for aesthetics drifts around between the reel seat and the last eye. Basically I would say decent rod with cheap hardware and assembly. Only would say only 1 is at least close to being on spine

Duckett Micro Magics - Love these rods, light, very sensitive, micro guides. For some reason, the bait keeps on them either rust or fall off.
The Ghost Duckett I have I would call equivalent to the Bass Pro Carbon Lite. It's still light, but feels like a entry level Rod.

G.Loomis - Had 2 E6X Rods - Bought these because G.Loomis is according to most the gold standard in Rods. I bought these with the intent of replacing my Duckett Rods. I wanted something more sensitive and I would say the were equal to my Ducketts, but cost more. They were even heavier than my Ducketts. I proceeded to sell these as they didn't feel like they were worth what I spent for them.

Shimano Expride - This is the caliber Rod I want to build. Lightest Rod I own. Very sensitive. The action and power are right on. I would still like a little more sensitivity and considering what I paid for it. Annoyed that it doesn't have a bait keeper.

This covers the range of Rods I have personally had in my hands.
From a sensitivity stand point for flipping and pitching and finesse style fishing. The Shimano, Duckett, and G.Loomis are my favorites and I would like to find blanks that are as good if not better than these.
From a crank bait, skipping, or jerk bait stand point. I really like the Okuma and FX Rods. They are very reasonable on the weight and they perform very well, but if I could reduce the weight some more, improve the construction/ assembly, and get them on spin. I feel like a Rod Blanks on the same level or again, better. Would get the performance and longevity I'm looking for.

My goal is to replace many of my aging rods if not all of them over time with ones that fit my style of fishing better, fit me better as many of my rods handles are to long and bump into my gut, "yes I'm fat." Some I feel the design of the reel seats hurt there sensitivity because they completely in golf the blank. Then finally there is the look. I'm not sure if it's a result of the materials they are using in blanks now or if there isn't a way to color rods without hurting sensitivity, but it seems like the majority of rods are black now. Though I will admit I love the carbon fiber look of my Shimano.
This post is getting way to long. I am looking for Rod blanks based on what I've stated above. I know many of the things I want to accomplish are going to depend on me and how I build out the rod, but like a house. You have to start with a food foundation and that's why I am looking for. If I can build a couple quality rods to the point that even some guys in my Bass Club want me to build them some or I teach what I've learned to them, then that's a bonus in my book.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: October 01, 2021 08:12AM

With the exception of G.Loomis, I think your entire list are China made rods.

Talk about being controversial, but to me China rods are cheap chinese junk. I *believe* that U.S. made rods are among the best made in the world.

I prefer hand made over mass produced with slave labor and almost no quality controls.

I also prefer knowing the man's name who designed and made my fishing rod rather than having just a brand. I am a collector of U.S. made rods by well known people.

My China rods are rods I can abuse and won't cry about if I break one. For example, when I go into heavy cover lily pads, stumps, etc. and I need to yank a big old bass out of there I won't be using a $500 Airrus to do it when a $40 cheap chinese junk rod can pull up lily pads- and hopefully my fish- just as well.

Oh, and I noticed above you mentioned snapping 2 rods made in China. The Shimano Expride when they first came out also had this same problem and any online search can pull this up. The Exprides are made in China too. And over priced artificially.

So at this point you gotta ask yourself what is your budget and what do you prefer? Do you want the good stuff? Or, the almost no quality control mass produced slave labor import stuff?

Almost any budget can buy plenty of the cheap chinese walmart bass pro type of junk rods. Building up a selection of all U.S. made rods from known builders will take more time and more money.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2021 08:17AM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Richard Popola (---)
Date: October 01, 2021 10:42AM

Kent please enlighten me - aren’t all rods handmade. If not what is the other process? Robots?

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: ben belote (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: October 01, 2021 10:56AM

what good are us rods designed by famous designers if i can,t use them around trees and pads only out in open water where the bass are not..

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: October 01, 2021 12:51PM

I do some what I call abusive bass fishing. When I do things that could break a rod I won't use my expensive irreplaceable rods. I use those when I don't think what I am doing could break them. I see no need to use an expensive rod when in heavy cover. So I carry some beater rods just for such things.

And not all the bass are in cover all the time. One of my greatest joys is being on the water when the schooling fires up. A swimbait or rat'l trap on an expensive rod can really be fun. In times like this any rod will do, but the best does it much better!

In U.S. most rod blanks are made by hand from start to finish, but in China some of the process has been automated, but lacking is quality controls. I just looked up at how much automation is now in fishing equipment production and it is quite extensive...

"We use highly automated and precise manufacturing techniques to create the finest fishing rod grips on the market. "

"They tied their own flies and split bamboo to craft rods. Factory automation has replaced some of those rituals, and today's anglers now have the option..."

"I still remember the first time I visited a fly-rod “factory,” in 1997, ... automation there is) including bigger operations like Sage and Orvis"

"I also have two 8wt fly rods. The rods are designed and handcrafted at the St. Show all industries Logistics Automation."


I have had rod blanks manufacturers tell me face to face they cannot control Chinese quality control for their rods. And this is problematic to me.

In U.S. every rod made by hand is carefully crafted from start to finish with people paying attention to the details.

In China they could not care less. They mass produce their rods and expect to ship virtually every one they make including blanks with flaws in them ready to snap as soon as used. The Chinese do NOT check every rod to make sure it won't break under load. Nope. Pack them up and ship them out and let the people in USA deal with it. Maybe they will get a good rod and maybe they will get one that should have been removed during quality controls.

I'd rather take my chances on U.S. rods that I can put a face to than play Russian roulette on the next shipment of rods from China to wind up in Walmart or bass pro or local custom rod building company.

I'm not saying the chinese cannot make a decent rod. I am sure they do. I am just not going to bother with looking when I have the best choices right here in USA.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2021 01:00PM by Kent Griffith.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Richard Popola (---.tamp.fl.frontiernet.net)
Date: October 01, 2021 01:09PM

Kent - I'd really like to be educated regarding the automation process. In the process of making rods what do you suppose would be automated - handle glueing? wrapping guides on? finishing?

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: October 01, 2021 01:28PM

Look at the Fuji Point Blank like the PB761XXHF or the PB761XXHMF for pulling bass out of reeds, grass and lilypads. For swimbaits, spinners etc try the NFC or AT Bushido blanks in medium or medium light fast action. Also try a shorter grip 9" to 10" measured from the butt of the rod to the rear anchor point on the reel seat and see if that works for you dry fit. Although the Fuji blanks are made in communist China they have good Japanese imperialist quality control. Kent is spot on about the quality of most China made rods and blanks. You can make a much better rod than you can buy.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: October 01, 2021 01:32PM

The process for building a fishing rod blank is roughly the same as it has always been, both here and overseas. There is simply no way to automate certain tasks. Pattern cutting is now sometimes done by computer aided plotter, which in fact, results in more consistent and verbatim patterns. Automation sometimes improves a process and product.

Otherwise, the process is about the same here in the U.S. and everywhere else. There is no magic machine that builds blanks, glues-up handles, wraps and finishes.

..............

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Peter Yawn (---.mpls.qwest.net)
Date: October 01, 2021 07:29PM

Point Blank blanks are made in China. And they are awesome. NFC, made in Washington State, has awful quality control, way worse than a $40 Chinese made Rainshadow. In fact NC quality control is so poor that Kistler has to stop using their blanks. My two favorite factory spinning rods are a Loomis NRX and a Daiwa Steez AGS. Both fish great, but the build quality of the Chinese made Steez is way ahead of the NRX. How about we start basing our opinions on the product themselves and not on our prejudices? Buy what you want, for any reason that you want. But lets stop the nonsense. And to answer the original post, to me the best bang for the buck blanks are Rainshadow in the Immortal or Revelation range.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: David Baylor (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: October 01, 2021 07:57PM

It's laughable to think that just because something is made in the USA, that it is of higher quality than something made overseas. It's also laughable to generalize and say anything built in China, or overseas, has zero quality control. I have no idea where Rainshadow blanks are built, but I can assure you that they have very stringent quality control. In fact, Rainshadow introduced the very short lived Testament line of blanks that were manufactured here in the United States. I believe by a well known manufacturer based in Washington state. Rainshadow quickly discontinued that series of blanks due to quality and supply issues.

Oh and go into a high end tackle shop and pick up a few NRX rods and look at the build quality. Some are atrocious. And those are $600 rods. And I know or many people, some of them members of this site, that have had quality control issues with NFC blanks. I myself had to exchange a Hydra (made in the USA) blank that had serious quality control issues. So let's just stop with the silliness. If you only buy US products, fine. But don't make it sound as if anything that is built USA is golden, and anything built overseas is pure crap.Because that is certainly not the case.

As far as the actual subject of the thread goes. I have zero experience with any of the rods you mentioned. I have only built on a handful of manufacturers blanks. Rainshadow blanks are awesome blanks, and so are the blanks I've built on from NFC. A lot of people speak highly of the Rod Geeks blanks, and you can get them painted by the factory, and they have a good selection of colors to choose from. ALX rods are built on Hydra blanks. I wouldn't put the Hydra blanks on par with the upper level NFC or Rainshadow blanks, but they're decent blanks as well

I have one rod I built on an MHX blank, one of those China blanks, lol and lo and behold, it hasn't exploded. I also have rods that I use in heavy cover that are built on premium blanks and miracle upon miracle, they haven't exploded either. So anyhow Tony, post what kind of rods you're looking to build and I am sure you will get some good blank suggestions

Addition: I agree with Peter, the Rainshadow Immortal series perform well above their price range. I haven't built on the Revelation series but I did build on the RX7 series. The Revelation is an updated version of the RX7, and the RX7 I built on is an awesome blank as well. And Rainshadow's new RX10 Eternity line of blanks (built in Korea if memory serves me correctly, are as premium as any other blank I have built on.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2021 08:03PM by David Baylor.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: October 01, 2021 08:53PM

Quality comes from good management oversight, not manufacturer locale.

.........

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Kendall Cikanek (---)
Date: October 01, 2021 11:58PM

I would personally only build bass rods, for sure, on blanks from three companies. There is a fourth I might consider. Hands-down, my favorite blanks are the SCV’s from St. Croix. They are now available from Rod Geeks. These are perhaps, the best you can buy. They are made from the highest specification Hexcel graphite. They are manufactured in Park Falls, Wisconsin. The ART tapers are truly great. I’ve caught everything from golden trout, black bass, and Chinook Salmon on them. The highest rated rod I’ve ever seen on Tackletour was one of these. I talked to a St. Croix representative and the natural color is now unfinished. This should be great news for those of you who demand this feature. The SCIV blanks Rod Geeks sells are a bit heavier, but they are a good value.

There are techniques that just don’t warrant St. Croix SCV level of cost, though. Some just don’t get used very much. For these, the Rainshadow Immortal series is a great buy. They are made in China, but with decent quality control and materials. The Rainshadow RX10 series is made in Korea and is a high spec blank that comes in less expensive than the top series of St. Croix. I’ve talked to Members of the Batson family and there is a lot of design, testing, and quality control in the RX10 series. Rainshadow blanks are available from Utmost Enterprises, which is an incredible place to do business..

Another blank series that is strong, light, high quality, and very sensitive is those from Point Blank. They have some unique offerings that are aimed well at some techniques. They are made in China, under Fuji supervision. They are very well designed. They aren’t inexpensive, but they come in under The SCV’s in price.

I keep considering the XRay blanks from North Fork Composites. It seems reports on quality vary with them having good months and down periods. People who get good ones really like them.

I have no interest in some of the store brands and other brands that don’t have definitive specifications or source information for their materials. They are mostly purchased from China. They lack manufacturing supervision and a quality control system supervised by those whose names they are sold under. Cheap sourcing and vague descriptions don’t interest me.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2021 12:19AM by Kendall Cikanek.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Russell Brunt (50.220.227.---)
Date: October 02, 2021 09:42AM

Kendall has a nice list for you. I would include NFC, Lamiglass, Seeker, Calstar, and Hydra. Seeker and Calstar are mostly salt water though. Lamiglas is getting hard to come by and might be on the way out.

Typically there is no cross over between blanks and factory rods. Few companies offer both.

I wouldn’t get hung up on names. Worry more about matching blank to technique. Some manufacturers sell a wide range, some are quite narrow in what they offer. Some make it easy to figure out what to buy, some don’t.

Russ in Hollywood, FL.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Harry Glenn (---)
Date: October 03, 2021 02:56PM

I will say the last few NFC orders I've received were all perfect.. probably 5 blanks... delivery times are much better too. Xrays are currently $85.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Tony Vieson (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: October 03, 2021 10:02PM

As before, thanks for the input. I understand that there is a separation from what you can buy versus a manufactured Rod. For me at least, it helps to have that matching comparison. The simplest example I can come up with would be comparing hamburgers.

Just because you visit a privately owned establishment, doesn't automatically mean that they have a good hamburger. Is the burger on the same level as say your store bought fro-zone patties, your typical fast food joint, or is it to a level that you'd pay a little extra like AppleBees, O'Charleys, or Five Guys, or maybe it's more of they charge a Five Guys, Applebees price, but it's a McDonald quality.

I am the kind or person who doesn't go after the cheapest thing out there, but I don't necessarily go for the Mercedes either. I have found many time American made or not. Some people get stuck on name branding. Sometimes even the best makers get lazy or reduce quality to try and improve there bottom line and know most won't care, because they have blind faith in the Brand. In addition, like I've seen mentioned about the St. Croix. Sometimes it's a matter of picking the right model. I've worked in IT practically my whole life and many manufactures have there business/reliable models and there for lack of of better description, the uninformed customer line were there made extra cheap or throw on extra things you don't need to justify the higher cost that really isn't all that different from the business reliable products.

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Norman Miller (---)
Date: October 03, 2021 11:00PM

The nice thing about building a rod is you can make it exactly the way you want it. There are a lot of very nice blanks out there and you don’t have to spend a fortune to make an extremely nice and well functioning rod. As you mentioned previously, picking the right blank is the hardest part, but it can also be a lot of fun and a very good learning experience. It is very difficult to rely solely on the opinions of others, since everyone has different likes and dislikes, but it’s better than nothing. In my opinion, the best high end blanks are Point Blank, Rain Shadow Eternity, St Croix V, and NFC HM/X-ray. Hard to go wrong with any of these but they are expensive. For excellent value, don’t overlook MHX and Rainshadow Revelation blanks, they give a lot of bang for the buck and make into excellent rods you can be proud of. Over the years I have built on blanks from almost all of the major brands and lot not so major brands. They have all made into very nice and functional rods, some I like more than others. So don’t be afraid to try a blank that tweaks your interest. If it’s not exactly what you want, you will have no problem getting rid of it for at least what you paid to build it. They also make great gifts for family or friends. The more you build the easier it becomes choosing blanks based on what you like.
Norm

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Re: ROD Blanks - Brand and Why BASS Fishing
Posted by: Kendall Cikanek (---)
Date: October 04, 2021 10:48PM

Tony Vieson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Just because you visit a privately owned
> establishment, doesn't automatically mean that
> they have a good hamburger. Is the burger on the
> same level as say your store bought fro-zone
> patties, your typical fast food joint, or is it to
> a level that you'd pay a little extra like
> AppleBees, O'Charleys, or Five Guys, or maybe it's
> more of they charge a Five Guys, Applebees price,
> but it's a McDonald quality.
>
> I am the kind or person who doesn't go after the
> cheapest thing out there, but I don't necessarily
> go for the Mercedes either. I have found many time
> American made or not. Some people get stuck on
> name branding. Sometimes even the best makers get
> lazy or reduce quality to try and improve there
> bottom line and know most won't care, because they
> have blind faith in the Brand. In addition, like
> I've seen mentioned about the St. Croix. Sometimes
> it's a matter of picking the right model. I've
> worked in IT practically my whole life and many
> manufactures have there business/reliable models
> and there for lack of of better description, the
> uninformed customer line were there made extra
> cheap or throw on extra things you don't need to
> justify the higher cost that really isn't all that
> different from the business reliable products.

Blank performance is about a synergy of excellent materials, great design, and high manufacturing quality. You can’t moderately compromise any of these elements and have a great blank. Like every product, there can be diminishing returns after certain price-points. The blank series mentioned thus far in this thread are all great within their respective price points. You have received specific blank series and not just brand names. There are some blank makers that give little or very nebulous information. They advertise things like “multi-modulus graphite sourced from Japan”. That statement could be accurate across huge a variance in specifications and price points. You can buy built rods out of graphite sourced from Japan for retail prices that range from under $70 to over $700. A $70 retail rod can’t be built on more than a $10 blank. This seems like a blowing of “Sunshine” and not tangible value.

Those who are domestically manufacturing or importing really good or high value blanks are investing in research, design, and testing. Quality control is managed and taken very seriously at the point of manufacture. You’ll see advances in construction and technique specific actions. Production deals are signed after test runs have been demonstrated to meet standards for those who use sourcing. Others buy inventory based on cheap bids, destroy what visually looks bad after delivery, and do lots of marketing that reads nice but doesn’t really clear the fog.

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