"Chop, Cut, & Rebuild"
I was contacted by fellow Ohioan and steelheader, SC Lam with an interest to rebuild a factory "big name" steelhead rod in the hopes that it can be improved. SC inquired earlier in the season about having a custom rod built and then happened upon a great deal for this rather higher priced name brand model. My preference is always to start from scratch due to creative flexibility, but with SC I agreed because of his generosity in locating an Eddie Bauer float wallet for me that had been discontinued. Generosity does pay off!
After inspecting the rod, I found the blank and factory guides in good condition along with the grips and reel seat hardware. However, both SC and I noticed the preference of the factory to put just 9 guides on a slightly longer than 13' steelhead rod. Following the general rule of thumb of 1 guide for every foot, it would seem that there may be 4 guides missing!? The general rule of thumb does not take into account blank action, so 9 guides may be perfectly acceptable.
Performing a static guide test would verify if 9 guides would work. I noticed that there were some areas where the line tended to sit flat and did not follow the natural curve of the blank. This was slight in two locations, but noticeable. I've got it in my mind to add a guide or two in the hopes of improving line flow. It does appear that this blank, due to a 4-8# line rating, may just work without sticking to the accepted rules of rodbuilding. Ideally, the fewer the guides the better because (among other reasons) less weight and less guides equals crisper blank action.
Another area that needed to be addressed with guide replacement was the factory alignment. Guide alignment is an important area that takes time to get just right. The human eye can pick off a misalignment, however small, with ease. A skilled rod builder has the time to spend to make sure that all the rings sit on the rodblank's underbelly in a straight line. However, when you involve a factory production line and a unit/hour quota, things can be produced with a lesser degree of attention and accuracy. The second guide from the tiptop was noticeably out of alignment. A definite flaw that will be corrected.
SC agreed that I would utilize the "Defjam Guide System". In layman's terms, the D.G.S. utilizes American Tackle Titan Ti Guides for the first three and then transitions to Recoil RSPG spinning guides all the way and including the tiptop. I will also tie all the guides to match the factory decal area, include the factory trim band motif, and use Rich Forhan's locking guide wrap.
Overall this project took about a week after the factory guides/epoxy are stripped from the blank and returned SC Lam a steelhead rod that is a higher performance fish fighting machine! I think the pictures tell all!.
This isn't the first (nor I assume the last) factory rod that I've rebuilt. Seasoned steelheaders (and fisherpersons in general) have a tendency to form lasting and committed favorites with familiar brands. While this is good, sometimes it may require seeking out my services for a performance tune up. Below are additional photographs of a rebuild on a factory rod that I performed for D. Morrill, local client here in Cleveland, Ohio.
If you have questions regarding this project or starting one of you own with Infinity Rod Creations, please feel free to contact me via email at InfinityRodCreations@oh.rr.com
Web based mail may be directed to InfinityRodCreations@oh.rr.com