The Cigar grip with sliding ring reel seat is the best choice for the many delicate short rods I build. I usually keep the grips as short as possible, eleven to twelve corks. For the past several years I have been using down locking sliding ring reel seats with black anodized aluminum and nickel sliver fittings. Anodized aluminum caps and rings made by Pacific Bay and nickel silver ones by Bob Venneri are fitted with gorgeous wood inserts made from rose wood, and curly maple. They are precision machined to fit a standard reel foot and do a super job of holding the reel.
The Classic Half Wells grip is a modification of the standard Reversed Half Wells grip used by many manufacturers. It is a nice conservative grip with a slight swell in the middle for a good positive hand position. The front is kept a little fuller making the whole grip usable. It has a very gentle full length taper that gives the grip its classic appearance and thus the name. I keep it medium length, usually twelve to thirteen corks. It has become my most popular grip; consequently I have discontinued the regular Half Wells grip on my in stock rods. The flair at the rear of the grip accommodates the buried hood of the Struble and Bob Venneri up locking reel seats. I use several models of Struble and Venneri up lock reel seats with cocobola or curly maple wood inserts. I use this grip and reel seat combination on most of my medium to long trout and bass rods, up through seven weights.
The Full Wells is a big, long, full hand full grip that makes heavy saltwater rods less tiring to use. You might notice that I make the front and rear dips a little less pronounced allowing a little more flexibility in hand positioning. I keep these grips fairly full on my in stock rods and medium long, usually fourteen corks. I prefer the Pacific Bay full metal, titanium anodized reel seat with detachable fighting butt. The black model is shown and is still available. A model with impregnated wood insert is also available. It is the same length and uses the same fighting butt. A slim all cork fighting butt is also available. This grip, reel seat combination is available on seven weight and heavier rods. My Sage blank saltwater rods all feature a titanium anodized full metal reel seat specially done for me by Struble with a small detachable fighting butt with a rubberized cork bottom cork. It is a wonderfully crafted reel seat and a great complement to the Sage blank light rods done with the Venneri nickel silver reel seats.
Every year cork quality goes down and prices go up. The cork I am paying top dollar for now was sold as lower quality just five years ago. Luckily, I have a good relationship with my suppliers and am able to get pretty good cork. My grips are consistently higher quality than factory rods. On my most expensive rods I use extremely high quality cork only seen on fine cane rods. I glue up the rings on the blank and turn the grip on the blank in my high speed lathe. Any grip shapes are available for custom builds. I encourage you to have a clear idea of what grip is comfortable for you. A few measurements enable me to come up with a grip that will fit your hand and casting style perfectly. Beautiful grips and reel seats together with impeccable wraps and epoxy work make my rods a cast above anything else available.