For any of you not familiar with my rods this brief history plus particulars about my rods will probably answer your questions. My first experiences with rod building were during my high school years back in the 50's. Rod building and fly tying enabled me to enjoy trout fishing on a kid's budget then. I continued building rods on a hobby level until the middle 80's when I began selling a few rods and realized I might be able to make a living at it. In 1988 I quit my teaching job and began building fly rods full time. I build all of my rods in my rod building shop adjacent to my house in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I do all of the assembly myself using only name brand components that I'm sure you're familiar with. My wife, Mary Lu, does the inscriptions on the rods and sews all the rod bags. She is also my primary sales person. I sell most of my rods at the many shows I attend in the Mid-Atlantic region and through mail order and the Internet.
A close scrutiny of the enclosed price list will give you a good idea of what is available in a Performance Fly Rod. All of my rods adhere to my strict style which I characterize as "Modern Classic." You'll not find any gaudy colors, funny combinations, or mismatched components here. All of my rods are built on blanks designed especially for me by several private label blank manufacturers and major rod manufacturers. I use Struble, Pacific Bay, and Robert Venneri reel seats and Pacific Bay guides. All rods come in velour rod bags and Landmark aluminum Performance Signature rod cases. I turn all my grips on a high speed lathe using cork only available in large quantities directly from Portugal. My guide wraps are coated with two coats of epoxy. I am a master with epoxy finish; that, together with Mary Lu's writing, makes my rods quite attractive. I think you'll agree they are in a class by themselves.
You will note when looking at my prices page, that many if not most of my rods are now multi-section. Two piece rods in longer lengths are no longer a popular alternative for most fishermen. For many years only traveling fishers favored three and four piece rods. The blank manufacturers spent millions of dollars coming with three, four, and even five and six piece blanks in just the last few years, effectively making two piece rods rather outdated. I still use many two piece rods myself, continuing to favor their light weight and crispness, but have adopted more and more multi-pieced rods as personal favorites in just the last couple years. Be sure and give my five and six piece offerings a special look. They are fine rods at fine prices.
New a couple years ago is a line of multi-piece fiberglass rods. The demand for glass rods has grown in recent years for folks looking for the cane feel with graphite in hand weight. The blanks for these rods are made for me by an old rod company who supplied me glass blanks back in the 50's. They are made of high modulus S glass now and are very very light and have a touch of power that will surprise you in such a delicate rod. Glass blanks are quite expensive now, so I think you will agree that my glass rod prices are quite competitive.
Mine is a limited edition rod company. I don't like to think
of my rods as "custom rods."
Unfortunately the body of custom rod builders in this country is primarily made up of hopeful hobbyists. Many of them practice a craft that is wrought with mistakes, sloppiness, and garish designs. Glimpses of their web sites will reveal pictures of rod makers holding big fish or out of focus renderings of poor quality work. I try my very best to distance myself from those identities. The majority of my rods are sold from stock. My classic style is seldom interrupted with requests to depart in any significant way. I surely do my best to accommodate my customers in personal builds, but those accommodations will never detract from my recognizable style. Sure you can have the grip shape of your liking, or the reel seat that works best for you or subtle changes in wrap colors or differences in guide selection, but don't expect me to do a grip with burled cork or put pink wraps or weaves or metalic trim wraps or ceramic single foot guides or inlaid feathers or miniature fish inlaid in the reel seat inserts or any of probably a dozen other unacceptable items on your rod. Anything that detracts from what I think a fly rod is supposed to be, simply is beyond my taste. I think you will find me very accommodating in dealing with your special needs. You have obviously come to me because you like the looks of what I do. If you wanted something that was radically different, you wouldn't be here to begin with. A craftsman and an artist operates within his own parameters. If he doesn't, he violates what he stands for. My customers respect my craft, and I respect their wants. The combined effort is always a pleasure for both of us.
For the model year 2007, I will continue a primary emphasis
on Sage blank rods.
I intend to keep a modest inventory of my traditional best selling models, but will put my fall and winter building thrust in my Sage blank rod lineup. My Sage blank rods over the last couple years have really gotten a lot of attention. Hopefully this year they will be even more successful. I am not really able to offer the Sage lifetime warranty. That in many folks eyes makes my rods less of a value than the Sage factory rods. Consequently, I sell my Sage blank rods for $75-100 under the Sage factory price. That will help to bring my rods more in line with the liberal Sage replacement policy. The money you save up front will surely offset any casualty repairs down the road. Replacements because of defective components will always be free. That, combined with my superior craftsmanship and fine custom Venneri and Struble components, make my Sage blank rods a wonderful value. Many of my customers consider my Sage blank rods of heirloom quality. I encourage you to give them a close look.
Finally, all of the rods on the enclosed price list have been chosen not only because they are good sellers, but also because I have tried each of them and feel they are the best in their class. I usually have all models in stock at all times during the show season (Winter, Spring). I often have other rods on hand which I don't list because I don't have them at all times. Be sure and give me a call with your special needs. I can build most anything you need in about two weeks plus shipping times. You can try any of my rods at the shows I attend or at my shop by appointment. If you desire references, take a look at my Customer Feedback page. My rods are satisfaction guaranteed and come with standard lifetime warranties.