The art of the production art form

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  JoeFriday 5 years, 5 months ago.

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    Dry Fly Guy

    Being a bit of a craftsman myself, I appreciate the fine workmanship exhibited by a number of rodsmiths, but I typically associate this “craftsmanship” with the bamboo rod makers and the “boutique” rod builders I’ve been exposed to and influenced by.  However, late last night, as I was sorting through and organizing my office, I happened upon a spreadsheet listing the rods I’ve owned and/or had personal experience with (beyond just casting at a fly shop). In reviewing this list, I was reminded of just how many wonderful examples of fine workmanship and rod design (in all materials) that have passed through my hands.

    I have, of course, had some favorites, and those favorites have evolved a bit over the years.  But after reviewing my list, I’ll go on record here and state that of the production rod companies, Scott gets my vote as the best, and (believe it or not) Hardy and Orvis are my “runner-ups”.  I believe these companies have consistently produced wonderfully designed fishing instruments, and finished them to a very high standard.

    That’s truly a bit surprising to me, as I absolutely love my 863-4 Winston BIIIx, and kind of considered myself a “Winston man” in the past.  In fact, I don’t even currently own a Hardy or an Orvis rod!  But if I consider all the rods I have experience with over the years, Scott, Hardy, and Orvis are my top three for producing rods I’d want to fish, and finishing them in an aesthetically pleasing and high quality manner.

    So when it comes to production rod companies, who do you find to be the artisans of the art form, and why?

    ~ DFG



    Eric Peper

    I agree on Hardy. Their rods for the US market have excellent tapers, and the finish work is outstanding. I really liked Sage rods in the mid-80s era, but they lost me when they started focusing on casting rather than fishing, which is the problem I have with most of the production rod companies. (And is also the reason I fish bamboo 95% of the time.) :-)




    I have to go with Winston for a large production company. For a small company my money goes on Tom Morgan.


    Dark Waters

    I’d have to say Winston. I’ve owned/fished far more Winston’s than anything else. (28 different rods) They are not without their faults but to me they have been quite consistent and gorgeous on top of that. The B3X models I’ve seen lately have not been quite up to par with many of the other Winston’s I’ve had or still own now.

    I’ve owned 6 Scott rods in the past and they all had some small issues. The two I have now are very good though. All of the next few rods I plan to acquire next are Scott’s.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by  Dark Waters.


    I own and still retain 4 scott G series rods 2 are the five piece design in a 4 and a 5wt I don’t think anyone ever made a finer travel rod.
    Winston’s of which I own a couple of WT’s, a BIIIX 5pce for 4 and 9′ 5wt BIIt are all very high quality. In fact if one wants to try a 9′ graphite that feels like bamboo the BIIt is the cat’s meow.
    Freestone produces some very nice graphite but alas Sam Druckman is gone. I think the BIIt was his finest design ever.
    The finest graphite’s I have ever held and cast are definitely Tom Morgan’s TMR series. These are just about the most perfect fly rods ever designed.
    Of course the raft of current bamboo makers generally put out a product that is beautiful beyond belief.
    Custom builder’s are also producing wonderfully made rods.
    So, this may be the best time ever for selection and quality such as the world has ever seen.



    I wouldn’t disagree with any rod that’s been listed in this list. I always liked the look of the “green” Wistons. but Tom takes his rods to a whole new level. If he would only relent and make them with a 4pc option. :)



    Yes only one, the 8′ 3pce 4wt which is a redesigned TMF but I think it is about a draw between the two of them.

    You soon forget about the 2pce designs when fishing them though.



    It’s just the pain of trying to carry on a 2pc rod when I have fly. Much easier to travel with a 4 or 5pc rod.



    Boy I’ll agree with that, but I find flying so unpleasant I usually just drive. I work in Nevada and Live in Eastern WV and I still prefer to drive over flying. So the rod(s) fit in my T-bird or especially well in my F150. Plus there are an amazing amount of places to stop and fish as I cross the Country. But then again, I am a bum.


    Eric Peper

    In the days when I fished graphite, I eventually replicated all my 2-pc configurations with 4-pc simply because of the transport issues. Now, I am slowly doing the same with bamboo; finding and buying 3-pc rods that fill my needs and eliminating many of the 2-pc models. I don’t travel by plane very much at all, but I just find the 3-pc configurations easier to deal with and I like the way they look. This winter I’ll be doing some trading to further this migration.

    Oh and just BTW, I’m that forum member that has been using one of txtrout’s rods for much of this summer. All I can say is that man makes one fine bamboo rod.


    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by  Eric Peper.


    It seems that there is a general consensus toward rods here. I’m also a big Winston supporter, sticking mostly to the WT line. But I have a 4wt LT that works pretty well for a 5-piece rod. I also have a couple GVX’s that are essentially backup rods.

    Since I’m still looking for the perfect 4wt dry fly rod, I’m very interested in the Biit, if I find one on closeout at a good price. Otherwise, I’m about a heartbeat away from commissioning a Tom Morgan fiberglass 4wt. But as others have pointed out, they only come in 2-piece.

    Other rods that I’ve liked are T&T and a few glass rods. I’ve never cast a Sage or Orvis, even in a parking lot. I’ve played with at least one Scott and really liked it. But the Winston green sticks always bring me back.

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