Interesting question. I am a hobbyist builder that builds mainly fly rods and ultra light spinning rods for family and friends. I am by no means a professional. In my day job I am the shop supervisor of a toolroom that builds molds for the plastics industry so I am a hands on person. Also the people I work for are kind of enough to allow me to use any open machinery for doing rod work after hours and on weekends so it is very convenient. For me personally it is a lot like tying flies. I enjoy doing it and yes it is a rush to catch fish on something I built. There are also some very nice blanks out there that I can build rods from that don't add up to near the cost of a high end production rod. That does not imply anything negative about these high end production rods either. I myself own a Sage and several other production rods and do not have a problem with any of them. I have a TFO Professional that is still one of my "go to" rods. As to why a person would want to buy a custom rod I will throw out several things and hopefully some of the pro builders that I know are on here will chime in as well. On a custom rod you have many different types of guides that can be used. You can have custom grips made to fit your preferences. Also there are many different options for colors of wraps. Building a fly rod for my wife right now, purple wraps with fuscia trim bands on a green Batson blank. Yuck!! But that is what she wants. Static testing insures good guide placements. In the hands of the right craftsmen (not me, LOL) if an individual wants a lot of bling they can get it. Are custom rods for everyone? NO!! There are many very fine production rods out there and they don't all break the bank. Last time I checked the fish don't care if you are using a $100 dollar rod or a $700 dollar Sage or Winston. I'm sure I am leaving a lot out but I have rambled long enough and I'm sure you are by now getting my drift. Basically different strokes for different folks. In my opinion custom rods AND production rods both have there place. Tight lines and tight wraps. Doug Kiefer
PS: No I have no intention of quitting my day job, I just like my hobby.