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How much can you change a rod???


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I have an older South Bend fly rod that was given to me a couple years ago. It is a 8 1/2 6/7 and is pretty slow for a graphite blank. I really like the rod, and use it from time to time. However, it has a crappy real seat, and only 8 guides, including a small stripper. I am thinking about removing the reel seat (it is loose) and guides and starting over.

So that brings me to my question...

How much can I change the performance of the blank. Also, I would welcome recommendations or suggestions.



"The Lord has blessed us all today... It's just that he has been particularly good to me." Rev MacLean

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My father-in-law built and rebuilt rods for 30 years. I will pass on to you what he told me.

Rods do not flex where the tread is tied on. Therfore, if you want to stiffen a rod use double foot guides and wrap the windings a litttle longer. You can also add an extra guide. This will not change the action. If the blank was designed to bend over half its length, it will still bend over half its length, but it will take more force to do so.

You could also experiment casting with lesser weight fly line to see if you like that better. Just because 6/7 is printed on the rod dosn't mean that is what you have to do.

In general, to actually modify the action of a rod requires trimming. Trim the butt and it becomes softer, because you have moved "the curve" futher down the over all length of the rod. The revese is true if you trim the tip; it become faster. However, I would excersice a lot of caution if trimming the tip of a fly rod. In so many words a fly rod has a different job than a spinning or casting rod so if you take away too much tip that is what you would end up with.

With that thought in mind, if the rod still is not what you want for a fly rod, consider converting it to a spinning rod. Take your old fly reel seat off. Next, find a broken rod and try to locate a section that will slip over the butt of your fly rod. Build up the fly rod butt with bands of masking tape to get a snug fit with your new rod section; the same way as if you where fitting a reel seat to a blank. Once it will slide on with a snug fit, slide it back off and build the spinning hnadle and spinning reel seat on your new section. When its finished, glue it your fly rod. The original fly grip will now act as the fore grip of you new spinning rod. Add spinning guides and a spinning tip and you got a spinning rod that will work very well with light lines and light lures. Think of it as a nine foot long ultra light. Because of the lenght, they make good slip bobber outfits too.

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  • 2 months later...


I believe I have the same exact rod (South Bend Trophy Tamer 8 1/2 6/7). This was my first fly rod I did make some modifications. I agree with Flem though. A lighter line will definitely help (this rod is slow enough that a 4wt is realistic).

If you look at the pic I posted, I removed the old downlocking plastic reel seat and replaced it with an uplocking graphite reel seat from Cabela's. I believe the kit was around $20. I used a small hack saw to cut a vertical line on the old reel seat until it broke loose, then installed the new reel seat. You need a spacer to go over the butt to make the new parts fit (I used a small piece of plastic tubing). The kit includes the fast setting epoxy as well.

The ring at the top of the reel seat will be exposed (designed that way) when you finish, but I hand carved a another cork ring and placed it on the end of the handle, covering the top of the reel seat and lengthening my handle by one cork ring (this rod has a pretty short handle to begin with). I use this rod mainly for warmwater fishing (bluegill, bass, etc).

If you look at the pic closely you can see the slightly different cork ring at the bottom of the handle.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You can change all the components and add a guide or two to improve the performance a bit, make it look a lot better, etc, but its not going to make a huge difference. Depending on the cost of the components you are considering, you may be better off buying a blank you like and wrapping that instead. Cheers.

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