You have discovered the joy of fly fishing. As you begin to catch fish using this method the next step seems obvious – you want to learn how to tie your own flies. Many participants in this sport do just that. There is nothing quite like catching a fish on a fly rod using a creation of your own.
Or is there? Imagine standing in that stream when the fish takes the fly. The reel screams as the fish runs. You finally get him to the net, take a couple photos, and release the fish back into the water. As he swims away you look at the fly you tied that fooled him today. And you look at that rod you built yourself that brought him in.
There is much satisfaction to be gained by building your own rod. There may be money to save as well, although many times this is not the case. For many fly fishermen it is simply the next logical step beyond tying your own flies.
What about the cost savings? I have found that by building my own rods I typically get more rod for the money, but when building a high end rod the parts are not cheap. As an example, Sage sells blanks in each rod series they manufacture. If I buy a premium Sage rod I may spend around $700. To build a rod using that same blank I may spend $450-$600. Could I save even more? Yes. But when I purchase a rod blank of that caliber I want nice components on it as well.
There are also many companies that manufacture excellent blanks for much less. It is possible to build a nice rod for around $100. For someone starting out I would recommend a kit (Cabela's is one source) that includes the blank and all the necessary components.
So why build your own? Maybe you want to save a little on that next rod. Maybe you want the satisfaction of catching a fish on your own creation. Or maybe you just feel like it is the next step. No matter the reason, it can be an exciting and rewarding venture.
I have tried to document the steps I go through as I build a rod, using my current project as an example, a Sage Z-Axis 8 weight rod, 9', 4 pieces.