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                       Fly Rods

More pictures of my rods
From the 6ft 2wt to the 8ft 6wt, I personally own and fish a copy of the rods listed below.  I enjoy fishing each of them for different reasons and in different situations.  For further information on any of these rods, please feel free to contact me.


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Standard rods have up locking reel seats,  aluminum or nickel silver hardware and black tipped chestnut wraps.
Rod Selection

Small Stream.
6 ft, 3 wt. 2 piece

This rod is great for fishing small streams.  It can also be produced in a 2 wt or a 4 wt.  This rod receives a lot of compliments.   The basic rod comes with cigar cork grip.   If you would like to customize this rod, let me know.  More pictures

Classic Dry
6' 6" 4 wt. 2 piece
This rod is one of my favorites.  It's one of the rods that usually goes in my car when I head out on the road.  If you're looking for a first bamboo rod this may very well be it. The basic rod comes with an ultra fine cork grip.  If you would like to customize this rod, let me know. More pictures

Classic Traveler

6' 6" 3/4 wt 3 piece 

6 1/2ft. 3p 3/4wt

The Traveler series rods are for anglers who're looking for a very portable rod.  The 6 1/2 foot rod is meant to be a counterpart of the two piece Classic Dry.  It comes from one of my personal tapers.  More relaxed than other rods it's size, it's a joy to fish.  The basic rod comes with an ultra fine cork grip.   If you would like to customize this rod, let me know.
7 ft 4 wt 3 piece
I've always liked the three-piece rod, especially for airline travel.  The rod is easy to pack and a delight to fish, this rod works well both at home and away.  The basic rod comes with a half-wells cork cork grip.  If you would like to customize this rod, let me know.

Classic Trout

7 ft.  4/5 wt 2 piece 

7Ft by 2P rod

This rod is based on the "Sir D" series of rods that are so popular.  A 2 piece rod for those who like a longer rod.  This rods got a crisp action and is a proved fish catcher.  The basic rod comes with the ultra fine cork grip.  If you would like to customize this rod, let me know. More pictures

7 1/2Ft (4)/5 wt 2 piece
7 1/2 5wt 2p
This rod is based on a 4wt rod I came across in a pawn shop.  The price was so cheap I couldn't turn it down.  It turned out to be a good rod.  I've beefed the rod up to a 5wt. for larger waters.  I can also build this rod to it's original 4wt taper.   I ask a couple of  builders to test cast two different tips, to see which one was the best.  Of course one like one tip and the other liked the other.   So the original tip is the "Price" tip and the new tip, slightly smaller for dry flys is the "Wendt" tip.  I'll ship with the original "Price" tip unless you ask for the new "Wendt" tip.  The basic rod comes with a half wells cork grip.  If you would like to customize this rod, let me know.
More pictures.
8 ft  6 wt. 3 piece
8ft 3pc 6wt fly rod
This is the longest rod that I build.   For larger waters.  You'll feel this rod start to work for you as it casts beyond 40 ft.  The basic rod comes with a full wells cork grip.  If you would like to customize this rod, let me know.

About the Rods

The aim of Fish-Tested fly rods is to produce an enjoyable fishing experience by the use of a quality bamboo fly rod, purchased at an affordable price. 

When I first started looking at bamboo rods I realized that most rods were well out of my price range.  Even most of the used rods were far in excess of what I was willing to pay for a fishing poll.   I bought my first bamboo rod from Dick Spurr of The Classic Angler (unfortunately no longer open).   It was a little two piece rod that was delivered to me by UPS in four pieces.  I hadn't cried in a long time. 

And that was at the hart of the matter.  I knew that to buy a new rod I'd have to spend so much I'd end up keeping it in a closet, for fear I'd break it.  Bamboo, though no more fragile than other materials, was expensive to the point of distraction.  My only course of action was to build my own rods. 

That is still my aim: to supply very good fishing rods at a reasonable price.  I do this by judicious use of material. I use attractive, inexpensive hardware, not cheep hardware. Of course more expensive hardware can be substituted if requested. 

Rod building can be a daunting task.   Luckily, I had things going my way.  Wayne Cattanach had just published the first edition of his book.  Jonathan Clarke, a gentle giant whose large hands can tie a beautiful size 18 caddis, and who had just opened "Twin Pines Rod Company," was also a member of my fly fishing club..  Both men have the highest standards.  I bring those standards to the work bench.  While I might not use $100 reel seats, my rods will perform. 

The tapers are based on popular modern tapers, modified to my own tastes and judged by other fly fishing friends.  Rods are kept short to maximize fishing pleasure.  It is my belief that, over a days fishing, any bamboo rod over 7 1/2 feet starts to tire the angler.  While I enjoy fishing one of my 8 ft rods, I would not recommend that rod as a first bamboo rod. 

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It's said, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."  That's true, but with time, most people change their attitudes about looks.  The first fly rod I built had a foam handle and a Fuji reel seat.  Even today it will catch fish, but I don't really take it out and show it to all my friends.  I do occasionally show off one of my bamboo rods.  I have some ideas about what I like in a bamboo rod.   Your tastes may vary from mine and that's fine.  If you want one of my rods, we'll start with my idea of how a rod should look, then see what you'd like to change. 
reel seats grips rodcolor wraps hardware
To take a closer look click on the rod.

I can do just about anything you want done.  I will not, however, use Fuji single foot guides or a Fuji reel seats.  Nor will I use a foam handle.  Most other things I can support.  My rods come in two versions, the Makers rod and the Extended options rod.

The makers rod is a rod built the way I like a rod.  Plain by some standards.  While not expensive, hardware is both attractive and functional.  I can use your choice of bright, black or walnut  reel seat, black, green, brown or red wraps and tips. (Special colored thread may be ordered at no additional cost.)  A forest green or green bamboo print rod sock and an aluminum and wood rod tube are included. Upgrades can be special ordered. 
The Extended rod has upgraded hardware, reel seats, guard wraps and decorative wraps to give the rod a different personality. 

My basic rod is a "blond" rod.  That is, it has no toning.  If ask I can create brown tone, or even a flamed rod, however, this process may actually make the rod a bit brittle. 

For quite a while I believed that classic rods all had cigar grips and down locking reel seats.  It's only in the last few years that I discovered this isn't necessarily true.  Many of the high end and mid-range fly rods had up locking seats.  In fact some of them were quite fancy.  Many rods had "Bakelite" (plastic) inserts.  There were a great variety of reel seat mechanisms.  Some were screw lock, some were sliding band, and some were spring loaded, some had sliding bands that had some type of mechanical lock. 

Many of the rods had half wells grips.  (Here we get into a discussion of what is a half wells grip? Is the large end at the front or back?)  Some had full wells grips.  And quite a few did have cigar grips. 

So I've come to like a "style" of rod that depends on the size and function.   Small, light rods look best with sliding band reel seats and cigar, "half cigar," or Western style grips.  Mid size rods look best with up or down locking screw type reel seats and western or half wells grips.  Large rods look best with half wells or full wells and heavier reel seats. 

Other hardware includes the tiptop, snake guides and stripper guide. I tend to use a wire frame stripper guide in size 8-10 for smaller rods and Chrome heavy duty guides in 10-12 for larger rods.  At an additional cost I can use an agate insert. 

Normal snake and tiptop are what is referred to as "clear," which is basically chromed.  However blued tiptop and/or snake guides are available. 

Wraps are another distinctive part of a fly rod.  Old rods often had intermediate wraps.  These were every inch or so.   They were to supplement the old hide glue and were structural more than decorative.  As new glues came out they disappeared.  Quite frankly they were (and are) labor intensive, and today they're decorative. 

I tend to stay away from a lot of decorative thread work.  I do include a few extra signature wraps to give a "personality" to my MAKERS rods, but I try to keep it simple.  Guard wraps are very nice, but they can add more than twice the amount of time spent wrapping.   However I do add guide wraps and additional signature wraps on my EXTENDED rods. 

I like red, black, tan, gold and brown as wrap colors.  Green can also be nice.  I try to stay away from blue, violet, yellow and white (yellow and white can become semi-transparent if I don't watch it).  There are a few combinations of wine and white that can be very nice if done sparingly. 

So start dreaming.  What will your rod look like?   Print out a worksheet?

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Special pricing for FFF, TU, Suncoast FF and TBFC members

How Does what you order  effect the price of  the finished rod? Fish Tested Fly Rods come in two version, Makers and Extended. Makers rods are built the way I like my rods. Serviceable, attractive, but without  extra wraps that don't really add to the functionality of the rod. The Extended version includes additional wraps and upgraded reel seats.

However, you might want something in between a Makers and Extended rod.  Suppose you'd like a special reel seat from REC or Bellinger.  I can replace the standard reel seat with your selection.  I will add only the difference in cost between the two items.  In other words you can get an upgraded reel seat at a cheaper price than if you were to order it yourself.  I can do the same for any component. 

Prices for Makers rods:  

Two piece rod $750
Each additional piece $200

Prices for Extended Rods:   

Two piece rod $850
Each additional piece $300

I don't have a "deposit fee."  However I do request that you put enough money up to pay for the ferrules and cork grip -- two items I don't stock.  The normal cost of these items is between $60 and $80 dollars, depending on the number of sections in the rod.

Price includes a rod sock,  rod tube (hex rod tubes slightly more) and shipping and handling.

I guarantee each rod for material and workmanship.  I will repair or replace any defective part.

I can't guarantee rods against breaking in car doors, windows or other misuse.  I will repair any such damage at a reasonable price.

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Contact information
Fish Tested Fly Rods
3755 Philippe Dr. 
Safety Harbor, Fl 34695
(727) 725-1321

Please include an alternate contact.  I've had e-mails bounce when answering inquires.  With no other information it's impossible to answer you.  Thanks.  If you don't hear back from me within a week, please call.


Building a bamboo
fly rod 
an outline 

 A short history of fly rods


Other Information about Bamboo Fly Rods
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