British Rods

corto maltese

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There are lots of rods made in the UK, by hand, by British, passionate builders.
Admittedly they are mostly split cane rods, not a bad thing as far as i am concerned 😉. But I've heard there are also some fantastic British glass rods and also, of it's your thing !, Carbon artisans as well.
You don't need to buy a well known, formally, highly regarded make that now subcontracts out of China and pay a fortune for an average, mass produced rod. If you want, it's not hard to ask about, get some recommendations and find a good quality, hand made, to your specifications, made in the UK, with care and attention to detail, no production chain, rod, in cane, glass or carbon
It just takes a little more effort on your part, not just click and buy.
You will be happier because your buying experience was more personal, your rod will be more personal and most probably more suited to your requirements, better quality, made here in the UK, assisting home grown talent and ultimately, the rod you wanted.
Just my tuppence worth based on experience.
Try it, I did and have enjoyed the interaction with the rod makers and love the rods I fish 👍.
No regrets on my part, I'm as happy as Larry 😆
 

Ianfs

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Sep 27, 2020
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Hi Joe
Hardy and Greys are the same company and are now American owned by Pure Fishing. They underwent some name alterations and then a chap, shall we call him Mr Grey, left Hardy to go on his own but Hardy's bought him out to become Hardy and Greys. After that I believe the blanks (rod without the rings and handle) where made elsewhere, maybe China. Hardy's used to be made at Alnwick and I am, pretty certain my Swift was one of the last blanks rolled at the UK factory there.

As far as I know, Bruce and Walker Ltd is still owned by Brian & Kay Potter who have all the blanks rolled in the UK and assembled here too.

Harrison rods are UK rolled and built but they only seem to make course fishing rods.

I don't think you will find many completely made, from scratch, Fly Rod from the UK. You will find Blanks, as said earlier ( only rod no rings or handle) which are rolled in other countries, but not total builds. That doesn't always mean that rods made outside the UK are useless thought.

Graphene Oxide mixed, seems to be the way in which rod blank builders have been instructed by their American and UK instructors. Graphene Oxide is very expensive and is a derivative of carbon, but is a 100x stronger than steel for the same like to like thickness.

Someone has already mentioned.




The questions I would have are
What reasons do you have for wanting a lighter weight rod?
What are you fishing for?
 

JoeOh

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Jun 29, 2020
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146
Hi Ianfs,
Thank you for your detailed reply.
A lot of good and useful information has been posted here by all on this subject.
I fish the AWA reservoirs, and I generally use two rods, one being an AtomSix Tachyon 10ft, 7wt which is quite powerful and able to handle fast sinking lines up to 8#. The other rod is a Greys GR50 10ft, 7wt which is a lot less powerful and I can use a 6 weight for nymph/dry fly. But this does leave room for improvement and I will be looking for a 5/6 weight and will look closely at AtomSix and Bloke rods
Cheers all
 

Lewis Chessman

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Isle of Lewis
Harrison rods are UK rolled and built but they only seem to make course fishing rods.
Harrison's definitely make and sell fly rod blanks. They have a 'Classic' range of medium, medium fast two piece, a medium fast 4 piece range and the faster 'Lohric' model. They'll varnish your blank to a specific colour on request, too.
I've owned/built a few Harrison Classic and 4-pc in trout sizes and they're perfectly nice but, to my personal taste, not special. I'm a fan of medium fast rods but find these a shade too soft. That might well suit you, though?
The only Lohric I've cast was a double hander. Nice enough and beloved by its owner. That was a Chaz Burns build, iIrc.

Bloke's older carbon model is the XL50. It was held in high regard when it first came on the market 15 years+ ago - and it's still a good rod today. Probably just a wee bit heavier and 'thicker' than contemporary equivalents. A bit faster than the 'Classic' and more accurate in my hands.

Depending on how strong you are, weight may be a deciding factor with a 10 ft #5/6 if you fish several times a week. In that respect, you might want to consider a more modern blank which will likely be thinner, lighter and probably faster. Taniwha sell a well-priced range of good blanks - if imported.

As others have said, building a totally British fly rod just isn't feasible - e.g. British-grown cork is rather rare! You can buy imported guides, threads and reel seats from UK retailers but I think that kinda defeats your original intentions. If you know some talented friends you could get a reel seat and guides made in this country. You could buy Portuguese cork shives and have them formed into a handle here. UK thread and epoxy, though?
Essentially, it's making more work than necessary and may ultimately demand so many slight concessions that you end up with something rather disappointing and mediocre.

Instead, I'd recommend discussing your requirements with any of the UK builders already mentioned and then commission something you will treasure and enjoy made from the most appropriate components, where ever they're from. At the very least you'll have a British built rod if that's what you want.
Better still, build your rod yourself. It's really not that difficult and requires little investment in tools to get started. There's a great rod building forum here on the UKFFF and the guys are really helpful if you fancy trying your arm. It's the ideal hobby for lockdown and it can be as 'local' as you choose to make it. ;)
 

GEK79

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May 16, 2020
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Ireland
Harrison's definitely make and sell fly rod blanks. They have a 'Classic' range of medium, medium fast two piece, a medium fast 4 piece range and the faster 'Lohric' model. They'll varnish your blank to a specific colour on request, too.
I've owned/built a few Harrison Classic and 4-pc in trout sizes and they're perfectly nice but, to my personal taste, not special. I'm a fan of medium fast rods but find these a shade too soft. That might well suit you, though?
The only Lohric I've cast was a double hander. Nice enough and beloved by its owner. That was a Chaz Burns build, iIrc.

Bloke's older carbon model is the XL50. It was held in high regard when it first came on the market 15 years+ ago - and it's still a good rod today. Probably just a wee bit heavier and 'thicker' than contemporary equivalents. A bit faster than the 'Classic' and more accurate in my hands.

Depending on how strong you are, weight may be a deciding factor with a 10 ft #5/6 if you fish several times a week. In that respect, you might want to consider a more modern blank which will likely be thinner, lighter and probably faster. Taniwha sell a well-priced range of good blanks - if imported.

As others have said, building a totally British fly rod just isn't feasible - e.g. British-grown cork is rather rare! You can buy imported guides, threads and reel seats from UK retailers but I think that kinda defeats your original intentions. If you know some talented friends you could get a reel seat and guides made in this country. You could buy Portuguese cork shives and have them formed into a handle here. UK thread and epoxy, though?
Essentially, it's making more work than necessary and may ultimately demand so many slight concessions that you end up with something rather disappointing and mediocre.

Instead, I'd recommend discussing your requirements with any of the UK builders already mentioned and then commission something you will treasure and enjoy made from the most appropriate components, where ever they're from. At the very least you'll have a British built rod if that's what you want.
Better still, build your rod yourself. It's really not that difficult and requires little investment in tools to get started. There's a great rod building forum here on the UKFFF and the guys are really helpful if you fancy trying your arm. It's the ideal hobby for lockdown and it can be as 'local' as you choose to make it. ;)
Great insight and advice.. 👌
 

JoeOh

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Jun 29, 2020
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146
Thanks Lewis, agree with GEK57 above, great factual post. Made me chuckle at the rarity of British grown cork !
My take on all the replies received is that rather looking at British manufactured rods, I should concentrate on British rod builders.
I will look closely at the AtomSix range again, and knowing that Steve Parkes is willing to post a trial rod(s) before ordering is sound practise. Buying without trial is too risky.
Cheers to all who have contributed to this posting and I hope it has been informative and useful to others as to me
 

easker1

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before Greys there was Walker Bampton prime Cane rod maker taken over by Greys, easker1
 

Ianfs

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Sep 27, 2020
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Harrison's definitely make and sell fly rod blanks. They have a 'Classic' range of medium, medium fast two piece, a medium fast 4 piece range and the faster 'Lohric' model. They'll varnish your blank to a specific colour on request, too.
Thanks for that information Lewis, much appreciated, as you may have gathered after I wrote "they only seem to make course rods", I had no idea they supplied Fly rod blanks. In fact in the interim I managed to try a Lohric 9'6" 7wt which an acquaintance owns, I happened to say that I had just found out Harrison made fly rods and he said, try mine, so I did. It was very light and crisp with a very similar feel to my Swift and some Sage rods I have tried, but also similar to my Bloke XGNP Graphene Oxide 8wt, which takes a 7wt very well especially the Barrio GT90. I use it mainly for saltwater fishing though, and if I was to put on my Barrio Predator 25g line for big flies, it doesn't feel like it at all.
I will look closely at the AtomSix range again, and knowing that Steve Parkes is willing to post a trial rod(s) before ordering is sound practise. Buying without trial is too risky.
That's a very good service.

Better still, build your rod yourself. It's really not that difficult and requires little investment in tools to get started.

Absolutely agree with Lewis, it really isn't that difficult especially with some of the modern resins and whipping threads, although I have built quite a few rods over the years. I built the Bloke rod from scratch, the handles come ready made they are easy to fit and then take your time to find the "spine" of the blank and on getting the ring spacings right for it, they probably go into it in detail on the rod building forum.
 

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lipslicker

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If looking to purchase a truly British made rod, there appears to be limited scope. I have used a 10 foot, 7weight as an example.
Hardy HBX £899. Advertised as handbuilt in Alnwick.
Greys ? I suspect made abroad
Bruce & Walker Powerlite £536, made to order
Mackenzie FX1 £699
AtomSix Elemental £550
Daiwa: used to manufacture some rods in Scotland... maybe not any more.
I ended up purchasing an AtomSix Tachyon rod which so far, I am pleased with, but considering a lighter UK rod, hence this post
Cheers

Century make very good blanks. They have the world casting records in most weights, shared with Zziplex.

They make some double handed game rods,
but have also recently started making fly rods.
Possibly only currently available to the US market, but you could ask.

Harrison make very good blanks, which I believe are used by Burns to make many of their custom rods.
 

Overmiwadrers

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Mar 25, 2018
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Yorkshire
Century make very good blanks. They have the world casting records in most weights, shared with Zziplex.

They make some double handed game rods,
but have also recently started making fly rods.
Possibly only currently available to the US market, but you could ask.

Harrison make very good blanks, which I believe are used by Burns to make many of their custom rods.

Chas Burns makes very nice rods on harrison blanks and at very reasonable cost. Top bloke...

O M W
 

codyarrow

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Feb 6, 2010
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I have two Harrison self builds - 10ft 7wt Ballista, which has a fairly medium action, which I tend to use for salmon work and a few specialist areas of loch work. I also have a harrison traditional 10 ft 6" (actually 10 ft 3") which is an absolute joy when you know the fish in front of you are a 1lb or less, rod has soft lightweight feel. Tried dealing with harrison direct and felt that it was almost too much trouble for them to sell me a single item? Ended up buying the rods through other sources.
Century do turn their own blanks. I have a 13ft century stealth salmon rod which I built reasonably priced but to be honest is not my favourite go to rod. The fact I reach for the shakey oracle 13fter more often says it all. Although others find it a great rod. There service was pretty good though, and far cheaper for a replacement section than some of the general tackle manufacturers.

To analyse the way we do boxing - best pound for pound fighter at all the weights for trout rods I believe are the CTS blanks from New Zealand that take some beating IMO. It can be very individual though related to your size and strength and the aesthetics of how you want to fish.
 

lipslicker

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Apr 17, 2014
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I have two Harrison self builds - 10ft 7wt Ballista, which has a fairly medium action, which I tend to use for salmon work and a few specialist areas of loch work. I also have a harrison traditional 10 ft 6" (actually 10 ft 3") which is an absolute joy when you know the fish in front of you are a 1lb or less, rod has soft lightweight feel. Tried dealing with harrison direct and felt that it was almost too much trouble for them to sell me a single item? Ended up buying the rods through other sources.
Century do turn their own blanks. I have a 13ft century stealth salmon rod which I built reasonably priced but to be honest is not my favourite go to rod. The fact I reach for the shakey oracle 13fter more often says it all. Although others find it a great rod. There service was pretty good though, and far cheaper for a replacement section than some of the general tackle manufacturers.

To analyse the way we do boxing - best pound for pound fighter at all the weights for trout rods I believe are the CTS blanks from New Zealand that take some beating IMO. It can be very individual though related to your size and strength and the aesthetics of how you want to fish.

Interested in your Century Salmon rod.
Don't suppose you know, did you get the fast or the medium fast action?

With my river fishing for trout, and Spey casting, I definitely prefer medium-fast, so if you say the latter I will probably cross them off my wish list.

I have a fair few Century rods, and feel a loyalty to them. As you say, they are wonderful with their service. They have looked after me extremely well many times.
 

codyarrow

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Feb 6, 2010
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Interested in your Century Salmon rod.
Don't suppose you know, did you get the fast or the medium fast action?

With my river fishing for trout, and Spey casting, I definitely prefer medium-fast, so if you say the latter I will probably cross them off my wish list.

I have a fair few Century rods, and feel a loyalty to them. As you say, they are wonderful with their service. They have looked after me extremely well many times.

It is the 8-10 wt medium fast action. Do not get me wrong it is a nice rod which I use for early season with sinkers and intermediates. I find it fairly heavy and stiff compared to other fast action rods I have. Using a floating line I will always choose my guideline lpxe 12 ft 9 " or the oracle for purely fishing pleasure, even though the century could no doubt knock out a longer line than the oracle for certain and probably the lpxe .
Mr Middlepoint and Mr Chessman have probably cast just about every salmon rod going - I would pick their brains as to picking a decent medium fast. Even then our own individual physicality plays a part in what suits. Being in your location a trip up to John Norris for a few test casts might be an answer?
 

pedros

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Mar 30, 2008
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Chester, UK
Big thumbs up for the Harrison Lorhic blank.
As a previous poster said, building your own rod is such a pleasurable experience and surprisingly straightforward. I built on a Lohric 9' 6 #7 a couple of years ago and if you gauge the furniture right a very 'light' outfit. It's my Brenig bank rod.
If you fancy this blank then, unless on the off chance you find a supplier that has some stock, likely it will be rolled to order.
 

Paul_B

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Nov 14, 2008
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West Riding of Yorkshire
Hi Ianfs,
Thank you for your detailed reply.
A lot of good and useful information has been posted here by all on this subject.
I fish the AWA reservoirs, and I generally use two rods, one being an AtomSix Tachyon 10ft, 7wt which is quite powerful and able to handle fast sinking lines up to 8#. The other rod is a Greys GR50 10ft, 7wt which is a lot less powerful and I can use a 6 weight for nymph/dry fly. But this does leave room for improvement and I will be looking for a 5/6 weight and will look closely at AtomSix and Bloke rods
Cheers all

My 10ft Greys X-Flite 6# was okish with a 6# line, but its awesome with the cheap windcutter 7# and its made a smashing rod for fishing dries and wets.
I have 10ft GR50 in 8# for heavier flies and lures when the winds against me.
 
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