Who Designs a Rod?

Steve King

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If you look at the angling press and websites you will see all sorts of references to "Rod designed by XYZ Famous Angler". Everyone seems to be a rod designer!

What does it take? What do they do?

Do they specify the grade of carbon cloth, select (or even design) the mandrel!?? Or so they just look through the loads of "ready mades" and chose the colour paint and the logos?

Perhaps some even go so far as to work out the ring spacing....

I know I am a cynic, but would welcome any comments!
 

dezza

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Rod design is part art, part science.

The vast majority of anglers are not qualified engineers so I doubt very much if they would influence such aspects of fishing rod construction as diameters, scrim or resin mixes etc.

When Graham and myself influenced the design of the Fishing Magic Concept rod, we knew basically what we wanted. This information was passed onto Dr. Steve Harrison of Harrison Advanced Rods, who was able through his engineering and angling background to get the rod material and tapers right almost from scratch.

The result was that this rod, almost 10 years down the line is still in demand by a few anglers.
 

Sean Meeghan

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Ron's partly right. For a new blank someone will decide things like the lenghth, action and the casting weight. This data will be fed into a CAD program and a set of tapers and wall thicknesses will be spat out. From this data a mandrel will be made and will be laid up with carbon cloth and a resin. The new blank will be tested and modifications made until it feel right.

In many instances though existing mandrels will be used, wall thicknesses varied slightly and the cosmetics changed to give your new rod. For example the tip section of my Fox Avon Duo is a perfect fit on my old Fox Barbel Specialist. It looks very likely they have been made on the same mandrel, with slight changes in wall thickness to change the action and test curve. Change the cosmetics slightly and hey presto - a new range of rods!
 

Tee-Cee

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I suppose its likely that some lend a name to a rod range as a commercial arrangement without doing too much towards the design....as Ron says its part art,part design(and to some extent part guesswork!)and I doubt if many anglers have the necessary mathmatical skill to carry out the basic design(regardless of how good a fisherman they are!)even though it not that difficult.

Yes,I agree new materials will always affect design but I'm not sure that many really new materials crop up that often that radically change the basic fundamental criteria-enough to alter a given rod made for a specific purpose...BUT I could be wrong!!

I agree with Sean that any new rod,regardless of design,will always have to be made several times because the'feel'is not available on computer.....and even then one rod will suit some but not others....for some it will be the best and rubbish for others...
 

Graham Marsden

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Most modern rod 'designs' go like this:

Brand Manager: "Here, have a waggle of this, it's a sample just come in from the Far East."

Well Known Angler, waggling the rod and then getting the Brand Manager to hold the tip while he bends the rod: "Mmmmmmm, should make a nice top of the range carp rod."

Brand Manager: "Good, good, I'll order a few hundred to start with to see how it goes and we'll put it out as our new range of high end carp rods designed by you."

And then there's the type of 'design' as described by Ron for the FM Concept rod, which is basically a set of recommendations for the real designer to base his design on.

And then there's the type of design I did as a project for my HND many years ago, that worked out the taper of the mandrel, how many wraps of material, etc, to produce a rod that would be suitable for medium range legering with lines up to 6lb bs, casting weights up to 2oz. Such designs revolve around mass, velocity, acceleration, levers, and a lot of other stuff I can't remember. And incidentally I got a 100% mark for the project for the rod was actually manufactured and marketed!

Walker was a source of inspiration for the project as it was he who advised me, as one engineer/angler to another, to take it on and how to set about it.
 
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Another factor that makes a lot of difference to a rod design is the grade of carbon cloth used. This is best seen with poles which tend to use the same mandrel for poles that could range in price from £300 to £3000. Making the mandrel is expensive so it's cheaper to change the cloth used to change the action. The more expensive cloth will give a stiffer action with less weight.

Rod manufacturers have also done this, even mixing the cloth on the same blank. I once had a Bruce and Walker Multi Modulus that had a tip section where two different cloths were blended at the mid point to give a softer tip without splicing in a solid carbon section.
 

Graham Whatmore

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Personally I wouldn't have the first clue about designing a rod but I know when a rod 'feels right' and I can well imagine that scenario that Graham gave where a few waggles and a nod from a name determines the new range. Whatever contributes to a "new" rod as long as its by good maker, nice and shiny, priced not too expensive and not too cheap it will sell and thats what keeps the angling companies ticking over. Sometimes it may only be a change of livery from the previous "best rod" range but its still enough to promote sales.

We are a gullible lot us anglers though I think as we get a bit older and a bit wiser we aren't so easily fooled by the advertising, preferring to stick with the rods we use and know.
 

Tee-Cee

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As an aside......

You see,this is what I'm talking about when I say lots of little bits of Angling History will be lost over time(if not actual history then anecdotal stuff).....................take the post by GM above;little piece on the end about Walker and his involvment in rod design AND,it has to be said,his direct involvement with yet another well known angler who must have known him quite well....so must have more stories to tell???

NOT that it has to just be about Walker or indeed does it have to be recorded,but I just seem to think its important as it all seems to be from a time when angling as we know it today really began.....yes, fishing did exist before the 1950's but it was a different world by comparison( they used to eat the catches mostly!)

Why do I think this is so important-search me,but it does..........perhpas I'm just a sentimental old fool...............don't answer that!!

Thank goodness I didn't waste money and buy glass fibre!!!
 

Andrew Macfarlane

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Personally I wouldn't have the first clue about designing a rod but I know when a rod 'feels right'

Aint that the truth. The funny thing is, I often find a lot of bargain rods have a nicer feel than some rods costing 2-300 quid.

I know plenty of rods justify the price but I'd say the vast majority reply on branding and marketing and I'm just not that easily fooled.

On a number of occasions I've set myself 150 quid for a new rod and ended up walking out of the shop with a 30 quid rod, based on 'feel', whipping, rings, finish, brand after-care and balance (with a reel on).
 

Tee-Cee

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You have to wonder how many perfectly good rods sit in lofts etc,discarded because of fashion,or your mate has just bought the latest offering...

I was about to suggest all these rods(and probably the reels to go with them!)be offered to the younger fishermen(via Cakeys auction??)but I suspect they would want the very latest gear......
 

the indifferent crucian

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Some of my most treasured rods are second-hand bargains off Ebay ...rods that were considered top of the range 20 or 30 years ago and are now unloved...except by me;)

I have a Daiwa GF 65, I know nothing off it except it might be as old as the Seventies ? It is an exquisite early carbon rod, in its own tube and bag. It is whipped not resined and has early Fuji rings, I think they may be luminous.


It's action is superb and has landed me a high Summer mad for it 10lb carp on 3lb mainline. I never, ever dreamt I'd net that fish...but that rod did the work.
You can bury me with that rod !

I don't suppose any of you lot know of it ????

It cost me £20. I paid £40 for a Harrison GTI. Someone paid £140 for that new:eek:
 
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