This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 7th, 2002

No Guarantee?

News this week included the announcement by Redington of a new rod. A very good rod, reasonably priced, ($50 or $60) without a guarantee. It does have a manufacturers warrantee against manufacturing defects, and according to John Brazelton, of Redington, "if there is a real defect the rod should fail within a few casts." That doesn't mean a couple of years later you can claim the rod was defective. Got that?

This really is BIG news. For a number of years we, my husband JC and I, have been appalled at the price of rods, and the fact that the sticker shock of folks who walk from the spinning rod department into the fly rod department and compare prices is a real thing. We feel it discourages many, many people who might be interested in getting into fly fishing.

We've been encouraged to find some manufacturers, (see our Sponsor Page) who are producing good stuff at reasonable prices. We're grateful they exist.

But here's one of the 'big boys' who sees it the same way!

I wrote a column some five years ago, it was in fact the third column for FAOL, called Missed The Turn. It was my feeling then, and now that the "bulletproof guarantee has done more to devalue the previously cherished fly rod (and fly fishing) than all the anti-fishing folks in PETA could possibly have hoped. Instead of fly rods being cleaned, polished, and treasured, it is just chuck it anywhere. What the heck, it if breaks, no sweat. Get a new one FREE. Magic word that is, FREE!"

But, there is NO FREE LUNCH! If you get a "FREE" rod, someone is paying for it. Who? You if you bought the rod, and me if I bought one, and everyone else who buys one from that manufacturer. And I'm not willing to pay for your carelessness or someone else's gross stupidity.

Hurrah for Redington! Here's the choice. You can buy a fly rod, actually the identical rod to the Red Fly for less money, without the bulletproof guarantee. Or, if you want the guarantee, buy that one, for more money, which does have the guarantee.

I'd like to see it go a step further.

How about this, each manufacturer set a fair price for every rod they make. (Not including the replacement costs for the bulletproof guarantee of course.) Then, offer each buyer an insurance policy, (simple single piece of paper) good for one replacement of a broken rod. We have extended warrantees for cars, washing machines, everything it seems, and some of us are willing to pay that extra price. Are you?

I'm not, but you might be very willing to pay the additional money for your rod. Without the paperwork, that is what Redington has done. Let's see how many more rods show up this way?

Wouldn't you like to see the price of rods drop by 20% or more? A $600 rod for around $474.00? Or maybe even less. That is still a lot of money for the new guy coming in to fly fishing, but it's a start.

Would rod companies sell more rods? Would they be more likely to try new ideas? New materials? Be more innovative? Lower prices? What a concept!

Do you really want an unconditional guarantee? And just how much are you willing to pay for it?

I haven't broken a rod in many years. I take care of my stuff. So does Castwell. But we are of a generation where that was what one was supposed to do. We are not part of the 'throw-away' generation.

Fly fishing is about being responsible. You are responsible for your own progress in the sport. You do it, no one can catch fish for you. We can teach, inform and encourage - but you are the one responsible for the results.

Fly fishing also stresses conservation. Of the resources? Of course. But how about the equipment you use?

I'm tired of the 'attitude' of those, a large number, who are not responsible. I don't owe them anything! I for sure don't owe them a new fly rod. And I'm bloody tired of buying one for them.

Thanks Redington! ~ LadyFisher

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