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The man in charge, Trey Kistler talks about Helium Rods (continued)

Cal: Perhaps more than any US based rod company of which we're aware, Kistler Rods is surrounded by a lot of rumor and innuendo of where the rods are made, where the blanks are coming from, etc.. I can understand wanting to keep some information close to the vest to protect the interests of your company, but at the same time, in today's age of readily available information, sometimes, a stance like this can be counterproductive. So I ask, why all the mystery of where the parts for your rods are coming from and why not speak out and silence all the critics once and for all? 

Trey tests his Heliums on some brozebacks

T.Kistler: I would have to say that is a matter of personal choice based on many years of experience that the average guy wouldnít understand. Therefore, we find it necessary to guard our intellectual property closely behind closed doors. An example would go like this, hypothetically: We use IM7 graphite in our rods. Well the reader would say to himself, I owned an All Star IM7 and it broke. Iíll never buy another rod that is made with IM7. Same thing with who makes the blank, hypothetically speaking: We might have Shikari build our blanks. Well the reader would say to himself, I owned a Castaway and didnít like it very much so I donít need another rod built on a Shikari blank. Therefore, if we tell everyone who makes our blanks, they will think they know exactly what they are buying already, when in fact, nothing could be further from the facts. Our blanks are made by companies 99% of the fishing public has never heard of anyway, so why not tell them right? Wrong, why tell someone the secret to your sauce when they could just go out and use your sauce ingredients to make their our brand and ultimately, use your name to promote their brand. Which by the way is already happening in this industry. But we are very flattered to have our name used as a salesmenísí tool to help them push their own brand.

Fishing for largemouth

Cal: Last tough subject - warranty. A lot of your competitors offer very aggressive lifetime or multi-year warranty support that can even be interpreted more as insurance. From no fault replacement coverage to over the counter exchange warranties, share with us the reasoning behind your tiered, one year support warranty.

T.Kistler: We are providing tools that increase the anglers ability to enjoy his success on the water. We are not selling a warranty. So many companies push their warranty to help them sell their product. We donít want to rely on a lifetime warranty to help sell our products. There is no challenge then to create a rod that performs beyond expectation, but rather opens the window to building less than impressive products while causing the consumer to deal with warranty claims.

Cal: As you know, with our readers, it's almost all about the tackle. I'm sure they would like to know from you, as the owner of a rod manufacturing company, if you could package your rods with any reel made today, what would that reel be and why?

T.Kistler: Shimano, because this reel is made to last, therefore you really get what you pay for.

Fishing the gulf

Cal: Even though the word "Custom" is part of your company's name, some people may not realize that they can call the factory and order a rod with custom specifications: anything from handle length, to components, to grip design, to guide placement and arrangement. I'm sure you've built a lot of custom requests through the years. Is there a custom order that stands out in your mind as the craziest or one of which you're most proud to have had built in your factory? 

T.Kistler: I enjoyed building a rod for Jimmy Buffet. It was a multi parrot colored rod while he was performing down here in the Houston area. It was a sight to see. He is a fishing fanatic who has traveled all over the world fishing wherever he performs. Another great memory was helping Ray Scott design and perfect his light tackle spinning rods. I still have a few prototypes I use when fishing for fun. Ray was by far my toughest customer to please but I know now why he is so successful in everything he touches.

Trey tests his rod with some swimbaits

Cal: Trey, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us and give us a little more insight to your company. In closing, is there anything you'd like to say to our readers?

T.Kistler: The rod business for me is just a way to meet great people in the industry, but the work part is still hard. You know, after many years of working so hard at making a living for myself, I finally realized where I was missing the mark. It was the lack of relying on my Father in heaven, God, to help me get through my ups and downs, decisions and plans for the future. Once I made that move to trust in God for everything the world threw at me, life had new meaning and real purpose. If any of your readers are sick and tired of being sick and tired, I suggest they call on our Father in heaven for help, as I did. I bet He would answer if they would just listen long enough.

TackleTour would like to thank Trey Kistler for taking the time to give us some insights into his company. Since that first article in 2002, weíve come to expect big things from Kistler Custom Rods, and just as with this interview, Trey has always been there to answer our call.










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