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PRODUCTTPREVIEW : Kistler Custom Rods Returns to Form with Micro Rods and Custom, Build to Order Rods

Date: 07/16/09
Tackle Type: Rods
Manufacturer: Kistler Custom Rods
Reviewer: Team TackleTour



Introduction: Just a few short years ago, the market space for bass rods could be defined by a handful of known and trusted manufacturers. Do a good job with your design and craftsmanship while delivering good performance, and it was relatively simple to differentiate yourself. With the advent of overseas sourcing for both material and assembly labor, the space suddenly became crowded and with that, the ability to differentiate yourself with new designs and cosmetics became increasingly difficult. These days, you really have to work hard and assume a lot of risk to offer features and technology no one else is leveraging.


Kistler Custom Rods shows they're not afraid to break from the mold and are the first major manufacturer to offer rods with a full set of micro-guides.

One company formerly at the forefront at this type of risk has been relatively quiet over the past couple of years. Kistler Custom rods was well known for bringing custom rod features and technology to the forefront and assuming the risk of providing these features on a mass production rod, but the Kistler camp has been quiet over the past couple of years extending their many lineups instead of concentrating on features that would distinguish themselves from the masses. In this time of economic uncertainty, who could really blame them?

The size difference is astonishing between the micro guide (left) and a standard sized guide.

Last year, the exciting news from Kistler was their intent on bringing blank rolling responsibilities in-house to eliminate their reliance upon external entities and the influence they can have over your rod production and availability. Unfortunately, over the past year, Kistler was met with more challenges to this goal than they were able to overcome and have chosen to put those goals on hold for now. Instead, Trey Kistler has refocused his energies on returning his company back to forefront of introducing new and exciting ideas in the form of unique fishing rods to the average angler.

Fuji offers a full line of Micro Guides and this is the brand Kistler is leveraging for their new subset of rods in every lineup.

So what does Kistler Custom Rods have in store for us in 2010? Micro guides. For several years, custom rod builders have been building rods with these diminutive guides to reduce the overall weight of their assembled rods and extend the effectiveness of a factory blank. Manufacturers have been resisting this trend in rods due to the added labor involved with wrapping a rod in micro-guides, even though most knew of the inherent advantages. The primary obstacle with these guides has been the unavailability of micro-tip tops in configurations that would allow installation on a standard sized blank without some major, and labor intensive modifications.

Fuji has removed the obstacle of a custom tweaked tip top by offering micro tip tops with standard sized bases.

Fuji has removed this obstacle with the modernization of their micro-guide tip tops to be able and fit over a standard sized rod blank’s tip, like a standard guide and without the need to split the guide’s base in half and stretch its opening to fit over the blank.

But that's not all Kistler has cooking...

With the removal of this obstacle, aggressive manufacturers are afforded yet another opportunity to differentiate their rods from the masses and Kistler Custom rods is among the first of the major manufacturers to jump onto the micro-bandwagon offering a subset of “Micro-Rods” in each of their lineups. It is now becoming a race to see which rod company can bring a micro guide rod to market first, and Castaway looks like they may have a product coming to market shortly as they displayed a rod with micro guides at ICAST.

...nope, not even close.

So why micro guides? Trey explains to us that by using these guides on a rod, he can reduce the overall weight of a rod by a quarter ounce (7 grams). A longtime advocate of the “lighter is better” camp, Trey argues that a quarter ounce is a significant reduction in weight especially when most of this weight is towards the rod’s tip. Formerly, to reduce the weight of a rod in this area, material in the blank had to be removed effectively decreasing the strength of the rod – a very delicate balancing game. By using these micro-guides, you can reduce weight while maintaining the blank’s integrity. In fact, there are arguments to support you’re actually extending a rod’s utility by reducing the load a blank must endure when an angler takes the backswing to present their cast. It’s like fishing with a lure that’s close to a quarter of an ounce lighter than average. Because the rod is not loading as deeply on the backswing, less effort is needed to present your bait, increasing accuracy and decreasing overall fatigue both in the rod and your arm.

Yes, this is rod is Made in the USA.

Next Section: The preview of the Kistler Z-Bone continues









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