Steve Parton: There's a bugger innit!

I've hit a most interesting problem with "Lifetime Guarantee" rods of late - or rather my customers have - exactly what happens pray, when the rings wear out?

So far this year I've had three aborted potential customers in for rering jobs because the repellent snakes factory fitted to their Sages, Orvises or whatever had virtually worn right through - certainly grooved enough to make short work of any flyline and in one case so rough as to render casting almost impossible.

And as an honest type I had to read them the potential riot act - viz and to wit - "If I lay hands on your rod it is likely that my activities will abrogate the guarantee!" Each potential punter has had to be sent away to ring up the manufacturers and in two case the folks concerned had nice new rods supplied - the other one came in to me and got reringed with lovely practical long lasting Fuji single legs which was what the gentleman had wanted in any event.

Now I'm not really moaning about this although the loss of a couple of paying rering customers I could be happier about. But it is a wholly ludicrous situation for all concerned and could well bring about the long term demise of one or two foolish rodmakers of quality - which I honestly don't want to see - there are few enough western based manufacturers doing original work left. And there will be less unless this sort of nonsense stops fairly quickly.

Most of the rods I have built over the last 20 years died - as is natural with hollow fragile graphite sectioned constructions. But a few have survived for all that time and I see them occasionally when they come in for rewhipping and refinishing. It is almost unknown for all the whippings to stay whole over a long period of sustained usage - they do need looking at every 10 years or so.

Snake rings though are a problem all of their own because in adverse ground conditions they wear into grooves really very quickly indeed. The very worst conditions involve the purchaser habitually fishing on a stillwater that has a lot of sands on the shoreline because the act of dropping his flyline onto the sands effectively causes the flyline to pick up fine grains and turns it into an abrasive band in short order. It can be so bad that I have seen good quality British Snakes grooved to hell and gone in a 6-week period by a hard fisherman.

Being simplistic about it, I'd estimate that any snake-ringed rod will likely require two full rering jobs in its working life.

With what has just been done for two of my potential customers, are folks like Sage, Orvis and whoever else is daft enough to offer "Lifetime Guarantees" actually going to basically supply two extra new rods on this basis during the expectable lifetime of each new one sold?

This seems lunacy to me and commercially suicidal long term - as simple as that.

They need now actively to consider what eventually happened to the one and only American company I ever enforced a lifetime guarantee on personally - D.H.Thompson's the inventors of the Original Model A Vice. Last year after a very long history in which they were extensively copied across the Indian Sub Continent and everywhere else in the World - they went bust! And I am sad of it!

This nonsense has got to stop and very soon now or there will be nobody left doing the development work in the West.

Mind you I couldn't give a tuppenny damn about anybody getting done over importing Far Eastern copies - 85% of the rest of the rod trade that amounts to and the sooner they are down the road and good riddance to then the better for craftsmen like me and that is a fact!

So check your "Lifetime Guarantees" and enforce them right now. And if any of them have sense your rod will be back in service with better rings than it had before and the job will take me about 5 working days! And cost you around 25 including the Single Leg Fujis!


Steve Parton needs no introduction to the UK readers. Midlands reservoir angler, obsessional float tuber, author and "in the trade", Steve owns Sparton Fishing Tackle (drop by for a visit!) and is well known in the UK for his in-depth flyfishing knowledge.

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