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I'm thinking about building a 3wt rod. I was on the ark one day and rim chung was on the other side of the river swinging his 3wt rod around effortlessly and landing large fish with it as well. My 5wt. just seems a bit too heavy to cast all day.

First question is about the blanks on Ebay. There is quite a variety. I am also on a tight budget. There is an IM7 graphite 3wt 8ft. for very cheap. My question is do I get what I pay for? Should I go with a more expesive blank. It's hard to know if you can't cast it before hand. My current rod is an IM6 graphite 5wt. 9ft. I'd like a faster action.

Second question is can I build a decent rod for less money than going out and buying a new outfit?
 

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I built my own 5 piece 3wt from a blank provided by Elkhorn fly rod and reel. Its a fantastic rod, lightweight yet still capable of bringing in big fish, and it did end up being cheaper than retail, although it still cost me a couple hundred bucks, yet worth every penny. Its based in Loveland, you might give Brian a call if you're interested.
 

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Building your own rod is a lot of fun, and not difficult, but I have heard great things about the 3 wt "three forks" rods from Cabelas for very little money.
 

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I'm no expert on rod building but I'm working on my 3rd and 4th rods. A lot of fun, and you learn a lot with each build. The internet has a lot of info on using stuff like old phone books and a cardboard box to make a wrapping jig if you don't want to spend the cash on one. Also, you can make a drying rig too (google it and people have built them), or get one off of ebay for around $30-$40. I ended up going the ebay route, and also bought an entry level rod jig as I wasn't sure I was going to keep building. But, I still am, and my cheapo jig works well for my current level.

As far as blanks, I ordered one off ebay (2nd build) that was super cheap. But, I never fished it, and it was more so to practice on (blank was super soft and hyped up). I imagine that there are some okay ones out there, but, I would say go with the best that you can afford.

I would highly recommend Dan Craft's blanks. My first build was a 5wt FT and I am currently building a 6wt FTXL. I'm not sure which blank that he carries would be best for a 3wt, but I'm sure there is plenty of info online.

Check out http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/ for some more experienced opinions.

I'd say that getting started is like starting to tie flies. There's a certain start up cost, like a vice and all the materials, tools, hooks, etc. For rod building, you may need a cork reamer (I got a rounded file from Harbor Freight for a few bucks - and use my drill on a low setting), jig, special epoxy, etc. I don't know if one would save much on the first build, but it all depends on what your building and on your resourcefulness.

I've heard good things about the Elkhorn blanks.

http://www.wyomingflyfishing.com/ has some Sage blanks on closeout (TXL and VT2) that are priced reasonably.

Good luck finding a blank that works for you.


Edit to add: The Dan Craft blanks are great regarding bang for the buck and just appeasing in general. If you want to spend the cash now on something that will last you years, I don't think one could go wrong as long as the action fits your casting style. A Better buy than a Sage if you ask me as far as the dollar to performance ratio (and in general, I like Sage and have a couple). The DC blanks have a huge following from people that have been building rods for years, and thus far, I have been super impressed by my previous build and I'm looking forward to finishing the next one.
 

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You're looking at 45-75 bucks for all the hardware plus a little for finish and epoxy for handles and such. If the blank is 75-100 then your into a rod for 125-175. Alot of the rods in this class are about 175 s you don't save much. You do get the satisfaction of building it yourself though and thats worth something IMHO. You see a much greater dollar and percentage savings when you ar lookng at the 300.00 and up rods. with those you'll save about 40%. They are not hard to make but get a little advise from a forum or someone who has done a few and you'll shave a lot of time off the learnig curve and end up with a better job. First one I made took about 15 hours. 2nd one tooke about half that. After 10 or so takes about 3 hours total plus dry time.
 

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It is less expensive building your own rod. My winter project was a 8 wt X-Axis...all told it was about 325.00.

Personally, I would not skimp on the blanks...Also, TFO Finess blanks are reasonable in the 3 wt.
 

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Rod building is fun and inexpensive. Hook Hack (www.hookhack.com) has lots of kits to get started with and they are great to deal with.

Dan Craft provides outstanding blanks that will cast with the best out there. He's at www.DanCraftEnt.com - give him a call and he'll happily steer you down a good path.
 
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