Oh so young, and so much time left to experience true craftmanship!! ;D But first the 'disclamer:' I know Bob personally, and he's a good friend, I'm a field tester for his rods, and one (a 13-6 spey rod is called the "FES" for Fred Evans Special) is actually named after me. But all that aside:
I own several Meiser rods, Willie Gunn has one or two (and is also a field tester for Bob.
From the US you're all aware of our major rod manufacturers .. but do you ever get to talk to the guy who designed the rod(s)? With Bob you do. He'll talk to you for a hour or more before he sells you a rod. Idea is to assure what your going to purchase is actually a fit for the intended purpose.
Better yet, when he comes out with a new rod design he sends them all (and I do mean all!) over the world to fellows who are very, very good 'casters,' but more importantly, fishermen. Casting just leads to the fishing; they are not the same IMHO. Meis. then takes the input and redesigns the rod blanks based off the feed back.
So you deside you want the 'xyz' rod ... from that point on each is custom built for the client. (No shxt!) What you see on Bob's web site is exactly what you get in 'fit and finish.' Classic fishing equipment!!
The other 'custom rod designer' (web site is now down) is Kerry Burkheimer of Burkeimer rods. Rods are not as 'customized' for the customer, but you can request 'upgraded components' if you wish.
Why are these two guys so good at what they do? Because they listen to the folks who will purchase their rods. How good are they (and to the point of your question) ... you can hand ANYONE a Meiser or Burkheimer spey rod .... and teach them to spey cast in 30 minutes. (Well, only one exception comes to mind and the fellow was a complete clutz ::))
I've yet to teach (old or young) the basics of spey casting with a Meiser or Burkie rod that wasn't reasonably compitent and off and fishing in a short period of time.
If you deside to purchase any of (either) of their rods, you will not be disapointed. Are they better than Hardy/ B and W .. simple answer is yes.
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2005 7:01:51 GMT -5 by fredaevans
I have just ordered a "switch" rod off Bob. He could not have been more helpful and, through a long series of emails culminating in a 30 minute telephone conversation, talked me through the rod selection. It is very refreshing to be able to do this with a rod builder and also have conversations about which line combinations work with each rod and its exact capabilities. I'll report back on this forum when I have received the rod and had a chance to fish it.
CB, sorry for the delay in responding .. I missed your post. First as to rod sellection, above and beyond contacting Meis directly, you'll find a lot of info on his rods in Dana Sturms "spey pages" web site.
An excellent web site devoted (90%) to spey casting, equipment, etc. Lots of commentary on his product line from folks who own his rods.
But do drop Bob an e mail, as noted above, he's very responsive to these and getting you set up properly with a rod that will do exactly what you want.
Kingfish asked: Do you get to keep the rods after you test them Fred?"
Don't I only wish!!! Actually, the rods will be passed on to other 'field testers' so I've usually only got a given rod for about a week. Not a big deal as I live about 15 minutes drive from Meis' home, will pick up a rod and head another 20 minutes to the Rogue River.
First day or two will be running a rod through several different lines (apprioprate grain weights, short heads, long heads, sink tips, etc.,) using a regular leader (as you'd use for fishing) and a 'yarn fly' to get the feel of the rod (good or 'bad' 'Bad' as in the rod feels stiff, slow, whatever in some section of the blank, etc.).
Next trips will be actual fishing with the equipment .. that's the fun part. As I said(and probably beaten to death), casting and fishing are two different game plans in my opinion. I've used rods that were great casting tools, but as a fishing tool .. questionable.
Then (BOO HOO :P) the rod goes back, and off to the next fellow.
Last Edit: Feb 24, 2005 7:27:56 GMT -5 by fredaevans