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Harrison Guide to  Buying your own custom built rod.

Chris Orme rod Whilst Harrison factory rod building is the finest quality, there is often a good reason for wanting a customised build, a build unique to you. Customisation may be as little as having your name put on the rod, or it may be a complete custom build with different components, handle length or colours. The rod may be for a presentation or it might be a treat to yourself. With a Harrison rod the possibilities are endless. We can make small modifications to our rods here in our Liverpool factory, but if you want a complete custom build then we have a range of partners who will build a rod to your specification, here in the UK and overseas.  Many of those rod builders are well known as anglers and can offer you expert advice. All of them are experts in rods and rod building.

Surprisingly, a custom build does not have to cost the earth. Of course it will vary on the components you specify, so we cannot offer you guide prices, but I can say that some custom builds can start below the price of a factory rod, though you can pay a lot more.  
The possibilities

First, look at the list of custom rod builders below and maybe give one a ring. When planning your specification you should take advice from the professionals as they all have a lot of experience, but ultimately you can have what you want. Each custom builder has his own area of expertise. For example, Chris Orme is a carp angler and rod builder, and that is one of his rods pictured above. Vic Gibson is perhaps one of the most experienced and respected all round names. Kevin Baines at the Anglers Workshop is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met on the physics of rod performance.  Nick Buss is well known as distance carp anglers and Mark Tunley and Roger Mcourtney are  experts in other big fish especially barbel, though they know a fair bit about carp as well. John Hutchinson is probably the man with the most experience in the trade. Another talented rod builder to add to that list is Bob Gill who has a new website at www.anglinginnovations.co.uk. Cotswold Rods are an enthusiastic newer outfit who really know their stuff, and Bob at Fosters fishing tackle is uniquely placed, in that he operates inside an excellent tackle store and can also sell you a standard rod. He has a wide range of knowledge of our full rod range.

All build excellent rods to the customers specification, and all can offer good advice. For fly rods you can try Aquarius, Peter Meek, Stan Massey, and Roger Mcourtney or give us a call on 0151 709 5981 for a recommendation. A recent addition to our custom builders is Ian Tucker . Ian is gradually making that move to full time professional but has lots of experience and like most of our builders is a very experienced angler who can offer you good advice. For predator rods, try Dave Lumb , though of course Dave can also supply Carp and Barbel, rods.

Another builder to add to the list is Jakes Custom Rods of Deal who also builds beach rods. And new in the North West to our list though he has been rod building for years is Tony Kay.

 

Some of our shops also offer a custom building service, and many stock a range of our rods to look at and handle. Simon Mullins at Bevan Tackle Carp Tackle, is currently expanding his operation and focussing on Harrison Rods. Ruth Lockwood at Yateley Angling Centre has her own range of rods based on Harrison blanks and can also offer a custom build. Our old friend "Bob the Rod" is the in house rod builder at Fosters of Birmingham. Mark II Angling Centre, Johnson Ross,  and further North, Leatherbarrows in Urmston have been Harrison dealers for many years, and in the case of of Johnson Ross, stock their own exclusive range as well as offering custom builds.  Planet Carp also have some Harrison Exclusives and are able to help with smaller changes to standard rods.  Hopefully there should be a dealer or rod builder near you.

Here in the factory we keep a wide stock of blanks ready to ship to your chosen custom rod builder. He will phone us and order the blank and tell us any special instructions such as matt or coloured finish. A few days later your rod blank will be on its way to your chosen rod builder. Delivery times will vary with season and work load, but good rod builders are very rare and they are often busy, so you may have a little wait, but it should be worth it.

This specialised custom service between Harrisons and our rod building specialists is now unique in the UK. Most UK rod firms cannot offer custom build because they have their rods and blanks mass produced in China and Korea unlike Harrisons who make everything under the Harrison Advanced brand here in the UK. The key point is that you can have a custom built rod on a state of the art Harrison blank for the same price as a top end mass produced imported rod. One will be something personal to treasure for years to come, the other probably discounted next year, discontinued the following.

My advice, talk to us or our dealers and custom builders and get the best. If ringing the factory (0151 709 5981) ask for Mike Helliwell.

Overseas, we also have partners who build on our blanks. One of the biggest is Banana Rods . They offer rods built on our standard range, plus we make them some blanks specially for their own market. Also in France is Cotes et Lacs who have many years experience with our rods and blanks.

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