Cork Fly Rod Grips - Time to Accept Some Change?

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Posted by Dan Blanton on 2010-09-26 15:34:07

Most folks these days are aware of the problem fly rod (and gear) manufacturers are having finding high quality cork. There just isn't much of it available. Consequently, regardless of make, we're finding our cork fly rod grips disintegrating, particularly under the area our thumb presses into the grip, rather rapidly. I know I have and it does bug me; but, I do understand why. The blanks are getting better and better but the grips are getting worse.

I personally think it's time we (fly-anglers) accepted the fact that maybe it's time to let go of our traditional expectations when it comes to cork grips.

When down in Loreto I asked Rick Pope of TFO to explain to me the differences between "Composite" grips and "reconstituted" cork grips: This was his reply to me:


I’m just back in the office today and I’m going to ask our grip source for an explanation (that I can guarantee is accurate). As I understand it, there is rubberized composite – maximum durability but quite heavy; and there is shredded, "reconstituted cork" - lighter than composite and same feel as cork (because it is). I don’t believe we’ve seen a failure on either. We use composite rings for accents on Clouser, Axiom and our Deer Creek rods for accent and durability. We use reconstituted cork on our Bug Launchers and NXT rods and kits. If and when the market accepts a more universal change, it will be into the reconstituted cork (in my opinion)."

"PS: Dan, I can confirm my assumption of yesterday – with the only addition being that the accent rings we use are a combination of cork and rubber (not just synthetic). The rods we were playing with in Loreto were our 7’ Heavy Teaser spinning and casting, which are composite cork (no rubber) glued back together to form a “ringless” grip."

Well, I for one actually like the look of the composite rings on those rods; and I wouldn't mind having a grip made of reconstituted cork with composite ring accents. They look great and wear like iron and I wouldn't have to worry about filling in the ditches in my standard cork ring grips.

I guess my question to all of you is would you balk at purchasing a quality fly rod that used either composite or reconstituted cork to build the grips(s)?

I think it's high time we accepted the situation for what it is and let the manufactures know it's OK to make the switch.

I guess you can call this a "poll".



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