We’re stocking more rod building gear at both our shops, and our San Diego shop offers a bit more depth in the rod building department, plus the shop manager is a rod builder. Staff at the HB shop also has experience in this regard, with Beta and Tom having build many, many rods over the years. Forecast has recently brought a hard to find product to market, an item most of us have seen on better quality rail rods. We have stocked the XWrap material at our shops for a few years now, that’s a product you also see on many factory rods either replacing or used in conjunction with corktape. The new Cold Shrink product from Forecast takes the XWrap to another level. The product arrives as a tube with a hard core, almost 2 inch diameter. Put the tube over the area of the rod you wish to enhance, pull a tap on the end and you will pull out the hard core as a spiral one piece.
As the core is removed the material shrinks down tightly, offering a durable XWrap type feel. It’s a great way to add a durable outer layer over an existing grip that’s worn, or a dandy way to build a new grip. Some make use of the product on their deckhand style rods, some will use it on the foregrip of their rail rods to add protection and a non-slip durable area on their rod for use on the rail. I’ll suggest that this is mandatory on a properly built rail rod. Another thing I really do like about this product is that if it gets worn, it’s easy to replace! You don’t have to cut off your old grip, remove the reel seat, etc. All you have to do is slip on Cold Shrink, pull the tab and presto! You’ve got new material on the rod with no installation hassle or expense. So, I guess you can say it saves some money and time long term. Now for the downside, it’s pretty expensive stuff. That’s one of the factors which make rail rods rather expensive. I’m going to put this on a couple of my own rods, one deckhand rod of mine uses sine-cord rather than corktape, a common build, but for my hands that’s not so comfortable. This stuff will make a big difference on that rod… And, then there’s that other rod that spent some hard time on the rail fighting a bluefin for too many hours…, a rod not made for that purpose. That 6 1/2 foot custom UC RCP65HP really got hammered on a charter a couple years back. This material will fix the problem I created by damaging the hypalon foregrip. Now it’s going to look better, and perform better should I get stuck in a similar position again. This is some neat stuff that a lot of fishermen and rob builders have been trying to find. Look no further, we’ve got it!
(This item is very similar to what United Composites uses on their Rail Rods, but it’s not exactly the same product. UC makes use of a more expensive USA made 3M product on their rail rods to protect the foregrip and add a bit of tackiness to prevent the rod from slipping on the rail. The Forecast product is an import. Works and applies the same way, does the same job, and is more readily available to rod builders and fishermen looking to enhance their rods.)