Quality Control: After that incident, Trey explained to us that he’s really stepped up the quality control measures on every single rod. He shared that as of the 2010 model year all of his lineup, including the Helium LTA and Helium 2 LTX (but excluding the Zbone rods of course) are now made overseas. It was a move necessitated by the competition, but that before he made the move, he had to find an OEM factory that was as serious about quality control as he.
Trey working another fish...
Citing past breakage issues as the inspiration for current policies, he told us each and every blank is tested in two different bending methods at the factory to check for integrity prior to being wrapped. Then, after each rod is wrapped and shipped to Kistler Headquarters in Magnolia, Texas, each built rod is tested again. Those that survive are tagged and sleeved for sale and those that don’t are discarded.
... and another ...
To assist in this quality control regimen, he’s eliminated a lot of skus and really streamlined the diversity of offerings in each lineup. Gone all together is the Argon and remaining are the Carbon Steel, Magnesium TS, Micro Magnesium, Helium LTA and Helium 2 LTX.
... with Kyle joining in on the fun.
Now, what he’s hoping to build with this custom order offering of Zbone rods, is a new generation of Kistler sticks with American made blanks, customer specified lengths and components, and a return to what he finds most gratifying in the rod building business: the stories of success and appreciation from customers who take pride in the product he helped make specifically for them.
Trey with one of Zander's many ZBone fish.
Though a limited run of generic specification built rods will be made available at the onset, the ZBone rods are intended to be an entirely custom order, build your own product and as mentioned above, specifying your own Zbone rod starts at the blank. There will be two blanks from which to choose, the ST, a 30 ton graphite blank based off of the North Fork Composites Next IM product, and the LE, a 40 ton
graphite blank based off of the North Fork Composites Next HM product.
Trey is pretty excited to be offering the ZBone custom build your own fishing rod and for good reason.
Conclusion: The winner during our two days of fishing on Falcon Lake, Texas? The particular rod with which Zander was fishing. It was a seven foot, six inch Zbone LE built from a five power blank with a standard handle kit and stainless steel framed, alconite micro guides by Fuji. Both the power and smooth bend of this stick were ideal for the conditions we faced and it is a likely future addition to both
our arsenals in the near future – well, with perhaps a few component upgrades.
Two days of torquing and bending on Falcon Lake, TX and not one broken rod.
Kistler Custom Rods is busy coding away at the “Build Your Own” feature on their website and Trey hopes to have something right around the end of Q1 or beginning of Q2 of 2010. For now, they are accepting a limited number of phone and fax orders if you simply cannot wait. In the meantime, though this event certainly helped to accelerate the process, we are still in the midst of completing our own testing on the Zbone LE entry to our Search For One all purpose rod shootout.
TackleTour would like to thank Trey and Kyle Kistler for being such gracious hosts and providing us this unique insight into the testing regimen they employ in bringing a product to market.
The ZBone is available now by calling the
company directly and the rest of the Kistler rods are available now at