Q. I recently replaced the tip on my 10-weight because it was worn. Now the joint between the tip-top and the rod finish is not as perfectly smooth as a new rod. Do you recommend leaving it alone or taking it to a rod builder to get it perfect?
I would leave it alone. Apparently, you used a shorter tip-top than was formerly on the rod. That’s no problem. The outer coating on a fly rod is for cosmetics. Many prototype rods that we work with have no finish on them at all – and they cast perfectly fine. The lack of finish on your rod will have no effect on the casting performance.
I might add another point that may be helpful to readers of FFSW. I lived in southern Florida for many years, during which I was on the staff of the leading fly rod manufacturer of the time. When they wanted to test a finish they were considering for their fly rods, they would send me a sample. I was instructed to wet the bag the rod came in, put the rod in the wet bag and then store it on the top of my roof in the sealed rod case for several weeks. If I removed the rod from the tube and found the finish unaffected, they would use it. I found this to be the best test for finishes. The point to be made from this is never place a wet rod, or a dry one in a wet bag, inside a tube for storage.