A local fishing rod and reel shop has expanded its services and now offers fishermen the opportunity to have their rods repaired to as-good-as-new or even custom-made and branded to suit their fishing style!Marlon George from Extreme Marine in Uitenhage said the drought has not affected the sport at all, especially as most of their customers are saltwater fishermen.“Only about 10% of our customers are inshore or fresh water anglers. They have been affected by low dam levels and muddy conditions. In fact I think a few anglers, owing to this drought, have changed their ways to now also go to the coast to fish,” said Marlon.“We have experienced an increase in the demand for custom build rods and repairs. This means that we can do conversions of rods from one type to another, like from multiply to spinning or vice versa.” Rod builder expert Previously fishermen had to go to Port Elizabeth to have this service done. Now it is offered at Extreme Marine in 33 John Street, Uitenhage, where their top quality workmanship compares to the best in South Africa.The shop is a one stop outfitter of fishing gear and carries a large inventory of rod building kits for most types of fishing. Louis Schlebush, a custom rod builder expert and craftsman, has joined Extreme Marine especially to practise the art of rod building.“Rods take a lot of strain and hammering. I take an existing rod and can either do full-on repairs or reconstruction. Most of the time the rings and binding need to be replaced. “In doing so I strip the whole rod, do full sanding, reglaze, epoxy and then rebind and refit. The rod will look brand new,” said Louis. “Customers often come here and say they have multiply fishing rods and then want them to be converted to grinder fishing rods. We do that as well. This is where my expertise come in,” said Louis. Custom built rod - an intricate job “Binding and repairs can easily be done, but it is when you have to custom build a rod, which is an intricate job, that you need expertise,” said Marlon.“Customers can be guaranteed quality with the best equipment and top notch available in the market, because they know that it all is about the whole fishing experience and the smallest thing can make a huge difference,” said Marlon.Depending on repairs and rebuild the workshop operates on an average of a week and a half. Complete rebuilds take longer as it is market related and they have to wait for stock. “We also do any colour of marbling on rods. Whatever customers want, we try to customize their fishing rod. We can even do personalized branding on rods.“You do not need to go to the Bay. We have it all and customer service is the most important to us. This is a hobby.Extreme Marine is in the process of having a full time reel repair and service section as well. It will be in full operation within the next two months. For further information call Extreme Marine at 041 922 4820.