Here are just a few of the many, many testimonials we have kept. We hope you'll take the time to read these and maybe leave one of your own.
I purchased a high-modulus "Fran Betters Custom" 9' 5wt in December of 2003. Needless to say, I have been nothing less than ecstatic about the performance of this rod and it immediately climbed to the top of my rod list, with nothing else I own coming in anywhere close to second.
I just wanted to thank you for your excellent patterns. Last year, my first trout of the season was caught on an ausable wulff, and it was a 22" 4 lb. brown trout. Last night, I was able to get out for the first time this season, and began with a 17" 2.5 lb. brown caught on your muskrat beadhead. Your fly fishing and patterns book is the best I have read, and I recommend it as THE book to get to anyone who asks me for advice. Not only is your book very well-written, but you also don't get into the elitist nonsense, especially the futile chasing of the latest equipment, etc., that plagues all of the magazines that I see on the racks at the supermarket. I can honestly say that equipped with your ausable wulff, some usuals and haystacks for the dry fly end, and the mini muddlers, dark cahills, and some bead headed muskrats for the wet end (okay, one picket pin and one alexandria too), I would feel ready to take on any trout, be it brown or brookie. Your patterns work, and I enjoy feeling a part of a tradition when I use them.
Before I left for my recent Ausable River trip, it was recommended to me that one key to success on the river was one of Fran's hand tied leaders. Well know that I have tried many and my friends have taken to call me Wind Knot, so I was somewhat skeptical as some of the tied leaders out there are among the worst I've tried. This is not the case with Fran's! Not only did I not wind knot once, I found my loops tight and lay down accurate. This is without a doubt the best leader I have ever used! Needless to say, I didn't go home empty handed. I am prepared now to fish my home water and know that I will not spend a lot of time untangling. So brethren.... use this leader! You won't be disappointed!
As for my recent trip. It rained hard for 3 days and the river was high. With Fran's knowledge of what was on the water, I did catch a few small Browns and one nice 17" Brown. So all was not lost. Had I gone home without a catch, I would still have been happy to have spent time in awe of the Ausable and the friendships made at Fran's shop.
My name is Bob Kingman and for many years I was in the rod making industry. My years with Jim Payne in central valley and Leonard Rod Company where the best years of my life. I just wanted to say that I had a look at one of your rods the other day and you do one hell of a job. It's one of the best rods I have seen in many years. Please keep up your great work.
What a Beautifull Rod! I havent had a chance to get out and cast it
yet but I will by the weekend. What a Beautifull rod! Why anyone would
buy a rod off the shelf when they can have one of these Beautifull
Custom Betters Rods escapes me. I will pass the word along to all I
meet.Thanks for a wonderfull job I will treasure it always as it shows
such a love of the sport. I92m sure it will be my favorite. Thanks
I just wanted to thank you for your excellent patterns. Last year, my
first trout of the season was caught on an ausable wulff, and it was a
22" 4 lb. brown trout. Last night, I was able to get out for the first
time this season, and began with a 17" 2.5 lb. brown caught on your
muskrat beadhead. Your fly fishing and patterns book is the best I
have read, and I recommend it as THE book to get to anyone who asks me
for advice. Not onlyis your book very well-written, but you also
don't get into the elitist nonsense,especially the futile chasing of
the latest equipment, etc., that plagues all of the magazines that I
see on the racks at the supermarket. I can honestly say that equipped
with your ausable wulff, some usuals and haystacks for the dry fly
end, and the mini muddlers, dark cahills, and some bead headed
muskrats for the wet end (okay, one picket pin and one alexandria
too), I would feel ready to take on any trout, be it brown or brookie.
Your patterns work, and I enjoy feeling a part of a tradition when I
When I first moved to the Saranac Lake area to start a new job, I
became interested in fly fishing. One day my wife and I decided to
take a ride along the Ausable and check out a fly fishing shop to see
if we could get some information on getting set up to start fly
fishing. We first stopped into a shop not far from yours and went
inside to check things out. There were 2 fly fishermen talking to the
guy behind the counter. They were decked out like Orvis catalog models
and were swapping stories about their prowess in fly fishing. I stood
there for about 5 minutes waiting for a break in the conversation to
speak to someone. The guy behind the counter finally said "Do you want
something?" I replied that I knew nothing about fly fishing and was
interested in getting started. At that, he picked up one of their
guide brochures and threw it toward me and said "This might help",
then went back to talking to the two flyfishermen. I threw the
brochure back on the counter and walked out.
I was beginning to think
that fly fishing was some kind of elite group that would be difficult
to enter into. We traveled a little farther and saw your shop. Even
though I was a bit disappointed with my earlier encounter, my wife and
I decided to stop in. Fran was sitting there tying flies, and as soon
as I walked in said hello to me and asked if he could be of help. I
told him that I knew nothing about fly fishing but wanted to learn.
Fran spent over 1/2 hour explaining fly fishing to me and recommending
how to get started. There was no sales pressure to buy any expensive
gear. In fact, Fran advised trying some reasonably priced equipment
that would be good to start with. He explained that if I wound up not
really liking the sport that it was wiser not to spend big bucks right
away. Fran said if I decided that it was something that I was to enjoy
that I could always upgrade my equipment when I wanted. Jan then asked
me if I wanted to try my hand at casting. She got a rod/reel that was
set up and we went outside to cast. Jan made casting look simple, and
by this time we were through I was at least able to get some line out
in front of me. At that time I did not realize just who Fran was. As I
began to learn about the sport, I soon realized that one of the
legends of flyfishing had been willing to spend time helping me out.
This was quite a bit different than my first encounter. Ever since
then, I have done most of my business at the shop. My wife, son and I
always stop by whenever we can and Fran and Jan have become good
friends to us. I believe that the way that Fran and Jan treat people
lends to help expand the sport of flyfishing.
Being a person who has used tools for my whole life, I appreciate how
a carefully designed and well made tool can aid in refining ones
talents. I approach my woodworking and the product that I produce,
with the same attitude as you with your rod building and fly tying.
When I decided to invest in a new rod, I researched a few of the top
names (Orvis, G. Loomis, Sage and Scott ). The rods that I
personally casted locally did not seem a whole lot better than the 10
year old Daiwa that I had been using, and were pretty expensive to
I found your name while I was reading about Art Flick, and
researching tne Variant flies. When I hit your website Iread
the article from Cigar Officianado. It is not normal for me to be so
trusting when I do business with someone I do not know personally, but
after talking to you I had a good feel about things. I am not
the kind of person that needs or wants a lot of fishing equipment. The
rods that I use are the rods that I always use and become part of
me. I appreciate the pride that you take in your craft, and as I
stated before I am very happy with my rod and reel. I will enjoy
fishing with this rod for a long time. The rod that you built for me
is the most personal of my rods. When I look at it, I feel that it is
my fishing rod as opposed to everyones fishing rod. It sounds kind of
corny but that is the way Ifeel about all of my favorite "tools".
I look forward to adding a new 4-5 weight in the spring.
Dear Fran and Jan and Rob,
I want to thank you for the great time that I had with you all on the
16th. I keep thinking about sitting in the shop talking to Fran on
Friday night, fishing with Rob on Saturday, the beautiful river, the
beautiful fish, the great dinner Jan made, including my fish and all
the fresh veggies from your garden and especially the warmth and
kindness from you all. I had just a wonderful time. You are great
We had a great time Saturday and wanted to thank you again. The
clinic was great and informative for us rookies( experienced anglers too). The day fishing with Rob was a great first time for my son and I. He was very professional, very concerned for our needs and he made our first fly
fishing trip a great success!!
Fran, it is easy to see your love affair with nature and your sport-
fly fishng. You have given back to your sport many times over, by
teaching people how to fully enjoy this great sport, this being with nature!! Fran, from a purely selfish point I hope you are around for many more
healthy years! You have so much to share with us- your apprentices in this
way of life - fly fishing.
The rod arrived Friday afternoon (delivered by a pretty FedEx lady, so
I was doubly happy...). It's really beautiful. I took it out for a try
today, to a stream southwest of Tokyo and it has a really nice feel to
it. The only bad news is that I didn't catch any fish... Oh well,
next time maybe.
Anyway, thanks for the great rod!
Just to let you know that I received my new Fran Betters Fly Rod and
am very happy. To refresh your memory,I'm Bob Mulcahy of Rochester,NY
and I purchased one of your 3wt.Rods. It is a beauty and I caught my
first brown with it today. Just wanted you to know that I had a great
experiance at you shop in Sept. Your kindness was overwelming. Once
I apologize for taking so long to write you. I just
wanted to let you know that I love my new Power-Master fly rod. As a
Designer/Builder and finish wood-worker I can appreciate the time and effort that was put into designing and building my fly rod. The result was a beautiful piece of craftmanship and a completely functional fishing tool that is a pleasure to fish with. The sensitivity of the rod was exceptional and allowed me to feel the slightest hit from a Koho, Steelhead or Brown. The power of the rod helped me to handle the muscle of a Chinook also, and set the hook cleanly in the lip of the fish. I felt that my casting technique
improved with this rod considerably, due to the balance of the rod and reel. Your rod received many compliments from fisherman that I met. Each
one of my friends got to use my rod and they loved it. In fact they
all said that I had to put a provision in my will that should anything
happen to me they each one gets to alternate using my fly rod. I suggested that maybe it was time for them to invest in a fly rod that
they could use for the rest of their lives. I will keep on them and
hopefully they will. I will be in touch again in the spring , and hopefully my schedule will allow me a trip to the Ausable either in the spring or fall. I will also be ordering some of your flies this winter. Before I have a new 5 weight built I would like to talk to you personally about what you reccomend and try a rod or two if I can. I am also going to bring my wife, who has never fly fished before.
the package arrived today without incident and to my
untrained eyes the rod and reel are beautiful!! I know nothing about
fly rods but I do know and appreciate good workmanship and this is a
superb example of quality. I do cosmetic surgery so beauty is what I
know and I restore old motorcycles and do woodwork(when I find a few
minutes) your work is great!! Many thanks and I hope to send you more
Until now, my favorite set up had been the 4 piece Powell 5/6, 8 1/2
foot that Art Powell made for me years ago. Well, guess what was in
the store room on the end of the pier? Right rod, reel, gear (along
with refrigerator and host of other stuff) are gone. But, fortunately, yours came and is far more than a
replacement. Even if I still had the Powell, which I will miss, there
is no question that its usage would plummet. This set up of yours is
truly functioning art at its finest. Thanks so much for making this as
it will be well cared for by me and, later, my son. The fleur de lis
turned out great, too. Thanks again.
Dear Fran and Family
My name is Bill Alexander (from the Washington DC area) and I bought
the 'Little Princess' from you this past August. Last weekend, I
finally got a chance to use the fly rod package. Despite the low
water conditions in Penn., I ended up catching over 30 trout (rainbow,
tiger, and brook) in one day. The rod was so well built that I felt
everything in the water and no need for a strike indicator. To top it
all off, I caught the most fish and the biggest fish in my party of 15
guys...I would also like to mention that the Ausible Bomber allowed me to catch a 5 lb tiger trout. The trout took the fly so hard and caused the reel to sing in a high octave of 'ZZZZZZZ' and the rod was bending in a beautiful 'U' shape. It was so much fun. The 'Little Princess' demonstrated so much class on the
narrow streams of Penn, I could only imagine your 5 wt fly rod on the
Saranac River. Next summer I will try out your 5 wt.
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