Custom-made fishing rods. The Angler, The Foundry, 1055 Thomas Jefferson St. NW (333-1156); (and also at Crystal City Underground, 1675 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington (521-3714).

Some fishing aficionados envision their dream rod with a bamboo blank or a touch of rosewood in the handle. Others will settle for modern virtues of fiberglass, but want a handle with just the right feel. In the realm of custom-built fishing rods, the fantasies aren't farfetched. Nor do they have to cost exorbitant sums, according to local rod-builder Tom Beck, who practices his art at The Angler. "Sometimes I can build a custom rod for less" than a ready-made rod, he says. The cost depends on the parts that go into the rod, and almost anything goes from the exotic to the conventional. "I've built a rod so small you could carry it in your shirt pocket," says Beck, who signs each piece of his handiwork with his name and that of the recipient and stampts it with a serial number. Catering to the dexterous who want to construct their own rods. The Angler also stocks all the components, including fiber glass, graphite, boron and bamboo blanks; reel seats; handles; guides; and about three dozen solid- and multi-colored threads. The store's Georgetown branch specialized in fly-fishing accessories, among them more than 300 kinds of flies. Custom rods range in price from $50 to $300, although the more elaborate designs can cost even more. Count on waiting 3 weeks, if orders aren't backed up, for your finished rod. You can construct your own for as little as $20.