You can tell for sure the year the rod was made from the letter on the black serial number opposite from the lettering. It's hard to see but it's there on every factory rod. It's alphabetical, starting with A, with (I'm 99% sure) A representing 1980. Could check with Sage to be sure of the start year.
So for example if you have a serial number that starts with F the rod was made in 1986.
BTW from the pics that rod seems to be factory, not custom. I owned the same rod for many years and it had exactly the same handle they were all made that way.
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