My First Fly Rod Build – Part TWO

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“It is finished.”

Please, forgive the Easter reference (yes, that was *last* week), I just couldn’t resist!

I have to say, this was not as difficult as I had feared… on the other hand, it wasn’t all that easy to create a flawless rod either. I knew from the outset that this would be my “starter”, that there would be a learning curve to this. As with most things, it’s largely a question of patience and confidence, but practice does make perfect after all. I was most nervous about the epoxies, there is no “do-over”… and most confident about wrapping thread, you tie a few hundred flies, you figure out how to wrap thread.

I did learn a few things the hard way (see pic below!) and I hope that the next rod will benefit from that experience. Definitely will be able to put a little bit more thought into design, components, threads and finishes, but I get the feeling that, as with most things fly fishing related, there’s a lifetime learning curve to it!

All in all, I am pretty proud of my sweet little 3 wt.

Here she be!

Lami3wt2Lami3wt4 Lami3wt3

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And tragically, I learned that the finish I put on the wraps, Trondak’s U-40 Perma Gloss, will actually MELT the ink right off the manufacturer’s decal. :(  I caught on almost immediately, made a split second decision to just splash on a horizontal brush stroke, and while it looks a little rougher than I would have liked, at least I saved the decal!

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Would I build a fly rod again?

 

You betcha!

 

:)

 

 

 

 

My First Fly Rod Build – Part ONE

I have assembled all the bits and pieces for my first build.

I found a sweet deal on a blank in the classifieds on one of the rod building websites. My first build will be a 3pc 3wt fly rod, a  Lamiglass Appalachian Travel graphite 7′ blank.

I’ve been up and down and all over the map trying decide what components to buy, (and how much to spend!) and since this *is* my first build, and I have to spend a fair bit on tools and other sundries, I decided not to break the bank. Make it nice yes, but nothing too expensive, nothing that’s top of the line.

I decided to order from Hook and Hackle, a small shop compared to some of the larger mail order rod building outfits. They were fairly helpful, had what I wanted, and the prices were right. While it took a while for them to get everything in stock before they shipped,  they were AMAZING in shipping to Canada, and because of a small problem, upgraded my reel seat to a beauty that will look amazing on my all black “stealth” fly rod!

I am so happy that I had the Scheck book, I’m not sure I could have started without it! While they are many great videos on YouTube, there is something to be said for “the big picture”. I did get to the point where I needed to get some advice, and, after reaching out to Greg Herring of Winter Hatches, he put me in touch with Ron Bolton, who has not only built many rods over the last three decades, but is also a champion fly caster, and president of the West Hill Casting Club. And he lives two blocks away!

Ron has very generously donated his time and advice, lent me his wrapper and rod dryer, even donated a few bits and pieces. I’m very grateful to him, and hope I can learn more from him, there seems to be no limit to his passion for sharing what he knows about the world of fly fishing. Let’s face it, I need all the help I can get!

 

A couple of quick pictures… Here’s one of my first wraps…

FirstWrap

After using Ron’s Hand Wrapper, I tried to build my own… it’s a bit of a prototype, I think I have some ideas on how to make something better for the next fly rod I build….

Stands

The Old Wooden Fishing Pole

This is a bit of a departure…. My friend Wayne, who very generously takes me out fishing in his boat a couple of time a year, has in his possession this old wooden fishing pole… (see the pics below) The rod is very long, has two tips, one of which looks like it was repaired at some point. It was stored in a cloth bag.

He stands about 6′ 4″, so you can see the length… and he’s about sixty, so his grandfather is long gone, I’m afraid. His grandfather was originally from England, but was a butcher in Fergus, Ontario… being a prime fishing area, it’s possible someone down on their luck may have traded this to him for some reason, but who knows?

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Follow up: After posting on some forums, we have had a few insights….

“Looks like an old salmon rod from around or before the turn of the last century, nice wooden rod, possibly greenheart or lancewood, looks British or Scottish.”

“Nice looking 2-handed rod. My guesstimate would be 1860s – 1870s. Most rods were that size at the time. This was made before there was casting in the modern sense. This was more what we think of as a fishing pole. Old paintings and engravings show these rods with a tiny 1″-2″ reel used to store the line. You basically needed line length about twice the length of the rod. No telling who the maker was, but the rod maker was of English background. The cross-hatched reel seat band reminds me of the Mitchells, but it was clearly hand-made. The spacing is very irregular.”

“Looks like an old roach pole. Used a tiny reel like level wind. They were very long 13-16 ft with simplistic ferrules like that and guides because they weren’t used for casting. Just dapping.  Looks like greenheart.”

Not being marked by the maker isn’t unusual for a wood rod, I have a few wood rods and only 2 or 3 are marked. As others have said, these rods are often made up of diff. types of wood, with lancewood being the norm for tips and greenheart often used for mids.
I have a big rod in my shop that is marked (its English) that I may get to one of these days. It is a dbl. hander, 3/2, with a total length of a bit over 16′. You have to think of this rod, not in ounces but in pounds, not something you would want to fish, day in and day out. And once finished, I have no idea what I’ll do with it, but fishing it is out of the question.”

 

 

Rod Building 101: The Guide Book

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I have a story to tell. At least, I hope to have a story to tell…

I am going to build myself a fly rod. I actually can’t remember how this all got started, but I have got the bug. I’ve been looking at other people’s builds on the internet, the good, the beautiful, and the downright ugly. I want to do that for me! No matter what I end up with, it will be a fly rod that was crafted by me, for me. If I can be a creative genius with images, homebrew and fly-tying, surely I can accomplish something worthy in a rod.

The Toronto Public Library may only have one book on building your own fly rod, but from the first chapter I loved reading Art Scheck’s Fly Rod Building Made Easy. It’s modern, it’s informative, easy to understand, and best of all, Art has a great sense of humour. His easy going approach to teaching makes my newbie’s stress simply vanish.

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I am ordering a copy to have beside me, my guidebook into building my first fly rod!