Thursday, April 4, 2019

Some of budget blanks are surprisingly good, and this is one of them. Pacific Bay Rainforest 7'6'', 4wt is a graphite rod perfect for brook trout fishing in small creeks with high grass. 7'6'' is slightly longer than most of the brookie rods I use, but the extra length lifts the line over the grass and is still very accurate. I have been keeping this blank for a couple of years, but decided to build it and let go of it. 
Finished with 6061 Alu skeleton and a straight Ritz grip. Another favorite of mine is to use a snake guide in stead of a stripping guide. It works fine on short distance and gives the rod a sparse look. 

The new Epic 476 Fastglass II is a crisp little trout rod. The 4pc configuration makes it very packable, and I really appreciate the semi-sanded snake skin finish of the blank. This particular build has a new, integrated grip and seat design, with an ergonomic and smooth profile. Reel seat hardware in brushed 6061 aluminum, and silk wraps in green Kimono.  

This is one of the original Tom Morgan Rodsmith blanks from the time when Tom was still alive. This is an 8', 4wt customer build, finished with an offset reel seat with NS skeleton and a straight Ritz grip. Super smooth taper, very close to the Winston Stalker rods back in the days. This rod is heading across the pond to its new home in Michigan. Who knows, it might be fished during the Hex hatch in June...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

This is my first Epic 580-4 in the new Fastglass II version. It's a tad lighter and crisper than the previous version and feels like an improvement. The translucent butterscotch blank has a fine, riffled texture and the finish and fit is superb. Light walls and rolled with perfection. The color goes perfectly with the tulip wood insert dipped in fat, tung-oil varnish. The downlocking Lemke skeleton has that perfect utilitarian 70's look, and the chrome guides gives the build a fresh look without becoming blingy or over the top. The Epic story continues... 

When I started to build fly rods fifteen years ago, I didn't quite understand the joyful challenge of restoration builds. But the older I get, the more beauty I find in these projects. First of all, it's a technical challenge to strip and old rod and give it a new nice outfit. Second, it's nice to be reminded that the rod designers in the 70-80's designed some damn good tapers, and that it's possible to make them even more pleasant to cast and fish. This is a trade in from a year ago, and also my new favorite in the Sage SFL series. I did own a factory build of this taper many years ago, but it was to heavily appointed and the grip didn't feel right. I prefer this blank with a short and light all-cork grip and seat, and a minimal aluminum skeleton. The previous owner put brass rings on the female ferrules which is always a good idea. I decided to keep them, but I blued them to make them blend in better. Chocolate silk wraps over chrome hardware and an Orvis style stripping guide. This blank is now full of new life and roars like a lion. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

7'6'', 4wt Nano-glass build for evaluation. 

This is the first CTS Quartz I have completed in a while. The quality is still outstanding, and this little 7'6'', 4wt is a great performer. The rod was completed with an up/downlocking cork seat and a neat, straight Ritz grip. Snake Brand Originals wrapped with Kimono silk in salmon pink. This rod will be featured in an American article about the fiberglass Renaissance, together with other premium rod builders. I do hope it will also get some time on the water next summer. That's what rods are for....