This rod as been in progress for far too long, and I'm very happy to announce it's completion. This was made as a barter build for a fellow American rod builder. The blanks comes from our mutual friend, the talented Mike McFarland. This is a prototype blank, 8'6'', 4/5wt, with a slightly softer tip than on the production version. The rod was appointed with a reel seat made of cross cut Bocote and blued brass, with a smooth transition leading over to a cigar shaped cork grip. Snake Brand Original guides and YLI silk, and a Mildrum stripping guide. Bob, I hope this rod will serve you well, and that you and Mike get the opportunity to cast it together over a local IPA.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Things have been moving slowly this spring. Too much at the office and not so much in the shop. Good thing is all the time I get to think about new designs. This rod was built on an Ijuin 7'05'', 4wt "Hard-Para" blank, and sets a new standard for me when it comes to reel seat and grip shape. I have been lurking around ergonomic grips and the transition between reel seat and cork for a while. This rod combines a flat Ritz with a Harada style reel seat, and the result is perfect. The reel seat was turned by sea drenched black oak from an old sunken East India ship with hardware in blued NS. The grip is 5.5'' short, with a flat Ritz tapering towards the blank. A small, blued Mildrum stripper and Snake Brand Originals wrapped with golden Pearsall Gossamer. The rod sock was made in a new Band-aid colored fabric. I'm very happy with the result.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
I receive a lot of email from all over the world with roadbuilding questions. People are asking where to begin and what tools to use, they want to talk about different lathes, rodbuilding machines and 3D-printing ideas. Sometimes I get the feeling that people spend more time thinking of how to machine stuff instead of just doing them by hand. Too prove this to myself, I decided to build a rod from scratch with only hand tools, no lathe and no fancy rodbuilding machine with a self-turning epoxy motor. I have all that gear, and I use it a lot, but sometimes it's nice to go really basic. This is an Asian 6'6'', 3wt blank that I happen to have a bundle of. I made a reel seat skeleton from electrical PVC tubing and shaped the grip with a Leatherman file and grit paper. The skeleton is a bit bulky, but on the other hand, it looks like ivory. Not bad for the cheapest material available. The reel seat grove was cut with a scalpel, the guides where wrapped and finished without engine, and the epoxy was hand turned only. You have no reason not to start building. It's all in the wrist.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
I'm a huge admirer of Japanese rod designer Kazutomo Ijuin. He is one of those guys with a perfect pitch for tapers. This blank first appeared to me via a customer blank project, resulting in an extra order for this amazing blank. Tomo calls it "hard parabolic", and that's what it is! 7'05'', 4wt in relatively thick-walled E-glass, this parabolic blank has a stiff mid and tip, which makes it a highly capable caster, throwing bullet loops with great accuracy. The rod was appointed in Fine Tackle style with blued NS skeleton and a rubber butt cap. The grip is 5.5'' long and has a bark ring at the top to give it all a rough flavor. Dark nickel guides and golden YLI silk wraps. This rod will be offered together with a matching reel designed by my friend Josh Young in Taiwan. The gun blue color is a perfect match to the hardware of this rod. The set will be available through Alternative Tackle in the near future, stay tuned!
Sunday, April 3, 2016
This is definitely not the first Epic 480 from my bench, but it's the first one in the new amber color. The amber color used to be plain, but the new finish has a golden sparkling effect that reminds me of an old Les Paul. The yellow color also reminds me of the old Scott fiberglass rods from the 70's. Both of these influences speak to me on a very personal level, and my first hesitation towards this new color changed quickly to pure delightment. The rod was appointed with nickel silver hardware, a rubber butt cap, Mildrum stripping guide and Snake Brand Originals. This rod will be shipped to England to its new owner.
A little over a year ago, Carl McNeil asked me if I was interested in making a small run of my favorite Epic glass taper. Weight, length and color for me to choose. I was honored about the commission and decided to accept the challenge.
The Epic 376 is one of my absolute favorite 3wt glass tapers. Very crisp and responsive, and a highly capable fishing rod. Most 3wt glass rods are quite soft, which can be really nice when the conditions are right. But too often the conditions are not. It's windy, or the fish is rising out of range. Usually I will have to go with a 4wt rod, or even a 5wt rod. But with the Epic 376, I can still enjoy the delicacy of a true 3wt without losing faith in my rod if a large fish bites. I decided to go for the Mocha brown color, as I love understated design and brown is a classic color when it comes to glass fly rods.
These five rods were appointed with all cork reel seats and polished nickel silver skeletons. The hardware is turned and knurled in-house, and the butt cap is made from brown rubber to accomplish the blank. I decided to use down locking reel seats to emphasize the archaic look. Down locking seats usually calls for shorter grips to avoid getting the hand too far away from the reel. I made a straight Ritz grip (5.5’’/0.86’’) with a flare at the thumb position, that allows the hand to move freely backwards over the reel seat area. The REC Mildrum MRF stripping guide has a nice profile and gives the rod a sporty flavour. My first preference when it comes to snake guides is Snake Brand Originals, thanks to the extra short feet, the durable and the even quality. All guides were wrapped with Gossamer Pearsall silk and finished up with two rounds of light building Epoxy. I take great pride in making my own rod socks. These were made from bright blue shirt linen cloth and really adds to the tailored feeling. Epic blanks already have a beautiful factory signature, so I decided to brand them with my pyrographic logo on the reel seats.
All these five rods have now been sold, and I hope that they will be fished hard. That’s what Epic rods are made for.