Alright peeps listen up, here comes a new one. I know the blog has been lit up with fishing trips/stories and reports and that’s great but now I give you fast lesson on how to go about building a rod for an entry level fly fisher. This particular fly fishermen that this rod was built for is on the edge of taking the plunge and becoming hooked into the sport of fly fishing. Knowing that I knew to get a decent rod that he would be able to use for trout fishing and possibly on occasions bass fishing. With that said I purchased a Temple Fork Outfitters, Professional Series 9 foot 5 weight 4 piece that comes with a lifetime warranty.
I purchased the blank from Mud Hole Custom Tackle and a week later it was at the door. I ordered the kit which included the reel seat, cork handle, winding check, hook keep, guides, and tip top. Thread, epoxy, rod finish, and few more little extra things were not included. The products that were included in the kit were middle of the range materials which was to be expected. As a rod builder there is many limits on what you can do and how much it cost when building rods but for this rod everything that was chosen for the price was a good set up. The total cost of the kit plus shipping was around $160.00. Here are a few pictures of the materials before they were put on the rod.
As you can see these pictures are of the reel seat, cork handle, guides, the blank itself and most importantly when rod building, a nice mixture of SO CO “100 proof” and Dr. Pepper. That’s right you need booze when rod building and any of the boys from BCI can tell you that’s my drink of choice. Once you get your materials put together the first thing you need to do is to find the spine of the rod and since there is 4 pieces you need to locate the spine on each one. My definition of the spine is where the rod rolls to when it is flexed. There probably is a better and more serious definition than what I just said but mine sums it up for the most part. The 3 steps to find the spine, 1st – hold the small tapered end of one section, 2nd – put the other end “larger tapered side” on the floor or if sitting and it is a small piece, on your knee, 3rd – roll the rod by spinning it in your fingertips. If you do all three of these steps your rod or each section of your rod will roll into or fall into the spine of the blank. This is where you want to wrap your guides. Keep in mind there may be two spines to a blank, either one is fine to wrap guides on if their is not a dominate one. Next time you are at a fly shop try what I just explained and see if you can find the spine, don’t be surprise if many of the guides are not wrapped onto the spine which is what you will fine with lower end rods, so pick up a higher end rod and put it all together.
Once you have found all the spines its now time to mark out for your guides or set your reel seat and cork handle. It does not matter what is done first at this point so lets start with setting the reel seat and cork handle. Depending on the diameter of the blank and the inside diameter of you reel seat you might have to build the blank up with tape “not shown”. Go ahead and epoxy your reel seat in but remember about your spine. While you are waiting for the epoxy to set up on the reel seat go ahead and start reaming out your cork handle so it will be able to slide down against your reel seat. Using a rat tail file or cork reamers you can get your rod handle inside diameter just right. Once that is ready take a piece of sand paper and mark up the area where your cork handle will lay. This allows the epoxy to grab to more of the graphite causing less probability of the handle to loosen or spin down the road. One little trick I do is to wrap tape on the reel seat when I epoxy the handle cause sometimes epoxy will seep out of the handle onto the reel seat causing it to be a sticky mess, the tape covers and prevents this issue.
Hopefully I still have your attention because we are almost done. It’s time to wrap guides but before we do that we need to know where the hell we need to put them. Different websites will tell you guide spacings but for this particular rod I just rolled up into Cabela’s fly shop where Ryan works and measured the guides myself. Once I got the spacing figured out I laid my tape out and began marking the locations with a chalk pencil starting at the tip top. When that is completed I make sure my tip top is set on the spine of the rod and I secure it with some wax glue. I mark out everywhere where a guide goes and begin taping and wrapping. These pictures will show the process and I am not going to go way into detail because quite frankly it’s Christmas day and I am freaking tired. Got questions hit me up on the comments.
Once I wrap all the guides, ferals, and hook keep I make sure everything is still lined up with the spine of the blank. Once I check for this it’s time to get rid of the shakes, so I chug the remaining amount of SO CO and Dr. Pepper and prepare the rod wrapping finish. I finish the rod with Flex Coat rod wrapping finish and take a finishing torch to heat off any excess finish and eliminate bubbles. I let it roll on the turner for at least 24 hours and then no flexing of the rod for two days just to be safe then it is game on.
Alright yall hope someone got something out of this and if not oh well at least Bobby knows how his rod got built and is proud to say it was published on BCI website. On a side note thanks again to This is Fly daily for recognizing us on x-mas day. Nice x-mas gift for us and for Bobby, enjoy the stick – 10-4.