Archive for the ‘Rod-Building’ Category
An update on my setup with James Green DH 7wt 10′ setup. In the last few months, I have moved over to OPST Commando Heads. With a Snap T Spey Cast and the short aggressive head it is allowing me to get the fly, with the trees on my back.
You need a relaxed cast, and I still amazed at how light the rod is, so it is fun rod for small crowded rivers.
Right now I have a 350 gr line + MOW Medium Tips, but I am looking to order and try a heavier line (I have tried lighter lines, but the 350 is the best fit of the lines I do have on hand).
Today, in balancing the rod, I went with the lightest reel I have – Loop (Danielsson) 3W – and added on a RIO VersiTip (no id unfortunately) which I had with my Scandi 7wt setup to a Wulff Ambush 9wt 390gr line and started casting some nice tight loops. I was happily surprised at how light the setup is!
Post Publish Note – One website lists the Wulff 9wt as 390grains, but Wulff themselves its the weight as 350grains. I think I have two distinct but similar choices to try:
- 9wt Ambush with RIO 10′ InTouch 7wt, getting me to 425grains
- 10wt Ambush with Airflow PolyLeaders (10′ probably) getting me to 430+grains.
Lawn casting last night, I was thinking I would want a longer head and less weight, but today it was good. Real good and using a light reel was great! In talking to James last night, his suggestion is to try a line of 425 grains – or better stated, get 425 grains out past the tip. So the Ambush 9wt with tip may be best, but I may be looking to work in a 10wt line to compare.
I did not buy-build this rod to throw long, but to fish and catch steelhead in tight quarters, where 60′ is the pool against the bank across the river and trees are everywhere. This appears to suit this just fine and I am happy! As far as the cast – slow down and at the end of the forward cast, give it a little snap forward and you should a tight loop to the bank on the other side of the river bank.
And the short fiberglass blank will help with getting that fish to y feet.
Some more practice, maybe a little tweaking, but what is left is fine tuning.
The rod with the reel.
With some measurements below.
The fore-handle handle length is right for me, with my cast movement (more scandi under-hand versus a traditional top hand caster), I am finding, I am placing (extending) my fore-thumb naturally from 15.5″ to 17″. A shorter for handle would not be good (and longer would be irrevelant).
The knife represents the balance point, probably a little too far back and noting I have the lightest reel on a down locking reel-seat, I could have moved the reel up by 0.5″ to 1″ inch with a little more cork on the aft grip. Never-the-less, it holds well and I get to use the lightest reel possible, which is great.
Last note in this post, I like to keep the cork simple. In this case, I did add some flourish with some burl cork at the ends, but under my hands, I just want cork. Cork is good in the cold, the wet et cetera, so in the middle of the grip, keep it simple, keep it cord.
I used the rubberized cork, which does provide weight and some real structural support, which is nice at the reel seal entry and forming the butt. I remain undecided of the flourish with the burl cork is of any gain. (I used the dark burl for some single hand fly rods as end pieces though).
Quick construction notes (from my memory):
- A James Green 7wt 10′ Fiberglass Rod – “re-purposed” into a short two-hand spey.
- Maple dowel insert in bottom to provide strength on the underhand
- Cork individually drill and glued onto blank (then turned on blank)
- Lemke Real Seat, with Ron (Southwest) providing a Cherry Burl Insert (maybe wrong on wood)
- Joe Arguello Agate Stripping Guide
- Silk Thread – with two trim colours
- Al’s Bamboo Color Lock
- Writing with Faber Castel Pen on First Layer of Epoxy, roughen with 1000 grit sandpaper
- ProKote Epoxy – 3 thin coats.
Lawn casting says the rod is slow (no surprise), and I will need to spend some with it before I have completed balancing it with the best reel and line. Right now, I have a Wulff Ambush 9wt on it, but I am thinking a longer head 8 wt would be a better choice.
This is the first rod that I built after my re-emerging with some new skills and will be my last post on built rods for a few weeks. It is a St Croix UL Spinner, 3S56ULF2 (1/32oz rating), intended to be used with 2-4 lb tippets for last summer fishing – when the fish are hugging the bottom in very clear water. Key notes:
- I do not need to want a long handle, as my hand wraps around the reel seat. But I want the balance just in front of the reel arm.
- To move the balance point back, there is a 1/4″ brass thread rod in the back 6″ of the rod – extending under the reel seat, but protruding from the rear. Right now, I have a dummy washer and nut in place, but intend to add a brass block to tune the balance.
- Fuji Titanium Guides (Size 6) + Strippers and Reel Seat.
- The Fuji reel seat does not get a lot of love, as it is plastic, but it is a very good seat. Secure, warm and easy to hold.
- Silk being Black with Orange-White Trim Bands. Al’s CP + Prokote Epoxy. It was with this rod, I decided to make the dual band a signature on rods. Where I am being very conservative in weight, trim bands will be excluded.
- Decided not to wrap the tip-top. I am still of mixed opinion if wrapping the tip-top is of value, other than being cosmetic.
What would I do different? Look for a 2wt fiberglass rod and convert into a spinner using Recoil guides.
I have had this rod blank for a long time, a rod I got to be able to cast large flies at Pike. With my re-emergence and trying to up-my-game, this was the second rod I built since starting up.
- UL St Croix Spinning Rod – for Summer Bass with small lures (yet to be posted)
- Winston 9′ 5wt BL5 for Pike (below)
- Sage 10′ 3wt ESN for French Leader Fishing – Posted earlier on May 13th.
- Reworked Scott 1409 Handle – Posted earlier on May 10th.
I am currently working on some fiberglass rods, including:
- James Green 7wt 10′ – need to create handle and reel seat from some Quilted Maple that I have.
- Kabuto 805 Yellow, 663 and 662 in White – Testing One-Part Urethane for non-yellowing.
- Morgan 804 – no action taken yet.
For the BL5 below, I used the following:
- Butt – Cork-Synthetic orginally purchased from Hunters a long time ago.
- Reel Seat – Struble (UL7 I believe), but I errored in not securing the hardware when I turned the cork with the reel seat mounted, so I do damage the reelseat finish. Listen learnt, before turning, if reel seet is on – tape or shrink wrap the reel seat hardware in place.
- Cork Handle – Rings glued in placed with Rod Bond Epoxy and shaped on rod. The epoxy creates hard lines between each ring, making handle firm-hard and complicates shaping. Will be going to TiteBond III on future builds.
- Maker’s Mark – Testor’s Silver Paint with a Speedbal Nib. This is my goto for dark rods. I did experiment (bought) some decals, but I prefer a hand-written mark versus a custom decal.
- Silk Thread – Green with Yellow and Orange Trim Bands, with Al’s Color Rite (4 applications) plus 3 light coats of ProKote Epoxy. As with the ESN Rod, on graphite rods, the use of the dual trim bands is part of me new standard.
- Guides Fuji Single Foot Ceramic 7x LSG8 + YSG8 and YSG10. As noted in previous work, I limited Fuji Ceramic Guides to “fast” 9wt or greater single handed rods, given they are the heaviest option.
Reflecting a discussion on a fly-fishing forum. I have always prefered large diameter handles on Single Hand Rods, such as the BL5, for a relax closed fist firm grip for casting; but rods where I am mostly managing the drift or swing – such as in Spey fishing (the modified Scott 1409) or a French Leader (the previos 10′ 3wt), I prefer a fine grip, where a balance rod just sits in my hand.
I am making this transition from “assembling” rods in accordance to the manufacturer’s recipe to configuring rods to my preference. In this, I am using some older stock parts (such as the grip).
So what is unique to this Sage ESN 3100-4 build?
- Guides – Single Foot Recoil 2 – As it is the lightest guide available.
- Strippers – Actually using Spinning Guides – Recoil RSN 8 and 10 to transition to the reel.
- Guide placement reflects static & casting. It is a little wider spacing than Sage’s and one less guide.
- Japanese Silk in Black with Red & Green Trim. With graphite builds, I am doing dual trim bands.
- Thinned ProKote Epoxy, applied in 3 coats.
- No “custom” builders mark, so as to keep forward weight down.
- Black Aluminum Winding Check.
- Stock Cork Handles – Fine. From this point on, I will be turning my own handles.
- Pac-Bay Black Reel Seat, in Powell Style.
- 1.1 oz lead in butt, to move the balance point onto the handle with a Hardy Princess Reel. There are many long rods, with the new reels, where the balance point is above the cork, so you are always having to think about keeping the tip up. I rather concentrate on the line and leader, than be concerned with the rod tip.
As suggested in the title, I intend to use this rod with a long french leader. As you can see below, the blank itself can look “black” to “dark olive”, depending upon the light on it.
The traditional handscrew wood clamp is very flexible and can be a good jig, but there are several improvements I have always wanted to incorporate into it.
- Weight – there is no substitute for a high mass tool to secure an object. Provides rigidity and dampens vibration, as you work on a piece.
- Square Jaw – The traditional bevel jaw works well when clamping wood for gluing pieces, but not as a jig, where you want to secure the assembly to another surface, such as a work-bench, drill-press, et cetera.
- Flat Space – More flat space to bind the object.
- Adaption – Notches to hold pieces or the ability to add another form-jig to secure complex shapes.
To this end, I create, using a Lee Valley Jorgensen-Dubuque kit, I created the following woodscrew clamp, which has performed well for me.
- Using 3.5″ square hard maple, with a long extended jaw, I have a massive clamp-jig with a large mating surface.
- I have included 2 notches and there are 1/4″ centered holes through the jaw that allows be to secure another jig to the clamp if need be.