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Rod Building

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

Have you taken this step? If you have been fly fishing for a while you are probably tying flies or have tied them and have three life times of flies waiting to be used. I was crazy enough to try to make hooks one time. I think they were what Moses tossed in the water to part it so the people could go through. They did not turn out very well. But I did make the attempt.

I built my first rod two years ago. I learned a great deal in doing this and had a good time. It was also great fun to go out and catch fish on the rod I built with flies I tied. I will admit that the rod wraps were uglier than any deer hair that I try to spin. But it did catch fish and an 8'6" 5 wt was great fun for panfish. I did get a 12 lb channel cat on it.

Last year I built an 8 ft 3 wt. I did a much better job on the rod wraps on this one. So much better, in fact, that I cut the wraps on the first one and redid them. I took this rod with me last fall when we went to Rocky Mountain National Park. I caught several trout on it there. It was a lot fun to cast and is a lot of fun for panfish here.

I am in the middle of an 8'6" 3 wt. that I got a great deal on. I found the rod blank and components for about $60.00. The blank was normally about $300 and the components, reel seat and line guides, would be about $40.00. It was a close out, but it sure works for me. I have the line guides wrapped. I glued in the reel seat today and will then move the grip down and attach it. I will tie on the hook holder and then coat the rod wraps. I should get that done next week.

I will then have another light-weight rod to use. The other rods that I have acquired along the way were 6 and 7 wt that worked but were a little heavy for panfish. Most of the commercially built rods that I see, and I may not be looking at the right place, are usually 7'6" or shorter in the lighter weights.

My dream is to find an 11 or 12' 3 wt to build. I think with the longer length that I would be able to cast in into the wind better. I don't know for sure but I think that it would be fun to try.

I have checked several places but have not found anything on this.

Another thing that I have not tried is to build a fly line. I think that it would be too hard to keep a constant diameter for the line. I think it would be very hard to keep the core of the line in the center also. So I think that my lines will come from commercial production.

Another thing that I have been playing with a little is in making my own dubbing. I have several cones and skeins of different types of yarn and such. I have mixed a few together and have tied some flies up with them. I will have to see how it does this year.

Think about building a rod. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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