January 18th, 2009

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A Special Rod for One Particular Stream
The Beauty of Rod Building
By Ed Temme (Smernsky)

This past spring I discovered a stream that held some really large fish. It is for the most part a catch and release stream. The stream is bordered on both sides by high banks and high trees whose branches overhang the waters edge making a back cast difficult, if not impossible. Wading the stream is the only recourse, but the fish spook really easy so baby steps and some stealth is required. This same stream is at best only 25 feet across in all but a few areas. A long rod was out and something of a stout short rod was needed, so I set out to build a rod that in my opinion would fit the bill. After much deliberation I decided I wanted a 7ft medium to fast action blank in 5wt and something that was easily totalble and could be broken down when I had to climb the banks or the stream and maneuver though the brush to get to another vantage point. Hence I choose a 4pc.blank.

The trick to casting on this body of water is casting upstream (substituting the back cast) then quartering down stream (intended for a wet fly). Dry fly fishing, using just the opposite. A little tricky, but it does work. As the final picture will attest.

The following is the procedures I used to build this special rod. This step by step process became a labor on love and is intended to be used for that "one particular stream," although I'm sure it will be used on other similar streams where quarters are tight.

Making the handle and choosing the cork. The green craft foam is added for color trim. The cork rings and foam are glued individually together on a mandrel (shown in the next picture).

The cork and foam are turned to shape using (in this case) a home made lathe.

Pre fitting the completed grip to the blank.

Fitting and Epoxying the Reel Seat and Grips.

Inletting of Butt (just a fancy add on.)

Placing and tying on the guides with stretch string (for repositioning if needed)

Thread and trim ring wrapping / after which coating with flex coat epoxy.

The completed Rod—ready to fish.

In conclusion, building a good serviceable rod takes patience and practice.

Art and beauty is added and gained with experience. The advantages of rod building are many. One that stands out the most is being able to tailor make a rod to your specific needs. With those thoughts in mind, you can go ahead and build that "special rod" and tailor make it just for you. Something factory rods aren't able to do, and rightly so, because they are made for the general public or a compromise to fit most needs. ~ Ed Temme (Smernsky)

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