It has been awfully quiet from me the last six months. I have been busy reading and planning, but the production has been moderate. Here is however a recently finished rod, made for a fellow rod builder in the UK, the highly skilled bamboo builder Luke Bannister. I was approached by Luke last summer, wondering if I was interested in building a rod on his newly developed glass blank. This is a 7', 4wt, medium-fast, crisp progressive rod. Reel seat insert in brown/white Ziricote, with dual direction slide seat in blued brass. Mildrum stripping guide and SB Universals wrapped with Gossamer. It's always flattering to be asked to build rods for other builders, and this time it's even more special. I have slowly started to explore the world of bamboo, and have been admiring Lukes work for years. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Here comes my first build on the 4pc version of Epic Swifts highly appreciated Fastglass blank series. The 580-4 feels just as great as the 580-3. Same accuracy and capability, with increased packability. The recent generation of the Epic blanks has a sparkling color, which also applies to this blank. I was hestitant at first, but have to admit it looks great without getting blingy. This rod was appointed with a sliding seat in titan and a straight 5.5’’ Ritz grip. Mildrum style stripping guide and Snake Brand Universals in dark nickel, wrapped in brown Gossamer silk. Well done, Carl and Jeanie!
This rod has a wonderful story around it. During the late winter I was contacted by a bespoke shoe-maker in Barcelona, Mr Norman Vilalta. Norman is a true artisan and makes the most beautiful shoes available. Even better he has a very unique style, classic yet contemporary. This appeals to me on all levels. Norman offered me a pair of shoes in return for a build. I decided to offer him a Tom Morgan build, and this is the result. The TMR 7’6’’, 4wt is as smooth as it gets. Perfect for trout fishing in crystal clear Pyrenéean mountain streams. I decided to finish it with an all cork seat to keep the weight down. The reel seat is seamlessly connected to slightly tapered Ritz grip. Mildrum stripping guide and Snake Brand Universal snake guides wrapped in red Gossamer silk. Norman - I hope you will enjoy this rod as much as I will wear your shoes with pride.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I have a bunch of blanks from Tom Morgan in stock, and the fact that he has decided to offer his business for sale makes it very hard for me to finish and offer them. This is the “Streamer Special”, 8’6’’, 6wt, and it really is was it says - a great streamer rod. Perfect for throwing hairy caddis flies, stoneflies and streamers. All of Tom’s rods has that characteristic Winston feel to them, which of course has to do with the bloodline. I have a NOS 8’6’’, 6wt Winston blank from the late 70’s, that was cut and ferruled for me by James Green ages ago. I made a quick SBS in the shop, and they really are siblings. The new taper has a slightly stiffer tip, and I will do a proper lawn cast after the summer break. Lemke seat over cork insert, 7’’ full wells grip and Snake Brand Universals wrapper in red Gossamer.
Here comes another Seele build, 8'6'', 5wt. I picked up this blank from Mike McFarland when we met in Michigan last year. The Seele brand is no longer available, which makes this blank special. Mike is on his own, and will continue to design and produce blanks, but under his own name. This rod was appointed with an aluminum slide seat over a seamless grip/seat in flor grade Portugese cork. This reel seat operates down/uplocking, and has a snug fit thanks to the elasticity of the cork. Snake Brand Universal guides in chrome and a plain, chrome stripping guide. This rod was built as a barter for a Swedish customer and friend. I have already received the first report on this rod, and it was very positive.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
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.