Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Rod builds compleat

Another reason i have not been blogging so much lately is because Ive been busy building things, two rods in particular.

I had great fun early this year chasing trout on the small jungle streams, i used a couple of rods, a small daiwa spinmatic 5'6" and a spro passion UL over 6'. Some of the swims are that overgrown its requires quite a skillful little flick rather than a cast so the 6'+ rods were not really suitable and it was harder work. The spinmatic is a great little rod and bullet proof but its just a bit too soft for trout fishing, you end up missing more takes than hooking up due to the through action cushioning the take.

I decided I would use the winter time at home to build myself a perfect little rod for this kind of fishing, it had to be 5'6" and fast actioned. I chose a St Croix 3S56ULF2 blank that fitted the bill perfectly. After placing my order for the blank, along with all the bits and pieces to build this rod and another rod which I'll mention later. I chose Fuji K series micro guides with SIC rings, not really needed for this application but i also might use the rod for perch occasionally on none pike waters so the extra spend was worth it.

Another thing i wanted to do with my stream rod was to hide the thread of the reel seat which i think sometimes spoils the aesthetics and its also not nice to hold. I also wanted to incorporate some wood to make it have a slightly traditional feel and also have that 'trouty' kind of touch to it, like a fly rod reel seat incorporates wood. I really love mixed materials on rod handles and mixing the corks adds a nice 'custom' look to it. Primarily rods are functional things but that's not to say we can't make them look nice too.

Something else i wanted to make sure i did with this rod was to make myself a rod turner and use proper epoxy suited for the job, with my last build i used 5 minute epoxy which did the job but it wasn't good enough. I was spending more money on this rod so i wanted it to be as good as i could get it. the results are far better.

My favourite part of rod building by a mile is turning the cork/eva, i love it. All my turning is done with a drill and a mandrel i made. You can basically shape it anyway you want easily with different grades of sandpaper.

So here it is ready for spring, I'm really pleased with it and I'm chuffed to bits on the quality of the build, i was abit worried at first spending so much that i wasn't quite up to scratch with building rods and might spoil it.
I still struggle to take photos of rods, so the photos don't really show the scale of the rod and what a delicate tool it actually looks/is.

As you know over the last few months I've taken an interest to building my own rods, this can get quite addictive and I'm always looking for excuses to start another project.
I had a Spro passion UL spinning rod that had lost 2 inch off the top and was sat doing nothing so i wondered if i could make use of the blank. I thought it might make a good baitcast rod with it being slightly shorter so turned it upside down and stuck a baitcast reel on it to try it out for loading and to see if it would be worth while. I was quite surprised how well it cast even as it was set up in its spinning rod state. That was enough for me to want to start another rod build. It was going to be a short handled UL/light baitcast rod for using light soft plastics for perch primarily. I wanted the short handle to make it very 'wristy' I always think a longer handle hinders you when your imparting action with your wrist.

I stripped the rod back to its blank and ordered some parts along with my gear for my small stream trout rod, I didn't want to go overboard as i might as well have just bought a much better blank. I already had the reel seat when i accidentally ordered two in a previous order, so all that was needed really was the guides and some bits of eva and cork for the handle. A big thanks again to Rob for helping me decide on the right guides and correct sizes, the guides are alconite micro guides for anyone interested. I was just going to make this rod simple and practical as it was on a budget....ok that was the plan but when have i ever done anything simple! Not needing to buy anything else to build the rod i could still let my artistic flare go and make it look nice and more 'expensive' or should that be 'mega tarty' 

Again, i just love turning the materials, and for this rod i turned all cork, eva and aluminium trim parts myself. The trim parts were made from scraps of aluminium sheet i salvaged some time ago, its amazing what i have lying around in 'shed 2' that comes in handy from time to time. I just basically cut out a circle with a hole in the centre and popped it on my mandrel in the drill, then simple sand and grind it until you get to the right diameter then drop down grades of wet and dry until its smooth and shiny

like the trout rod I'm very pleased with this one and can't wait to try it out, in the hand it feels brilliant and you really get that 'wristy' feel with it that i wanted.

I'll try to get some photos of my recent rods when I'm out fishing with them so you can get some perspective, as again the baitcaster handle doesn't come across as it is in reality you don't get an idea of the small scale and shortness of the handle, hopefully you get an idea from the bottom photo though.


I Got out yesterday to test my small stream trout rod on the perch, and christened it very early on with a handful of small perch. I was amazed with it on the first few casts, I was only giving it a light flick and had to stop the line as it was shooting the kopyto right across and beyond the far bank. I'm not sure if its the SIC rings, the layout, the rod loading or what but it sure does cast a long way with ease. I dare say it will cast beyond what i would probably ever need.

I didn't get the 2lb perch i was after to test it properly in a fight but did manage 20-25 perch up to about a lb so really enjoyed fishing with it for its first outing, its a joy to fish with and my build quality looks eve better out in the natural light where the whippings and everything show up better. I'm chuffed to bits with it, oh and I've thought of another rod i want/need to build now, didn't think it would be that quick!

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