Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blast from the past

I can remember the days when a Terry Eustace pike rod was to be aspired to. It took me a while to scrape the cash together get myself a Big Pike blank and build it up myself. The rod, built on one of the last of the dark brown blanks, soon became a favourite. When carbon came along, and I was still hard up, I sold all my glass pike rods; bar two - one of which I had broken and one which I had butchered. Parting with the Big Pike was the hardest of the lot.

Even today the Eustace Pike and Big Pike rods still have a following (the brown ones being preferred to the black ones), and I occasionally get them to refurbish or modify. It's no coincidence that the most popular pike rods in my range are the P-1 and the BB350 - 2.75lb and 3.5lb test curve respectively just like the Pike and Big Pike!

Those were the days

Usually the Eustaces are showing signs of wear and tear but the three butt sections I'm working on at the moment don't show much. I'm not one for preserving rods, but the Big Pike is not only in excellent nick, it's a very old model where the 'weave' in the glass is visible and is more a honey-brown colour. It's actually the first I have seen like this and, although I'm no tackle collector, I would have left the rod as it is. But the customer is always right. All three rods are so old they have sliding rings that never held reels securely so, as the owner of the rods wants to actually use them for fishing, I'm fitting screw reel seats to the rods and re-corking the handles.

After three quarters of an hour's work with a penknife the parallel glass butts were ready to be revitalised.


I suppose it's some consolation that my work can be undone and the handles returned to their original spec quite easily because of the parallel butt construction of the rods. Had the tapered blank continued right through the handle it would have meant removing the rings and destroying the original finish on the whippings and the blank. It would have been a lot less hassle though!

Much as I liked the Big Pike in its day, having run line through one and given it a bend more recently I have to say that nostalgia really isn't what it used to be... Glass rods are heavy and floppy in comparison to carbon. Maybe not as horrible as rods made from panda fodder, but pretty bloody awful nonetheless! Some people still like them.