Sunday, November 20, 2011

The impatient rod builder

You might think that a rod builder would fish with rods that are fitting advertisement for his skills. Not this one! Whenever I do build myself some fancy looking rods they turn out to be ones I don't get on with, and the ones I do like using end up covered in mud, groundbait, deadbait scales and suchlike. Worse still are the rods that start out as prootypes but are so good I never get round to finishing them off.

So it was with the rod I caught my personal best pike with. It was the first P-2 blank I had my hands on and I wasn't sure how it needed fitting out - handle length, ring spacings. So I shoved a rubber butt cap I had in my odds and ends box on the end, found two scraps of Duplon to fit either side of the reel seat, and slid that over rolls of tape making a tight fit so no glue would be required. That meant I could change the handle length without having to scrape glue from the blank or cut the real seat off. The rings where at least whipped to the blank with thread (rather than being bound on with black insulation tape) and the thread was sealed with cellulose dope which is easily cleaned from a blank.

Only fit to be seen in silhouette!
A number of years later I was using the P-2 (now fully built with a glued on handle and epoxied whippings) for some drain fishing and finding it wanting. The length was great, and it played fish okay, but it lacked a bit of casting power for the baits I was using. I got hold of the first blank that became the P-5. This time I did glue the handle as I knew where it should go (a couple of inches higher than on the P-2) and the ring spacings were sorted so the thread got a sealing coat of epoxy. The rod performed so well I quickly ordered three more blanks which got build identically. That was in late 2004 and it wasn't until this week that I got round to lettering the blanks and putting the top coat of epoxy on them!

Before and after
The reason for this belated completion is simple. When I've been amusing myself taking photos of my rods while fishing on the local drains I realised that some of the shots would make good backgrounds for adverts - so long as they appeared in silhouette, if there was a close up view they'd look like the tatty things they were! I might have to remove the taped on line clips to make the rods look 'pukka'. To be honest I don't use the clips these days, opting to rely on the baitrunner if fishing 'beachcaster style' with just a front rod rest.

I was finding the lack of a keeper ring a bit of a nuisance when moving swims. The butt ring serves well enough, but it's a little far up on the P-5, so I added keepers while I was carrying out the refurbs. Here's hoping the pike approve.