Friday, July 26, 2013

General Shufflehouses

If you're a listener to Test Match Special you'll know where this blog's title comes from. If you're not a TMS aficionado, tough!

After using my 12ft 1.75lb Torrixes for roach fishing last winter/spring (did we have a spring?) I decided to make myself a third Chimera Avon and get rid of the Torrixes. As it turned out a mate wanted a pair of Avons, and as he was in a rush for them I did him a deal on my existing pair and ordered up three fresh blanks for my own rods.

I had never been over happy with the experimental handles I'd put on the original pair but did like the handles I'd put on the Torrixes - apart from the blingy stainless bits. Being in an all-matt/all-blackphase at the present I cut down three reel seats to fit my small baitrunners. Going for the ones with the carbon spacers I removed the gloss varnish to match the Ultra Matt blanks. Then I shaped up some Duplon to go fore and aft. A standard slim Duplon butt grip with a black plastic button finished things off.

I almost used metallic aquamarine thread which looks good on woven blanks to tip the handle whippings but changed my mind at the last minute and went for something less obvious when I found a spool of purple deep in one of my boxes of threads.

The lettering is simply 'DLST' on top, between the whippings on teh side-mounted hook keeper, length and test curve underneath behind the reel seat, and numbering dots opposite the 'DLST' and on the tip sections.

Having used lightweight SiC guides (gunsmoke frames) on the Torrixes I considered doing the same on the Avons. However I chose to stick with the all-black theme and went for lightweight Alconites (black frames). As this blank has a very fine tip I fitted single leg guides as the final three. The pattern I used are fly rod guides which sit tight to the blank and I'm not 100% satisfied. They'll function perfectly well, but aesthetically they are less than ideal. That minor niggle apart I'm looking forward to sitting behind them waiting for a bobbin to drop.

With the Avons finished the Torrixes are surplus to requirements. Much as the 12ft 1.75lb Torrix is a lovely blank I just don't have a use for it at the moment as my roach fishing isn't being done at long range, nor am I doing any medium range bream fishing for which they should be ideal. For tench I prefer Interceptors for some reason - even though I have had tench to 7-13 (and a male a pound lighter) on the Torrixes. So, they might as well go.

The build is a bit off-the-wall. First of all the reel seats have been cut down to take small baitrunners (DL, D, OC in the 4000 size. You can just get a standard sized baitrunner in them if you wind the hood as far back as it will go, and then jiggle the reel foot. There are stainless steel butt buttons and collars at the back of the reel seats.

Ring sizes are small - 20mm butt ring to 8mm tip. Ring pattern is Fuji MNSG butt ring, LMNSG intermediates and MNST tip - all SiC. Gloss finish, black thread with metallic auquamarine tipping at the handle.

A new build to this spec would work out at £260 per rod. If anyone's interested, I'm open to offers in the region of £500 (including carriage) for the three.

Another blank that I handled and immediately tried to find a use for is the 11ft 1.75lb Torrix. It feels to have a stiffer tip than the 12ft version and slightly more power overall. I've contemplated a set for tench fishing, and like a fool I built myself one (on a brown blank with a cork handle, 30mm to 10mm BSVOG guides), but it seems a little too beefy to me. If I was in the habit of staking carp in snag-free situations I'd use it for that. It's one of those rods I can't fit into a niche no matter how hard I try. Make me an offer close to £140 and it's yours! SOLD