Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Out with the old

It's showing my age but I can remember when Fuji rings (or guides if you prefer) came on the scene in the 1970s and made hard chrome rings obsolete for specimen rods. I can't recall when it was that Hopkins and Holloway introduced their Supaglide rings, but I do remember using them on my rods in the 1980s. My first carbon pike rods, built on the Graham Phillips Express blanks (same as the Hutchy Horizon) were built up using the GHI/E pattern. Tri-Cast fitted them to their cult range of specimen rods at the time, too. When I started building rods for a living Harrison's were using the rings and I fitted them to my early DLST rods.

By that time people were getting into 40mm butt rings which meant the Supaglides were out of the question; the largest they were available in was the equivalent of a Fuji 30 (for some reason Seymo sizes were all one down from Fuji and everyone else so that was a 25).

The selling points for the Supaglides were their double-leg frame which was touted as being lighter and more flexible than the Fuji braced or three leg frames, and the way the ceramic liner was shaped so that it was flanged and less likely to pop out - the liners are glued to the frame around the non-flanged side. In practice the smaller sized rings had quite flimsy frames making them a little prone to bending, and the largest size frame was over-robust. I still have one old rod which I use for wobbling deadbaits on rare occasions which is fitted with Supaglides.

The original braced stand-off Fujis were discontinued some time back and now I hear the GHI/E is to follow suit. I found this out when asked to match a rod to a pair of P-1s that must have been built a long time ago which had the Supaglides fitted. There are still some GHI/Es available, but when they're gone Hopkins and Holloway will be making no more.

Over the years many old rod building favourites have bitten the dust. It was a sad day when The Celebrated Talbot thread was no more. Made in the UK by Worthington there was a limited range of colours compared to overseas manufactured threads. I always liked Talbot thread. It is easy to work with, and when varnish is applied it darkens with an even, solid colour. A lot of coloured threads of other brands become slightly translucent when varnished. Some darken unevenly. When a local tackle shop closed down I bought up they're stock of Talbot. The range of useful colours was limited (I can't remember ever whipping a rod in red!) and I am now almost out of most of them. I still have quite a bit of a bulk spool of the 'wine' left, but the 'ruby' is almost all gone now, as is the brown.

Once the world wide industry standard, Gudebrod is another brand of thread which has disappeared. Not only did Gudebrod make thread they were renowned for Dacron lines too. With Gudebrod threads no longer available, and again my stocks dwindling, it is becoming more and more difficult to match thread colours when doing repairs.

While I preferred working with Talbot, Gudebrod was also very good to handle. What is readily available in the UK at the moment isn't a patch on either in my opinion. The end result looks fine but the threads are not as user friendly.

I apologise if this is all a bit 'anoraky' and of interest only to other rod geeks! I have been fishing this week, for a few hours. Alas my run of failure continued. Right on cue as dusk approached one of the floats fell over and waddled away. Then stopped. The lead had been dragged into weed and the pike had dropped the bait....