Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
Yesterday I finally finished my latest fibreglass rod, I don't build enough to justify having specialist equipment, so the process takes me quite a while. I really don't need another rod but like the challenge of building them.
This is an 8 ft (2.44 m), 4 piece, 5 weight. Built on a translucent silver grey blank with a 'cracked ice' acrylic reel seat and dark coffee agate stripping guide. I've used single leg guides on this build, as opposed to the double leg snakes I usually use, as I wanted to see the difference in performance.
This afternoon I gave it a test drive on grass and was pleased with the speed and action. River levels permitting I'm looking forward to giving it its first outing over the weekend and really putting a bend in it
The Grayling Society symposium and dinner is followed by an auction to raise money for the Grayling Research Trust. I had the privilege to successfully bid for a beautiful Rod Dibble split cane rod. It's a wonderful casting tool and plays a fish gently to the net. It's a pleasure to use and I'm confident I'll have many successful outings with it.
Well the new rod is nearly ready, just a couple of finishing touches before it gets an outing.
I've made no secret of the fact that I love fishing with fibreglass rods. They are tough, light, responsive and feel great when bending into a fish. What's not to like? If you think they are too soft to cast effectively you'd be wrong. Modern 'S' glass rods are powerful and can, if handled right cast a good long line. Glass rods are warm, tactile and wondrously translucent.
Martin, a good friend, fished with glass for the first time yesterday, using an 8' 4 wt rod I built last year and was an immediate convert after his catch rate out performed his favourite carbon rod.
For me fibreglass rods have more 'feel', I can detect takes more easily and when hooked the rod's softer action makes playing a fish a more pleasurable experience.
Using a glass rod isn't something that can be rushed, to get the best out of one needs a slow, gentle casting stroke that encourages the caster to relax. Using glass is a transcendental experience.
Well I finally made a decision on colours. I'm using an olive silk thread and silver trim. The silk will get darker and translucent when the resin is applied so will be muted and subtle with the silver adding a little bling. The ferrule wraps will be white silk which will become all but invisible through the finish.
I've recently received the components for my next fly rod. Over the last few years I've used fibreglass almost exclusively for my fishing and this new build will be a 7'6", 4 weight, 4 piece using an exclusive S-helix fibreglass blank.
At the moment I'm struggling to decide what colour whipping thread to use for the wraps on an olive blank and it's proving to be surprisingly difficult!
Taniwha Rodworks has brought out a new range of fibreglass fly rod blanks.
Having used Epic blanks previously I was interested to try something different.
When building a rod for myself I like simplicity and functionality but don't compromise on quality. The new range of TSG blanks are very good quality, great value and come in a range of sizes and colours.
I finished my latest build yesterday and had a chuck with it today. The rod is built on a TSG 805 (an 8' 4/5wt s glass) blank. It's light and responsive, has a nice progressive action and bags of feel, is extremely versatile and responds well. It's perfect for my grayling and trout fishing with dry fly or spiders on the Dee. The blank has exceeded my expectations and I'll certainly use them again.
Whilst most of the rods I build are for myself or friends I occasionally built rods to order. If you want something unique I may be able to help.
Materials used: TSG 805 blank (colour Ice White), magenta thread without colour preservative (this darkens the thread and also make it more translucent, Snake brand guides, nickel silver Lemke reel seat with walnut inset and flor grade cork grip.
I love fishing the Dee, I use the river a lot when guiding with clients, but always enjoy it when I'm on the business end of the rod!
I was out yesterday with a friend; the weather was perfect, cool, sunny and very little wind. There were some serious hatches of very small flies but few fish were rising. Fishing with spider patterns returned poor results so I switched to a small dry fly.
The pattern is one of my own making and is proving to be highly effective. I'm not aware of this fly having a name so I call it the Nifty Gnat (see post above for details).
Well I exaggerate not, the fly was awesome, having tried a couple of others that proved lacklustre I tied on a single 'Nifty Gnat' and the takes came fast and furious. My friend, fishing a black parachute pattern with little success, was looking decidedly sick at my change of future. When we moved to a different beat I handed him my rod (I built this on an Epic fibreglass blank and fish with little else on the river) complete with fly and low and behold he too started catching on it.
Having a hankering for an 8' #5 fibreglass rod I decided to build one rather than buy one off the shelf.
Buying the components wasn't cheap but it was very satisfying, and a whole lot better value than buying a rod of similar quality. I built it on an Epic 580 Fastglass blank (colour Salsa). I whipped a couple of guides with white silk for a totally transparent look but decided I wanted a little more colour, but still keep a translucent effect to the whipped guides, so settled on Fishhawk Goldenrod thread and combined this with a couple of turns of metallic black to pick out the ferrules. Snake brand guides were used as the guide feet are visible, and proper Snake guides are exceptionally good quality. The fishtail shaped grip is made from Flor grade cork and the nickel silver reel seat has a myrtle wood inset.
I'm pleased with the end result and delighted with how the rod performs. It has a wonderful smooth through action but with a surprisingly fast recovery. It casts beautifully and is a dream to fish with.
I've been fly fishing for many years and figured it was time to try building my own rod.
So after much research and a good deal of expense (building a rod like tying your own flies isn't cheap), I decided on a 9' 4 weight what I could use for grayling and wild brown trout.
I've used an MHX blank, Seymo guides, REC reel seat and Fuji and Fishhawk whipping thread. Against normal conventions I've not used the usual rod building resins, time will tell if this was a wise move! I used two stripping guides, not necessary but this is an experiment and I wanted to play. I didn't include a hook keeper as I never use them. So the result is a plain, simple design. No glitz or bling but a few turns of silver thread to highlight where the joints are.
Building a rod is hard work and I was surprised at the levels of concentration needed. It was frustrating and tiring to get it right. Having whipped the guides on one section I wasn't happy with the position of them so cut them off and started again.
I finished the rod yesterday and cast it for the first time today using two different #4 lines. The results were impressive. The rod is light with a slightly slower action to the rods I would usually use, but still capable of casting a good length of line easily, and that's exactly what I was aiming for.
I will be using it tomorrow on the Welsh Dee fishing for grayling. I'll let you know how it performs!
A well known fly fishing guide and instructor John can often be found fishing or guiding on the Welsh Dee or passing his knowledge to others at game fairs and country shows.
guided fly fishing in North Wales
Guided fly fishing trips on rivers, streams and upland lakes in Snowdonia. and surrounding areas of North Wales.
Fishing for summer & winter grayling and wild brown trout.in the spectacular, tranquil countryside that is Snowdonia National Park.
Fly fishing lessons in North Wales
Fly fishing and casting lessons for beginners. Casting fault analysis, single handed spey, slack line and presentation casting tuition for more experienced fly fishers.
Develop your watercraft skills on freestone rivers and upland lakes.