Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mike's Yellow Glass Rebuild

Mike Wilkinson of Evolution of a Flyfisher has spent his winter rebuilding a yellow glass blank fly rod that he came across in New Zealand.  He's been posting progress reports of the rebuild on his blog and I asked him to send along a few photos and the story of this fiberglass fly rod.

Mike wrote...  "I first got interested in fiberglass rods when out with a mate fishing a small stream, he has a range of gear which includes a couple of glass rods.  Small willow lined stream only a few meters across just screamed for a day with small soft rods and the weapons of choice were a Scott F2 and an old Fenwick.  Fishing four weight lines it was a fantastic relaxing day with a mate.

From that day I had my eye out for a cheap glass rod for small streams. It wasn't going to be fished every day, more like a few times a year, so I wanted a bargain.  Fiberglass rods aren't a popular thing here in New Zealand and the few coming up for sale were eight weights which are not ideal for a small Southland stream.

Finally one comes up, an 8' 8" six weight, which was as close as I could find and I figured it would throw a five weight line for sure.  I bid and won the auction and was pleased with myself until the rod arrived.  It wasn't quite what I expected and it looked as though it had been fixed up or built on an old blank but not that well.  The threads had gaps and the epoxy had been hand turned and left while wet causing major sags.  I have a passion for all fields of fly fishing so figured why not rebuild this rod to more what I expected.

Never having built a fly rod before, I started to read online and chat with a mate who builds rods and I figured no matter what I could only improve it.  After a little more advice I set about stripping the rod guides and cleaning down the blank.  Not wanting to spend the bank on this rod, I decided to leave the grip as it was clean and sound.  I ordered new guides and added a winding check with hook keeper, and the reel seat was a quandary for a while.  The seat on the rod when I brought it was a plastic Fuji seat which was not to my taste.  I would have loved to have fitted a nice timber burl insert handle but wanting to keep the budget lean instead I opted for a burgundy graphite seat I recycled from a mate.  The new seat was the inspiration for the thread choice of merlot nylon.  I was a little worried the strong contrast with the yellow blank but sit back now fully satisfied with the results.

It was an old rod, sound if not a little rough, but I enjoyed the journey of bringing a fresh breath of life into it.  All I have to do now is sit back over the New Zealand winter dreaming of a perfect summer and plenty of chances to bring out the Glass!"

Mike...fine work and I can't wait to see reports when once arrives and you take your new glass fly rod to the river.

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