Wednesday, February 21, 2018

LIMNOLOGY FLY RODS - My First Epic Fly Rod Build

Proving that building your first fly rod can and will lead to wanting to build many more fly rods, Jason Beard of Tasmania, Australia recently posted a few images on his Instagram page of his Swift Fly Fishing Epic 476 Ready To Wrap Fly Rod Kit build which came out stunningly.

Jason is a good sport and was kind enough to share a few images along with some narrative of how this fly rod build came together for this T.F.M. post.  I don't think he could have gotten that color match any better with the fly reel and thread wraps.

Jason wrote...  "My first fly rod build was an Epic 764 three piece kit that I purchased a couple of years ago, just before they decommissioned that model and started making them in four and five piece configurations. The kit sat in storage for about a year before I started building my rod.  During this time I started planning out the color scheme.  I wanted a rod and reel combination that matched or at least, complemented one another.  Oddly, the development of the chosen color scheme on the fly rod started with my old black Bauer M2 fly reel with a silver spool. It was really beat up with rock rash but it's such a cool retro looking reel that I thought would go really well with a fibreglass blank.  Even though the reel was still functionally perfect, I decided to have the reel re-anodized to a blue color as it wasn't as pretty as it used to be and it hid the rock rash.  I had the reel foot anodized to a natural silver color to match the spool.  I then trialed a few different color backing options but it really was a no brainer, orange backing on a blue reel with a silver spool was the perfect combination.  I used the blue and black YLI thread that I ordered with the kit and purchased orange YLI silk and an orange agate stripping guide.  These were the only additions I made to the kit.  I then sat down with some colored pencils and a sketch book and came up with the color combination of blue, orange and black that I thought would work.  In the end I stuck with the snake guide color combination but changed the number of thread wraps for the color scheme on the stripping guide, ferrule wraps, winding check and hook keeper as my original plan didn't look as good in real life as it did on paper.

I practiced wrapping my threads and applying epoxy on a piece of dowel first before wrapping the guides on my rod.  I used a fair amount of thread during the process but it was worth it, as I my thread work came out fairly neat. For rod building references I used the Epic manual extensively and a number of different you tube videos.  I practiced all the techniques but in the end, through trial and error I found what works best for me.

I had many challenges along the way, if a mistake could be made, I made it. Some of them are hilarious and just plain embarrassing! The two biggest challenges I had was color preserving the silk thread and applying the epoxy.  For those about to embark on their first rod build, color preserving silk threads (if you are using silk) is challenging. You need way more color preserver than what is recommended on the bottle, triple the amount in fact! My first attempt at applying epoxy was a disaster.  The room temperature was too low and the epoxy didn't cure.  I had to strip off the epoxy and threads, clean the blank and start over again.  I learned from my mistake and got it right the second time around, well almost, near enough!  Applying epoxy is still difficult but I know it become second nature with practice. I found that applying several thin coats (with a little sanding between coats if needed) gave me the best results.  I ended up with what you see here in the pictures. I guess the moral to the story is with a bit of patience, perseverance and a willingness to learn from your mistakes you can build a rod that looks okay.  I'm already looking forward to my next rod build."

Follow along with Jason's future fly rod builds on the Limnology Fly Rods Instagram page.

Want to build your own fly rod?  Check out the Ready To Wrap Fly Rod Kits from Swift Fly Fishing.

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