Tuesday, March 13, 2018

DF DISPATCHES: The Making of the Synthesis Series

 If I had a lot of money (which I certainly don't) one of the projects that I've thought which would be both important and interesting to me would be to visit the shops of the modern fiberglass fly rod makers and capture where, how and what they are working on through images and video as well.  I really think we're living in a golden age of contemporary glass and the work that many of the builders are doing is important for the future.

With that said, fortunately David Fason lives just a short distance away from rod builder Chris Barclay of C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. and their friendship is yielding some really excellent content together in highlighting the process, work and angling with the fly rods that he is producing.  In this "DF Dispatches", Dave recounts the beginnings of their friendship, Chris's new Synthesis Series and shares some captures of some time in the shop.

Dave wrote...  "Handmade is a term that is loosely tossed around these days. You can find “handmade” goods on Amazon, Jet and many other re-sellers that have no idea what a handmade product entails.  Early last year I contacted Chris Barclay from C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. through Instagram.  I was looking for a fishing partner for small water fishing.  He recently moved to North Carolina and was only thirty minutes away from me.  I had no idea who he was, that he made rods full time and that he was known worldwide.  I purchased my first glass rod, a Cabelas CGR, and asked if we could meet to fish some small waters.  He agreed and I quickly learned he was a fly rod craftsman.  After the outing and trying his personal builds, I knew his rods were different.  The rod details are meticulous and the way they cast and present flies is incredible.  Chris’ fly rods are exemplary handmade products. 

If I had to list my current passions they would be fishing and photography.  After fishing with Chris for a little while and learning more about his story I brought up that he did not have any content showing how he makes his products on social media.  I told him this could be something people like me would appreciate.  After a few messages back and forth discussing, Chris allowed me to get a behind the scenes look at what he does.  We talked about projects he had coming up that I could capture and he told me he was launching his new series of Synthesis rods.  This was the perfect opportunity for me to capture his fine work in action.  While the clean lines of his rods appear to be simple, to achieve this appearance they require time consuming attention to detail. I was able to document his obsession with cork, tapers, guides, reel seats and threads.  These are the characteristics that make him a master of his trade.  The common customer may overlook many of these details but realize they have something special with their first cast. Behind the camera I was amazed watching how perfect his wraps were and how he carves the cork down a thousandth of an inch by sight.  What I thought was just going to be taking a few cool pictures ended up being a privilege to experience. Chris specifically chooses the perfect hardware that compliments his impeccable work.  The custom aluminum tubes, rods socks and Masatoshi Okui designed reel seats complete the Synthesis rod series. 

The Synthesis rods are very special.  The moment you cast one you know you have a tool that was crafted for an angler.  The rods range from the 68 “Blue Ridge Special,” made for small water brookie hunting, to the 868 “Salt,” for stalking reds, bones and snook on the salt water flats.  This series has all fishing needs covered. 

When you purchase from Chris you are promised an authentic handmade product unlike any other. The grain of wood and cork patterns are unique with each rob. Each piece is sealed with the Barclay signature, his final touch and guarantee of quality. In purchasing a fly rod from Chris Barclay, you are not only supporting a small business but a humble guy who is a master of his trade with a love for the craft."

The "DF Dispatches" will continue in the coming weeks with a few more in the hopper for future T.F.M. posts.  Be sure to follow David Fason on Instagram for his latest glass adventures and take a few minutes to visit the C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. website for more on the Synthesis Series fly rods.


RalphsFlyBox said...

Love his work. One of the best in his craft.

Cameron Mortenson said...

Ralph... I agree completely. We're fortunate to have him so devoted to the craft.