The Build Story:

 

Returning customer Eric T., recently located to Colorado from Michigan, desired a fly rod that allowed extended reach and improved castability.  Like several other rods that I had built for him, he specified a "stealth" look without frills, Ti/Chrome finished snake foot traditional fly guides, simple reel seat, OEM western style cork, and a small fighting butt. 

 

Eric and I have collaborated and communicated enough to have established an understanding.  He knows what I'm capable of building and I know what I am capable of getting away with.  Having built two rods that are mirror images of this fly rod build request, I wanted to give him something more.  A slight deviation from his project plans was in ordered.  When I read his comment, "I give you complete design control.", that was the magic words I needed to unleash some creativity.   So, I pushed the envelope a bit, and added some frills.  What can I say?  I can't help myself sometimes! 

 

What I ended up constructing for Eric was another (more timid than usual) functional work of art.  I took this opportunity to incorporate the new American Tackle Titanium/Coral wood windowed fly reel seats.  I like these seats, they are quite nice to look at and in style/sizes that are both functional and decorative.  They have a less utilitarian look that most reel seats that involve wood as an insert.  Also, the coral wood is quite striking and has the hues of brown that works well with the brown trout decal, the copper/bronze metallic trim band guide wraps, and the cork accent rings that were utilized.  I'm always looking for artistic flow.  In the back of my mind wondering, "What colors are represented?, What can I use to contrast or compliment them?, How will the end result appear?"  I feel that this extra time spent involving mockups and extra thought has an enormous benefit for me when the end result is achieved.  It wasn't a mistake that I stated "...an enormous benefit for me...", because I look at every build I complete as a rod of my own that unfortunately and eventually has to be shipped to someone else to enjoy.  If it isn't good enough for me to own and be proud of, then for sure it isn't going to be shipped. 

Design Specifications:

  • Dan Craft FT1003.4 Fly Blank (10ft., 3wt, 4pc.)

  • Halide/TiCH Stripper Guides

  • Ti/CH Finished Snake Foot Traditional Fly Guides

  • Ti/CH Medium Diameter Wire Loop Fly Tip Top

  • Western Style Cork Grip W/Curved Lip

  • Ti/CH Fly Reelseat

  • Ti/CH Knurled Winding Check

 

Use & Versatility:

 

Because of the action inherent in this particular blank, I chose to build on the 3wt. knowing that the rod responds and feels more like a 4.5 wt blank.  Eric had originally requested a 5wt., but through some investigation on his own and some convincing on my part, he agreed that the 3wt. would fulfill his needs.  All that is left is to get the rod into his hands and view the fruit of all the labor; Trout Photos!

 

Thoughts:

This was an extremely enjoyable order and working with Eric couldn't have been easier. I struggled and was forced to repeat some work when shaping the cork grips.  It took a couple tries to get the shape the client wanted and still inset the hood of the reelseat without making the cork ring walls thin and brittle.  After blowing up the first set of rings on the lathe, a reglue, and re-turning....I think the cork I envisioned came through.  And, as usual, several coats of epoxy where necessary on a few wraps because of lint intrusion into the surface finish.  The use of copper trim bands on black wraps overtop a slate gray/blue blank was visually pleasing.  The colors of the brown trout decal brought all the colors in the individual components together quite well. 

 

 

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