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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Zapada cinctipes (Nemouridae) (Tiny Winter Black) Stonefly Nymph from the Yakima River in Washington
Nymphs of this species were fairly common in late-winter kick net samples from the upper Yakima River. Although I could not find a key to species of Zapada nymphs, a revision of the Nemouridae family by Baumann (1975) includes the following helpful sentence: "2 cervical gills on each side of midline, 1 arising inside and 1 outside of lateral cervical sclerites, usually single and elongate, sometimes constricted but with 3 or 4 branches arising beyond gill base in Zapada cinctipes." This specimen clearly has the branches and is within the range of that species.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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boulder colorado

Posts: 18
Bellsporter on Nov 28, 2012November 28th, 2012, 9:55 am EST
I'm going to build my first rod this winter. Any advice for a beginner? What is a good quality affordable blank to buy? Thanks.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Nov 29, 2012November 29th, 2012, 4:05 am EST
I've built a couple of dozen rods. Fly rods from 6' - 10' and a couple of spin rods to from 6' - 11'. My advice would be to g on Youtube and do a search for any rod building videos. Also you should buy a decent book before you start your first rod. You can learn to build a rod without a book but why go that route as you will make all sorts of mistakes if you try and do it without some guidance. One great paperback I have is titled "Start to Finish Fly Rod Building" it is written by two guys who work for the Flex Coat Company they are a business that manufactures finishes for the wraps on rods. It is a fifty page book with everything you need to know to build a rod from bare blank to finished fly rod.

Lamiglas is a huge graphite rod manufacturing company that makes all kinds of fishing rods and sells them under their own label and I think other manufacturers buy their blanks and finish them with their own logos. There is a huge rod building company called Anglers Workshop. I think they are located in WA or OR. You can Google the name and get a link to the web site. They sell many makers rod blanks as well as their own blanks. They also sell everything you will need to build a rod from raw parts to finished rod.

My recommendation is to do some on-line research first, make wise purchases, and be patient and take your time as you start the building process. If you rush I know you will screw it up.

There are a few tools that you have to purchase if you don't already have them. You need a rat tail file at least 9" long excluding the handle and it must start off being no larger than 1/4" diameter and should gradually increase in diameter to 1/2". You need this to enlarge, and taper, the hole in the cork grip you purchase so the hole in the cork replicates the diameter of the rod blank where the grip will be placed. You will need a supply of single edged razor blades, a sharp pair of fine pointed scissors, tape measure, white china marker, and a means to hold the spool of thread under tension when you start to wrap the guides.

A skilled rod builder can complete most of the rod building tasks in a day then on the second day apply a couple of coats of color preserver (optional) to the thread wraps and apply the rod finish to the wraps. Twenty-four hours later the rod will be dry but I'd wait a full 48 hours to really cure the rod finish before I went out and started to fish with the rod.

Since this build will be your first you should really take your time and try to follow the instructions carefully. If the finished rod looks good when you are done you will feel much pride and you will want to build others. But if the finished rod has a reel seat that is not in-line with the guides and the thread wraps are uneven and the guide wrap epoxy is all bubbly you won't like the end results and will likely feel you wasted your money. Once you become an accomplished rod builder you can easily save hundreds of dollars by building your own rod versus buying a factory rod.

At one time I had over thirty fly rods and I'd built probably twenty of them. Over the years I've sold many of them but still have about twenty rods and only about six are factory rods.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
boulder colorado

Posts: 18
Bellsporter on Dec 2, 2012December 2nd, 2012, 5:04 pm EST
I kindly thank you for your thorough reply. Your advice is appreciated!
Strmanglr's profile picture
Posts: 156
Strmanglr on Dec 3, 2012December 3rd, 2012, 4:19 am EST
I've built several rods as well.
Sound advice from wbranch.
I wouldn't even mention that a seasoned builder can knock out a rod in a day. That kind of time frame will blow a newbie's mind. Try and do one guide a session. My first, I would do one guide a day. When u come back to it the next day you'll be better.

I would suggest u find an old cheap rod, I got one at a garage sale for$3.00, strip the guides and put them back on. Sort of a trial run. When you've never done something compared to doing it once, once can make a big difference.
Roguerat's profile picture
Posts: 456
Roguerat on Dec 21, 2012December 21st, 2012, 7:40 am EST

I agree with Strmanglr, I started out dissecting older (cheap) rods then rewrapping them to learn technique. L A Garcia's book 'Building a Graphite Fly Rod' was a huge bonus, well worth looking for.
A small library of catalogs such as Janns Netcraft, J Stockard, Cabela's Tacklecraft etc will supply info on blanks and components- another invaluable resource.
If you want to keep things simple and low $$ a homemade wrapping stand is easy- some pieces of 1 x 6 glued/screwed together, lined with felt then clamped to a bench are all I use. A couple spool-holders made with 1x wood, machine screws and small coil-springs,and a wing-nut for tensioning work like a charm.
I'm guessing the winters in Colorado are comparable to Michigan's- snow, wind, more snow, etc etc...rod-building is a pleasant way to spend the cold months!

have fun with it!

The Roguerat

I Peter 5:7 'Cast your cares upon Him...'

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