How to Make a Fly Fishing Rod

How to Make a Fly Fishing Rod
Building a fly fishing rod requires advanced skills and practice. Rod building requires detailed work and accuracy is imperative for creating a functional piece of equipment. Beginners can find kits with all of the parts required but advanced builders will individually select rod blanks and components for each rod. Rods are built from bamboo, fiberglass and graphite. Graphite is the most popular building material and the blanks are available in large quantities. Beginners are advised to use inexpensive graphite blanks on the first rod to allow for mistakes.


Difficulty: Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod blank
  • China pen
  • Tip top
  • Five-minute epoxy
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Cork grip
  • Reamer
  • Guides
  • Rod thread
  • Thread tension devise
  • Rod finishing brush
  • Rod varnish
  • Reel seat
Step 1
Locate the spine of the rod by connecting the blank pieces and holding the butt end of the blank. Place the narrow tip of the blank on a table and apply pressure to bend the rod. Rotate the rod until it makes an easy, natural bend. Mark the inside of the bend. All of the guides will be aligned with this mark.
Step 2
Mount the tip top by applying five-minute epoxy to the inside of the piece. Place the tip top on the narrow tip of the rod. Align the tip top with the guide alignment marking. Use denatured alcohol to wipe any spilled epoxy from the connection. Allow 20 minutes for the epoxy to completely dry.
Step 3
Measure the length of the reel seat. Mark the reel seat length on the bottom of the butt of the rod. Slide the cork grip on the top of the butt section and move it downward until it connects to the top of the reel seat marking. If the cork grip does not fit, open the hole with a reamer. Move the cork off the rod once it is properly fit. Apply five-minute epoxy to the section where the grip will be placed. Slide the cork grip over the epoxy and allow 20 minutes for it to dry completely.
Step 4
Use a spacing chart to determine the space required for each guide. This will change depending on the length of the rod. Mark the position for each guide.
Step 5
Place the thread between the pages of a phone book or use a thread tension device. Center the bend in the guide over the marking. Lay the tag end of the thread flush with the foot of the guide. Wrap the thread over itself beginning at the end of the foot and ending just before the bend. Make a loop in the thread and cut the thread from the spool. Feed the tag end through the loop and pull tight to finish the thread. Trim the tag end with a utility knife. Repeat this process on the top and bottom foot of each guide.
Step 6
Use the same thread-wrapping process on the tip top and on each female ferrule connection. The only difference is the lack of a guide foot. All wraps must be snug and closely fit for a clean look.
Step 7
Use a rod-finishing brush to apply thin coats of rod varnish. Apply the varnish evenly to the entire blank and cover all thread wraps. Allow the varnish to dry for 1-2 hours then apply another coat. Do this until the desired look is reached.
Step 8
Place the reel seat on the exposed butt end of the rod. If the seat is loose, wrap layers of masking tape to create a snug fit. Apply five-minute epoxy to the inside of the reel seat and the over the butt of the rod. Place the seat on the rod and align with the guides. Allow the epoxy to dry for 20 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

Take your to make precise measurements. Every component must be in perfect alignment for the rod to function properly. Use up to 10 coats of varnish for a thick finish if you drop rods on rocks frequently. Use five or six coats if you do not abuse rods.
Make thread wraps with moderate tension. Too much tension can cause damage to the rod blank. Also allow all of the rod varnish and epoxy to dry for two full days before fishing the rod.

Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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