How to Build a Saltwater Fly Rod

How to Build a Saltwater Fly Rod
Fly fishermen are known to make their own flies and tinker with their gear. You can take this familiarity with your gear to a new level and build your own saltwater fly rod. Making a saltwater fly-fishing rod is no different than making a freshwater fly-fishing rod, with the exception of using it in briny water.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod blanks
  • Wood glue
  • Ferrules
  • Fishing guides
  • Wrapping thread
  • Fly bodkin
  • Epoxy
  • Reel sleeve
  • Scissors or clippers
  • Handle cork or foam
  • Varnish or lacquer and sponge brushes
Step 1
Lay out the rod blanks in the order they will fit on the rod. Typically, the larger blanks go at the butt end and the smaller and narrower blanks at the tip of the rod. Place a ferrule at each connection point.
Step 2
Dip the end of each ferrule into the wood glue and push it into the end of the rod blanks. Slide the rod blanks onto the ferrules, assembling the rod into one long continuous piece. If you want to be able to break the rod apart for travel, glue only on the side of the ferrule, so it rests in one blank and can be set into the other when you are ready to fish.
Step 3
Align your bodkin next to the rod where you will place the fishing guides. The bodkin forces the wrap thread tightly next to each strand, locking the fishing guides into position with the wrap thread and allowing a custom color scheme. Align the fishing guides and thread with the bodkin to lock the guides into place. Make sure they are aligned so you can thread fishing line straight up the rod.
Step 4
Slide your reel sleeve over the butt end of the rod and fasten with the wrap tape, using the bodkin to lock the reel sleeve in place.
Step 5
Varnish the rod in whatever color you desire. Let it dry, then wrap the handle or butt end of the rod with the cork-handle tape until the grip is suitable for your hand size. Add the waterproof epoxy over the wrap thread and seams of the handle wrapping to seal these areas.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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