Fly fishermen are notorious for trying to "figure out the puzzle." Whether that puzzle is what are the fish hitting in that day, how to perfect the knots on the favorite flies, or constructing their own fly rods, fly fishermen engage in construction and puzzle-solving with their hobby. Building your own fly rod requires a certain set of equipment, supplies and tools. This often makes the difference between a fly rod that brings in the fish, or a long stick that accomplishes nothing. Collect and gather the proper supplies for building your fly rod to ensure yours is a functioning piece of art from your own workshop and hand.
Rod blanks are raw pieces of tubular material from which the rod is constructed. Depending on your choice of a telescoping, or continuous rod, gather either sections of rod blanks, or one long piece. Selecting the blanks requires knowing what the primary fish is that you will go after, what weight and length you'll need, and the action you require from the rod. Action is where the bend comes on the rod (fore, middle or aft), and how much bend the rod gives (soft gives the most bend, with hard giving the least). Actions are rated soft, medium and hard. These ratings determine the strength of the rod in the fight with the fish, and where the bend will come on the rod during this fight. Because this will be a custom rod, you also select your rod blank based on your grip size. Rod blanks are available in carbon fiber, graphite, bamboo, wood, plastic, and fiberglass.
Your rod will need a series of guides, the metal loops that hold the line and keep it aligned during casts and retrievals and for storage on the spool. In addition to the guides, a reel sleeve is needed. The reel sleeve hold the fly reel to the rod, allowing for the casting movements and retrieval without the reel slipping all over the rod. After these items are collected, you will also need a handle of some sort. You may select cork wrap, or cork rings for the end plugs, or use a synthetic sponge to wrap around the reel sleeve and handle end of the rod. If you plan to make a multi-section rod, you need a selection of nesting ferrules to house the telescoping rod pieces into the continuous rod for fishing.
You will need rod finish or glaze, rod epoxy, butt caps, and any decorative wraps you need to customize your rod. Newer epoxy leaves very little residue or globs on the rod when constructing. Finish and glaze choices give you options for custom colors, design schemes, and either matte or glossy finishes. Be sure the epoxy and finish you select is compatible with your rod material choice. If unsure, ask the retailer if your choices work together.
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.