It’s not a commonly thought of bringer of happiness, a plain brown cardboard tube sent through the mail. But if that cardboard tube contains the blank, line guides, handle and reel seat which can be assembled to produce a fly rod of quality, then you can be assured a shipment from GB Fly Shop can be a real source of happiness. And I’m happy, because my ordered-for-a special- purpose fly rod arrived yesterday, and I’m starting to put the pieces together.
A Rod for a Purpose
I have used GB Fly Shop’s rod building materials to assemble several very functional and attractive fly rods over the years. I’ve built light, fast little three weights for panfish and small creek trout all the way up to a massive, brutal twelve weight rod for throwing large, bulky flies to my Gulf Coast bull redfish.
But this new rod will be for a special purpose. I have need of a rod that is made for saltwater beach fishing for smaller jacks, ladyfish, slot size redfish, and other inshore species. I need a rod strong enough to handle occasional large, strong fish, yet light enough not wear me down over a long day’s fly casting from the beach. I figured a seven-weight graphite would be just about right, and thanks to GBFS’s wide selection of blanks which come in different colors, I ordered a dark blue blank with gold guides and reel seat- very attractive.
As all the rod blanks and other rod elements I’ve received from GB Fly Shop, this new rod had full complement of elements, and they all went together quite well- no modification was needed.
The rod handle is a lovely cork with darker cork accents, and it feels very good in hand.
I wrapped the line guides in a black thread- it’s what I use for almost all of my self- made rods, and I think it looks quite good on all colors.
The gold guides and other metal parts of the rod are smooth, with no sharp or unfinished points and edges. The guides were easy to wrap and didn’t bunch up the thread as I laid the wraps over the foot of each line guide. All parts were high quality and easy to work with.
Each rod builder has her/his own process and procedure when it comes to putting a rod together, and I have certainly worked out my own way or putting parts into a whole.
Using the handy guide spacing table provided on the GB Fly Shops website, I was able to plot out where each line guide went, mark the location, and then apply the foot for finished wrapping. I found that the epoxy thread seal is much faster and quicker to set when the rod is being built in hot, full-summer conditions rather than cooler winter conditions. The thread seal started to set up as I was finishing the brush-applied sealant to the wrapped thread for the guides, and by next morning, the rod was fully fishable.
The rod parts and blank from GB Fly Shop were all first-rate, no problems at all, and I think the color combination is quite attractive. The gold and blue seem to work together quite well. The rod shows typical graphite rod quickness and flex.
The cork handle is very comfortable in hand, and the cork is smooth and well-finished, so it should last a long time even with hard use. In use, the rod loads quickly and moves the line quickly as the cast begins. My casting skills are not great, but this rod seems to work around my weakness well, and it puts the line and the fly out there.
And when I hooked and played ladyfish from the beach- the goal of this particular fly rod- I had a blast playing the fish and landing them. This rod showed no signs of being too weak or too stiff for these feisty two-to-three-pound high jumpers. I’d say this rod build turned out just about perfect- and I only need to get back to the beach to pesty those ladyfish and jacks again.
I’d say day after tomorrow ought to be just about right.