The Making of a Prize Rod|
by Bob Petti
One of the most
pleasurable aspects of being "behind the scenes" of Flymeister
2001 was being able to work with such motivated and highly skilled people
as Neal Hall, Todd Vivian, Bob Venneri, and Mike McCoy. The four of
them together made it possible for us to offer such an outstanding grand
prize, which no doubt helped us attract such talented tyers as the winner
of the prize, Mikko Stenburg.
All of us at GFF
were curious what the winning rod would look like. It's not often we
see a truly custom built rod. As luck would have it, Neal took some
pictures along the way and offered to share them with us for a brief
and I corresponded several times about what he wanted for his custom
built rod. He told me that he wanted to use it for fishing in fresh
to brackish water to catch trout, and steelhead. He wanted a long rod
in the 7 weight class. He told me that he was average build and his
hand was medium size. He wanted a full wells grip and nickel silver
hardware with chrome guides. He also wanted a maple burl reel seat with
a fighting butt." The results were:
XMG-50, 9'6" 3-piece 7-weight
Guides: Snake Brand, 2 red agates stripping guides, the rest chrome
Reel Seat: Venneri uplock with removable fighting butt
Grip: Custom made from cork, burl cork, and plexiglass
At this point in
time, the gang at GFF would like to once again thank the sponsors of
Fly Meister 2001, starting with the four people who made this grand
Snake Brand Snake Guides
Venneri Reel Seats
places the guides on the rod using a tool designed by Don Morton
of the Custom Rod Builders Guild. The tool identifies the correct
placement of the guides using the equal angle or the progressive
angle theory. The tool can be used in the vertical position or
in this case it's laid out on the floor. Neal can't get the tool
to fit into his basement workshop in the vertical position.
"When I was designing the grip (handle) I knew I wanted something
different and unique. I was lucky enough to find some Plexiglas
that was the same color as the rod blank and thought I could incorporate
it into the handle. I did some experimenting and found I could
glue it together and have no glue line show so I could make it
as thick as I wanted. I turned the three plexiglass pieces down
to the approximate size that I needed. I Cut the cork and burl
rings to the required thickness and glued the handle using U-40
Rod Bond. Then it was a simple mater of turning, shaping and sanding
the handle into a full wells that would fit Mikko's medium size
hand. I use sandpaper grit size down to 1200 to give the handle
a velvety feel. I also had to polish the plexiglass with plastic
polish and the buffer wheel in my dremel tool."
sure the reel is aligned with the guides.
view of checking the reel and guide alignment.
"I wanted to use the progressive angle guide setup. There
were going to be a lot of guides and Mikko told me that he wanted
snake guides. Therefore I needed the lightest ones I could find.
I also wanted to use agates for the stripers to blend in with
the thread color. I called Mike McCoy at Snake Brand Guides and
ask if he would contribute to this prize rod. Mike responded immediately
with the darkest red agate he had. The effect is striking on the
burgundy colored blank of the XMG50. After many trials I decided
to use a dark pink color thread. Its color number 3296 from J
A Rice Thread Company. I did not use color preservative which
allowed the thread to turn opaque and take on the color of the
blank. Accent color is Metallic Fuchsia Hologram."
beautiful maple burl reel seat from Bob Venneri with a detachable
wooden fighting butt.
added a beautiful feature inlay of golden pheasant feathers, adding
the final aesthetic touch to a beautiful and functional custom fly