The taper is the first and most important consideration for any rod. Achieving the desired action requires both an optimal design and effective and accurate execution. I can produce rods from 2 weight to 6 weight and from 6’ to 8’6”. Most of the tapers I have produced have been adjusted versions of classic tapers. Of course, I have my favorites, but let’s talk about what works for you and your style of fishing.
I have a good stock of Tonkin Cane from both the Demarests and The Bamboo Broker. At this time, all cane used will have been aged at least 5 years in my Colorado shop.
Some Construction Notes
A rod should be straight. For that to happen, each section must be straight. For a section to be straight, the power fibers on each strip should run as straight as possible through the entire section. This requires careful treatment of nodal areas. My nodes are both pressed and flattened with abrasive and straightened throughout the strip preparation and tapering process. Meticulous care in this process results in sections that naturally WANT to glue up straight. Many makers spend significant time straightening sections after glue up. Do you ever wonder where sets that won’t stay fixed come from? Strip preparation, if done properly, takes much more time than tapering, however that might be achieved.
My rods are flamed to a medium brown. I typically endeavor to achieve an even, dark caramel look, but I can create a tiger-style flaming pattern as well. The strips are also heat-treated. These processes also contribute to the prevention of sets.
I use nickel silver step-down ferrules from Classic Sporting Enterprises – the best made in my opinion. Step-down ferrules are more difficult to install, but provide a sleeker look to sections with a female ferrule. In addition, step-down ferrules flex more through the ferrule section. Ferrule stations are turned down on my metal lathe to maximize accuracy and resulting rod straightness through the ferrule station.
Except for the slimmest rod tapers, hollowing the rod sections can result in a crisper rod action with quicker recovery. In my opinion, the action is smoother as well. My hollowing is executed conservatively using the scalloping method. All sections are solid within 2 inches of the ferrules.
Rod Images and Pricing
Below are several images of the rods I donated to the Yellowstone Park Foundation. These have many premium upgrades, however they best represent my recent work.
All of the rods I produce are made to the same high quality construction standards. You will have options regarding configuration, hollowing and appointments.
My standard rod for $975 includes:
2-piece, 2 tip flamed rod in 6’0” to 8’6” in length, 2 wgt to 6 wgt
Bright nickel silver step-down ferrules from Classic Sporting Enterprise (Bailey Woods)*
Snake Brand snake guides in bronze* or bright chrome
Shop-made* or select Genuine Bellinger bright nickel silver real seat hardware
Choice of reel seat filler from woods like madrone burl, walnut, curly maple or butternut
New-old-stock Mildrum carboloy stripping guide
Single-color silk translucent wraps
Black aluminum rod tube with brass fittings from Landmark Components
Shop-made 100% cotton twill rod bag *
Nickel silver hex winding check*
Shop-made low profile nickel silver hook keeper*
Flor+ cork grip turned on the rod blank (no filler needed)
*These indicate items (sans blued hardware) that are the same as the YPF donation rods
Many additional options or upgrades are available. These can be added to the standard rod above.
Wrap tipping and witness wraps 70
Agate stripping guide color coordinated to wraps 30
Blued ferrules and reel seat hardware 55
Custom shop-made Cordura tube cover** 45
Hollow built construction*** 100
3-piece, 2-tip configuration 175
Heavy shop-made brass tube hardware 50
Sterling silver tube cap insert with monogram 75
Wooden grip with matching reel seat insert**** 45
Swelled butt 75
** See the YPF rods for an example. Available in Ranger Green, Burgundy, Black and Coyote Brown.
*** I recommend hollow building for all but the most slender tapers, so I keep the upgrade cost low.
**** For woods including walnut, cocobolo, maple, madrone burl and butternut. We can discuss more exotic woods.