moosh writes "
Unless you are a hard-core cold weather angler, you?ve probably put away your fishing gear, pulled out the fly tying tools and started to re-stock your fly boxes. As you sit and tie, you drift back to the time when that same fly pattern in your vice was used to beckon a nice rainbow from its log sanctuary and trick him to rise for the take. The ensuing fight will live in your memory forever, the rod bent over, you manipulating it from side to side steering the fish away from obstacles, bowing to him when he jumped and finally, bringing it to the net then releasing him to fight another day. All that action from just one little fly that you tied. Now lets take it one step further, just think how satisfying it would have been if you caught that fish not only on the fly that you tied, but with your own personally hand crafted fly rod as well.
If you have ever thought of, or are presently thinking of building a rod, now would be the time to do it. Rod building can be intimidating, but don?t let it fool you; it?s easier than it appears. With a little bit of practice and patience you can produce a rod that not only will perform well, but will also look as good as, or even better than any mass produced factory rod purchased from a shop or through a catalog. Not only that, but on the average you can save money by building it yourself. Although, your average savings will vary depending on how much customizing you wish do. There are literally hundreds of component combinations to choose from which will enable you to create your own ?one-of-a-kind? fly rod.
Before you venture into the world of custom rod building, there are a few things to consider. The first is your initial investment for tools. Rod building tools can be basic or high-tech and come in different price ranges; it all depends on how much you are willing to spend. Tools such as a simple hand rod wrapper, long rat-tail file, x-acto knife, burnishing tool, low RPM finishing/drying motor, and alcohol burner are just to name a few. A book or video on fly rod construction will help you to decide on which tools you will need. It will also describe in detail, the necessary procedures and techniques needed to assemble the rod. After you have invested in your rod building equipment, you will need to determine the line weight, length and action of the rod you wish to build.
For small stream fishing, lighter fly rods ranging from one to four line weights will do. These rods are good for small trout and pan fish. If a larger stream or lake is your preference, then a rod in the weight range of five to seven should be your choice. The five to seven weights are good for general fly-fishing for larger trout and small bass. For larger bass, carp, pike, salmon and steelhead, rods rated for eight to ten weight lines are recommended. And finally for the big game fish like king salmon, tarpon and sharks, rods with eleven to fifteen line weight designations should be considered.
The rod length is usually determined by the type, and/or body of water to be fished. The average length for a fly rod is 8-1/2 to 9 feet, with the 9 foot being a bit more popular among fly fishermen. Shorter rods are normally used for small stream fishing where a considerable amount of overhead cover is present. On the other hand, a longer rod can be used on a small stream with brushy banks and less overhead obstacles. In this case, the longer rod will enable the angler to reach out over the brush and throw a sideways roll cast. On big water, like wide open rivers or lakes, longer rods have an advantage over shorter rods. They will allow you to cast easier and farther plus; the added length will keep the line higher off of the water?s surface while casting, especially if you fish from a canoe, float tube or wade in deeper water.
And last, deciding the action of your rod. Fast action rods flex in the upper third of their total length. This flexing action will load the rod quicker and create more line speed which in turn will cut through the wind easier. Fast action rods are especially useful when trying to cast a large streamer or big bass bugs. Moderate action rods are considered to be more of a universal action. They flex in the upper half of their total length. They are not as powerful as the fast action rods, but the moderate action will still allow you to throw a larger fly. Slow action rods are generally found in the family of short length rods. Although, a bit more comfortable to cast, these rods typically lack the power needed to throw a line and fly far. These rods are good for smaller streams where short distances and delicate presentations are required.
The rod sizes and recommended fishing methods mentioned above are not set in stone, but they are a good starting point in helping you to determine the correct rod for your fishing needs. Planning the type of rod you want to build is only half the fun; the rest comes from choosing the components and assembly of the rod. The type of grip, reel seat, guides and thread color all play a major role in what your finished rod will look like, and how it will perform. If you wish, you can even build your rod to the exact specifications of your favorite factory produced rod instead of customizing it. You can do this by referencing catalogs, searching the internet, visiting a local fly shop, or contacting the rod manufactures and ask which components they use on their rods. Whichever you decide, this rewarding past-time of rod building will raise you up to the next level of the extraordinary sport of fly fishing.