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flyfisha1 05-28-2003 08:39 AM

Building lighter rods out of heavy blanks
I was sitting here inspecting my most recent rod project when I got back to thinking about the "ultralight" rod I'd like to build, simultaneously thinking about how the 7 sections on this rod made it a real pain to line the guides up properly, and making all of the ferrule wraps was a pain, also. It ocurred to me that by taking a particularly long rod with two sections and only using the tip section, a one-piece light rod could be built, albeit it with a faster action relative to the rod were it to be employed as the manufacturer had intended.

To illustrate:

Take a 2-piece 15' spey blank (gasp! All of you spey casters please forgive the blasphemy that I'm about to propose) rated for a 10/11, with a butt-diameter of 0.615, only use the tip section which should have a "butt diatmeter" of about 0.300 and a length of 7.5', and finish it as a normal rod. This corresponds with something between a 3-wt. and 5-wt. in many manufacturer's blanks, though it would take some testing to see what line weight best loads that blank. So in this fashion, it's possible to build a one-piece rod for a relatively light line. Were the blank a "low-end" moderate action, it would enable lighter lines to load the rod more easily, I would think.


A 3-piece blank of the same length and butt-diameter, and only use the top 1/3 section, creating a 5' blank with a 0.200 (approximately) "butt-diameter" for 1-3 weight lines.

Any thoughts?

John Desjardins 05-28-2003 09:11 AM

At the 2002 casting clinic someone (Lefty?) had a child casting with a short UL spinning rod blank. A 4'6" 1 piece is seems awfully close to a 3 wt.

flyfisha1 05-28-2003 09:30 AM

John - 1-piece ultralight spinning rods was my next alternative.

Nooksack Mac 05-28-2003 10:55 PM

I've never seen a two-piece spey rod or blank; and if one could be found, it would be too costly for the intended results, since spey blanks are "priced by the pound." One-piece spinning blanks are a more fruitful line of inquiry. I've built two fly rods from long (9-1/2' and 10') glass blanks. Both were useable, slow in action, with the ability to handle a wide range of fly line sizes.

flytyer 05-30-2003 01:40 AM

Keep in mind that there is more to what line weight a given rod blank will cast properly than the diameter of the "butt". The amount of graphite in the blank, the type of graphite used, the type and amount of material used to provide 'hoop strength' to the blank. the way the graphite was cut before being wrapped on the mandrel. etc.

It is not simply a matter of taking a tip or top 2 sections of a 4-piece 15 ft rod and seeing that the diameter of the rod is .300 or .285 or whatever that determines what line it will cast properly.

flyfisha1 05-30-2003 06:16 AM

Yes, I completely understand that; I was using the butt diameter as a general guide. My initial post on this was kind of just me thinking out loud.

JDJones 05-30-2003 02:48 PM

With all the blanks out there to chose from. Unless you just happen to have a broken rod that can no longer get replacement parts for.

GregD 10-29-2003 10:25 PM

I have a project in mind this winter that would consider a similar approach that Chris thought about.

Why? I found most blanks in the size I was looking for 10/11 or 11/12 11-12 footers were $400 or over.Perhaps I have been spending too much time on american web sites instead of looking to the UK where the long rods are the norm.
I found a 10/11 13ft Pacific Bay for $150. By removing a foot or so could alter the action for the better for some.
While likely an inferior blank for a low budget rod it could get you an acceptable rod VS none if you don't have the cash for a quality finished rod.

Just kicking it around while I continue to look at blanks ;)


HookUp 03-15-2005 03:34 PM

Why not just buy a one piece blank made for a UL?

St. Croix makes some nice blanks. Around $40 for a Premier, $60 for an Avid, and $100ish for an Elite.

If cost is an issue, get a Mudhole elCheapo for around $9.99. Postage will kill you though.

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