Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flying on the Blacksmith Fork

The main reason I was frantically working to get my new rod finished up was so that I could take it out fishing while we were up in Utah for the 4th of July. In addition to all the Independence Day celebrations, Mike and I had planned to meet up and go fishing on Monday, mostly on the Blacksmith Fork Creek.

Mike and JaNae were kind enough to let me stay at their apartment Sunday evening, even serving up a nice chicken fajita for dinner. We got to bed a bit late after staying up talking fly fishing. Morning came nice and early, but the fishing would have to wait. Mike had to take a flight student up for a flight first thing Monday morning, so he took me along for the ride. It was a lot of fun. It's too bad Mike lives so far away, I'd be tempted to hire him to teach me to fly.
(just what I'd need, another expensive hobby ...)

Once the flying was done, it was time to head out and start fishing. We started out up higher in the canyon fishing Rock Creek. Rock Creek is a very small stream. We saw a few nice fish, and had a few bites/refusals, but were unable to land any fish up there. After lunch (I really do miss the Old Grist Mill ... fantastic breads and sandwiches), we fished a stretch of the Blacksmith Fork that Mike likes. We started out at an awesome pool and that's where my new rod took it's first fish - a nice, small brown trout.

After Mike caught a fish of his own from the pool, we started fishing upstream and had an awesome time. Of course, Mike showed off his crazy fishing skills while I played the part of a novice fly fisherman (for which I am definitely qualified). Even though it seemed like my flies spent as much time in the trees and bushes as the water, I still had a great time. Both Mike and I ended up catching 5 fish each that afternoon.

I didn't realize until seeing this picture that I'd spent at least part of the afternoon fishing with my hat on backwards. Maybe that's why I kept losing my nymphs ...

After fishing our stretch of the Blacksmith, we headed back up to Rock Creek at sunset to see if we could do better the second time around. Uh, no. We did however take some serious abuse from the meanest, most persistent mosquitos I've ever experienced (my arms still look like I have some sort of disease - measles, chicken pox ...). We returned to the Blacksmith and fished until dark. Monday was, by far, the most I'd fished in a single day. Next time we get together Mike, I'll have to take more pictures.

All in all, a great day. Sure it came with some casualties - Mike lost his sunglasses and fishing net - but I know I had a great time fly fishing with my brother. Hopefully Mike agrees. Thanks again, Mike!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Five Rivers Signature V 8'6" 3wt

Here is the proof that my first custom, handmade fly rod is complete. Yeah, it took me a while to get this one done, but it was so worth it. I took it out and cast it on the Provo River yesterday. I absolutely love it. I would have said that I fished it on the Provo, but I still don't have my first fish on this rod yet. Hopefully I can take care of that soon.

Here are the rod details:
Dan Craft Five Rivers Signature V 8'6" 3wt 4pc blank
REC NSUSL nickel silver reel seat with amboyna burl insert
Custom shaped (modified reverse half wells) cork grip
Forecast light titanium colored winding check.
Gudebrod garnet thread with Sulky dark copper trim wraps (no color preserver)
Fuji TLNSG titanium stripping guide (size 10)
Black nickel snake guides (one size 2 guide, then eight size 1/0) and tiptop

This picture shows a few of my wraps with the garnet and metallic copper thread. Because I didn't use any color preserver on the thread, the nylon darkens and almost goes kind of transparent when the thread finish epoxy is applied. This was the effect (and color) as I looking for. The garnet thread looks very dark, almost black, in the shade. However, you can see the deep red color in the sunlight. I felt that the copper trim wraps added a lot of color to the rod and complemented the amboyna burl reel seat insert.

There is a small wrap of garnet thread directly in front of the winding check, just to offset the check a bit more. The hook keeper is wrapped completely from front to back. I used different sized copper trim bands depending on the size of the guides. The stripping guide has a 5-turn trim band at the end of each foot. The first snake guide (size 2) has 3-turn trim bands. All the other snake guides have a single turn trim band.

This next picture shows the ferule wraps at the joint of each section of the rod. It also shows a bit of the deep red color of the garnet thread. On the two smallest sections, the ferule wrap is integrated into the guide foot wrap. Having the guide foot wrapped in with the ferule wrap saves thread and finish epoxy weight. You can also see in this picture how the guide feet show through the semi-transparent thread wraps.

Right now, I'm using my new Galvan Open Back fly reel for this rod. After all, a new rod deserves a new reel, right? This OB-4 reel is rated for a 5 or 6 weight rod, but only weighs 4.6 oz or so. Even with my 3wt fly line and some backing on, it balances the fly rod fairly well. The balance point is about 1/3 the way back from the front of the grip. I didn't have any trouble fishing (casting) it out on the river yesterday.

Anyways, hope you like my new fly rod as much as I do. I've already got my next rod build project planned out, and I can't wait to get started.

(Heidi -- Thanks for helping take the pictures and for being so supportive of me building this rod, especially over the past week.)