The rod building bug! – Chris

With some time to spare, I’m filling it by building rods and getting my gear into shape. When I can fish again, I’ll have no excuse not to be ready!

I grew up in the 1970’s and as I couldn’t afford ready-made rods, I used to buy them in kit form, which was popular back in the day. Most of mine came from Terry Eustace.

These days, I have a large collection of Terry-built rods, but I still have to satisfy the rod-building bug and regularly buy old rods and refurbish them. The difficult part is acquiring the old matching rings and fittings.

My style of build has been strongly influenced by Terry’s with a thin, flat finish to the whippings that I prefer to the modern rods with their cheap and ugly looking blobs of thick epoxy. Also, I like glass rods. They don’t cast as well as carbon, but they make better shock absorbers for playing fish and you get less hook-pulls. With carp rods in particular, the good glass rods often weigh less than modern carbons. You can use smaller hooks and finer lines and they have the action to easily stop and turn a fish away from snags.

The rod in the picture I bought about a year ago. It’s a Conoflex glass blank, a 3-piece coarse rod with a short handle section. It has a very soft action, similar to TE’s “Soft Special” and may even be the same spec blank in 3-piece form, with a test curve of about 8oz.

It came to me as a poor quality home-build, so I stripped it and rebuilt it in the Eustace style. I’ve just finished turning the handle, which be fitted with a black plastic butt cap. The rings, obsolete luminous Fuji’s, are already whipped on and sealed. A few coats of gloss varnish followed by matt and it’ll be ready by mid-June.

My next projects are a Normark blank carbon match rod that I bought for just £10 and a brown glass Conoflex blank ex-kit rod with an interesting action, which I suspect is a TE “Spec Nine”.

Best wishes and keep safe.


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