When I stumbled across these rods my first thought was "Aha, the ideal construction of good built-cane married to the strength and stiffness of carbon-fibre." My second thought was "How fecking much!!!!??"††The late great Sir Terry Pratchett considered multiple exclamation marks were a sign of insanity. My psychologist says I should apologise for this error and also that I should say it will never happen again. They are not cheap, being mostly hand-made even today, and being frank, I dislike the cane-coloured paint. It adds weight and they are not cane. I much prefer the rich dark green that a few of the Hexagraph salmon rods are supplied with. However, saying that, in an otherwise well designed rod, this is a fabulous way to make said rod.
|Single 'VB' Hook trace...(and back to the top of the page)||Single 'VB' Hook trace||Single 'VB' Hook trace|
The Hexagraph Avon '3'.
I bought this in late (November) 2009, because I thought it would give me the best construction married to the best materials. It is a powerful 11ft 1½lb t/c rod, probably as powerful as most 2lb t/c hollow-section rods. What was caught with it stayed caught. I originally built it with 'low Bells' guides and one amber and one green agate stripping guide on the butt section as they looked nice. I know lined rings are 'better', but still. However, some might say the intensive manufacturing process makes the rod over-priced.
It was never exactly how I wanted it, so I ditched the sliding reel reel-bands and changed them for a sliding screw-lock in 2011, courtesy of Gary at Mill Tackle, but it still wasn't quite right. So in 2016 I very carefully removed the cane-coloured paint, re-built the rod with titanium Pacbay rings, fitted a 16mm reel-seat, then sanded down the handle. The rod feels lighter, altogether a finer rod in the hand.
But...the 16mm reel seat is too thin and the cork, although matching, is too slender even for my small hands. As I've located an agent for Pacbay in the UK who stocks the black titanium rings, I will, although it irks me to re-do black-thread-on-black-rod whipping, re-make the handle, change the reel-seat for 18mm and re-whip it. Or I may use a pair of my amazing sliding reel-bands. The only sort that is actually any good. In any event the job waits for a wood-working lathe to ensure the handle is the mutt's nuts. Or something.
Other Diary and Fettling Entries relevant to the Hexagraph Avon.
22nd March 2014. I like the Hexagraph Avon, but never liked its reel seat, which has gone from the basic bands it came with to a sliding capstan thing, via some nice looking B&W bands, with a long parallel section promising a lock but the reel foot accommodated by a slot didn't work out. So, having come by two sets LRH Hexagon Winches, today I got my customised 32mm halved plastic pipe sanding tool and rubbed 1.5mm off the o/dOutside Diameter the handle, which took barely 45 minutes. This step I took, as the handle of my LRH No.3 I like, although the rod rather less so. Now I have a handle that suits my smaller than average hands. So, more use for this rod this year...
26th August 2016. The new handle of the Hex Avon. It took me a while, but I stripped the paint off to lighten the rod and improve its 'feel'. I never liked the cane-colour paint, but it would have been a long wait for an unpainted...I'd previously rubbed the long cork handle down to ¾" to accept Hardy Screw-Lock reel bands, but now removed the top 8" of this slender handle and put on a slim screw-lock reel-seat and a 3" fore-grip, half of which was a left-over piece of cork handle, the top half being a champagne cork. This needs rubbing down to the ¾" mark, saving the front of the champagne cork (so you can tell). I've just started that job, ten minutes here and there as a break from a terminally dull essay and it's amusing to have a fore-grip smelling slightly of champers...
1st September 2016. The Hexagraph thing. A pal asked me to contrast my Hexagraph Avon with the four-piece Harrisons' Avon. Both are nominally 1½lb t/c, so it's an interesting comparison. It's said by Hexagraph proponents that they are 'more powerful than their test curve', compared with carbon. That is to say a 1¼lb t/c Hex. Avon will be 'as powerful' as a 1½lb t/c hollow carbon-fibre rod. This argument is based on the idea that the hollow carbon tube, deforming under pressure, leads to a non-linear (and reducing) restoring force as a function of deflection. In contrast the solid section of the Hexagraph doesn't deform under pressure so has a more linear restoring force as a function of deflection. This sounds perfectly feasible and may be true. It may not matter of course, but that's another argument, and how thick the carbon wall is in either case might well matter more.
The Harrisons' has an all-through action which has considerable power, as someone once said 'it's really a carp rod in disguise'. It's powerful certainly.
The Hexagraph Avon has a different action - the rod is more middle actioned in comparison and a look at the blank reveals that the taper of the butt section is steeper than the Harrison's. It kind of reminds me of the Richard Walker's 'Mk.III', essentially two linear tapers, one for the tip and one for the butt section. You can fish with either rod with 6lb line, perhaps 'just about' but the Hexagraph has a lot more bottom end power so might provide more control over a big fish under heavy pressure.
With the Hexagraph it feels as if I could fish heavier and pull harder. The Hexagraph is heavier in the hand as well - of course, it's got at least as much carbon (although to me it looks rather like the walls are thicker) and a foam composite inner. This only matters if you're planning on holding it for long periods.
In short the actions of the rods differentiates them, rather than the materials or construction.
So...all this got me thinking (dangerous).
It occurs to me that the feel of the rod in the hand (not that this really affects playing the fish) might be improved by removing as much weight from the top section as possible. To that end, I've put titanium Pacbay intermediates and a titanium tip ring on the Hexagraph Avon. I judged the weight of the (cane coloured) paint unnecessary also so, with some care, I scraped it off, putting back one coat of varnish, thinned slightly to ensure it sealed those area where the carbon cloth seemed close to the surface of the resin.
When I bought this rod it came with a cork handle with sliding reel bands which never performed to my satisfaction (most don't). A late replacement to Hardy Screwlocks was an improvement, but not quite right. With a complete strip-down to change the rings, it made sense to put a screw-lock real seat on the rod - I put on the thinnest that would accommodate a Cardinal 66x, 16mm, All done, I thought to myself...
...but the handle was too thin. Notwithstanding the slight play in the now terminally thin cork on a hexagonal cross-section, the handle was now too thin for comfort. So I'm, with some annoyance, changing it back to an 18mm reel seat. Probably. This is a painful way to discover one's optimal real-seat and handle thickness, but at least I know now.
All said, if you're thinking about a Hexagraph Avon, I'd suggest considering an unpainted blank, using titanium rings and fitting a winch reel-seat. You'll get the most out of it that way.
4th September 2016. JAA's Top Tips. Following on from the previous entry - if you want eye strain and like making a job harder than it needs to be (perhaps you've been naughty and need punishing), whip rings onto a black fishing rod using black thread.
I'm looking at the long shank of corks rubbed down to 16mm o/d and wondering if the whole handle really needs replacing. This is a large job and I ponder overlaying the corks with plain purple shrink-tube. Then I recalled Sam's first rule (from that extraordinary film 'Ronin'); "If there is any doubt, then there is no doubt". Well perhaps not purple then.
I opted for green composite cork-rings, in two sorts, opened them up with a cone cutter to the 'across the flats' o/d of their relative positions on the blank and then used a mandrel, made with from an old piece of cane, to cut each ring's hole hexagonal-ish, then stacked them on the blank.
I numbered the cork rings, took them off again, carefully cut four 1.5mm pieces off opposite sides of all the rings, rendering them into a rough square, then glued them (epoxy-resin) back on in the same order, so the 'corners' of adjacent pieces were 45° from each other. I compressed the corks, 'manually', then by using a large 'penny washer' placed over the blank and against the last cork ring, then winding a thick solid cord, around the blank until it reached the washer and compressed the corks, then tied off until the glue had set. There is very little 'give' in these composite rings.
When the glue was off, using a very sharp wet knife, I cut the opposing corners off, leaving a rough round section then set to it with a piece of half-drainpipeIt is surpisingly how good this method is. and some P60 for the bulk of the sanding, moving to P100, then P120. I strapped the nozzle of the 'Henry' to the work-bench so that the resulting dust went striaght into the vacuum-cleaner as I worked.
When I was only a fraction off the required o/d (the same as the reel-seat, some 25.5mm ), I bored a champagne cork through the middle with a pillar drill, 3mm-6mm-8mm in that order, opened out the end with the cone-cutter, then bored it out with the mandrel as before. This was expoxy'd into place and compressed on using cord-and-washer as before. Then it was cut down to the same o/d as the existing corks, still a smidgen proud of the reel seat o/d. I stuck four P60 grit patches on the end of the reel seat and rotated the seat, sanding the end of the champagne cork flush.
I nicked of the sandpaper bits (VSSKVery Small Sharp Knife (Opinel No.7)) and fitted the reel seat using cork tape to make up four arbours and a copious supply of epoxy. The seat was a working fit on the arbours and I coated those with epoxy, gave them 15 minutes for it to soak in a bit and then filled each gap in turn with epoxy as I pushed the seat home. I aligned it using the screw-lock locating groove on the top, which needed to be central to the flat opposite to the flat the rings are mounted on. Simples, one advantage of hexagonal sections.
I made a fore-grip with 2½ corks of the same sort (lest anyone think I quaff ruinous quantities of the fizzy stuff, these are mostly Prosecco corks, and my stock is the result of many years of quietly trousering 'cast off' corks of this type).
The fore-grip was swiftly cut to diameter, P60, P100, P120...
Couple of finishing touches: I polished all the corks, especially the last corks behind the reel-seat, with some P180 grit,. A wrap of cling-film and masking tape was used to protect the reel seat. I also had to gently remove the marks on the butt-end made during the handle shaping. I had planned to remove it and fit a new one, but it was barely marked, so I polished it with P180 and left in situ. There is a slight asymmetry to the foregrip, the result of some variation in the corks' densities, but it looks very fine otherwise.
I wiped the whole thing down with a damp cloth to remove dust and let it dry off in the lean-to (when we moved into our house there was a cheap greenhouse 'lean-to' at the back, which the surveyor described as 'a strictly temporary structure'. We immediately dubbed this 'the solarium'. When we installed a rather less temporary conservatory, it was immediately dubbed 'the lean-to'). The handle looks like this:
|Green composite cork rings, two sorts, plus one champagne cork. Plus the toe end of a 'shark' sockie.||The fore-grip. Two-and-one-half champagne corks|
I had planned some kind of tricky whipping scheme, but discovering Pac-Bay now have a full range of NCP theads, I have bought some nice colours. To be continued...
Black is cool on Hotblack Desiato's stunt ship (right up until the point it plunges into the sun), but on a fishing rod it is terribly dull, so I have added further colour with some Pacbay NCP thread in 'evergreen' and 'some purple'. I changed the butt-ring (stop it) to a fine grey 30mm lined Fuji MNSG. This replaced the 20mm previous incarnation, so all the existing rings shuffled up one space on the rod.
First though were those four places on the top section where the end of a carbon section showed after the paint came off. They will probably never move, but I have seen them now so; these need whipping over with epoxy. I have three spools of carp Dacron that I have kept for 'something' after a number of mysterious knot failures. I coloured a couple of yards of the 6lb black with an indelible pen, let it dry for a day or two (having first done an experiment to see if a couple of meters is enough). I cleaned up the offending areas, slightly buffed them with '000' emery and applied a thin cost of epoxy with a brush. When it was tacky (some two hour later) I put blackened 6lb dacron whippings over the tack resin, pulled the ends through and trimmed them up. I made up some more epoxy, warmed it with a heat gun until it was quite runny. I gently warmed the whipping to something less than 100°C (it all helps, painted each whipping in turn, put heat-shrink tubing over the top and shrunk it down to force the resin into the thread. Did the other three the same. Waited 24 hours and cut off the tubing and trimmed a few bits of resin off. There...
...were a couple of spots on the three smallest whippings with 'small fluffy bits', where the heat-shrink removal pulled a few fibres away. Possibly the heat-shrink tape I had previously used would be better...I do not like the end result, especially those done with clear heat-shrink tubing, which did not work as well as the thinner black heat-shrink on the lower whippings. I decided to remove them, cleaned up the rod and replaced them with black 6lb dyneema whipped over tacky epoxy resin. When this had gone off, I varnished them like any other whipping. Should have done that in the first place. Still, always good to learn something new...
|Tip Ring||Third Ring, plus 'obsessive whippings'||Fifth Ring, plus 'obsessive whipping'||Sixth Ring||'Ferrule' Whippings|
Next the rings were evergreen-wrapped and I added a small fly rod ring, recycled from the 'GudgeonatorCute, but a failed experiment' as a 'keeper'. This was mounted only just forward of the champers fore-grip. I do not fit winding-checks (I have no idea what the point of them is). The idea is that the 'keeper' is close enough to the fore-grip that there is very little chance of a flailing coil of line snagging on it. This avoids the whole 'Swooosh-crack... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . splot' related incident.
|Counter Whippings||Seventh Ring||Butt Ring||Keeper Ring||Reel-Seat Hood whipping.|
Over a week or so, I varnished the whippings to three coats, giving both sections of the rod sunlight-time in the lean-to during the day, to set the varnish a little quicker. There. Finished, as it has the right reel-seat, a perfect handle, a keeper that works and a decent mix of lined and light rings.
There, all done, nothing more needs doing to this rod. Probably...
|...and...wait for it...swivel ;-)...(and back to the top of the page)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)||...and...wait for it...swivel :-)|
The New Hexagraph Carp Rod (or 'Big Hex').
This tamer of Leviathans from Bruce & Walker weighs in at 12' with 2lb t/c, and is referred to here as the 'Big Hex'. The blank arrived on the 1st September 2010, and I built it using the supplied salmon-rod handle corks, with lined Fuji rings whipped in grey thread. 'Capax Infiniti' CI I.e. 'Holding the Infinite'. This amuses me. I wrote with hopeful Indian ink on the improbably thick butt-section.
Bruce & Walker also supplied a suggested ring spacing;
Measurements from top of tip section: 5" - 6½" - 7½" - 8½" - 9½" - 10½" - 12"
Measurements from the spigot end (excluding spigot): 2" - 18½" + keeper
Still didn't completely like it, despite landing a 26lb common in a 6' wide swim on this strong and flexible rod.
I replaced the Fuji's with 'Pacbay Minimas' in late 2012 and a wonderful agate tip-ring (thanks RedFin) and an agate butt ring. Still not 100% happy, so in 2014, I stripped the fore-grip corks off, cut the reel-seat off, replaced with a new reel-seat 2mm smaller in diameter, put on a cork 3" fore-grip and sanded the remaining corks down to the level of the new real seat. I hid the scratched paint with a natty black whipping in 11lb Milward Black Spider. Easier to hold, reel seat also the right way around now (screw facing upwards). I like it more now, but if I was buying it again would go for 11 foot, same t/c sans paint. In late 2016, I stripped most of the paint off and will probably re-position the reel-seat again. It's that or take a foot off the butt. I like it, but it's just not quite right at 12' for rod one holds.
Other Diary and Fettling Entries relevant to the 'Big Hex'.
February 2014. The trouble...is the rod, the Big Hex thick corked and clunky, as it always was, now offends mine eyes. So. The plan. Reduce the reel seat to a 20mm i/d. reduce fore-grip to about a third of its length. Put the new reel seat the right way up (screw facing towards the tip), which bring the reel seat 2" nearer the fat end. Sand down the over large corks...it's almost too easy.
Cut off the fore-grip corks. It took some paint with it; I'd araldited the reel seat. No idea why. I pondered and then simply took the VSSKVery Sharp Small Knife, pushed the point through the plastic seat in the bottom on the guide groove and slit it open like a rabbit one day too long hung in the garage. Snipped off the reel hood with wire-cutters and peeled that off like a corned-beef tin-lid. OK then. Problem 'B' was that the thinner reel seat wouldn't reach the existing cork due to the rod's taper. Another happy hour with Ms. Sackoff had me reaming (steady now) out the plastic by nearly 0.5mm, and it eventually needed an inch of cork added. On the upside, the reel seat needed a touch of hot melt at the thick end and some squidged into the holes at the other and it'll never move. Top tip by the way. For corks - bore out with sandpaper wrapped tightly on an old cane section - the taper will pretty much do what you require. Only bore out to the flat-flat distance, then push over the rod, mark the 'corner' of the hex section with a pencil on both end and file a triangular groove for each corner. Makes a very snug fit, less work. Ditto the two fore-grip sections. Took me less than an hour.
Now the outside. Notice the customised sanding tool, 'handles for the round sanding of', (thanks GOSThe Gloucester Old Spot for that tip). I took the whole thing outside with some brand new sandpaper and resting on the recycling bin, had the new section down to within a gnat's in less than an hour and smoothed off a little more, very carefully with a finer grade. OK, some cork dust in the mush, but still. Then sanded the 'old' handle section by about 1mm, making it flush with the reel seat o/d and thinned the butt end a little more. Slimmer is cuter.
|New fore-grip||New fore-grip and paint damage||New fore-grip with extra piece on lower handle||Fore-grip sanded down||Lower handle sanded down||Slivers of cork packing the fore-grip.|
A moment of foolishness accidentally reamed out the front end of the fore grip a tad, which left a gap on assembly, so I cut six slivers off a champers cork, glued them, wedged them, tied them down and cut them off the following day. I re-whipped the two rod rings that had to come off to get the cork on...and put a racy and exciting black whipping in front of the fore grip, mainly to hide the chipped paint. I used 11lb Black Spider, as I could, and it links this rod with my first carp rod. I put my snake-eye keeper back as well. And added a new date. Done. Here carpy-carpy...
I'm hoping the rod will sit better in the hand now. It's never been quite right for me, despite its otherwise sterling work and I may yet (you may take a sharp intake of breath here) cut 6"-12" off the thick end. It'll make the sections different lengths but still...it's mine and I can pole-vault with it if I want.
20th July 2016. The 'Big Hex'. I was doing some tidying up on the site (2011 is especially barren of pictures) and noticed that this rodThat's the 12' 2lb t/c Hexagraph carp rod got a lot of use in 2011. I went off it for a while, gave it a re-build in 2014I tried, not sure that it worked to try and improve the feel, but even so it's inevitably tip-heavy in the hand, so actually decided to take 3" off each end BHI apologise for this terrible thought, which even now is probably making the good folks at Bruce and Walker anxious, without them quite knowing why. and so stripped the rings off. I gave the rod a waggle GCCThe Geneva Comedy Convention oddly doesn't have much to say about fishing rods. However, giving anything a 'waggle' probably means one is obliged to smirk a bit and wiggle one's eyebrows up and down at the very least., 'fore and after and noticed how much better it was without rings. The last rebuild swapped all the SIC rings for 'Pacbay Minimas' and wondrous butt and tip-rings, agates both. Heavy though. Hm.
I like the rod in action - it's immensely powerful, especially for bigger carp close in, much more of a middle action than the ESP floater. Hm. I've ordered titanium 'Minima's' all through and a titanium lined tip ring, plus a 30mm butt ring GCCIf you want to know what the Geneva Comedy Convention has to say about 'butt rings' you can order your own copy. Just send a cheque for £3000 made out to "Just AnotherAngler" and I'll post you a copy. I'll even sign it. to match. This took about a quarter-of-an-ounce off the top section, along with all the extraneous varnish and thread.
15th June 2019. Still muttering about the Big Hex, although I note it's been used nigh on 50 times...I had a notion that perhaps the plate reel-seat has come of age, so had a look. By pure fluke I found a second-hand shrFor the 'youngs' that's a bit like 'pre-owned' 'Vintage' Fuji FS-7SGS Plate Style Reel Fitting in stainless steel. It has a nice grey finish, which I immediately liked. So; I stripped corks, slit and removed the plastic Fuji reel seat, which, it may surprise you to know, is terribly easy. I scraped off the glue and paint then offered up the seat. I opted for the sliding 'foot' to be toward the butt. This was on the basis that if it does move, the reel foot is hard against the fixed part of the seat and also, when gripping the rod, the tendency is to close the clip, rather than the chance of pushing it open. Here's the seat pre-fitting:
|The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat||The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat|
|The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat||The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat||The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat|
I marked the places on the rod where the binding whippings will go and carefully whipped the gaps with a green NCP thread. Amazingly, I only just found out what NCP means and what the implication is. An NCP thread remains opaque when varnished, so its colour will stand out on a black carbon rod. Huh. I'd assumed for some reason 'NCP' was some Gudebrod proprietary term. Not so, it stands for 'No Colour Preservative' (required). dipYes I feel a complete idiot.
I mixed some epoxy and cable-tied the reel seat to the rod in the middle position and at the butt end. At the fore grip-end I whipped over the metal with some 18lb fly-line backing, coloured it with green marker pen and varnished over it. That'll hold it. When it had spent the day in the lean-to, letting the UV set the varnish, I added the other whippings in the same way. I'm not a 'zillion coats of varnish' person for the most part, but I will make an exception for these. They'll get several more.
|The plate reel seat on the rod.||The plate reel seat on the rod.|
|The plate reel seat on the rod.||The fore grip, still needs a final smoothing. That whipping is awful. That's allegedly 'grey' and 'dark green'. It's coming off. Corks look good.|
I pondered stealing cork rings off the Hardy Glass rod blank to make a new fore-grip...then I thought, nah, stuff it, I'm already ordering some green and grey NCP thread for whippings, so I'll have a few cork discs, in green and green layers. For fun one understands. While I was at it, I de-flashed the butt ring. I also stripped the rings off the top section, removed the paint on the ring-side flat and put a tiny blob of white paint where the rings had been placed. I stripped the remaining paint off and then wasted two hours with a magnifier and a very well honed scalpel blade, removing flecks of gold paint...which was strangely satisfying.
I've not used cork-discs before. I opened them up to the distance across the 'flats' with a cone cutter and then marked where the 'corners' were with a fine back permanent pen and used a mandrel made from an old cane boat-rod to ream the round hole into a hexagonal one. I epoxy'd them onto the rod and left them for two days then took the 'half-drainpipe' to them, although I first covered the reel-seat and bare rod with cling-film and layer of duct-tape. They need a little more work, but I'll wait until the rest is done.
By-the-by if you're celebrating 'the 16th', best fishes to you.
...once the handle was finished, I took the last of the paint off and replaced the rings, after having first 'de-flashed' the butt ring, then added a small snake eye 'keeper', as is my wont. Using a white paint marker I put 'capax infiniti' on the rod with a tiny date. I varnished, thinly, the bare carbon. There.
It's not finished though...
I replaced the awful winding check whippings with some less garish colours, using (up) the same NCP green that I put under the reel seat, then a two-tone whipping with some dark green nylon and finally another two-tone of the 'new' NCP green with dark green nylon. I like the look of the last, so decided I'd two-tone the ring whippings as it added some colour but wasn't too 'in one's face'.
I did about half of the stupidly complex two-tone whippings and after changing colours (once) and redoing a couple (the three thread-cuts required resulted in nicked threads), I had a fit of pique and conspired to finish the remaining ring-feet off in medium green nylon and keep the 'two-tone' on the rings that got it first. I'm starting to lose the enthusiasm for whipping...it really doesn't matter does it?
Then I kinda got the gig, an annoying fiddle improving with practise...so I finished what I started. I took the three remaining 'test' whippings off and left the rod in the lean-to, to harden the varnish on the others. I added the last whippings, put a small snake-eye ring near the butt as a 'keeper', put a whipping on each 'ferrule', ('mostly decorative'). Using a white paint marker, I carefully wrote 'Capax Infiniti'CI"Holding the Infinite" on the rod and the date. I varnished, thinly, the bare carbon. The white paint ran. I wiped it off, let it dry, tested clear nail varnish as a sealant and did it again....then varnished the whole rod and baked it in the lean-to for three days, cooled and hardened in the study at night. Then a last coat and three more days of this cycle.
|The motto, the whippings, the fore-grip.|
I'll fish with it, nowhere too easy and probably add another coat to the whippings. Hopefully that'll be the last rebuild...
|Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of...(and back to the top of the page)||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.||Hook, eyed, fishing for the use of.|
The Hexagraph Carp Rods. Having been impressed with the Hexagraph Avon, I thought a carp rod would be amazing, so I bought one of the 'old style' rods, advertised as a "Bruce and Walker Hexagraph" fishing rod 2lb t/c, 12 foot. Sadly for me, after leaving feedback, it turned out to have been an 11'6" 1½lb t/c (the tapers and length confirmed identical to B&W specs for this rod by B&W themselves). The seller more-or-less stuck out his tongue and went 'neener neener'. That'll teach me, I check everything now, plus I don't buy from conmen. Sure, 'technically' he didn't owe me anything. Technically, he could have advertised it honestly. Technically that means he's not a thief. Technically this isn't libel.
Nice rod, but a bit feeble in the middle. to a fat . I do have a bunch of pictures in taken in August 2011 though.
|The butt||Heh. I wrote 'butt'||Still the butt||The reel-seat||The fore-grip||The butt ring (stop it).||The next ring||The next ring||The spigot|
|The spigot||The counter||The counter||The next ring||The next ring||The next ring||The next ring||The next ring||The next ring||The tip ring|
I even bought (well, 'rented') a couple more, but and . I didn't really take to them at all.
Other Diary and Fettling Entries relevant to the Hexagraph Carp Rod.
27th September 2010. The best carp rod in the world...probably...and now I have a 1½lb t/c 11½ft Hexagraph Carp, which is the perfect rod for most of my fishing, plays like cane, lighter than cane, stronger than cane. What's not to like? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, it won't help me catch bigger fish or more fish etc., but I will enjoy using it...probably.
P.S. 2016. I passed this rod on a long time ago as it lacked back-bone. I've got a Hexagraph 1.½lb t/c Avon which is a better rod, with real power in the bottom half for when it's needed. In fact the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment and the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment are both better rods IMHO.
29th November 2010. More Hexagraph Carp Rods. Notwithstanding a severe case of 'caveat emptor' I snaffled a couple of Bruce & Walker Hexagraph rods at 11'6" & 1¾lb t/c. Naturally I measured them and checked the t/c before leaving feedback. Even these seemed feeble in the middle section, one such took 25 minutes to land a fine 22lb carp on a cold March day in 2011, in open water on 10lb line. In the end, despite my initial enthusiasm, I parted with both of them.
|Safety Pin Hook (and return to the top of the page)||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook||Safety Pin Hook|
I bought a Hexagraph 14' 10-12 aftm Salmon rod, with the intention of making a 'Lightish Carp Rod', based on the top two sections of the salmon rod with a (new) handle. I had a 24" handle made on a section of tubular carbon fly-rod blank, which was then ground to exactly fit the Hexagraph middle section counter. The finished rod is 11'6" long, and has a test curve of 2½lb. I un-poetically named it the 'GHSRE'.
The construction of the rod, such as it was, is detailed below.
As of 2013, this was my second favourite rod, able to land high doubles on 6lb line without trouble, due to its very soft action. It has also landed a 23lb fish on 12lb line. Despite my aversions to both cane-coloured paint and intermediate whippings (this rod has both) I have grown to like its appearance.
In the autumn of 2020, I cut the original butt-section down then re-fitted the original screw-reel seat and butt-cap, making a 'new' handle that retained and showed-off the gold-and-burgundy colours. Pretty. Second time out it handled a 19lb common with considerable aplomb.
Other Diary and Fettling Entries relevant to the GHSRE.
21st February 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 1. Once, on a whim, last year, I bought a 14ft 10-12aftm Hexagraph Salmon rod, which was going quite cheap and got cheaper as it had a ferrule split (alluded to elsewhere) and even after a proper B&W repair, it was a good deal.
|Cracked up#1||Cracked up#2|
I don't know if you've ever waggled such a thing, despite a slender appearance, it's got real steel. I put the two top sections together and gave them a bend and waggle and thought, hm, that might make a stonking carp rod. Power, flexibility, good looks. A bit like me. I didn't have the heart to cut a chunk off the handle section, probably some sort of crime anyway, so am having a handle knocked up to give it a try. I shall change the snake rings as well.
Pictures and so on will be posted as I go - if it's a disaster and doesn't work then I'll re-en-snake and keep it against one of my longer term ambitions, to whit, Salmon from a Proper River in Scotland. Here is the butt design and the reel bands.
25th March 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2. So now the handle's back, I know I didn't make it myself, but I have no facilities for doing that and it would be a shame to desecrate such a fine rod with a bodge job.
The reel bands are some new 'old stock' I paid rather lot (for reel bands) but they look wonderful and with the long parallel section, lock solid with little in the way of pushing over the reel seat.
|Handle and '66x #1||Handle and '66x #2|
|Handle and '66x #3||Handle and '66x #4|
No you can't have my Cardinal 66X ;-) New rings and garnet thread are in the post...so more to follow.
30th March 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 3. Part 2The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 2., Part 1The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 1..
I opted in the end for some PACBAY MINIMA 4 rings. These are light, will do the job and look 'traditional-ish'. Chromed rings look better on cane colour I think and I've seldom been convinced of the need for SICs on every ring (except when spinning with super braid perhaps). By the by, the t/c for this rod is in the 2¼lb range (if not a shade higher), if tested in the proper way, with the butt held at 90 degrees to the line through the rings. Whippy for it though. (As opposed to pulling the tip down towards the butt with line starting parallel to the rod butt...)
I whipped on a few rings, some pictures are below - the problem is that the inters are so well embedded in the vanish you can't get them off without damaging the paint and even the original snake eyes put up a fight. So to save more damage to the surface colour, I've just whipped over some lumps and bumps and sealed with cellulose dope.
|Pacbay Large||Pacbay single and double legged||Double leg whipped on||Single leg whipped on||The tip ring|
The top section will have single legs through to the tip, to keep the weight off the bendiest bit. I've used the original ring positions for the new eyes and am debating whether to add a 40mm butt ring to the bottom section. That's in the post, I'll tape it up and see how it works. At the moment the second original ring position up has a 30mm ring on and it looks a bit fine and far off right now.
The garnet whipping on the rod looked fine once doped with a rather thick cellulose, but after letting them dry and covering with yacht varnish, they went a bit odd...so I changed one and then poured half the cellulose onto some firewood and topped the tin up with thinners and tried four coats of that. Before and after below, I'll cover with yacht and update later.
For no good reason, I got the GHSRE down and looked it over. The 'no good reason' was a passing image born of a rainy Sunday, of fishing with 8lb line on the Harlow and a large end-nicked worm. It's hard to dispel such images once they root, harder still if ascetically pleasing, as this rod and reel are.
The GHSRE's spent most of its life with single leg Pacbay Minima rings on the top section and a similar butt-ring, 'mostly' whipped in bottle green. This latter I've come to consider as a dual error; the unlined ring, the size of it and the green didn't quite work. I wanted to restore the full garnet, add a SIC butt-ring and change the single leggers to double footers. It's not like the rod will be noticeably stiffer or anything and using titanium won't hurt.
There seemed little point in trying to do a like-for-like rebuild as (a) there wasn't any and (b) TTFX rings are a little high off the rod, considering it's going to get into some scrapes and twists.
I pondered, rifled the stock and found a 30mm Fuji with SIC lining. Aha. I ordered a bunch of TT4XG's in declining sizes to 10mm, some garnet grade 'D' thread and a small black snake eye as a more usable 'keeper' than 'keepers' usually are. I added a 12mm titanium tip ring (1g lighter) for good luck, as if rebuilding for the winter run I might as well do the whole job. A further petty annoyance is that the butt section, 'the handle' slips down to the bottom of the middle pocket in the rod bag, which to be fair, was designed for the original three-piece rod. I shall sew a cross-seam to keep it near the top...
At least if it rains next week-end I'll have something to be getting on with.
So, the rings turned up, I processed some angst about the rings' spacing. I half wanted to remove a ring from the top section, the spacing is very 'linear' but so is the taper. In the end I whipped the new rings in the original places...it was less work and probably B&W knew what they were doing. I managed to use up two reel-ends of Garnet 'D' on the top section rings and in trying to scuff up the new tip ringWhy in the blue blistering blazes is so much fishing tackle so fecking shiny? That's literally the opposite of what it needs to be..., discovered it had a thin layer of varnish. I removed this with a 6" steel ruler (a very useful scraper) and scuffed the shiny metal with 00 grade emery...
I keep pondering the handle. It's nice, but light and I figuratively glance askance at the original butt section and consider taking a piece off it...I park this thought for the GHSCREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Carp Rod Experiment; it's a kind of pipe dream. But without the pipe..
|The new, larger, lined butt-ring.||A random intermediate ring||A random intermediate ring||A random intermediate ring||The tip ring. My camera is failing, the autofocus is not quite on the money...|
The whippings got four coats of best 'yacht', spaced 24 hours apart, overnight in the study, over-day in the lean-to, as did the bottom 1" of the handle, that has wear-and-tear from being grounded. A week later I buffed the whippings with toothpaste to 'matt' them and coloured in the tip-ring barrel with grey indelible pen. Far too shiny for the wavy end. Dated and notated of course.
It is the case, that having planted an idea that the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. required a ring removing, it festered like a small deep thorn, until the only way to excise it was to act. I resolved to remove one ring from the tip section, reducing the overall number to 5 plus the tip-ring. This seemed easy enough...
...but no. I set up a spread-sheet guide calculator but couldn’t make it work out – I wanted to keep the tip-section’s bottom guide in place - this was 11” from the first guide on the middle section - then adjust the remainder. There was no linear or geometric spacing that did this job...
...eventually, after half an hour (normally this takes around 10 minutes, half of which is setting up the spreadsheet) I called it off. In fact, the original spacing was also decidedly ‘un-tapered’ with three of the ring spacing’s on the tip section being 7¾". I took a leaf from this book and set the new ring spacing to;
11" -- 11" -- 10" -- 9" -- 8".
Worst-case this will just lighten the tip a little, but hopefully will also soften its action a smidgen.
Now, the real reason I’m fettling this rod (again). I decided, during rest-stops while making and moving of 12cwt of concrete rubble, to make up fixed reel seat handle from the original bottom section with minimal cork-grips. This was for no other reason than the handle with its gold-and-garnet livery, would look very fine.
I removed the original butt-cap and reel-seat for re-use, first checking that the relatively wide seat ‘worked’ with the most used reels. Putting it together was supposed to be an easy enough job...but boring champagne corks and fitting them, while made a great deal easier with the EAT'Electric Auger Technology' and a couple of hexagonal taper reamers, is still a dusty fiddly job...but the end result is rather pleasing on the eye. I resolved to go some easy stock-pond to try it out. When all the varnish has dried.
|The 'new' handle made from the original butt-section. The champers corks are not over-finished as it amuses me to be able to see where they came from...|
Anyhow, all finished now. Probably.
|All tench are good tench...(and back to the top of the page)||There are no bad tench||All tench are good tench||There are no bad tench||Tinca tinca little star...|
The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment (LHSRE).
The first Hexagraph Salmon Rod experiment worked, the GHRSEThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. has become a favourite rod of mine, being soft enough to get away with 6lb line and tough enough for 12lb and has now landed double-figures doubles, several 18lb fish and one 'twenty'. It gets a few smug smiles, it looks a 'bit bamboo', but I take the view that anyone who can do no better than sneer is better moving on anyway. I wanted a lighter rod in the same vein, so had been planning a 9-11 aftm 'conversion' for some time.
In the event I used the top two sections of a 9-11 aftm 14' rod, then made a handle from 24" of the bottom section, which involved a hack-saw and a sharp intake of breath. The finished rod is 11'6" long with a test curve of 2lb. It was primarily aimed at perching or 'fishing for bites' where there are too many carp. Which is nearly everywhere. It is an interesting rod to fish with. It feels a little heavy compared with a hollow section, but not overly so and is quite comfortable in the hand. It is not the best rod for casting light tackle a very long way - and by the same token it is not a rod for long-range fishing.
However, it does not seem quite possible to break 6lb line, even with lively carp of up to 19lb (to date). It gives enough to soften the playing of moderately sized (1-3lb) fish and it absorbs high pressures progressively. By the same token, the amount the rod bends shortens one's lever considerably and great pressure can be applied to a fish in extremis, but gently so, so the line gets good protection from sudden lunges. I generally use it with 6lb line and the Harlow 'pin, but I am happy using it with 8lb or 10lb main-line, and I suspect it could handle most things with the 10lb. A good, odd rod. An instructive success.
With some fishing under its belt, I suspect the top-section rings could stand thinning out a smidgen, perhaps remove one and re-space the remainder. It could stand to be slightly softer-actioned in the tip and a little less weight would not hurt.
Other Diary and Fettling Entries relevant to the LHSRE.
For some time I'd been after a Hexagraph to convert into a 'Light' carp rod and my first choice a 14' 9-11aftm Salmon rod, one of the green ones, came my way at today's Romsey Tackle Fair, for £80. Yippee. Next...
4th October 2014. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. Having acquired the 'right' rod, it was time to get going on the 'conversion'. The 'snake' rings were removed from the top two sections along with all and any other whippings. With a lit match and a piece of kitchen-roll, I removed the tip-ring. I examined the 'female' ferrule area with a loupe. Even on this otherwise sound rod, there were tiny cracks in the paint showing that there might be the tiniest of movements in the joints. I carefully scraped the green paint off these areas, leaving bare carbon-fibre then put three turns of carbon cloth around them, possibly tat was one wrap too many on the bottom joint. Still, it won't need to be bendy there.
With hindsight I should have wrapped those with an inch-wide strip at the open end and a resin reinforced whipping further up, but one lives and learns. While this was setting I pondered the handle. Hm. As was, it's a 14' rod, so two sections plus a 24" handle is 11'4". I debated making one, using an old JW Avon handle and various old bits of carbon tube...the rod's bottom section was measured and marked up, and carefully, after a deep breath and a silent apology to the gods of fishing, a 27" length was cut off to make the handle. That really is the end for my 'good conduct medal'.
I glued 1½" of cork-shive on the bottom end, then carefully rubbed it down to a working fit for the composite 'fighting butt', which was then cascemite'd on. Discovered my cascemite had 'gone off', opened a new tub, cleaned off all the old glue and glued it on again. When this had set, 16½" 'off-the-shelf' cork handle segments were slid down into pace, cascemite'd on and left to set. I then fitted an 18mm reel-seat.
Top tip for reel seat mounting. Mark the orientation of the seat using a black 'sharpie' - screw fitting pointing 'up the rod' of course. Make up two ¼" wide spacers with strips of gaffer tape, about 1" from either end of the reel seat. When the seat is a working fit, slide it over and using hot-melt glue, nearly fill in the end nearest the corks. Orientate and slide home (briskly). Now, (first checking it's aligned correctly) 'hot-melt' into the other open end of the real seat until its full and set. Trim flush with a knife. Then (and this is the sneaky bit) drill a 3mm hole in the reel seat in the 'flat spot' where the logo usually is. Do this by hand, using a pin-vice and about a 1mm drill, then open it up to 3mm. De-burr the hole. Turn the seat over and bore a 0.8mm hole in the seat's grove for the sliding part of the reel-hood, as near to a tape-spacer as you can). Then put the hot-melt gun nozzle over the big hole and stick a good measure of glue in the hole. It'll get hot mind. Now that won't come off. Trim off any excess glue.
|The 3mm hole for injecting the hot-melt...||...the 0.8mm whole for letting the air out the other side||The bottom end of the handle with its 'fighting butt'||The top of the reel-seat and the fore-grip, such as it is|
Next glue the cork fore-grip on. The trick is to cascamite the fore-grip and this area of the rod then add a little hot-melt to the to completely fill the top of the reel-seat then slide the cork fore-grip (2½") into place and hold it until the hot-melt is set, at which point it will hold the cork in place until the cascemite is off...at which point the handle was put aside to be tidied up later. Probably.
The six rings' spacing on the tip section was left 'as was', Pacbay Minima' rings were whipped on. The smallest ring was a size '8' and the top four rings were single-legged to keep the weight down at that end. Once this was done, it was possible to properly align a titanium body SIC lined the tip ring. This latter is far to shiny and it may yet get scrubbed with toothpaste and coloured with an indelible pen, to remove the 'flash'.
|The top of the handle with its decorative whippings.||The bottom section 'ferrule'||The 'snake' keeper ring, which is far more usable than the traditional 'can't get the hook in the silly little wire loop' type|
|The stupidly shiny Hardlon butt-ring||One of the 'minima' double legged rings||The top section 'ferrule'. Just in view is a green 'spectra' whipping over a funny flaked bit of paint. Probably just where it got knocked on a tree. Probably.|
The original rod's middle section, now the LHSRE's butt-section had three rings whipped on and while the top one was in an original position, the lower two, including a Hardlon lined butt-ring, were placed where they needed to be. Both the ferrules' reinforcing was whipped over. Finally I added a very small 'snake' ring about 4" up from the bottom of the butt-section, to use as a 'keeper' ring. All the whippings were done with a red thread, which once varnished took on a mauve hue due to the green paint underneath. There. All done.
...a rookie mistake. The butt-ring was 20mm, as I'd initially planned to use the rod with centre-pin reels. I upped it to 25mm (from ‘stock’) and increased the next four rings’ sizes to suit. Then I recalled I have some fine purple NCP thread (Pacbay now have a good range) so I used this thread; now I have to do all the other whippings...
|The keeper||The butt-ring||The last ring on the bottom section.|
|medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...(and return to the top of the page)||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and wait for it...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...do keep up...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...and one more time...||medium one, small one, tiny one, silly one...got it?|
It had been in my mind for some time, that is, to make a 10' two-piece 'stalking rod' from the top two sections of a 15' 10-12 aftm Hexagraph salmon rod. One such hove across the bows for a silly price, so broad-sided it, and it arrived in a tube a few day later.
In theory this was a simple job; put a handle on the bottom part of the middle section and move a few rings about. If only...the finished rod is 10' long and has a test curve of some 3lb. One must use this rod with very strong hooks...I made a landing net handle out of the butt section.
The build entries are rather spread out...the construction of the rod, which turned into a rather longer job than it was anticipated to be, is detailed below. The most important lesson of this build was "When buying a fishing rod, examine every inch of it with great care before accepting it."
Other Diary and Fettling Entries relevant to the HSSRE.
1st June 2017. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE). Part the Second. I was anxious about splits and there was evidence of a tiny one in the female ferrule area on the top section. Good enough, the rod was in great condition otherwise, a few paint chips but sound and solid. I stripped off the snake eyes. I cleaned off the whippings and paint to facilitate three wraps of carbon cloth to the said female ferrule area. Might seem excessive, but this rod will get some serious humpty. I added a narrower strip of carbon wrap to the spigot surround for good luck, and then because I'm a man who needs peace of mind I put a few braid whippings over tacky epoxy in the 8" area just below the spigot. To put this into perspective, stretchy Class 'D' thread barely has a b/s of 3lb and 6lb spectra is thinner with no stretch. So if you are serious about a reinforcing whipping...just sayin'.
(In the interests of full disclosure, I tried to use the same two-part epoxy used for the carbon wraps and it refused to go off, remaining soft. As it was weighed out for mixing, I suspect it was past its 'sell-by'. So, the first set of whippings had to come off.)
I cheerfully cut the carbon spigot off the butt section, rubbed it down and epoxy'ed it into the socket in the middle section. Then I placed corks, 23mm, 11½" and a 'fighting butt' to the bottom of the handle; you'll need that at close range when it's often necessary to keep one hand free. Having glued on those corks, I tried to fit some carbon loaded foam arbours to the blank, which were advertised as being joy for fitting reel seats. Feeling like a Luddite for using duct-tape and hot-melt, I gave it a try...and it was a complete mess. I left it and went onto the top section...
I'd got hold of a set of Pacbay 'Minimas' in black. I whipped these onto the top section and in doing so noticed a small nick in one flat between the third and fourth ring, it's through the paint and nicked the carbon. I'll need to do something with that, although whether a resin whipping or a wrap of carbon cloth is best is not immediately clear. A splint of 1mm carbon fibre rod epoxy'd and whipped across it would more than replace the missing carbon. Hm...
I decided to keep the tip ring for the moment. However, when I put on the three × 10mm 'Minimas' it was clear that the tip ring was 15° out of alignment, so I had to remove it. This stubbornly defied heating and twisting off. Twice. I gave up before I weakened the rod and was obliged to cut a spiral groove in the tip-ring's tube and lever it open with flat blade screwdriver. Even so I had to tear off most of the tube before it finally came free. Huh.
I gave up in annoyance, put the sections on the rack, and went back to my dissertation...
31st July 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Third. The 'Mk.III'; Part XI. Bodges. I thought to do two things last night: (1) I'd glue a strip of cork sheet in the gap I optimistically left in the Mk.III handle, for wire decoration, and (2) use the left-over epoxy to put a couple of reinforced whipping on the HSSRE top section, using 6lb green dyneema. Simples.
Dawn light (OK, 7 am then) showed me the cork sheet was too friable a material for this job and also that the epoxy on the dyneema was still tacky so I concluded this dyneema has something about it that messes with the epoxy, as that's the second two-part resin that won't go off on the stuff. Grouchy way to start the day. I've left the terrible cork filler, as I know from experience, that leaving a mistake a decent interval, gives one a clearer head when dealing with it. This evening I stripped the tacky whippings off and scraped back the epoxy and will do it again, with 'something else'. But not today. The HSSRE is proving to be a bit of a bu88er.
2nd August 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Forth. Bl**dy nuisance, the shower packed in today. Clonk and then 'not quite right'. I 'flexed' off after a moment's thought, and set-to descaling the boiler unit, and you can infer what you like from my detestation of all things DIY and my willingness to dismantle a shower unit. Apart from the discovery that the plumbers that fitted it did a rank job with two of the wall screws not fully home and a blanking plug missing...and the strong suggestion they not so much 'fitted a new shower' as 'fitted the boiler from the new unit in the old unit', this left me with 30 minutes gaps in my day while things descaled and dried. What to do? The fence panels were 'out' as they're too wet to lift, so I took the half-drainpipe to the HSSREHexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment and its wonky reel seat arbours. It came out OK - I cling-filmed the corks and used a piece of 180 grit about 1½" wide, so that I didn't end up with a taper at the open end of the arbours. The reel seat is a 'working fit' and I'll glue it on. When I've fitted a new damned shower unit...
|All smoothed off, the glue left between the arbour can be seen, patterned by the cling-film I used to stop it running all over the place.||The reel-seat in situ, I've added a locking band to this reel-seat. I expect to be hanging onto the rod for grim death, so I don't want to find it a bit loose at any point.|
Graphite arbours? I'll give them a miss in future. They're so friable that without a lathe it's nearly impossible to ream them out centrally and the dust they give off is quite foul. I'll stick to cork sheet next time or duct-tape and plastic melt.
9th September 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Fifth. I had, in the course of putting on some rings, noticed two nicks in the top section, one minor, one not so minor. If those had been spotted when the rod arrived it would have gone back, but there you are. I resolved to add some reinforcing whippings using braid and epoxy. However, it took several sticky aborted attempts to get the methodology right.
The final method was this; I used some old Drennan feeder braid for the whipping after first removing as much of the coating as I could using nail varnish remover and a piece of cleaning cloth. I pulled a length of the braid through the cloth soaked with a little nail-varnish remover until no green colour was left on the cloth. When the braid was dry I tested its strength...
All good. I mixed two-part epoxy (using digital scales to get it exactly right) and worked a thin coat into the surface of the rod with a cheap plastic brush. The coat needs to be very thin - you want enough resin to stick the thread and get into the fibres, but not so much that a bead of epoxy builds up under the whipping as it progresses, obscuring the whipping - if this occurs, gaps and crossed threads result.
Once cast off (use fine coated braid for this and tie it in a loop, it needs pulling through quite hard), use the brush to stipple more epoxy into the whipping and brush it smooth(ish) and leave it for 15 minutes or so. Repeat. Remove the excess with a finger (wear a glove if you wish) and ensure there's a little epoxy against the ends of the whippings. There. Let it set, obviously. I did two of these on the butt section and a group of them just above the ferrule on the top section. The painted was quite chipped there and a lot of strain is thrown onto that section. Just a 'peace of mind' fix, probably.
To splint the nicks I cut a section of tubular carbon fibre to the right length (from an old rod section) and scraped off the paint. I flattened it with a rubber hammer, breaking it into several pieces, then hit the pieces until I had 'splints' of the right width. I rubbed the concave side of said 'splints' on fine emery until they was completely flat, pointed the ends and chamfered the top, to assist with whipping over them. More epoxy used to glue the splints to the flats of the rod, then roughly whipped over them until set. Twenty-four hours later I removed the braid, carefully scraped off the excess epoxy and then rubbed the top surface down with more 000 grade stuck to a lolly stick. The whole thing was then whipped over with braid and epoxy as above. Yay.
But would it take the strain? See the bottom picture. Now I believe it won't break. Whether this is a good fishing rod remains to be seen.
|Splint 1||Splint 1||Splint 2||Splint 2|
|Probably past its 'test curve'. I took it to very nearly a half circle.|
26th October 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Sixth. The rod has performed well during a limited test program. I have nabbed about ten carp including several low doubles, most being wrestled out of confined spaces without very much trouble. Despite its slow action it is a strong rod and on its first run out, holding fairly modest fish straightened two hooks. So this is a rod to use with stout hooks; nothing under a size 8, and thick wire at that.
I had built the rod with the original ringing pattern (the original Hexagraph fly rod) using 'Pacbay Minimas' except for the butt and tip rings which were Fuji BNHG's. The tip was a little stiffer than I would like, at least in the first moments of a tussle, so to soften it a smidgen I resolved to remove one ring from the top section. As it will mostly be used with 12lb or 14lb line, lined guides might also be an improvement. Using Excel, I worked out a pattern that would remove one ring from the top section, leaving the butt-ring in situ and only moving the second ring up an inch. The stock draw still has the original BNHG's I took off the Old Carp RodMy first 'proper' rod, so I used those for the re-ringing. The second ring is now on top of one of the reinforcing whippings, but the varnish seems to have gone off OK. A couple of those whippings do not seem to have quite set; I must have stuffed up the epoxy mix, so those will be re-done.
Anyway, all done and a smidgen softer in the tip, but the backbone is unchanged and its test curve is 3lb...during the lunchtime constitutional at the treadmill, it occurred to me that what the rod really needed was a slender tip section of perhaps 6", something like a solid carbon tip to facilitate flicking light baits, but that would play no part in a serious engagement; then I thought, might as well get it up to a little over 11" and extend the butt 6" and stiffen the rod under the handle to give little better leverage and a little lock in extremis, perhaps by overlaying some flat tapered strips of carbon over the existing flats...and then I realised what I had done...
Still, I now know what my next project is...
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The observant and numerate reader can work out that I have owned, fettled or 'fixed' at least eight Hexagraph rods, although I have also sold or parted with three of them.
Of the five retained, I prefer the converted fly-rods. While I like the Avon, it seems a little stout in the butt compared with a little light in the tip and the same might be said of the Big Hex. The latter is unwieldy in the hand at 12ft, although it was probably made for fishing at greater distances than I typically do [I may yet cut 6" from the butt end]. Having said that, both those rods perform very well in extremis.
The three converted salmon fly-rods, the GHSRE, LHSRE and HSSRE, feel altogether more powerful and I wonder if the greater stresses meant to be endured by such rods, means they have been made with thicker carbon...either way, I tend to reach for the experiments first and the others second...
My experience with these rods is that they can be used with lighter lines than the test curve suggests and I regularly use the LHSRE with 6lb line, especially if I am fishing for 'anything that comes along but likely to get nuisance carp' and have even used the GHSRE with 6lb line.
Naturally all three rods have a slow action, an asset for some types of fishing but not for fishing far-off or striking quickly. The flex of the rods means that even if fishing close in and near 'some snag', the 'give' of the rod needs to be accounted for in one's calculations regarding the fish, viz-a-viz 'said snag.
However: they are pleasing rods to use, have enormous (slow) power, and the HSSRE could 'pull a donkey out of a field of carrots' as the saying goes, but it would be bent into a quarter circle to do it. I have caught a number of low doubles on this rod 'under the tip' and played them to a standstill without stretching the rod anywhere near its limits. I would not use this rod with anything less than 12lb line and on its first time out, two quite modest carp straightened Korda 'B' hooks, as the rod, once flexed, simply overpowered the hooks...I now use thick wire hooks with this rod.
If I was making another such rod, it might be better to make the handle rigid, as with such a soft action, a little firmness under the hand might not be a bad thing.