present participle: 'fettling'
(1) to trim or clean the rough edges of (a metal casting or a piece of pottery) before firing.
(2) Northern English; to make or repair (something).

I fettle tackle; this is part of the fun. Having had a long association with engineering of all types, this is part instinct, part learned, is partly due to never having had much stuff and comes with a healthy dose of spatial awareness. It is literally impossible for me to pick up or handle something without musing on how it might be 'improved'.

Below, the 'entry engine' has rounded up all the fettling into a long list, which includes (for example) some of the entries on the 'FloatsThe optimum number of floats for an orthodox angler is around 12. The average number of floats owned by an orthodox angler is generally greater than 100.' page, but making floats counts as 'fettling'. Yes it does.

Every other record of fettling is also listed here, whether performed on rods, reels, landing net handles or rod-rests, making this quite the longest page...which is at least in chronological order, so the latest entry is at the bottom of the pageI fettle, therefore, I am..

"On my deathbed I will fettle my deathbed."

I like porcupine quill floats...I like porcupine quill floats...(and back to the top of the page) I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats... I like porcupine quill floats...I really like porcupine quill floats...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1977 1977. The Ply-Wood Tackle Box.

Once fishing had commenced on a regular basis a tackle box was required. I had seen Stewart boxes, but these 'exceeded my budget', so I decided to make a facsimile of sorts using 3/16" plywood. Two 6"×12" pieces were cut to make the base and the lid. Two 12"×1" and two 6"×1" strips were cut for the four sides. An 8"×1" strip of the same plywood was glued and tacked in the centre of one of the long strips and clamped overnight. The following day the 12" and 6" strips were PVA glued and panel pinned (after rubbing the points off the pins) onto the nominal 'bottom' of the box. It was then left overnight, upside-down with a brick on it...

The following day compartments were fashioned with the same 3/16" ply. I fitted one long strip across the inside rear of the box (for all six floats* and the inevitable disgorger) then made a square compartment in the middle to fit a spool of Perlon, with a cut-out in one corner so my 6" artery forceps ('Spencer Wells') would fit across the top of the spool. The rest of the box was sub-divided into useful sized compartments, more gluing and pinning.

I planned to use strips of 1" wide webbing (airmen for the use of) to keep the box closed as I had no hinges and certainly they and any fasteners were beyond my budget. Two pieces of 'said webbing were cut to about a yard length. These were tacked onto the 'double-ply' area of the main box and the short ends PVA glued flat on the bottom. The webbing was then tacked and glued to the 'lid', so the two strips acted as hinges and the lid was then secured by taking the webbing twice around the box and then tucking it under itself, as it were. This worked far better than one might expect. Having done this and some sandpapering, it was varnished with whatever varnish was lurking in the shed. This was my tackle box for at least the next four years or so, certainly until I had a job and could afford an actual Stewart box. During its life, I cleaned paint-brushes on the lid, so it gradually took on a mosaic of various drab colours.

How do I know when I did this? As it was made in the shed in Hazlemere, it must have been at least 1977. It was before I had my first Saturday job, at a seedy greengrocer in the local parade of shops, (which had an equally seedy manager who vanished suddenly when his literal fingers became metaphorically trapped in the till) in late 1977. Otherwise I would have bought one. I took a punt and inferred this was a closed season job...as there was just no fishing at all in them days after March 15th...

* The Big Porcupine Quill, the Small Porcupine Quill, The Dumpy Slider, the 4BB Windbeater, the Biro Refill Float and a small Grey Peacock Quill. The Biro Refill Float was made by putting a foundling cane-tip into a cleaned biro-refill and a short stem was inserted in the other end, to which was added a copper-wire eye. The Grey Peacock Quill was made from a foundling, the broken top of the original quill was cut off, then a tiny s/steel eye was whipped on the bottom insert. The tip was, if I recall rightly, made from a matchstick PVA'd into the top and painted 'dayglo' orange and the body was painted a 'battleship grey'.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1977 1977. Horse's Doofers.

As a callow youth, I read about making fishing lines from horse-hairs. Because 'I knew a girl with a horse'nagThis was in Buckinghamshire. Everyone knew at least one girl with a horse., I obtained a quantity of tail hair and spent some time plaiting them, to see how it turned out. From these experiments, I reckoned a reasonable line could be fashioned, fairly pliable and thinner than one might first think. It was labour intensive(!), but using three lace-making bobbins and a pin-cushion speeds things rather. This is the sort of job that can be done while watching the telly, like knitting.

The hairs varied in thickness somewhat, so for any kind of decent line they needed to be sorted into similar thicknesses. From memory, a hair's breaking strain varied from 2-4lb b/s. To make a long line, start with three hairs of differing lengths (cut them up) and then splice in a new hair when the plait reaches nearly the end of the 'old hair'. This ensures each join is about the same distance apart. It is worth plaiting a small loop into the 'start' end of the line; once the plait reaches about an inch, form a loop and plait the loose ends in with the standing part line for about 2". Overlap 'new hair' joins at least 2". Like any long braid, it needs to be 'worked' a bit to even up the strains.

I have no idea how you care for such a line, although I suspect some kind of dressing would help its life along and perhaps make it more supple. I concluded that knots were likely to be tricky and whipping the line to a hook was a better proposition. If I was doing it again, I would consider using a four strand braid, to produce a round section line.

My plaiting skills were also then used to make several bowstrings (using the inner threads from 'paracord') and I made a number of 18" plaited nylon traces out of 8lb Platil, used for worming for pike on the Rye Dyke. These had a loop at one end, were attached to the main line using a link swivel and the business end had a size 6 long-shank low water fly-hook whipped on. These worked well and they were never bitten off, although the traces were generally only good for two or three fish each.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1984 1984. At Last a Proper Rod. I'd got a bee in my bonnet about having a proper fishing rod, despite going fishing less often. A (new) tackle shop on Desborough road in Wycombe offered me a blank which met my description, soft action, about a 2lb t/c, 11 feet long. It was mostly carbon, but I wonder now if there isn't some glass in the mix. This cost me £40, a lot in 1984, it had a duplon handle and reel seat fitted. I went into Newbury and bought 'Fuji BNHG' rings (the sort with the luminous insert, I just liked the colour) and thread. The thread was thicker than grade 'D' (they must have seen me coming) and I whipped the rings on top of a thin coat of araldite and then smeared a little more into the whipping surface. Sounds awful, but the rings were still going strong in 2004.

I took it down to show 'Old Bob' and he couldn't believe how light it was.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1987 1987. There was a junk shop in Thatcham at the rear of a kind of mini-arcade, which occasionally acquired cast-off fishing tackle. At some point, it provided a 'DAM Quickfire Match', a 13ft three-piece carbon float fishing rod, which was snapped up and used for quite some time, thinking myself well set, although in truth it was a poor rod. I also picked up one of those glass-fibre tackle box/seat things with a carrying strap that were popular back in the day.

I modified it...but you knew that. Along the internal long sides of the box were two pieces of steel right-angle, pop riveted on - these are just visible in the left hand picture below; these provided necessary stiffness to the sides, so I cut two pieces of aluminium square-section to span those, and attached them to the steel on each side with M3.5 bolts. This prevented any flexing of the box at all. These cross-bars had been cunningly spaced so that a grey Stewart tackle box would fit perfectly on top, once M3 holes had been drilled and bolts applied. Three of the four indentations in the bottom, the boxes 'feet', had worn through, which at least let any water out. These were filled with hot-melt glue and four large hard rubber feet were fitted, slightly inboard of the existing 'feet'.

The Big Camo Tackle BoxThree pop-rivets can just about be seen on the front and in the background are some of the contents The Big Camo Tackle BoxThe 'Swewart' can be seem lurking behind the seat and the double sided whet-stone is visible inside that.

The 'Stewart' held the small bits and bobs, leaving access to the rest of the box for the big bits, reels, flask, scales and such. I kept it until 2012, with the sole addition, c.2003, of a camouflage paint job, carried out with tester paints and squares of foam rubber, which was as much to amuse the Hatangler as anything. In 2012, made obsolete by comfy reclining chairs and multi-pocketed rucksacks, it finally went to the tackle-shop in the sky.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1993 September 1993. The Pole Rig. This stuff is based on my own use of the pole, which is all about the convenience of a fixed line, rather than the speed and sensitivity biased pole fishing that match fishermen use. You are unlikely to see me hunched over my pole [ ;-) ], fishing on the far bank of anywhere with all pole sections out. I'll sneak round the other side and just use the top four or five...

For instance, I would rather keep the pole tip two feet from the float, to give me enough line length to re-bait without completely dismantling the pole - I am not convinced the tip next to the float gives me enough of an advantage to offset the nuisance of re-baiting otherwise. I enjoy using the pole for general fishing, as when the fish are not excessively large it is convenient, satisfying and flexible. I spent the first decade of pole-fishing with a home-made quick-release eyeThe home made quick-release flick-tip eye.

• Elastic Rigging. I kept this quick-release eye until buying a newer 5m telescopic in 1993 for £16. Then I graduated to an elastic rig strung inside the pole and having had experience of a large carp on the pole early on in angling lifePossibly as nerve-racking an introduction to carp-fishing as one might get, I went for a set up as shown below. I take no credit for the idea, it was from an article in the Angling Times of September 22nd 1993.

I started by taking my old roach pole butt section and using a piece of the second section made a spigot joint that allow me to fit the 'new' pole's lower section onto this 'butt'. I left the counterweight on the Shakespeare's butt-end. I made a bung out of a champagne cork, roughly sanded down to the right diameter, to jam in the end of the 'new' pole bottom section. I araldited a plastic disgorger through the middle, so that the end with the hole was stuck about 3" through and the disgorger's tapered 'hook-removing end' out of the other. I cut this end off and smoothed it over. The observant may notice the panel pin stuck through the plastic, embedded in the resin. Not that I am a 'belt and braces' type of guy...a piece of tubular surgical elastic was slipped over the disgorger and whipped it on with thick thread. I used a 15lb 'Black Spider' braid and PVC varnished this 'whipping'.

I whipped a small Dacron loop over the end of the surgical elastic, leaving about a 6" length. Take the No.8 elastic and make a large loop with a double over-hand knot about 2' in length. Thread this through the loop in the surgical and then tie another double over-hand loop with itself. Tighten the knots. Tightening knots in elastic is awkward, but I do it by tensioning both ends and rolling the knot up and down until it is snugged down.

The goal is to end up with about 6" of double elastic, 6" of quadruple and 6" of surgical. The idea is that when the single runs out of stretch, the double absorbs the shock, and so on. Take care that these knots cannot, when the elastic is stretched, get jammed inside the top section of the pole. The 'bung' went in the bottom of the 5th ('new') section. A pole bush was fitted to the new pole's tip.

The pole rig from Angling Times of September 22nd 1993Champagne Cork Bung

Thread single pole-elastic up the inside of the pole (I used a piece of pike trace-wire), extend the pole and then tie on a pole tip connector - tensioning the elastic so that when you've finished the connector is pulled against the bush. Did it work? Are bears Catholic? With this rig, No.8 elastic and 3lb line, I landed any number of carp up to 17½lb. As long as the water is open with no snags you can get by with little trouble.

Some old pole stuffChampagne Cork BungSome old pole stuffElastic double looped at the bottom endSome old pole stuffDon't buy pole winder stretchers, use old elastic

I wouldn't recommend this for carp fishing though, but it's handy if they come along. This rig will handle quite a bit but does lack power so getting a large fish to the net can be hard. I believe this necessitates totally exhausting the fish to get it to the net, which is not ideal.

While we are on the subject, threading elastic is a pain at the best of times. A threader is well worth having, but I admit I've never bought one, but have one made up out of twisted 8lb Alasticum wire, with the loop end very small. It works well, and is cheap, and coiled up, will sit inside the smallest "seal easy" bag.

Keep some of the old pole elastic - the smallest diameters make good little pole winder stretchers, as shown. Make some up about ¾ of the winder length and some about 1½ times. That'll cover all eventualities.

• Rod and Pole. These days I always have a pack of elastic when out with regular rods. On holiday in the Broads, having taken a 2lb t/c carp rod, but wanting to fish for bits and pieces, I made a flick tip of sorts out of the rod by putting about 4 feet of elastic through the rod rings, double once and twice as above and looped over the last ring on the top section (2 piece rod). The other end was threaded through a cork bead (made from a wine cork at the time), drilled out a bit, and then a pole elastic joiner. The cork bead/pad doesn't do anything other than prevent a break-off punching out the ceramic liner in your tip ring. Looks a bit odd, but works terribly well actually.

• Float Things. I'm also not a big fan on the mimsey little rings on the side of some pole floats, which pull out at the slightest pull. While there are occasions when 'top and bottom' attachment is a necessity, bottom end only often works well or better, especially if you do not want the pole overshadowing the float and bait. So I have a few floats with braid eyes whipped on the bottom stem, mostly the ones with thick carbon stems. I use these for margin carp fishing as well. Small porcupine quills turned upside down make good sensitive pole floats for bottom end only fishing.

Pole FloatsPole Floats

• Protecting that 'Top 3'. Likewise I feel that top sections are not that robust in real life. The outer layer on many poles is thin and small knocks or nicks translate to doom under pressure. Do yourself a favour and stick a coat of clear matt varnish over the top 3 sections of your pole. Or even 2 coats. Avoid varnishing the joints together...

• Where to Put Your Pole Rear End. Lastly I never ship my pole back behind me, never being that much of a hurry (and few places have that kind of space). I use my rod pod to keep sections on. I covered the cross bars with rubber sleeving, and put the sections across them. I angle it a bit back from the water though just in case...you can easily keep them in the right order then as well for adding length in a hurry...I usually put the butt rod rests on the side of the bars nearest me, front and back to rest the pole on when I need to put it down.

• Dapping Flies - Dry and Real. Try dapping dry flies with a pole...or live ones, crane flies worked very well. You need to be very quickInsanity dapping...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2007 7th February 2007. Harrison's Four Piece Avon Review (Orginally penned for 'Pure Piscator').

Why would you buy a four-piece rod? Historically, they have had a bad press, but having travelled extensively and missed some great fishing opportunities, the need for a compact rod with the ability to cover various sorts of fishing had become crystallised in my mind. A two-piece rod is fine, but tends to be used as a footrest by smaller passengers in the back of the car and as a javelin by baggage handlers.

After some interwebbing, I came across Harrison and after some email communications I decided to try the four-piece Avon. I ordered a blank in January, via a distributor, and after a delay it turned up. It was then built in a frenzy using double legged ceramic rings, more or less to the instructions and advice on Harrisons' website about spacing and placing. I have nothing against buying rods built and Harrison's rods are nicely built. I just like to do it myself for fun. It finally got to the water in May 2005. Phew. Improbably, I had an 11lb carp not 15 minutes in and finished the day with seven tench and another 6lb common. Good omens...so onto the rod itself...

At 10oz it is light in the hand, 11' long when assembled and 3'3" packed, so fits crossways on the Driving Technology's parcel shelf. When in use it has nothing about it that signals the four-piece construction. The joints are well made, a good fit and are overlapping joints which I prefer to spigot-ferrules. It has a true Avon action through to the butt and I have felt that bend under strain. It is light enough to fish for small stuff, but has the power to stop a decent carp in its tracks. I have done this a few times with 12-15lb carp at about 15' (curse those overhanging tree branches).

It has been used on the Frome trotting for grayling and dace, mullet fishing in Ireland, some light piking, plus carp and tench fishing in weedy and snaggy waters and I have no complaints. It has flexibility, but there is loads of power in reserve. I suspect I have not yet tapped that to its fullest extent.

I typically fish it with 6lb/8lb line, depending on the water and fish, but go as light as 4lb for trotting on the Frome and as high as 10lb for double figure carp in weedy water. 8lb seems around the optimum line strength for the rod. I would be chary of using it on purpose for really big carp (20lb+) especially in snaggy water; it might be a bit light for that. For everything between tiddler-snatching and really big carp/pike, it does an excellent job. I regret not buying it a year sooner, it would have been ideal for a trip to a warm place with a chance of Barracuda. Or, as the bother put it, "A chance of watching one strip off 200 yards of line in 30 seconds and then smash you up...", but you know what I mean.

This is all unrelentingly positive, but there are a couple of niggles. The first one, is that I ordered in January, got a blank in March with a cork handle, but had ordered Duplon...so back it went, four weeks to turn that around. Slow and wrong, although the dealer was very helpful in the circumstances. The second niggle, is that the reel-seat does not look the best quality. Having said that, it works perfectly well.

If you wanted to spend all your time on grayling or smaller fish, then a lighter 1lb t/c Avon might be more suited, but for me, with a limited budget and fishing-time, the rod performs perfectly for 90% of my fishing and is easy to pack and carry.

Verdict: To sum up, if it broke I would buy another one tomorrow.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2007 25th August 2007. The Webley & Scott Super Avon. This required considerable 'restoration'...I removed the damaged section of cork on the butt and shook out the dried mud [the bottom foot of the butt was aluminum tube]. I cleaned the inside up and cut a piece of old carbon roach-pole section to fit inside the broken spigot to make a 'splint', by dropping it through from the butt end. This was sized to be about 1" too long on the outside and also to run the length of the existing spigot plus 2" or so, well past the ends of the splits.

I roughed up the bit of roach-pole, cleaned the inside of the spigot with very fine emery, put araldite rapid on the inside of the spigot using a legnth of garden cane, then dropped the pole section through, pulled it home, turning it a few times to smear the epoxy evenly around. I pulled it through far enough to open the splits to get glue in them, and then pushed it back a tad so they closed up. I then put a small cable tie on the piece of pole to stop it slipping back down into the rod, and then used several small cable ties and some thick thread to bind the spigot while the epoxy went off.

Once the glue was 'off' I pared back the excess glue with a scalpel, cut the splint off flush with the end of the original spigot and made a cork 'bung' to fill the new spigot hole. The rod's selection of bent and rusted 'low Bells' rings were removed and binned. I rebuilt the rod with Fuji rings, kept the green-with-yellow edging whipping style and preserved all the rod's markings, include the initials 'FB' and the number '25'. I made a butt-end out of a champagne cork - I selected one that was a good fit in the tubing and would also overlap the existing corks, by the simple expedient of super-gluing tiny pieces of fine glass-paper on the end of the tubing and turning the cork round until it was slightly recessed and flush with the existing corks. I removed the pieces of glass-paper, then epoxy'd the cork back into place. It looked better than the original.

The Webley and Scott Super Avon.Rod Butt-Section DecalsThe Webley and Scott Super Avon.Rod Butt-Section DecalsThe Webley and Scott Super Avon.Replacement Butt-Cap, clearly a champagne cork...
The Webley and Scott Super Avon.Cracked Butt-Section SpigotThe Webley and Scott Super Avon.End View of the Repaired Butt-Section Spigot. The reinforcing inner sleeve is visible, as is the cork filler.The Webley and Scott Super Avon.Tip Section DecalThe Webley and Scott Super Avon.Tip Section Decal

I never did investigate how the tube and the fibre-glass were joined. It will be interesting to see how it fishes. I wish I had taken better before-and-after pictures now.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2008 31st January 2008. The Chapman 500.

A 1960's vintage rod, according to Chapmans themselves, based on the label type. An auction-site bargain at £60, advertised with a loose ferrule, which turned out to be the male on the top section, which I slid off then araldited on. As straight as the proverbial arrow. There was still ferrule knock, the female on the middle section was loose on the cane, the glue having given up the ghost. I eased the brass off, cleaned it and the cane, put a few turns of thread onto the cane to center the ferrule, then used epoxy-resin to re-set it. All good.

I replaced the rings with Fuji SICs and used the ring spacing for the CH550Chapman 550, which entailed adding an extra ring to the rod. I removed the old rings and all the other whippings, removed any loose varnish then used thinned yatch varnish to seal the edges of the old varnish and any other cracks and then put a couple of careful coats over the top of the repaired sections to 'level' the varnish up. I left it as it was after that, waterproof and sound and whipped the new rings in the appropriate places, using a dark bottle-green thread and gave each whipping a light green border. How does it fish though, this is what I want to know.

Later in the year, the 550Chapman 550 with low Bells guides made me smile, so I re-ringed the Chapman 500 with low Bells and a clear agate stand-off butt ring taken from an old Scottie spinning rod and an agate tip, improving the feel. The 'Jammy Bender', which I liked a lot, was, through lack of use, passed to a very good home in 2011 Sold to the bloke at the back and was someone's first cane rod, they could scarcly have done better. I occasionally miss it, a very good rod.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2008 13th April 2008. Today my Chapman 550 blank arrived in the post. It's clean, unvarnished and a quick exchange of emails with 'John' established the guides are to wrapped on the same side as the ferrule punch-marks. OK then.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2008 30th April 2008. The Chapman 550.

I'd yearned for cane for a bit so ordered a blank in December 2007 ("550 Blank, not impregnated, medium flame colour and bronze ferrules fitted. Handle, with reel fittings/rings"), inluenced by the convenience of three-piece. It took me four outings on a new water to Christen it, but eventually I had a brace of 10lb commons and a couple of 5lb ghosties. Now I see why some prefer it for playing fishing. Having said all that I never really took to it. I bumped off a lot of tench, it seemed very stiff and the ferrules were a bu88er to get apart.

After some time on the rack, I took of the Fuji rings and whipped on, using garnet and bottle-green threads, low Bells, an agate butt ring and a white agate Hardy tulip tip-ring. It looked vey pretty then and even fished OK. In March 2009 Chapmans made me a tip section (54" Custom made tip section for Chapman 550 at 1-1/4 lbs t/c) to make up a 'combo' type of rod. It was a beautiful thing but the first time I took it out, the tip dragged on the roof of the car and the top 5" snapped clean off, like it was a candy-cane. I returned it to them but never followed up for one reason or another. In the end another rod which was racked so long I Sold to the bloke at the back it on to a good home.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2009 1st April 2009. The B. James Mk.IV

I acquired a B. James Mk.IV, late 1950's vintage, which was, frankly, a dog. The original reel-bands were missing, replaced with two brass ones I had to snip off, to avoid damaging the cork. The butt thimble was "uhu'd" on, and it came away without damage when I put in a very long 3/8" bsf thread. The butt-button was badly perished. The second ring on the bottom section was not original and corroded, whipped on with D grade cotton, and the varnish over the top made the colour run from three intermediate whippings either side. The top section had a set against the rings and a bit of a dog-leg near the tip.

A closer look showed the rings on the top section had been removed, the rod turned around and re-whipped by a blind spider. So I removed all of them, cleaned back the varnish to the cane and re-whipped temporarily in bottle-green. This included gluing on the tip-ring, which hadn't been. Slightest of knocks on the ferrule nothing candle-wax won't make fishable. A charitable view would be 'it's a 'project'.

I cleaned the butt thimble, got hold of some reel bands and a rubber button for the end. I let in the cane at the butt very slightly (I can hear the sharp intakes of breath around the world) to prevent the thread on the button or a spear (I have a few, I use them) pushing off the thimble at a later date. The cork was restored with five minutes of a plastic pan scourer and washing up liquid, more or less pristine, then lightly steam to remove any compressed areas. No cork removed. It's managed a couple of double figure carp, although the 16lb'er made it bend alarmingly. Sold to the bloke at the back it on rr...to a 'rod-restorer', who insulted me by doing some fast adding up and taking away to try and confuse me, in respect of a rod-ring I'd had poorly repaired by the same.
(1) I can add up and take away really fast and
(2) even if they'd made an extra fiver ('no'), I never used said restorer again for anything. Ever. Never will either. Plus I've put the word about. Well you would wouldn't you?

I found it to be a horrible rod, too soft, no spine, not at all the feted legendary rod . I'm told by one who knows better than me that the cane quality is everything, but for me, this rod was not worth what I spent on it. Plus, the 'mate' who cheekily sold me a complete dog, is not my definition of a 'mate', but it's just as well to find that out sooner rather than later.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2009 10th August 2009. I've not really got on with my 550Chapman 550, a new blank I bought last year and then built myself, with its two tone green whipping an Fuji rings (I know, I know). Two options then. Strip it and sell the blank. Or, I eventually decide, as I have an agate butt ring and Hardy white agate tulip tip (off the LRH No.3Which was, by the way, the first cane rod I ever owned), I get some traditional wire cradle guides and rebuild the rod in maroon with some bottle green trim and rings that seem to look better. Fish will tell if it's a successful transformation.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2010 2nd May 2010. The Hardy LRH No.2 9'6" Salmon Rod

I bought this in 2010 as it was known to be a 'useful' carp rod. It had clear agates all the way up and a wire butt-ring which was odd, but still. One of the clear agate intermediate rings was cracked so I passed it onto a rod-restorer to get a 'proper job' on it. I had to chase it endlessly to get it back and in the end, well, I can do better myself and it was just as if one of the other rings was now cracked, so no more of my busienss for them ever.

I changed the 'new' cracked one in annoyance, then put the rod on the wall. Two years later I got it down, put Low 'Bells' on the top section - the rod had a 'set' and 'agates' are heavy and possibly are not really required. It was then used to catch five carp to 9lb, two very feisty pike in the 4-5lb range and a gaggle of 'pasties'. It is rather nice, easy but powerful. The reel-seat could do with being 5" nearer the butt though. Fish over 6lb only I'd say. Strike hard...best with a 'pin and fish close in.

The below rather hasty snaps were taken before it was packed into a tube: the butt ring is unlined and the tip ring is one of those extraordinary white agate and nickel silver 'Corbett' tip rings. Both ferrule parts and the butt-ring have fine copper wire overlaying the whippings. The male counter has a locking pin, which can just be seen in the picture. This is spring loaded and the ferrule has a small bevelled 'lead in' for this pin and a locating hole for it when counter is fully inserted. I rather like that (this is, I think, known as a 'Lockfast' joint). I never needed more than the corner of my thumbnail to take down the rod.

(It is always fun to see what stuff is lying around in old pictures. Clearly visible are the VSSKVery Small Sharp Knife (Opinel No.7), a tin of cellulose thinners, a treble hook, a 'sharpie', the bottom end of two quill floats under construction, a micrometer (I recorded the rod's taper), an old brass thruppeny bit found in the vegetable plot, and a sliver of fine whetstone I discovered in the hedge that ran along the back of the 'Long Garden'.)

The picture of the rod alongside the LRH No.3 shows almost identical ring spacings and both have wonderfully long slim cork handles. I feel the No.2's fixed reel seat is too high up the rod, 'wasting' some of its limited 9'6" but in conjunction with the 'Lockfast' ferrule, made it impossible to roate the rings occasionalyl, something that is often worthwhile on an old cane rod. I prefer the No.3's double 'LRH Hexagon Winches', originally delivered with a special spanner, which facilitated a locked down reel placement to suit oneself.

The LRH No.2The Butt CapThe LRH No.2The Fixed Reel SeatThe LRH No.2The Fore-GripThe LRH No.2The Butt RingThe LRH No.2The Butt Section Ferrule
The LRH No.2The Tip Section FerruleThe LRH No.2The Second RingThe LRH No.2The Third RingThe LRH No.2The Fourth RingThe LRH No.2The Fifth Ring
The LRH No.2The Sixth RingThe LRH No.2The Tip 'Corbett' RingThe LRH No.2The Bag Badge
The LRH No.2The No.2 has no ferrule stopper and a fixed reel seat - the No.3 has a ferrule stopper and sliding 'LRH Hexagon Winch' reel bands. Of course it is a montage.

I miss it. I would like another, a good one, with fully sliding reel-bands, so the reel can be placed to make best use of the length and with titanium 'Minima' rings fitted. I think it would be even better then.

Sold to the bloke at the back to Haydn, always better to see a rod used.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2010 5th September 2010. ...these are the foundlings, the flotsam and the injured. When they're fixed I'll show them again.

the foundlingswe have the technology

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 20th March 2011. The 9'8" Mystery Rod

A rod which I re-built from an old nameless salmon rod, the best guess a MARCO salmon wormer, which took a 9lb, two 10lb carp and a 4lb tench on its first try-out. Stripped of its crumbling corks and cracked black/gold jasper, I fitted an agate stand-off butt-ring, 'low Bells' guides and a red agate tip ring. The new corks gained a sliding reel-seat and I refitted the brass butt-cap, with a 3/8" thread, into which is screwed the original outlandishly large rubber button. It's stout, about the same at the tip as an LRH No.2, but with a steeper taper and will do very well for silly piking. Anyway, used much or not, I like it. Still hanging on the wall waiting for something.

The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe whole rod, end-to-end. It's a nice colour.
The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe butt and the male ferruleThe Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe butt and the male ferruleThe Mystery Salmon Spinning RodOne of the 'low Bells'
The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe sliding reel-seat and one of the tip-section ringsThe Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe tiny 'low Bells' keeper-ring and the dateThe Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe rather fine butt-ring
The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe female ferrule and the tip-ringThe Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe female ferrule and the tip-ringThe Mystery Salmon Spinning RodAnother view of the keeper-ring
The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodVideo et Taceo; 'I see and keep silent', the motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe sliding reel-seat and one of the tip-section rings

You might have spotted the double locking nut on the reel-seat. This original rod had a fixed aluminium reel-seat, and its sole locking nut fitted the new sliding one, so I added it on. The handle was sanded using the 'half-pipe cut length-ways' method and is a pretty decent job even if I do say so myself. The reel-seat moves but is a 'working-fit' so it's unlikely to come loose during use.

The ferrule is the one which the rod came with. It's still very tight; I've not even had to run over it with the modified pipe-cutter. It's also worth noting that the cane under the original corks, especially the last foot, was the most appalling workmanship. The strips were oddly shaped and badly glued. But, hidden as they were, under the cork, who would ever know? The tip-ring looks nice but the agate is a tiny bit loose, so there is something of a tiny rattling noise, but I'll super-glue it one of these days, plus the cork is not quite right where it enters the butt-cap. I'll probably fix that one day as well.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 4th May 2011. Darts. I knocked these up for a pal who's eyesight isn't so good. They're literally dart flights glued into a cross-slot in the top of two porcupine quills and a plastic waggler. You can buy float tops to do this, I find out now...they're displayed, by the way, on 'Going Fishing' by Negley Farson.

DartsDart-flight floats for the hard of fishing

'Star Wars Day' also.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 25th May 2011. Edgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.

An auction site surprise at £26.30, possibly because it was advertised as a "Sealey vintage split cane fishing rod". The only work I did on it, was to replace the thicker than 'D' grade thread on the top-section whippings for 'A' grade garnet, although I took the trouble to rotate the rings to the other side of the top-section while I was at it. I am sure it took 1oz off the weight. It did land a 13lb carp on 4lb line. This is a good, surprisingly strong rod, if made to a price.

Edgar Sealy Octofloat Edgar Sealy Octofloat Edgar Sealy Octofloat Edgar Sealy Octofloat Edgar Sealy Octofloat Edgar Sealy Octofloat
Edgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy OctofloatEdgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy OctofloatEdgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy OctofloatEdgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy Octofloat
Edgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy OctofloatEdgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy OctofloatEdgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy OctofloatEdgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.Edgar Sealy Octofloat

After over two years 'on the rack', I Sold to the bloke at the back this rod on for a decent profit, although to be fair, I had re-whipped it. Another rod that would be better with titanium rings.

I nabbed another one cheap in April 2012, a 'de Luxe' version, it came with reinforced ferrules, a couple of missing rings, the butt for one, the tip ring had a rank (even by my standards) whipping in a pinkish cotton and the cane's tip was ragged, possibly missing 1", although it looked clean and tidy otherwise. Sadly, it proved to be beyond hope, with twists and sets in the cane that were beyond mine and another's wit to straighten. It looked as if the rod, used with high stand-off rings, had been strained to its utmost by pulling it sideways; this, in conjunction with the high rings, permanently twisted the rod's top two sections. Even Sold to the bloke at the back as such, it was taken up by someone, by necessity an optimist.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 13th June 2011. Bu88er. An hour to strip the broken rings and old varnish, four hours straightening the tip with a hot air gun, an hour whipping the rings on, just the tip to go, then varnish today, tomorrow, good for the 16th...and the arm of the tip ring snaps clean off. Rats. This Octofloat has been severely bent, the ferrules even seem to have a set. It's usable, but not without some rotation of the sections to offset the kinks. Perhaps a restoration too far. On the rack for now. OCT...where it remained. Even Nobbington-Smythe couldn't sort it out. Bent and twisted to heck. Sold on as a 'bare blank' to soemone who though they might be able to fix it. Good luck!

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 6th October 2011. Translucent Tipped Quills. As mentioned above, an experiment. These, as the name suggests, are quill tips which are coloured and translucent tipThe use of the word 'tip' is not sufficient excuse however, to snigger behind one's hand in open defiance of the Geneva Comedy Convention's strong recommendation to simply raise one eyebrow (either) about a quarter-inch (6.35mm). . Why? The advantage of these is that the tip will 'light' for your disappearing pleasure whether the light is behind you or in front of you POh yes it will... . In short they are more visible in all light conditions. These quills were just cleaned, coloured and varnished then fished using a single rubber on the bottom end.

The flourescent quillsThe flourescent quills

So a few notes on the making of such: prepare the quills as above, but before varnishing, apply colour to the tip with a fluorescent marker pen. The technique is to apply colour to a dry quill in even strokes from 'the line' to the tip, turning the quill as you go. Once you've gone right round put it aside to dry. Leave it a day and repeat. It will depend on the pen, but about four coats should do it, each only takes a few seconds. Then put a coat of thinned varnish over the coloured area and allow to dry for 24 hours.

There is some variation on which pen's colours go with which varnish without running. One must figure that out for oneself, for Rustin's yacht varnish, this section is true, but for others it may vary.

Translucent quillsHere are a few fully made. The top four are porcupine quills with a 'bird-quill' tip. I left the porcupine quill tip inside the 'bird-quill' tip but painted it white first, to see if that reflective surface inside would make them any more visible. Nope. On reflection (sorry), the whole idea of the translucent tip was to allow light from any angle to diffuse and re-radiate, so that the tip was 'lit' with any incident light. Obviously anything blocking that through path would make them less effective. Duh. Translucent quillsA selection of half and fully finished quills with translucent tips (with a Cardinal 66x in the middle)

Give the varnish the faintest of touches with '000' emery. Whip on the eye, any other decorative stuff up the float. My preference is to finished with two closely space 6/0 thread whippings with the last right on the edge of the coloured part, which gives it a nice neat line, then thinned varnish over the whole whipping, especially the eye end (holding by the varnished tip) and hang up to dry. When dry put two-three more coats of colour on, when that's dry one cost of full strength yacht. You can add another if you prefer.

The flourescent pink was most visible on the water, then flourescent blue, then flourescent orange, then green. Yellow and dark blue tied for 'worst'. The green colour reacted with the varnish and went 'some other colour' that probably has a fancy colour-chart name, but wasn't much use otherwise. The yellow just wasn't very visible. The dark blue (a marker pen) didn't transmit enough light to work at all well.

It's interesting to recall that in "Still Water AnglingStill relevant in 2011" Richard Walker suggested that the best all-round colour for float-tips was a shade of vivid salmon-pink he mixed up himself.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 5th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/u, Part I. I was fortunate to bag one of these on a well known auction site - I'd always wanted to try one and serendipitously it arrived on my birthday. It wasn't perfect of course, but a good 'user'.

Specifically, there was the tiniest of cracks in the top section ferrule, telegraphed by the cracking of the whipping varnish and the tip ring came apart in my hand when I tried to remove it for re-whipping. I determined to buttress the crack by cutting a 1 inch section off an old whip and dropping it over the top section and aralditing it on. I took all the rings off and having cut the section, on a whim at lunchtime, found a repair kit on the 'net, carbon cloth, resin etc. Hm. I ordered it and it turned up the following day. It was £30, good for three repairs, in fact more than this on inspection. I went for that.

I, of course, first read the 'pdf' instructions for the repair kit and made my custom rod jig as shown below. I then carefully mixed resin and grinding paste in the 3:1 ratio, threw it away and mixed the resin with hardener. You can see the cleaned rod section, and make out the shadow of the two whipped areas and the cracks if you look really closely. I should have phot'd the whipping which shows the crack starting well before it's clearly visible on the fibre glass. Here's one which shows the same thing.

It's a good policy to check the whipping on the female of ferruless rods, as the cracks in the varnish telegraph a crack forming well before it becomes a problem. My plan was to use graphite cloth to replace the whipping at the cracked end. As the whole idea is to use heat shrink wrap to force resin into the cloth, I decided to run an experiment on the site of the second whipping. I'd put the 'tack' layer on, whip over it in Garnet 'D', finishing the whipping just outside the tack area (or you'd never pull through to finish) and then put a resin layer over it and shrink wrap that as well to see how it worked.

The snaps below show:
The tack layer.
Shrink wrapped and shrunk.
And cleaned up ready for whipping over.
And whipped over.

I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrulecustomised precision rod jig...I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule...showing the way whippings split over a crack - on a split hexagraphI admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferruleThe carp
I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferruleTacked...(tack layer applied)I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule...wrapped, shrunk...I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule...and cleaned up

Impressions; well it's filthy stuff the resin and the cloth. One really must wear the gloves, not a fun job in the main, I can enjoy whipping, but there's little joy in this job. Cut the carbon cloth outside as well. The resin itself seems on the brittle side to me, it's not unlike high build whipping on trashed rods, which I've picked off to salvage rings, not yet convinced this resin is worth the coin, perhaps araldite "precision" would have done just as well. The strength after all is in the carbon and while it's done a good job, once that resin's used up, I'd consider sourcing the cloth and shrink tape elsewhere - heat-shrink tubing might even be better.

The impregnated whipping is 'OK', there was a lot of air bubbles in the thread itself, some which remained when it had set, although thinned varnish filled most of them. I may try using thread for such a repair in the future, but using probably some clear shrink tubing of the right diameter. More to follow later in the week.

I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrulemended top section whipped over with one coat of varnish

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 9th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV "G" s/u, Part II.

The always helpful folk at Bruce and WalkerCourtesy and proper customer service sent me replacement butt and tip rings for my rod. The tip-ring was a 'write off' but the butt was OK, but, well you know. I replaced the top section rings and tip-ring using a medium green Gudebrod thread, which was not the original colour, but the carbon repair wasn't original either...replaced the butt ring and added a tiny bells ring to the butt section an inch or so up from the logo, about 45° offset from the butt ring - this is the 'keeper' a much more accessible keeper than the tiny slivers of wire sold in this guise.

The corks were cleaned off with a plastic kitchen scourer and washing up liquid, when rinsed and dried, then wiped down with white spirit. The butt end of the rod was full cork, but the corks were split and frayed, so the cork was cut off flush with the end of the blank, the impacted cork extracted, then fitted a champagne cork into the hole, paring it down so it met the handle corks, more or less spot on.

The rod was then cleaned off with a damp cloth and rubbed down with white spirit. Both sections got a coat of thinned yacht varnish (60/40), which leaches into cracks and scratches sealing them. Any spot where the varnish had lifted, leaving a kind of bubble, I punctured with a pin and sealed with the same varnish, which sorts it out, more or less. One last full strength coat will go on later today. Photo's below.

The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe champagne cork temporary repairThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe handleThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe reel-bandsThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe butt-ring and one of the tip-section 'low bells' intermediate rings
The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe low bells 'keeper'The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe female ferrule (repaired)The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe solid glass-fibre counter and tip-ringThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uAnother of the tip-section 'low bells' intermediate rings
The Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uSee, it really is oneThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uThe rod on the wholeThe Bruce and Walker Mk.IV 'G' s/uJust admiring the rings under the shade of the tomato plants.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentCracked up#1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentCracked 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.

The GSHRE Butt The reel bands The reel bands

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2..

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 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 facilites 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 paralell section, lock solid with little in the way of pushing over the reel seat.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #2
The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #3 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentHandle and '66x #4

No you can't have my Cardinal 66X ;-) New rings and garnet thread are in the post...so more to follow.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3..

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay LargeThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay single and double leggedThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentDouble leg whipped onThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentSingle leg whipped onThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 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 postions 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 postion up has a 30mm ring on and it looks a bit fine and far off right now.

The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4..

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 2nd June 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4. Part 3Part 2Part 1.

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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experimentafter... The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment...before

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 1st December 2012. Some I made earlier...

Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...
Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floatsGoose-quill floats, nearly traditional...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 23rd March 2013. Floats.

I took these pictures on a whim and then forgot about them until 2017...a variety of quills and two oak-apple perch bobbers. The former, made with swivels in the base, ended up gathering dust, until I clipped the swivels off and replaced them with a rig-rings. I habitually use a link-swivel for attaching floats and it seemed like far too much metal work to clip this to another swivel. The oak-apple perch bobbers looked lovely but fished like dogs. The almost round profile allowed them to heel-about like an unballasted ship, so I threw them out in the end...

Quill floatsQuillsQuill floatsQuillsQuill floatsQuills

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 11th May 2013. Net#1. I've been sitting on this job for a bit. The ash hoop came courtesy of Andy Batchelor along with the spreader. I was nervous about the brass screw fittings taking the strain so I put a thin washer under the lip to spread the load, especially on the last fixing at the end of the fork.

Net#1The brass spreader Net#1The brass spreader

I needn't have bothered as the ash pulled it quite easily (Andy said it would, I recommend both the product and AB's after sales serviceProper Landing nets...and some fine floats, he was happy to answer queries and questions by email), you can see though I've used slightly longer screws on 4 of the positions to allow me to place a nut, purely for locking. I've put a smallest dab of 222 screw-lock on them as well. The hoop had 2 thinned and two full strength coats of Rustins' finest.

Net#1The brass spreader Net#1The brass spreader

The net is one that I got a a boot sale for £5, it's a contemporary 40" triangular, but it gives the net the depth to accommodate anything that can go through the hole - it you look really closely you'll spot a drawstring I've threaded through the net about halfway down. When pulled up, this makes the net a bit handier for those smaller thing (so I don't have to cart about two nets...). Even Mrs Anotherangler admired the brass and ash, wasted on a net though apparently...

Now, an oddity - I've had some glass-fibre tent poles in the study for a few months, one of them needs mending. I got them out to do the job and pulled out of the ferrule on one end, what I took to be a piece of grass or leaf...but it was this little fellow, a smooth newt. I can't for the life of me understand how it got in there, or when.

The ex-smooth newt. It's only resting.The ex-smooth newt. It's only resting.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 26th May 2013. Net#2.

The great big landing netThe FerruleThe great big landing netThe Ferrule on one endThe great big landing netThe locking pinThe great big landing netThe location hole

Moving on....I put the ferrule (thanks Redfin) into the cane and then drilled a 1.5mm hole though the bamboo and started that hole in the brass. Took the brass out and then drilled it out, then through the other side of the brass (slow drilling, done "by eye"). I put the brass back and used it as a template to drill right through the cane.

I then drilled the ferrule's holes out to 3.9mm (the pin is 4mm) and then removed the ferrule and eased the holes open with a needle file until the pin was a working fit in the ferrule.

I opened the holes in the bamboo out to 4.4-4.5mm or so. The idea is, that when I glue the ferrule in (using slow setting epoxy), to tap the pin to get a slight spread, which will lock it in the ferrule but will not split the bamboo.

The great big landing netThe locking pin holeThe great big landing netCascamite'ing the splitsThe great big landing netThe pin fittedThe great big landing netThe pin fittedThe great big landing netThe ferule in place

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 5th June 2013. Net#3. The ferrule is now glued in, the pin was spread slightly - some careful hammer work with a pin punch clamped upside down in a vice and a makeshift punch made with a cut down allen key. The epoxy was worked into the gap around the pin to fix everything and the whole thing left to go off in a warm place (conservatory).

The Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle III

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 6th June 2013. Net#4. Put a coat of epoxy on the cane and whipped over the ferrule end with 30lb PowerPro, then coated with more epoxy and applied shrink wrap, which when heated forces the epoxy into the thread.

The Landing net handle IVThe Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IVThe Landing net handle IV

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 24th August 2013. The JW Avon's New Reel Seat. The old JW Avon reel bands were tripe - those sliding plastic reel bands - they never worked on my rod, being too loose a fit. What to do...?

I didn't really want to put a fixed seat on, that's way to much work, so I rifled the big boxes of fishing stuff in a cupboard upstairs and found a Fuji plastic tube reel seat...aha, this fitted over the corks, but was very tight...so I converted it into a sliding reel fitting. I didn't need the sliding aspect really but it's an experiment I've been meaning to try for some time.

Firstly, I put all the reels I use into the guide and drew around them with a fine permanent marker to ensure everything would fit.

I removed the top ring of the fitting, which I levered away using a flat bladed screwdriver. I placed assorted reel feet back in their outlines and completed the outlines with the marker.

The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...1
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...2
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...3
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...4
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...5
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...6
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...7
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...8
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...9
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...10
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...11

I dremmelled (using the little round saw blade thingies - take care, they'll have your finger off if they slip) a cut-out in the barrel of the reel seat along the outer line I'd marked previously. I checked the various reel feet fitted and then cleaned up the edges of the cut out with a small file.

Placed on the rod handle the only problem was that the fixed reel band didn't really hold the reel foot down as there was a gap. I debated turning the band through 180 degrees, but it would look silly. So I retrieved some of the plastic cut out previously and made a shim to fit in the fixed reel band's recess. I used some other bits to see if loctite would really hold the pieces together well (it did).

Stuck it back on the rod...I had to removed the butt end of the handle so have bored a champers cork as a temporary butt, hot melt glued on, until I've fished it a bit and am happy with it.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 11th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #1 - the plan being to make a light through action rod of about 11' from an 8-10 aftm fly rod - almost fell at the first hurdle really. The 9/10 weight 14 footer was stiffer than my #10-12 Hex. ...which didn't seem right. I sought the maker's opinion for sanity, then, despite being re-assured it was a softer rod, tied both rods to a step ladder - I used a string bag and braid threaded through to the top ring on the bottom section of both rods - where they were tied across the steps. I plotted the displacement from horizontal (both rods bang on 140cm from the floor in this set up) and here is a small graph. I'm bu88ered if can make Excel display it how I want...weight in 'oz' and the deflection is in 'cm' from horizontal(no load position). So lighter the 8-10aftm really is...

The Hex wins by 10%...The Hexagraph wins by 10%...

I planned to set to work with the thread and rings - I'd bought some Pacbay Minima's and a nice tip ring, plus a 'match cork'. I have a reel seat and although the thread ordered was NOT the colour in the picture...no matter, I have a large reel of red grade 'D' so will use that. 'W'. Ring spacing, 'as is'. Now, before I desecrate a perfectly good (if going for a song) salmon rod, I've opted to tape on a reel and take it to play with some simple-in-the-head carpusules...OK it looked mad, but I wanted to know and if it was too stiff, then it would have returned to evilbay whence it came and I'd look for #7-9 13 footer. Lead on McFluffchuckerclick to the second part of the experiment.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 14th December 2013. LSRE Trial. Hopeful of a couple of easy fish to put a bend in the LSRE (Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment), I gaffer-taped on a reel seat, near the top of the butt section. This chimera turned out to be good at bouncing carp of the hook, slightly irritating, but I discovered that the whole rod wobbled about my hand/fulcrum and I suspect neither fish had a decent hook-hold as a result. I put it away and resolved to test it again once I'd sawn off the butt.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 19th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #2. I thought the taped up 14' rod a 'bit boingy', but with 20/20 hindsight you would expect that - hold a 14' rod 5' from the thick end and wobble it about, you'll see my point. So, there was only one way to find out if the rod would 'work' so... to the worrying bit (try saying that in the same way you might say "...to the batcave!"). I used the handle on the GHSRE as a guide and marked up the butt section...and added an inch. I swallowed hard and got out the junior hacksaw...I debated leaving a few inches cork-less for the B&W logo, for 'tis nice looking...zoopah, zoopah, zoopah, zoopah...very thick walled this blank...zoopah, zoo-click. And breath in.

OK then, mops sweat from brow, my plan was have a fore-grip of about 2-3" (for the look of the thing), so sliced the cork handle in two 'as required'. That worked out, Now, several streaks of inspiration all struck at once. The first, was to hacksaw off the section of the butt with the Bruce & Walker crossed salmon logo as it would fit exactly over the 'new' rod handle, just before the grip, which would look nice (and brace it better than whipping). The second, was the thought that the cork butt-end on the salmon rod handle remnant was the right size for the new rod - I wondered if I cut around the cork joint between the rings done to the blank and twisted it hard - and away it came clean. Hah! Then thirdly, I recalled some large copper washers I got from a builder - was one just the right size to sit between the crossed salmon and the cork...? By golly yes it was.


So, I removed the two rings on the butt section. Using cheap fly backing to build the blank (while leaving glue spaces) I hot melted the handle end in place - having previously 'bunged' the bottom of the handle section with a champagne cork (the thin end) and sealed the inside of the old cork end piece with cellulose dope to waterproof it from the inside. I spend a few minutes with a countersink bit manually countersinking the cork fore grip so the screw end of the reel seat was under the cork then put all to one side for the morning. As an afterthought I whipped a small snake-eye ring on, as a keeper ring. So much easier to use that the tiny bits of wire sold for that purpose...


I whipped a length of cheap fly backing along the blank, under the top half of the cork section, doubled it back about half way and tied it off. Doped it and let it dry. Wood glued and placed the larger of the cork sections, so tight a fit, it didn't need anything holding it in place while the glue set...overnight. I hot melted the tip ring on while the glue-gun was on and whipped over the tang.

I used thin strips of gaffer taped to space the reel seat off the blank, three such 'spacers' at intervals. The idea is the tape is temporary while the hot melt in the gaps does the actual job...so I hot melted it on...get the glue gun good and hot and move very fast. I should mention I'd already checked the orientation required and marked it up - oddly not the direction of the rings on the butt section - lastly, I carefully undercut (at about 45°) the fore-grip cork and with the same wood-glue (plus doped fly backing whipping), slid this down over the reel seat. I glued the copper washer over the end of the cork (having first shone it up with a wire brush and then degreased it thoroughly), epoxy'd the B&W logo section on and held it hard against the cork until the epoxy went off. Added a short whipping in front of the logo section. Spot on.

The ringing was a doddle (and if I'm honest was done first), reusing the spacing of the existing rings. I used a B&W pink ceramic butt ring left over from a rebuild of a Mk.IV 'G' and then put three double legged Pacbay Minima rings on that section, one more on the top section and then single legged all up to the tip ring. Having removed a double whipping I replaced the missing whipping with a dummy. It looks neater that way.

So more or less done. I've sealed the whippings with thinned yacht varnish and given them two coats of full strength. That's it, all done. To the lake! (Should be said in the same way one says "To the castle!")

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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.

The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
New foregrip...1
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
New forgrip and paint damage...2
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
New forgrip with extra piece on lower handle...3
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Foregrip sanded down ...4
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Lower handle sanded down...5
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Slivers of cork packing the foregrip....6

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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 27th February 2014. The Harlow Reel. So the problem is one of small hands and big reels. I needed a spacer for the Harlow - it's perfect for the 'pin carping, large diameter, not too large, holes that fit fingers and a wide drum, exactly the job for 80 yards of 'oh my word it's a monster' braid backing and 50 yards of mono over the top. I've got little hands and need to get my index finger around the handle and my thumb on the rim. I simply cannot get on with holding the rod in front of the reel, feels all wrong, always has. So 'a spacer'. I experimented with some washers...and spent an hour on the sofa watching Ms. Sackhoff SBDoes anyone else think they have a special department for making up 'slightly rude sounding made up names' in American TV land?  kick robot butt, while I idly span my reel (honest). The resulting dents in my fingers and black marks from the metal told me to add more space and file off some metal...I drew up a spacer and a very nice man agreed to trade it for some monstrous stret-peggers...

The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The traditional drawing on the back on an envelope...1
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The problem...2
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...3
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...4
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...5
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...6
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...7

So here is the progression on the job and below is the progression of the 'payment'...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 28th February 2014. Barry's Massive Stret-Peggers.

Below is the progression of a 'payment', some very big stret-pegging quills made as a quid pro quo (...Clarice) for Barry, who made a reel-foot spacer for my 'Harlow' 'pin. Thanks Barry.

Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
The quills (about 10'', goose primaries)...1
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
Bottom eyes, tacked on with cyranoacrylate...2
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
Tips in progress - flourecent pink over the bare quill.
You can see pencil marks, but those'll be covered
with black thread....3
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
One of the side-eyes, glued with waterproof
cyranoacrylate then whipped on....4
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
One side-eye whipped on...5
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
Almost done...6
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
The emphemera of float making...7

I can't for the life of me find pictures of the finished articles, although I was sure I took some...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 26th March 2014. The next projects are: Fit low 'Bells' guides on the LRH No2 (remove the heavy 'agates') and use it, after having turned the rod over. If possible move the reel seat. Put a nice cork handle on my old carp rod. Ditto my Harrison's Avon, also re-ring, remove some of them, which will soften it a tad. Turn a Nerf jolt into a loose-feed gun.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 April 2014. The 'Gudgeonator'.

I found a little #4 weight fly-rod at a Dorchester boot-sale. £20, delaminated for 4-5" above the ferrule. It hung neglected on my wall for a year then, barring the male ferrule on the top joint which I cut off and dug out, hardly slashing my fingers at all GuAOr, more positively, 'the rod took the blood sacrifice it required' .

Mixed the cascemite, bound the split, peeled off the varnish. At the top end, perhaps 6" in, the slightest thickening, a loupe exposed the deftest of repairs. Huh. Stripped butt section, cut off the corks, cut the cane through just above the reel seat with a hacksaw - I dug the cork out from around the tube with a variety of pointy things, while watching some 'period mystery' and drilled out the 3/8" BSF thread on the bottom. A short handle was planned, two floor grade 4" lengths and a champagne cork half bored, the re-used reel seat, two more champers corks.

With the butt sawn down, I was going cut the tip down the 4". First I fitted the ferrule, the slightest of rubs with sandpaper and it slid on - I varnished both pieces of cane with half-and half to seal them, then mixed Araldite rapid and fitted the counter - a closed end counter I had to work the metal back and forth until the air popped out, then bound the tangs flat with cable ties. Funny thing, when dry it had bulged the metal a few thou as the picture shows from where I worked it in - to give it a waggle. As thought, a little over-waggly, so off came the tip. Varnished both sections 'full strength'.

[I know it's not always 'done', but I seal my bare cane with thinned varnish and give it one coat of full strength before fitting bits. Nearly all the cane water damage I've seen is around the whipping and fittings, which crack and under them is bare cane. You get the idea - never mind that nice porous cork gently getting damp with cane under it...]

The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
Reel seat, cut off...1
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The cane at the thick end...2
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
Female ferrule...3
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The corks and the reel seat...4
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The counter removed (blood not shown)...5
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The champagne cork butt-cap (and a nice tin)...6
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The corks and the reel seat...7
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The butt-cap glued on...8
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The handle under construction...9
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The handle under construction...10
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The handle under construction...11
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The 'Avon Gypsy'...12

The rod, as acquired, was black trimmed, fine it looked, so I kept that idea. What rings? This is a slight rod, a 1lb chub might test it hard, brook rod or no and I wanted no more weight. In the end I went for the eyes it came with, the snakes, closed them up ever so slightly, and trimmed off any extra metal I judged they did not need. The tip was a fine little agate I have no memory of getting - the rod's original a white agate, cute, but chipped, such a pity, the butt ring is a small amber agate off a Hardy rod, long gone.

I whipped over the ferrule tangs and sealed with half-and-half. A nice colleague bored my Champers corks on a handy lathe two through for the fore-grip and one blind-drilled for the butt end. Glued on, a few turns of thread for the glue first. The real seat I set with gaffer tape strip built up - I hot melted the bottom end generously and piled it onto the cork and held it down until the glue cooled, then filled the other end with the same stuff (tip, don't get liquid hot melt on your fingers, it burns and rips the skin off when you pull it away). Two more corks and glue. Some sanding to even things up, but a bare minimum. It's not a show pony and it's fun to leave the corks showing their origin.

Such a tiny rod, for small streams and small fish needed a small reel - I give you an 'Avon Gypsy' from Romsey Tackle Fair. Perfect. Now for the fish.

P.S. I used it once for a dart at some small rudd and tench, the snake eyes don't really work at all with mono. I replaced them with some tiny single leg eyes.

P.P.S. Despite new eyes, it really didn't work as a rod, retaining too much of its fly-rod soul to work in any other way. So its fittings were returned to stock and the rod itself went to the big-rod-rack in the sky Binned .

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 4th May 2014. The Allcock's 'Superb'. MT4"May the Fourth be with you". Well, it makes me smile...

This cost me £20 at boot-sale, at the time being blissfully unaware of its comparative rarity, but I liked it. The cane was fletched-straight, but the ferrule was worn past redemption. So I replaced the ferrule and took off the 'sea rod' rings, which some say are 'authentic', although I prefer to say 'rubbish'. They were rust-pitted for the most part and the tip ring was broken. I replaced them with Pacbay Minimas and added a Hardlon Stripping guide butt-ring. This reduced the weight on the top section. The female ferrule is not 100% straight but the cane under had been rounded slightly off-centre. I left this 'as was'. This steely rod has managed carp to 12lb on 6lb line. It has, as they say, 'the feel'.

It does however, have a 31" handle, far too long and fat. So I will probably remove 8" and sand the rest down to ¾" and add decent sliding reel-bands. I'll let you know. The Woodsman' has one, with its awful original rings and mine is much the stronger rod. Odd. This is cane for you. In any event with a new ferrule and nice light modern (chrome/titanium) rings, 'twill be a joy to use.

The rod...1
The label...2
The handle...3
The handle...4
The handle...5
The butt ring...1
The female ferrule...2
The rather worn 'counter'...3
The cracked tip ring...4
The ferrules removed...5
The old ferrules...6

The original rings, removed weighed 0.6oz, of which 0.4oz was on the tip section. The new set, which included a lined Hardlon butt ring (0.15oz), was 0.3oz total. With a wild cry of "Try getting outside more, tackle collectors." I removed the old rings...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 2nd June 2014. The Allcock's Superb, Part the Second.

As previously intimated, the rod was to benefit from nice titanium Pacbay Minimas, a lined Hardlon butt ring and a new ferrule. This came to pass and to prove it, here are the pictures. It still has the 31" handle, far too long and fat, begging to be improved and that dreadful 'keeper' ring, both unsuited to the task and the source of an annoying rattle every time something moves. A round tuit will be required. I'll let you know.

The Allcock's SuperbThe totally bobbins rubbish keeper ringThe Allcock's SuperbThe Hardlon butt ring.The Allcock's SuperbThe new femaleThe Allcock's SuperbThe new counter
The Allcock's SuperbThe first ring on the top sectionThe Allcock's SuperbAnother top section ring...The Allcock's Superb...and another...The Allcock's Superb..and the tip ring.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 5th July 2014. I Broke It.

Well, technically it was the second tench of the dayGood day as it happens. that broke it. The stem got threaded through the net-mesh and the tench, not having completely given up, twisted itself and the mesh. I drilled out the old stem's root, reamed out the leftover cane using a broach, then cut and inserted a new 1mm cane antenna. I gave the stem a coat of thinned varnish, a coat of white matt and re-applied the banded pattern, but instead of white bands, I used fluorescent yellow. All done...to this and other favourite floats...Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish Random Fish

Luckfield LakeBroken Luckfield LakeThe new antenna and the tools used.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 September 2014. Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment (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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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 movment 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 holt-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 Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 3mm hole for injecting the hot-melt...The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment...the 0.8mm whole for letting the air out the other side The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe bottom end of the hhandle with its 'fighting butt' The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe top of the reel-seat and the foregrip, 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 Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe top of the handle with its decorative whippings.The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe bottom section 'ferrule'The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 'snake' keeper ring, which is far more usable than the traditional 'can't get the hook in the silly little wire loop' type
The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe stupidly shiny Hardlon butt-ringThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentOne of the 'minima' double legged ringsThe Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 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' reinforcings were whipped over as well. 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 18th March 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #1.

I picked up Allcocks 'Perfect' (20 quid) in 2013, it's dead straight, 9' on the nose and a terrific honey colour. The butt-ring is missing and the real seat is set well down the butt - an old salmon spinner. It was, Nobbyngton-Smythe reckons, Allcocks most expensive rod ever...

The Allcocks PerfectThe Allcocks Perfect

So...my dastardly plan is to strip it...make a butt section, something a bit like a Chapman's handle, two feet long dowel, or something fairly rigid, and turn it into a 10'6" or 10'8" carp rod... 10As I'm already fairly sure that I'm not going to Heaven, I'll risk it.

However, this powerful rod was horrible in the hand. Not all experiments are sucesses Binned . Possibly why they're called 'experiments'.

The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The Allcocks Perfect...1
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
So in close up: the hook, 'uni-snelled' to 6lb spectra braid, a no.6 'tell-tale' shot, an 'Albright' knot to 6lb Stren, then two silicone stops and the mini-swivel....2
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
One of the fine looking 'nuisance' rudd...3
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
One of the fine looking 'nuisance' rudd...4
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The last one nabbed on a marginalised worm, with a careless rudd...5
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
A tree in dreech...6
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
Bob's Lake, roach...7
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...8
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The handle under construction...9
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The handle under construction...10

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 23rd March 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #2. I removed the corks, not so hard, found water damage, not serious, but this is why one might consider varnish before corks go on, discovered the reel-seat was plastic, tacked on through a box-wood cylinder, the lower cane still with its outer shell on. There's a big nick out of the cane just up from the reel seat. That's going to bug me, the rings are going on the opposite side to the old, so the nick is going to be on the underneath of the rod - it's unlike to matter much, but I'll epoxy/dyneema it anyway. A lot of careful scraping was required to get the mixture of glue, string and gunk of the section under the handle - which was rough in places.

The ferrule and counter came off easily enough, the female on the butt section cut off flush with the cane, then a steep spiral cut with a hacksaw - one must be careful doing this, the idea is to cut a gentle spiral up from the open end until the brass is paper thin - work around and up the ferrule until the cut is nearly at the 'cane end'. It pays to cover the last few inches of cane with gaffer tape first, so avoid damaging the cane if the saw catches. Optionally, gaffer tape your fingers as well...

Insert a flat blade screwdriver into the slot cut at the 'open' end and twist it gently, the brass should open up, tearing any last layer of brass - if you've cut it thin enough. With a pair of pliers, you can usually 'unwind' the ferrule until the last bit can be slid off. Be gentle, use the saw to ease open parts of the cut which are not quite deep enough. Next time I'll post pictures on how to do this...look at this - the cane under the female ferrule. You can just see where cane flats have been glued on and turned down. The counter end has been rounded as well, but is back to whole hex section cane before it gets to the ferrule 'exit', so no loss of cane at the critical points.

The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
Ringstead beach on a nice March day...'just because'...1
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
....and the other...2
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The best shot of an egret I could manage at that distance....3
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
One of the fine looking 'nuisance' rudd...4
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The last one nabbed on a marginalised worm, with a careless rudd...5
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
A tree in dreech...6
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
Bob's Lake, roach...7
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The Wetlands' ground clearing and piking...8

I've cut away the varnish on either side of the logo to keep it on the cane. For the handle I've cut a two foot piece of cane from the butt of an old 'Black Seal' rod, a terrible thing (but cheap...). This is 15mm across the flats at the thick end, so will use it to make a butt section with a 'reverse' taper, not that I think it will bend at all. This will be strong, heavy enough and slender enough for me to get corks down to 20mm for 'Lockfast' reel bands...that's the plan.

The real shock was to find water damage on the top section just past the second ring. There were a few black marks under the varnish but one of them had the tell-tall black line along a joint and I despaired briefly. I gave the section a good bending and it was 'quiet', no creaks or 'tik-tik-tik...' noises, but nevertheless its existence gnaws away like a loft-mouse in the night, so I used a two-part epoxy and reinforced these areas with some grey 6lb 'dyneema' and brushed a little more resin into the thread. I'm pondering black whippings, I like how the look on cane (since owning a sadly, un-straightenable Octofloat in black thread) with perhaps a few turns of green wire on the thick ones. Hm... Ferrules ordered from the truly helpful Ted Oliver, still the best quality.

Once the ferrules arrive I'll order cork, rings and thread.

Ringstead BeachRingstead beach on a nice March day...'just because'

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 10th April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #3. The top section had multiple deep nicks across the flats where every silk whipping had been cut off. Careless and crude. Resolving to put reinforcing over all the nicks along with the two areas where water damage showed and using a two part epoxy, a tack layer was applied between 5mm pencilled markers and then whipped over with 6lb dyneema, brushing more epoxy over the whipping. Horrible job and my first thought was it would be unmanageably lumpy (it's not really) and a tad ugly (it is). Unable to reconcile myself with this, it didn't look good or 'right', and taking RedFin's advice, ordered some white silk thread to re-do in silk. Once varnished the whippings will almost fade into the cane. So a happy hour cutting off the first go and scraping off the epoxy came ot pass, then the cane got a coat of thinned varnish, while the silk was in the post...

Also the ferrules; They came, fine solid things, the smaller pair fitted the cane almost to the mil, the larger needed some work...investigating the lathe at the work-shop it was clear the cane was 'too long' to build up and machine down. Both sections of cane needed some work, the bottom end of the Allcocks' needed just the corners off really and that barely (I took 4¼" inches off the bottom end, it was rough on the outer layers - although mighty tough to cut - and the nail holes from the original reel seat bothered me, those ought to be well inside the counter's brass embrace.

The handle section, the late not lamented Black Seal, needed work. Decided to use the same technique used for cutting cork handles down, i.e. 30mm plastic drainpipe sawed in half lengthways used as a sanding former. If this didn't work well, the duff bit could be cut off. By rotating the cane in my left hand at a steady rate and cutting in short strokes (stop it) back and forth at a constant rate with my other hand, while regularly offering it up to the female for size(I said stop it), it was quite easy to maintain a true and even cut. I discovered twisting the ferrule hard left black marks on the cane, so using this as ersatz 'engineer's black', worked steadily until a 'working fit' was achieved, then gave the cane a few a few gentle strokes (...come on!) with a finer grade. Time elapsed about 30 minutes. 'By eye' it's not possible to see if 'true' or not, so probably 'not'. Huh. Not so hard.

The_BeastmasterSanded down cane, both counters and a 'threaded' top section, ready for gluing The_BeastmasterThe air holes drilled in the bottom of the counters. One hole would do in truth...and one without a broken off drill-bit would be even better.

Repeating the sanding exercise, after cutting the lower end of the Allock's off, took only 10 minutes to fit the ferrule - this was very nearly a fit 'out of the box'. Again, 'true'. Measuring the total length with the rod laid out on the floor, with a 24" handle and an inch off the tip (Oi! Really...) - which was bevelled for the original tip ring - it comes in at 10' 8". The ferrules' feathered edges were removed with a jewellers file...so annoying when the whipping frays here...and then also coloured in the bright brass with a black indelible marker - with black thread over the top, there'll be not a glint.

One other thing. The butt section was hollow - sort of - perhaps eight inches deep, this was filled with epoxy and carbon rods.

The_BeastmasterAnother view of the sanded down cane, both counters and a 'threaded' top section, ready for gluing The_BeastmasterThe counter for the bottom section.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 16th April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #4. Having decided to whip the rod in black thread, on a whim, I decided to use some green wire to give the ferrule whipping some muted bling. The whipping over the ferrule was done using a 'C' grade black thread, with an overlay of '0.16mm/0.006"/AWG 34' bobbin wire, with a green enamel coat. They're strictly decorative, which is to say, not there to add strength.

'Twas like this; cast the whipping on, after three turns put a 'pull through' loop under the thread and do three more turns, then flip the loop back out of the way and whip up to about six turns from the 'cast off' point, then whip a backward loop (facing the opposite way from the 'cast off' loop) for three of those turns and finish the whipping in the usual way. Keep the whipping turns tight together.

Then use the first loop to pull the end of the wire through to start it off. Whip the wire on top of the thread whipping following the grooves between the threads, the first turn is critical. When you get to the second loop, pull the wire through to finish. The line used for this needs to be stout - the wire is hard to pull through and using 6lb dyneema, the wire will break at the pull through as often as not (which is OK as long as it's tucked under OK).

The_BeastmasterWire-whipped ferrules The_BeastmasterWire-whipped ferrules

Thinned varnish is then applied; make sure it soaks in between the wire turns. They'll get another coat or two of undiluted 'yacht' later. You can see a few places where the wire whipping varies a little, the thread itself varies slightly, there's not much to do about that, but it looks fine for one who is 'less than a perfectionist'.

The_BeastmasterWire-whipped ferrules The_BeastmasterWire-whipped ferrules

You may have realised by now, that as a rod, this might be something of an animal...my original idea was to produce something like a 'MK III' but a shade longer than 10', but less than 11'. While on the face of it it would have made a nice 9' rod, I find that too short for practical general carp fishing and my experince of 11' cane rods is that they are mostly a little over long.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 22nd April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #5. I have now whipped over all the top section iffy bits with white silk thread and varnished. It's a swine to pull though and cut without wisps of silk remaining...however...I finally cut the tip down 1", then assembled the rod in its bare state. I measured the overall length at 10' 8" and cut the butt section at that length (allowing for ¼" wear on each ferrule). Once cut down, it was taken outside to play and the first proper waggle was a surprise. It wasn't as heavy as I expected and has a decent feel. Heh. Here carpy carpy...

The_BeastmasterThe fore-grip champagne cork and one of the handle sections.The_BeastmasterThe fore-grip champagne cork and three of the handle sections with their destination. Note the lines on the cork which ensure that the re-aligment of the sections is correct when they are glued on.The_BeastmasterThe fore-grip champagne cork in situ.
The_BeastmasterThe fore-grip champagne cork in situ form the other end.The_BeastmasterThe first of the two narrow reel-band section corks in place.The_BeastmasterThe second of the two narrow reel-band section corks in place. These were glued down and then sanded to the right diameter, using the 'half-pipe'.

The next job was to form the handle. I opted for a champagne front cork (for fun), bevelled a little on the inside, then a narrow section for the 'Lockfasts' some 12", which I glued on and sanded down in isolation. Then I placed corks over the rest of the butt, finishing the butt-end with another champers cork. This amuses me, but the cork is very good quality.

The_BeastmasterThe narrow section for the reel-bands is clearly show, and the section behind that was left at its original diameter, as was the champagne cork butt-end. The narrow section was chamfered into the cork used for the end of the handle, though I'm not sure I like the look of it. The_BeastmasterA slightly closer view of the same.

The butt ring is a game guide, but the other rings were Pacbay titanium and a Fuji titanium tip ring. I did this as they look OK, are very very light, not a bad thing especially for the tip ring which had a 3.6mm tube diameter. It's a heavy piece of cane. The tip was 'gun-smoke' when it turned up, I may have wire brushed it a bit to match the others better. I whipped the rod with black thread throughout, a sheme I think looks quite nice.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 1st May 2015. The First Extra Tip Section.

I had found one of those multi-purpose Avon rods in a pawn shop of sorts, going so cheap so I bought it out of curiosity. It had a dolly section to extend the length past its 'natural' 13ft (I think), was missing several quiver tips and it had a tip section that immediately commended itself to being cut up to make the Four-Piece Avon's hypothesized 'light tip'. It also had one of those combined foregrip and reel-seat thingies, the leverage of which inevitably causes the reel-seat thread to lock, like Mrs Thane-of-Sussex's did; I mended that by stripping off the corks, cementing a carbon-fibre tube over the top and putting new corks onto that.

I stripped the rings off the tip-to-be, cut it down a quarter inch at a time until it perfectly overlapped the third section spigot of the Harrison's, then roughed up the 'counter' area, applied a uncoated green spectra braid whipping over some tacky epoxy resin, and then brushed a warmed up second coat over the top. This wasn't a super strength joint as it was intended for 'smaller things' so would do the job perfectly well.

The 'counter' with its braid-and-resinThe first ring - one scarlet, one green whipping.The tip ring - bad choice of colour, I later changed it to yellowA single leg ring at the tip end. Green-on-green seemed silly so I changed all the whippings for scarlet .

It did the job perfectly well, although the transition from the tip to third section looked a little abrupt under strain. As it was 6" longer than the existing tip and considerably thinner, I sewed a section of the same combo rod into one side of the Four-Piece's rod-bag, to protect against 'accidental re-configuration'. All done.

...but now I want a tip-section with a test curve about halfway between this tip and the original tip's t/c...the remaining multi-purpose Avon's parts will be useful for a new dolly section to shorten the Four-Piece for brooking and general fettling. If I had fished with said 'combo avon rod' I could comment on its utility, but I never did and as of this date it is not, strictly speaking, possible...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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 'MKIII', 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 occurrs 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 9th September 2016. JAA's Top Tips - The Modified Pipe-Cutter for tightening brass ferrules.

I'd heard all the rumours so bought one to try it out. It's not hard. You get one as shown and drift out the pin holding the cutting wheel. Then you find a bunch of washers that are a loose (ish) fit on the pin and pack the space out. These are stainless steel M5 'Form B' I think. Brass might be better.

The modified pipe-cutterPin drifted out, cutting wheel ready to come out. The modified pipe-cutterCutting wheel out.

Drift the pin back in. Ideally with a parallel pin-punch, but a 3" nail with the point cut off and a block of wood with a hole in it will do fine.

The modified pipe-cutterWashers fitted, pin not quite home.The modified pipe-cutterWashers fitted, pin home, cutter re-assembled.The modified pipe-cutterThe model I used.

Put the offending female ferrule in the cutter on the area that overlaps the rod - this will help prevent you over tightening it and is also most likley to be 'true'. Do it up until it's tight - not so tight it squashes the brass.

Rotate the cutter around and work it toward the open end of the female. You're aiming to wind it up the barrel not scrape it up.

It's a slow progress, but bear with it. Test. Repeat.

It took me two 'runs' to stop the ferrule on my Milbro tourist knocking and one light one to tighten slightly the other one. With this model of cutter it's easy to hold the screw in place to stop the cutter loosening, but I might add some nylon washers to the internal thread to prevent this.


Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 14th September 2016. 'The Milbro Tourist' restoration. Bought on fleabay about five years ago for £5, after I failed to buy one seen at Romsey. It's a four-piece solid glass-fibre rod and this one was in a bad way. The ferrule on the first joint was ruined, torn with pliers. I'd bought a replacement and then put the thing to one side...

Recently I picked it up again, took the rust-speckled 'bells' rings off and chucked them. The handle was sound but dry and the butt button was a mess. The orginal reel-bands were binned. I resolved to fit a small reel-seat, a nice one which came via one of two broken fly-rods in a rubbish bin. I cut off three cork rings to make space for the reel-seat. I glued the counter on the second section, left it overnight and then put the female on the first section, pushed them together and put the rod on a flat surface to ensure that any 'set' the rod was in line with the reel seat setting. The alignment marks can be seen on the ferrule, rod and the reel seat.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle and the posh reel seat...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the old handle...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The counter ferrule on the third section. The aradite
was cut off flush when ¾ set. The tissue
and duct-tape stop the glue running out of the join...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The handle with corks removed, the female ferrule,
the third section, fore-grip cork and the reel seat...5

I 'super-glued' two small rectangles of fine grit sandpaper on the end of the reel seat and spun it a few times on the cork to flatten it off. Removed said sandpaper and glue, then araldite'd the reel-seat in place. I reamed out the hole in the new fore-grip cork, just enough to slip over the thread of the reel seat and cascemite'd it on, extending the handle by about 2", leaving the original logo and name in place.

I removed the last two inches of cork from the butt-end and put a champagne cork over the glass, araldite'd it on. I rubbed it down with the 'plastic half-drainpipe' PHDThis is a 5½" piece of 32mm plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways. Wrap sandpaper around this, following the inner diameter. Working with even strokes while rotating a cork handle a little after every few strokes, it's possible to achieve nigh-on perfect handles with a little practise. Use a micrometre to check the diameter regularly as you go along. , to meet the original handle's diameter. The female ferrule was then araldite'd on using the alignment marks.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the handle with corks removed
and the champagne cork replacment...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The reel-seat and foregrip fitted and glued. The green
whipping at the rear of the seat is also visible. A black
whipping has been added to the glass by the fore-grip...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The chamfered down champagne cork...5
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
A view of the finished butt (first) section...6

I put black whippings on the ferrule end and in front of the fore-grip - which was rubbed down, but not quite to the diameter of the main handle. At the back of the reel seat was a clear area of metal - this was designed to be under cork on a fly rod - there's little point to that with this rod, so I whipped over that section with green thread and varnished it. Before I put the rod together I considered cutting this piece off flush with the flange, but decided it made no odds. With hindsight it might have looked neater like that, but araldite is a powerful incentive to leave it alone.

Above the counter on the third section were two horrible digs into the fibre-glass. It looks 'just like someone undid the ferrule using pliers'...I didn't much like the look of that, although thought it unlikely to break. I ran waterproof cyanoacrylate into the cracks to bind the fibres and whipped over with black 'D' thread, an extension of the ferrule whipping. The female ferrule on the third section had a slight knock, so I used a modifed pipe-cutter to tighten it up see belowIt's really quite simple for how that works.

Rings. The original pattern was two rings on the fourth (tip) section, one on the third and one on the second. I've changed that to three, two, one using 'Pacbay' titanium, plus a titanium lined tip ring. There was a nick in the glass just south of the tip-ring, so I made sure that was on the 'underside', dabbed it with waterproof cyanoacrylate to lock the fibres , gave the tip section a severe bend test, then whipped over it. The ring spacing used was [T, 4", 9½", 16½", 25½", 36½", 49½]. I lightly scraped down the old varnish, whipped everything with black thread and varnished. It looks very smart, especially with a Cardinal 33 loaded with 4kg braid. Nifty. Fits in a back-pack.

'The Milbro Tourist'The finished rod, all four sections'The Milbro Tourist'The finished rod, all four sections, with Cardinal 33 fitted.'The Milbro Tourist'How it looked when I got it (picture swiped from the internet) and this is 100% better looking than the one I bought.

...replacing a ferrule, adding that reel seat and those new rings means the fittings have four times the value of the rod. Still...'up-cycling' is all the rage. upA cynical view is; 'upcycling' is a word used by a type of person to suggest 'Second-hand, but I could afford a new one, I'm doing this because I'm environmentally conscious, not because I'm one of those wretched poor people.' No-one is fooled by this.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 17th September 2016. The B&W Mk.IV 'G' S/U. I picked this rod up a few years backThe Bruce & Walker Mk.IV 'G' S/U and I decided to 'ring' the changes, so fitted titanium 'Pacbays' then re-built the handle. The handle was a wreck so I completely replaced it and added a reel-seat, I find the original reel-bands are, respectfully, 'not that good'.

The B&W Mk.IV 'G' new handleThe very fine original butt-ring... The B&W Mk.IV 'G' new handle...with the Pacbay ensemble

The original handle was 29" long, possibly driven more by fashion than function, so put the reel-seat 15" from the butt-end. With my hand on the reel-foot there is 2" of handle sticking past my elbow. The 'fighting butt' is convenient at netting-time, for wedging the rod-end into the abdomen without causing injury. T'other end is a bored out champagne cork. Sanded down it looks nice, although there is the slightest concave shape to the fore-grip, which I will remove presently.

The B&W Mk.IV 'G' new handleThe handle with its new reel seat The B&W Mk.IV 'G' new handleThe view down the handle

Because the reel-seat ('liberated' from an old Cormoran telescopic rod) had chromed bands, to remove the flash I carefully coloured them with a purple permanent marker, then whipped over them with garnet thread then varnished - now they are garnet. There is probably someone throwing up their hands somewhere (with any luck) but with modern rings (removing 1oz from the tip section) and the new handle configuration, it is a better rod - and it was a pretty good rod to start with. One of my favourites.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 26th September 2016. The Handle Repair of Insanity. As I noted previously, a 6" section of the corks behind the reel-seat were loose. I thought perhaps the PVA glue I'd used hadn't set properly. I cut this section out, discovering that where I'd used thread to pack the blank to the cork I/D, the top layer was free of layer beneath as the glue hadn't penetrated the thread.

I cut a 6" section of cork in half length-wise, glued thin strips of bamboo inside and shaved them down so that the corks fitted perfectly on the handle. A whole lot of 'cascamite' was applied, then the whole caboodle was bound with string. When set, the handle was reshaped using the 'half-32mm pipe" method. It needs a light 'P180' polish, but can you see the join?

The Handle Repair of InsanityThe cork sections with splints.The Handle Repair of InsanityOne cork section in placeThe Handle Repair of InsanityThe finished handle, not unlike the old one.The Handle Repair of InsanityCan you see the join?

With hindsight, lazy really, and I know in my heart it'll all have to come off and be re-done properly.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 12th October 2016. I must stop going in the garage. I was hunting for something to make a wide diameter cork borer and found my old home-made telescopic landing net handle, four pieces, about 11 feet. The metal bits at each end had seized (but came off with the aid of a hacksaw), but it was designed to fit in the bag for the four-piece Avon. Hm...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 22nd November 2016. Blue. Having left two paintbrushes lying on the tin to 'clean later' and forgetting about them (not for the first time), I popped into a craft shop to buy some new 'rubbish brushes' bruAs opposed to proper artists brushes, which would be a terrible waste of a good brush if used for painting my floats. In truth I buy on 'the bay' now as I can buy ten brushes for the price of two in the shop. . Humbrol, it appears, have fluorescent blue paint in aerosols...

I'll have to see what such blue-tipped floats look like on the water of course, but promising...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 23rd November 2016. Double quill trotting floats. I decided to make some trotting floats out of two bits of swan quill glued in the middle, as I have some. Here's what I've discovered. The quills fit well together, one inside the other, they are very similar shapes. If you're putting inserts into one end of the other (I used porcupine quill), water-proof cyanoacrylate isn't ideal as it doesn't fill gap well. Araldite would be better. The cyanoacrylate is fine for the two larger sections' joint though. Both of which are whipped over anyway.

The end result is ascetically pleasing. It's tempting to whip up the whole length, but why cover that up? I might consider filling the quill sections with green dye to stain them and making a tip section, either from porcupine quill or cane.

Really not so difficult to make though. Cut the quill off just above the 'joint' with a junior hacksaw, then use a very sharp knife to cut them to a 45° angle. For other joints, use a nail board to rub the edges down by running it sideways in a 'draw-file' fashion up over the step in the joint...and at this point, sans varnish or thread, I hid them away to avoid further distractions from my studies...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 30th November 2016. I decided to rebuild a Shakespeare 8/9 aftm fly rod.

This was in part due to the handle being very worn and the suggestion of websites, various, that snake eyes might be better replaced with small rings as the back-cast is smoothed. And being an engineer first, I have to improve stuff. It's literally compulsory. I had a fine reel seat to fit as well, replacing the tinny one that came with the rod. This 'scavenged' reel-seat also had a 3/8" BSF tread hole in the bottom end. Investigation showed this to be a tight push fit in the body of the real seat, so I whacked it back in with Loctite 263 liberally applied. The rest was tedium, removing two part epoxy'd rings, but I knocked 0.5oz of the weight of the top section in the process. By complete coincidence, the rods' CoGCentre of Gravity with a 'Snowbee Stealth' #9/10 (with line) fitted, was at the right bit of the half-wells cork. Huh. I added one small snake-ring back on as a 'keeper-ring'.

Plan "B" was to make a butt extension - part of my idea was to allow myself the option of taking a breather and fishing conventionally now and then. The eyed fly-rod rings help this and it occurred, that a short butt-extension, that could screw into the blunt end would make that more practical. I robbed a bit of cane with a 3/8" BSF 'socket' on it (an aborted rod-rest, too heavy and too FTF FTFI'm sure there are Fundamental Traditional Fishermen who use nothing but split-cane rod rests, but for myself I tend to use (a) the toe-end of my foot (b) the tackle-bag and (c) the ground. Very occasionally I'll use (d) a forked hazel twig. If I remember to take it with me or havn't left it behind at the previous water. ) and cut a piece of studding just long enough to engage fully with the extension section, a 3/8" BSF full nut and the rod fitting. I put the studding fully into the rod, did the nut right up, unscrewed the studding 1mm, then Loctite 363'd the nut in place.

This is so when done up, the nut will bear against the flat surface of the handle fitting before the studding 'bottoms out'. Then this project, like the double quills above, got stuffed in the cupboard for 'later'...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 14th March 2017. Curiosity, proverbial. It occured to me that the slender carbon switch leaning on the window-sill, aka an 'ice rod', might make a fine thin flexible tip for a salmon fly-rod tip section, as part of an experiment to make a tough adaptable 'all round' rod.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 20th March 2017. Curiosity. Drat. The slender carbon switch mentioned in the below entry was exactly the wrong size to add a slender tip to the fly-rod tip section. Simply put, if I had cut the fly-rod tip section back to allow the insertion of the 'tip' I'd have ended up with a 'broom-handle-with-a-quiver-tip' type of affair which was not the idea at all.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 9th July 2017. The 'Mk.III' Incarnation of the Blue 7' Rod. I had been eyeing up the old glass-fibre 7' rod for some time. This project started off as a 'tidying' rebuild. My whippings needed to go; these were very neat, but with less varnish than would prevent dirt runnels between the threads. The ferrule need replacing and the corks, long ago varnished, a score of years perhaps, looked OK but...the reel seat had acquired a slight looseness, which had bugged me for some time.

The Seven Foot rodThe 'MKII'. Seven foot (6'9" then), BLUE, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c. As well as a gazillion perch, it has accounted for many pike including a 17lb fish caught through a hole in the ice, a wrasse in the 8lb range, flounders, plaice, sea-trout, eels, bass and a couple of decent carp, ruffe, eels, bream, chub, roach, rudd...and a few gudgeon. I know, 'I don't get out enough'.

I stripped off the rings and using the hard square edge of a steel ruler, removed flaky varnish. The glass is a really fine BLUE colour, which is embedded in my psyche. It occured to me, while idly staring out the window, on the sill of which was a cheap 24" 'ice-rod' , to make an extension to the tip-end with some 10½" of the said 'ice-rod' (9). I decided to fit this using a carbon-fibre sleeve (8), an old telescopic rod section cut to fit. My first thought was to make this sleeve into a ferrule, using the BLUE glass-fibre tip (7) as a spigot, but then decided to epoxy it on. I cut ½" off the tip (7), as there was a suspicious white area at that point - whether this was caused by strain or the heat used to remove the tip ring, I know not.

The join of the 'ice-rod' (9) and the 'sleeve' (8) is shown by the arrow (10) in the first picture.

This 'ice-rod' tip is nigh-on unbreakable and in use I'd expect it to fold out of the way rather, like a quiver tip, so I resolved to cut the carbon-fibre sleeve (8) just long enough to take the strain and whip a lined intermediate ring over the point on this sleeve where the two solid sections meet (11). This provides a de-facto tip ring, onto which any serious strain will be thrown. This will allow the use of lighter lines for gudgeoning. The overall rod length is now up to 7'7".

In the second picture the point where the 'ice-rod' (9) butts against the fibre- glass tip (7) is shown by the arrow (11). Once glued into place, I fitted three rings of reinforcing carbon-fibre at each end of the sleeve and one over the 'join' (10), the latter will nestle between the rod-ring's 'feet'.

The Mk.III Pool CueThe 3.5mm diameter fibre-glass tip (7), the carbon-fibre sleeve (8), the 'ice-rod' section (9), and the arrow (10) shows the top end of carbon-fibre sleeve (8). The Mk.III Pool CueShowing fibre-glass tip (7) inserted into the carbon-fibre sleeve (8). The arrow (11) shows the marked point on the carbon-fibre sleeve (8) where the fibre-glass tip (7) butts against the the 'ice-rod' section (9).

The sleeve (8) had the slightest looseness of fit to the fibre-glass tip (7), a mis-match between the tapers of the two parts (an inevitable consequence of this type of fettling), so before gluing them together, I rubbed the thinnest coat of epoxy onto the top 1" of the fibre-glass tip. Once set, this provided exact alignment for the final gluing. When gluing, I found that the air-tight fit of the sleeve (8) to the glass-fibre tip (7) prevented it being fully inserted, despite me applying sustained pressure. In the end, I bored a 0.3mm hole right on the point where the two sections meet in the sleeve (11). This worked fine and any weakness will be supported by the de-facto tip-ring and a small carbon fibre sleeve. I did nudge the middle reinforcing ring a mm or so up the sleeve(11), so had to shave ½mm off the 'tip-ring' foot to seat it properly.

On to the ferrule replacement. The butt-section female ferrule had a neatly whipped black thread coverall, to cover the flashy but careful brass wire whipped-and-soldered reinforcing I put on in 1980. Clearly I'd resolved to make it as stout as possible. You can see the wire, the solder and the epoxy. Actually not a bad job. It came away easily, the soft (lead) solder barely resisting and I discovered it was a '× 2' whipping.

The Mk.III Pool CueThe female ferrule, with its neat black thread whipping.The Mk.III Pool CueThe female ferrule with its brass wire reinforcing whipping. The epoxy on the fibre-glass bears the imprint of the thread. I porably whipped over it while it was soft.The Mk.III Pool CueThe two wooden arbours that supported the reel seat.

I cut off the fore-grip cork, removed the excellent winding check, to be reused, and worked the reel-seat off, pulling it up the rod and twisting it 2mm back-and-forth. A blister later and it was off. It's good quality and is stamped "MODERN ARMS COMPANY LIMITED BROMLEY KENT". The reel-seat was mounted on two turned beech or boxwood arbours, a good solution. However, the reel seat needs turning round - the screw lock at the top has two advantages - firstly the natural action of the right hand on the rod works to tighten the screw NOT loosen it and secondly any strain on the reel pulls the reel-foot into the screw, locking it, as opposed to providing slack for it to come loose.

This means the rear-grip needs to come 4" up the rod in order to keep the reel foot more-or-less where it was before. I pondered keeping one wood arbour, but decided, after discovering the impossiblity of boring carbon arbour without a lathe, to use the tried and tested tape-and-glue, using hot melt and epoxy.

I pondered making a carbon-fibre ferrule - replacing the brass - with the glass-fibre on the butt-section acting as a 'natural' spigot. This would be lighter and possibly stronger. Hm. I spend a few days batting this mental ping-pong ball back-and-forth. In the end, although kind of liking brass as part of the soul of the rod (I know...), I went for the technical superiority of carbon-fibre. This was also free and I'd gain experience and expertise of making spigot joints.

I opted to make and fit a spigot onto the butt-section, not really liking the idea of the bare glass-fibre spigot. To get the best fit, I first made the tip-section 'female' (1) from a piece of the old telescopic rod. I dropped it over the tip section (2) and then carefully cut away ¼" at a time until I had a good working fit and an overlap of the tube (1) with the glass-fibre (2) of 1½". This was the length of the old brass counter. I wanted the spigot to be about 2½", so cut the bottom end off the tube at that mark 'plus a bit'.

The Mk.III Pool CueThe carbon-fibre 'sleeve' (1) and the thick end of the fibre-glass tip section (2)The Mk.III Pool CueShowing the 'sleeve' fitted over the tip-section (1). The line on the sleeve shows how far the glass extends into the 'sleeve'.The Mk.III Pool CueThe reel-seat, the winding check and the butt-cap.

I used the 'other bit' (4) and slipped it over the butt-section glass-fibre (5) and cut it back a bit at a time until it overlapped with the glass by 1½" as before and cut the other end off 1¾" from the end of the glass. I then cleaned up a piece of an old fly-rod flyTwo butt-sections of 6-7aftm rods found in a rubbish bin at Bishop's Green, along with broken top sections...  to use as the 'spigot' (3), having first cut the thinner end down to ensure a good fit in the tip-section 'female' and then cutting it to length, inserting it through the butt-section 'sleeve' before replacing it. That'll make more sense with the pictures. I epoxy'd a thin section of an old roach-pole top section through the spigot and when it was set, cut if off flush - to add a little strength. I can't make an impression on it with my bare hands, so rationally, it's probably strong enough.

The Mk.III Pool Cue(5) The narrow end of the glass-fibre butt-section, (4) the sleeve that will both contain the spigot and mount over the fibre-glass and (3) the spigot. The Mk.III Pool CueShowing the spigot (3) inside the sleeve (4)The Mk.III Pool CueShowing the spigot(3) + sleeve(4) fitted over the fibre-glass (5)

I was going to chamfer off all the various edges before gluing, but why weaken the tube where it's under strain? So I expoxy'd the spigot (3) in the butt-section sleeve (4) and then epoxy'd this assembly over the end of the glass-fibre (5). The female on the tip-section was done when the butt-section had set, as I wanted to double check the spacing before gluing. I wanted about ¼" gap (6) when assembled tight to allow for some wear.

That sounded too easy...What I did was mark with a pencil the point on (3) where the sleeve came down to. I then put a rough spectra braid whipping up to this pencil mark. This stopped me misaligning if the pencil mark is obscured by glue. The whipping also prevents the epoxy running out of the ferrule...inside the spigot/sleeve they'll be quite a bit of epoxy, but this will settle at the bottom and any air bubbles can escape though the middle of the spigot. I wrapped the two places where epoxy might get out with cling film and stuck rubber bands over them. I left it for 24 hours...

I again decided to add a little more strength where it was most required. If you think about it (or try it), you can crush the end of a tube a lot more easily that the middle of the same tube. So, the ends of the load bearing tube will be reinforced and also the places where the tube meets the internal fibre-glass. I used carbon-fibre tube sections for this pundered from an incomplete JW Avon I got in a junk-shop.

When flexed, there a bit of a flat spot (something one can also say about the brass ferrule), also the rod is now another about 4" longer, making the overall 'restored' length 96" (8 feet).

I wanted to keep the BLUE theme, so I put a coat of white paint over parts of the carbon-fibre ferrules and (gently) whipped over the paint with D-Grade blue thread - so it looked BLUE when it was varnished.

There was a ridiculous pleasure to be had from the lack of reaming required to fit the corks to the glass-fibre. So easy...the butt-cap was a kind of white neoprene, still solid enough and attached to the 'ally' cap by what looks like a nylon thread. I decided to just reuse 'as-is' and cleaned it up, inside and out first. I had a small tapered spinning rod fore grip. I reversed this so the taper fitted inside the butt-cap. I then put epoxy inside the butt cap and fitted it over the cork - which was essentially acting as a template to centre the cap. I left it to set overnight, standing on the butt-end. I pulled the cork back up the rod, then mixed more epoxy smeared a little on the glass and put a good dollop inside the butt-cap and then worked the cork back down the rod and slowly pushed it into the butt-cap. The idea was to do this incrementally and wait for trapped air to be forced back out through the cork. So I applied pressure three or four times about 15 minutes apart. Then it was left standing on the butt-cap to set. The next issue was that this re-purposed fore-grip shI'm sure you've noticed that posh folk and virtue-signallers use phrases like 're-purposing' and 'up-cycling' rather than 'second hand' or 'make do and mend'. This is to make absolutely sure we all know they can afford to buy new stuff but they're doing us a favour.  had a slight rounded profile at the thick end, where it will adjoin the main corks.

The Mk.III Pool CueThe butt-end before sanding. The Mk.III Pool CueEnd of a spare piece of cork, with four sandpaper pieces glued on

Top tip; get something round and flat, like a piece of spare cork handle and glue four small pieces of sandpaper on the flat surface with cyanoacrylate. When it's dry, place over the rod and against the surface to be flattened off and sand it back by turning it. It's also handy for flattening off cork sections after you cut them to fit and with care you can even make a tool to recess the end of a reel seat into a piece of cork.

I glued the main cork on with cascemite and then made an arbour from duct-tape about 1" down from the corks. I filled this with epoxy and pushed the reel seat into place. (I'd already done an alignment exercise and mad marked the corks and the reel seat with a black line with an indelible pen). I then ran the rest of that batch of epoxy into the reel seat from the other end and used the 'fore-grip' cork to hold the seat central while the epoxy set. When it had, I ran another batch of epoxy into the tube and repeated the process. When that had set I filled the remaining space in the reel-seat tube with plastic melt glue.

I trimmed the hot melt off flush and glued a few strips on sandpaper on the surface with cyanoacrylate (see 'top-tip' aobove) and sanded a recess into the fore-grip for the reel seat, removed the sandpaper strips then epoxy'd the foregrip on. I epoxy'd the winding check on, ensuring a thin film of the same covered all the forward facing cork.

I covered the reel-seat with cling-film and then put a turn of duct-tape at each end. Using a 6" piece of 1¼" plastic pipe, cut in half length-ways as a sanding block, I chamfered the fore-grip down to almost meet the winding check and chamfered the reel-seat end the same amount. I did the same to the corks at the other end of the reel-seat and also smoothed off the joint at the butt-cap end of the handle.

If you've got this far, it might look as if I've galloped though this re-build, but in truth, most stages were a day apart. The handle, for example, took 20 minutes but spread over four days.

So. I then put a Fuji lined ring on the butt and the 'de-facto' tip and Pacbay Minima's in black for the rest. Black thread (which looked nice) but blue thread on the new tip, which is black in itself...

The Mk.III Pool CueThe butt-end sanded down, plus the top-section 'ferrule' The Mk.III Pool CueTip of the rod, with the 'male' ferrule on the bottom section.
The Mk.III Pool CueThe third ring on the joint, a lined 'Fuji' The Mk.III Pool CueThe maker's name

The Mk.III 'pool-cue' is over a foot longer than the 'MKII' and a foot longer than the 'MKI'. It's lighter due to the carbon 'ferrules' being about 10g lighter overall than the brass/wire and the orginal rings mostly being changed for lighter ones. Now I need to fish with it. Just because...

The Eight Foot rodThe 'Mk.III' Pool-cue'. Eight feet now, BLUE, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c, sort of. At least I have a hobby.
...yes, the top section has a slight curve, caused by years of use 'the other way up'...

Lessons learned:
• Cut tapered tubes down a ¼" at a time, or less, until they fit.
• Cut those tubes with a knife-edge needle file. A hacksaw will split and splinter the tubing.
• Keep all the off-cuts.
• Wear a mask, carbon-fibre is horrible stuff.
• Decent carbon-fibre fly-rods provide 100% better quality carbon tubes for this kind of thing, with twice the wall thickness of most rods and easily four times the thickness of pole-sections.
• Carbon-fibre is amazingly strong.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 1st August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part I.

I've long had two water barrels in a chain, garden for the watering of, and it occurred that an open top and a few minor modifications would turn one into a fine goldfish pond. Of a sort. I cut the top out and glued in a grille, made roll of fine mesh chicken-wire into the inflow and egress pipes (no fish in the soakaway please) and then popped a solar aerator into the mix.

The aerator is 'over-powered' for the size of the barrel, but no matter. It's battery 'backed up' and there's a single rechargeable LI battery inside the unit. I can replace that no-trouble if required. The solar panel is probably 'not quite' enough for the job, these things never are, but it'll do for now. I have another somewhere and if push comes to shove, I'll put a DVM on the output and buy a bigger one with the same output voltage.

The tube for aerator were stuff through a hole in the top rim, so removing the lid didn't entail dismantling the air-lines and like most air-stone they float a bit. Because the barrel is deep and narrow I decide to put both stones on the bottom. Mrs AA recalled that we had plenty of hag-stones around the drive, so I bagged a couple, put the tubes through the holes and re-attached the air-stones. Done. The solar panel is a little low - it blocks a little sun-light to the barrel, which has little enough light. I set it to 35 (the optimum nagle for a due south PV panel in the UK. I'll raise the height of it down the week, I'd prefer it well clear of the top. The pump itself, seen strapped to the connecting pipe is 'IP44' rated. In theory. I'll make a cover out of an old plastic box next week and mount it so I can see the status light though the lean-to window.

The fish in a barrel escapadeThe-two butt system...plus clutterThe fish in a barrel escapadeThe lid, cut out and with grille hot-melt glued inThe fish in a barrel escapadeThe solar panel and the pump, temporary mounting
The fish in a barrel escapadeThe two aerator tubesThe fish in a barrel escapadeDouble, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and barrel bubbleThe fish in a barrel escapadeA newt eye (attached to the newt) and a frog's toe (attached to the frog) are not out of the question

Tomorrow, two goldfish will be put in a bag of water and dangled in the barrel to equalise the temperature and released into the wild. As it were. These fish were captured in the ditch alongside the WetlandThe two goldest ones were re-homed in the Littleangler's fish tank, and being 'regular' goldfish, I think will be hardy enough.

For the moment, this is an ersatz fish tank, but the longer term plan is to establish a more natural habitat with the addition of some pond silt, water snails, plus daphnia. At the end of the summer the goldfish will be re-tanked and the plan is to introduce a few small crucians to the barrel, and tough blighters that they are, they'll be fine I don't doubt. No pike though. Oh no. They'd swim up the drain-pipe and colonise the pond next door.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 2nd August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part II.

The fish are in the barrel...they're in bags for 10-20 minutes or so to reduce any thermal shock from the nice warm tank in the house and the quite fresh barrel. It's rained hard for the last few hours and while the water running in is probably high in oxygen it'll be colder than the tank by some margin. The tank will remain on standby...'in case'.

The fish in a barrel escapadeBagged gold-fish. The fish in a barrel escapadeFree as a bird...oh wait...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 3rd August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part III. Good news. The fish are not up-side down this morning, so I bunged in the bit of gravel from the 'reserve fish-tank' and knapped out the bottom of a large cracked terracotta flower-pot for them to hide in.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 16th January 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part I.

A tube arrived today with a cane rod-blank in it...I've always dreamed of owning an actual 'Mk.III'. That is, the Richard Walker double-built cane carp rod, a 10 foot two-piece compound of two straight tapers. In his own words "Of course it was designed for fish of 10lb and upwards..." ('Drop Me A Line' p.198). I always fancied, notwithstanding 'the narrative', that this rod was the more likely conqueror of the 44lb record, although I can't substantiate that. But it has always intrigued and over the course of a long set of sporadic emails, the idea was born and an offer was made. The tapers for this rod are on Page 27 of 'Drop Me a Line', and these technically, make the rod 'compound taper', the top and bottom sections having different tapers. On the opposite page (p.26) there is a ring spacing, which I may or may not use. Here it is:

The Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodThe whole blank in the string
The Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodThe thick end of the butt section, showcasing the double-built caneThe Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodThe TapersThe Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodThe thin end of the butt section and the thick end of the tip section, the double-built cane clearly visible.
The Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodA wider shot of the blank's ends The Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodA wider shot of the blank's ends

The blank itself has a slightest odour of charring, perhaps a slight smell of treacle, and on the ends the double-build can clearly be seen. The tip section has been left a trifle longer than 60" to allow for the fitting of a tip ring. The first order of the day is to lay it on a flat surface to work out which face the rings will end up on. Once marked (pencil), I'll then varnish it once to seal the cane, while I seek out a good quality reinforced ferrule. Once the ferrule is on, and a little time has passed, then I will give the whole thing a waggle or two and consider my next move. I have no set date for completion - it will be built bit by bit and if it's not ready until September, then it's not. But where to try it out? Now that is a question.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 February 2018. De-Flashing.

One of my bug-bears is the incredible shininess of some items of fishing tackle and I have a particular dislike of very shiny rod-rings and other rod fittings. I have sorted out a way of dealing with chromed surfaces that does a reasonable job. Firstly, you rough up the surface of the metal. Use '000' grade wet'n'dry perhaps, although toothpaste or wire wool might work. Once mildly roughed up, colour over the offending metal with a dark grey indelible pen, more than once if you like. Black works well also, but green tends to produce a finish that is a smidge too Christmassy for me. This is surprisingly durable, and can be easily re-applied. However if you really wish, varnish over the colour, matt varnish obviously.

You can remove most indelible pen using nail varnish remover on a piece of kitchen-roll, but take care not to get it on the rod itself or glue, varnish, etc. As with all fettles, it is wise to do a tiny experiment somewhere where it will not show, otherwise you can end up with a tip-ring that looks like a Christmas-tree bauble, to give a random example.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 28th February 2018. I started these off in February 2017, but then hid all the fettling stuff to stop me from being distracted by them, a strategy which had only limited success. I recalled these a few days ago and got them out of hiding. I'd got as far as creating the basic float in the following way: I halved a number of goose quills, cutting diagonally with a knife-edged needle file, and then fiddled about until I found three pairs in which, the smaller quill slid perfectly into the larger. I chamfered the outside 'lip' of the larger quill (to tidy the whipping over this join), then carefully cut the bottom end of the smaller and cut pieces of porcupine quill to make the bottom end 'stem', having first matched them for size. The porcy pieces were then glued into their place in the smaller quill section with copious waterproof cyanoacrylate then when it had set overnight, the two goose quill halves were cyanoacrylate'd together.

Double goose-quill floatsThe porcupine quill insert stems Double goose-quill floatsThe joins in the middles

In hindsight, I should have cut the smaller quill at an angle where the porcupine quill was inserted, to improve the look and I suspect the whipping over the diagonal cut might add some strength. As it was, chamfering the end of the quill made whipping over it quite easy. When the glue had set, I whipped on a 20lb Alasticum wire eye and continued the whipping up over the bottom half of the float. It's a personal thing, but I prefer only a few dark colours for this, dark green, garnet and black. I find most other colours don't look quite right. One coat of 'fresh tin' yacht-varnish to seal the lower half, then another coat over the tip section and a third coat over the lower half.

Double goose-quill floatsGlued up Double goose-quill floatsWhipped, varnished, painted, marked up for the tips.

So...three days later I opted for painted tips, one orange, one pink and one blue. These are longish buoyant floats and it seems unlikely they will be fished nearby or in circumstances where a delicate touch is required. So I made the tips over an inch long, with the plan to colour them accord to the JAA magic ratio scheme, thus:

JAA's float-tip scheme

The pink one is highlighter over white paint. The trick is to put one coat of colour on every day for a week. Use even strokes (fnarr fnarr) and when you've got the depth of colour you want, put a coat of varnish carefully over the top of the colour without encroaching no the white band, which is best left matt. The blue (Humbrol Blue Florescent) was sprayed on using cling-film as a mask, but it didn't quite work for the tip, so I sprayed a little into the can's cap and brushed the rest, for the orange I used Testors' 'Racing Red', also brushed on. For all three, I then carefully drew on two fine black bands about 0.5mm apart on the boundary between the white and the colour, and the colour and the bare quill. Once they'd dried, I filled the gap using a black 'Sharpie'. I left them a day and added another 'coat'.

There's one float in the picture that is a 'basic quill'. This was a disposable stret-pegger, one of a pair. I literally cut the quill scraped it, drew on the tip with a red marker-pen and fished them using two float bands. To prove my point I lost one in a sunken tree. The other hung about until I thought it needed little other than varnish and an eye, so I twisted a 20lb Alasticum eye up. You do this by turning the wire twice around a handy 'former', say the shank of a drill bit, then twist the ends of the wire together with pliers until the eye is perfect and the wire is neatly twisted. Cut off the dog ends. You can use any wire for this, brass is OK, but take care not to over-twist and snap it.

I made a hole in the bottom end of the quill with a small broach and inserted the eye with waterproof cyanoacrylate, then whipped over it with enough tension to just compress the quill at that point, then slackened it off a bit as I went up the stem. I left the red marker-pen tip, added some layers of flouro pink and strengthened the black bands using a black sharpie and varnished over the whole lot.

Double goose-quill floatsThe finished articles

Start to finish these took a year to complete. I've no idea when I might use them - they'd make decent trotting floats, but wonder if the joint of the 'double quills' will take a hard strike when fixed top-and-bottom, but if nothing else they're easy on the eye.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 10th March 2018. The Half Drain-pipe method. I've mentioned this from time to time. This is it. Get a piece of plastic 35mm (o/d) pipe about 5-6" long. Cut it in half lengthways. Smooth off all the edges and round the corners.

To smooth any round cork handle, one simply puts a few wraps of sand-paper around it, following the curve of the plastic inside and out and then use it as a 'sanding block'. The technique is to rest the handle on some firm surface, simply to make a stroke (stop it) then turn the handle with the other hand. The idea is to keep the sanding even and light. Good quality P60 sandpaper will remove cork so fast it's alarming. P100/120 is about right for the 'coarse cut', unless you're removing a LOT of cork. P180 is fine for the final rub down and then move onto a finer grade for finishing.

You can do surprisingly good jobs using this simple technique. As with everything, practise is never wasted, and it's as well to remember that it's easier to take a bit more off than to put some back...so if you are, for example, fitting reel bands, try them every 'once around the rod'. Remember that if they are a very tight fit, you've still to smooth with the finer grade papers. There is no rule that say the cork's finish must be super smooth, but a smoother surface picks up less grime and dirt and is easier to clean.

This is an 'outside job', the dust is horrible, and also, it's worth using a sheet of newspaper to collect a decent quantity of the dust up and keep it in a handy container. It's perfect for mixing cork filler - this works best with small amount of cascamite by volume, mix 6:1 or a bit more. The more cork you mix in, the better the dried result will be. Below is the 'tool' - note the chamfered corners; this is so they don't gouge your corks. The other picture just shows the paper around the pipe.

If sanding a section of cork with nothing at the end, e.g. a fore-grip, to avoid tapering the end of the cork, cut a strip of sand-paper about 1½" wide and wrap that around the pipe - this will ensure that only the section of cork under your hand is being sanded. Otherwise, there's a tendency to cut away the end more than the middle, as the back-end of the half-pipe will bear harder on the end of the cork. If working a section to a high accuracy, for a specific reel-band say, it's worth adding sacrificial cork rings at both ends of the section. These are then removed when the job is completed.

That's it.

The half-pipe The half-pipe with sandpaper

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 23rd March 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part II. Post. Two things arrived in the post today. Firstly, a set of finest bronzed reinforced barrel ferrules for the Mk.III project. These, after some too-ing and fro-ing with the always helpful Ted Oliver, turned out to be a spot-on fit. Item two, my Harlow Reel number two. Yeah...

The Mk.III rod's ferrulesThe perfectly proper bronzed reinforced barrel ferrule for the Mk.III.
Harlow Center PinMy second Harlow...now I need a spacer for the reelseat...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 15th April 2018. Some things worth bearing in mind when rod building. As much as anything, this is to remind me not to 'make that mistake again'...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 9th May 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part III. So, after making the counter a good working fit to the cane, some inertia crept in. Or work related ennui after long office days, for which I am out of practise. Or something. I've opted to seal the blank in its tube with a 250g bag of silica gel to draw any residual moisture out after the long damp spring. Once it's been in there a few days, I'll remove it and give both sections a quick coat of varnish to seal the cane and then I'll start gluing on the brass bits. Must order some fittings...

(I'll scrape the varnish back where the ferrules and handle are glued on).

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 26th May 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part IV. Decisions, decisions...I've dithered on the matter of the fittings for and the fitting of the Mk.III. I'm not sure why, I've had a couple of notions then put them aside, something about spoiling a dream with a less-than-perfect reality, or not being able to get EXACTLY what I wanted. I can get titanium intermediate rings in grey but only if I order from Pacbay directly and I can get a titanium tip-ring but only if it's very shiny (why are so many fittings so damned garish?) and I wanted to fit the really good Bruce & Walker sliding reel-bands as they seemed fitting, but don't quite trust myself to do that job with only half a piece of plastic drainpipe and a lathe is an investment I'm unwilling to make at present.

And so on and so forth. The thing is, the rod is perfect right up until the moment I put something, anything, on the cane, which has stayed swaying on hooks since I varnished it a month ago and then varnished again today. My prevarications are defended by desires for unattainable perfection, although fears of splintered bamboo and sad sets haunt like the shapeless terrors of M. R. James.

I gave myself a stern talking to; after all the rod is there to be used, I can dream while it's in hand. Even a self-declared rational-empiricist cannot always vie against human nature, so I shall feed my inner archetypes in short spells, while hunched over a mythical rod, while next an intimate, old and deep pool. All you Jungians out there can make what you like of that.

So; I'd fitted regular Pacbay TT4XGs to a previous cane 'project' and they looked fine, admitted further defeat and got a Fuji BCMNAT tip as it was about the only one readily available with a 4.5mm tube and with a gun-smoke finish (although I'll swap it out for a lighter one when such are back in stock), then further marred perfection with a 30mm Seymo 243S-BC for the butt-ring, as the alternatives are either black or look wrong. I'll dull down the stupidly flashy chrome before I whip it on. I'm going to fit a screw-lock reel seat, as plastic would be against nature, so a matt 'gun-smoke' ALPS reel-seat. There, all decided and ordered before I change my mind. Again. I'll use black thread, then build it just like this:

The Richard Walker Mk.III Carp RodYep. Just like this.

Finally, one traditionally inscribes on some aphoristic Latin motto, but I'll go with "Oh Whistle and I'll Come for You...". What's the worst that can happen?

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 27th May 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part V. The Day of the Ferrule. The counter is closed-end, so I bored a 0.8mm hole through to vent any trapped air during gluing. The inside of the ferrule and the cane were cleaned with white spirit then dried for quarter-of-an-hour in a patch of sun. The ferrule was then fitted 'to the hilt' and, with a pencil, the cane was marked at the point the ferrule 'ended'.

I mixed some 'regular' Araldite (top tip; weigh it out in the right ratio for best results) and applied it generously to the inside of the ferrule. I did the same with the cane and then put the ferrule on the cane and pushed if firmly into pace, right up to the marked line. The excess adhesive on the bottom of the ferrule was removed, then, using the string the blank came tied with, the tangs of the ferrule were bound firmly into place and the whole hung up to set. The female is a tad loose on the butt-section, so I smeared a little left-over araldite onto the cane and left that to set also. I'll glue the female on tomorrow.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 29th May 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part VI. The Day of the Other Ferrule. The coat of araldite applied yesterday had reduced the slight play in the ferrule, although it was still there. I bound the tag-ends of the ferrule to see if that would stabilise it, but unconvinced, I opted for another thin coat of epoxy first...

...a treadmill-day later, epoxy generously spread on cane, placed a large blob on the end of the cane before putting the ferrule on and then drop a little into the top of the tube to run into any gaps, plus provide a seal against water ingress at a later date. This was my plan. As previously, I'd carefully marked on the cane where the bottom of the ferrule should end up, by comparing it with the length of the counter. Once in place, I bound the ferrule tangs down and the ferrule in place with the remaining delivery string and stood it vertically to set. Cunningly cunOne of my best line-managers used to say, after any particularly snide piece of politicking, "He is a man of much cun, that's for sure." We knew what he meant. , I shone a torch inside the ferrule and, using a piece of cane dowel, dropped a blob of epoxy right on the end of the cane before leaving it to go off. I shall now wait a whole week before doing anything else. I can use this time to admire the fittings and to worry about the ferrules not being on straight or the rod breaking.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 5th June 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part VII (a). The Next Stage. Below are the ferrules with their black thread whippings applied since the last entry, then given two coats of best 'yacht'. Below is the picture of the piece of cork 'cascamited' to the bottom of the butt-section and rubbed down (using the 'half section of 32mm plastic pipe' method) to accept the pictured half-composite cork-butt which will also be 'cascamited' on. When that's set, I'll trim it back flush and offer up the next 6" of cork handle to ensure I get a good join between the two - inevitably, nothing 'off the shelf' is perfectly true .

The Richard Walker Mk.IIIThe counter The Richard Walker Mk.IIIThe female
The Richard Walker Mk.IIIThe rubbed-down cork The Richard Walker Mk.IIIThe butt-end

Before more handle-fitting, the next step will be; polish the ferrule to fit and give the blank a proper waggle...I admit to being a tad apprehensive.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 6th June 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part VII (b). The Waggle. I polished the counter and took the rod up the garden and gave it a serious serious waggle, getting it into a full quarter circle and whipping it back t'other way for a few minutes. Mrs. AA held the tip for me (stop it) and I pulled the rod into a quarter circle on all the six planes and nothing went 'crack', 'creak' or 'ping'. As a result it has the slightest of 'sets' in the tip section, but that was expected and in fact wanted, as I need to know where the rings will be mounted. Phew. And yay.

The rest of the handle goes on now and a ring or two. Exciting.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 8th June 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part VIII. Rings. I decided to put a few rings on the tip section; it's a good job for tired eyes on a Friday. I marked off the measurements shown in the diagram and using rubber bands, placed the rings. Hm. You know, it didn't look right. Odd. I went back to the measurements:

T ¦––– 8" ––– 8½" ––– 10½" ––– 11" ––– 13" ––– 6" –––¦ F

So, the first thing, is that doesn't add up to 60", but 57", making the ferrule three inches. The other thing, which you notice after a moment of really looking at this spacing, is that the differences between the rings' spacings are:

1 <–––> 2 = ½"
2 <–––> 3 = 2"
3 <–––> 4 = ½"
4 <–––> 5 = 2"

See? Odd. With a linear taper you'd expect the rings to be spaced in a linear pattern. Well I would. It struck me that if I made the '2 <–––> 3' spacing 9½" it would give:

1 <–––> 2 = ½"
2 <–––> 3 = 1"
3 <–––> 4 = 1½"
4 <–––> 5 = 2"
5 <–––¦ F = 10" (end of ferrule)

...making the ring spacing:

T ¦––– 8" ––– 8½" ––– 9½" ––– 11" ––– 13" ––– 10" –––¦ F

That seems better. The whole rod then:

T ¦––– 8" ––– 8½" ––– 9½" ––– 11" ––– 13" ––– 10" ––F –– 5½" ––– 18½" ––– ¦B

A mistake by Mr. Walker? He did say it didn't much matter where the rings were, which is more-or-less the case. Nevertheless, I whipped the rings on using these modified spacings. Once one half of the whippings were done I assembled the rod and gave it another waggle. Steely. Has heft. Hmmm...*potters off and orders single malt's*

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 6th July 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part IX. Seat. Having thrown myself at the mercy of the panel'The Path by Water', it was suggested by the maker of the cane that I glue cork sheet to the cane and then sand it down to round. Of course...*slaps own head*

Pausing only to completely fail to buy the epoxy recommend by the same panel, I duly mixed some Araldite, painted the cork sheet and the cane with it, then carefully wrapped (carefully measured and cut) cork sheet around the cane and bound it on with good old fashioned string. The following day I trimmed off the excess epoxy with the VSSK and then using the 'half-drainpipe' method and some P60 sandpaper, cut the cork back down to a tight working fit for the Alps reel seat. I did the whole job with the coarse grit, reasoning this would leave a better surface for the glue to 'key' onto. At this point I had to put on a reel and give the rod another waggle...

The Richard Walker Mk.IIIThe cork sheet, glued and rubbed down... The Richard Walker Mk.III...with the reel seat fitted over it.

My first thought was to put the reel-seat right against the already fitted corks, but on reflection, I'll leave a gap of about 3mm and glue a strip of cork-sheet in the hole and then carefully whip over it in green enamelled wire, just for funsies.

I glued the tip-ring on the top section with the leftover epoxy. Irritatingly, the tip-ring's frame is not quite aligned with the eye, so I've ended up with a slight misalignment; by 'slight', I mean "I know it's there but you'd never notice". Annoying, but not so annoying that I'll take it off and glue it on again.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 16th July 2018. The 'Mk.III'; Part X. Glue. The Mk.III has taken some time to complete. This is in part due to each thread and cork representing some delta away from perfection, but is also in part due to evening weariness brought on by the day-job. Nietzsche says; "What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure - as a mere automaton of duty?"

He wasn't wrong. Nevertheless the rod has a handle and the butt section has rings. I modified the original spacing slightly to increase the distance between the reel and the butt-ring, not that any distance casting is in the rod's stars.

On Friday last, I was cross with myself for an elementary error. I fitted the fore-grip with epoxy and carefully cling-filmed the corks and the reel-seat thread to prevent excess glue running off. The original plan had been to recess the reel-seat a little into the fore-grip, but the relative difference in outer diameters would have left a thin shell of cork indeed, so I opted simply to chamfer the inside of the shive and so epoxy'd the cane and the cork and slid the fore-grip into place.

One of the issues with using pre-formed corks on a hexagonal rod is that in general, one is left with a gap between the rod's 'flats' and the cork's inner surface. Thus, I stood the rod on its handle-end, used a rubber band around the angle-poise clamped to the side of the desk to hold the butt-section vertical and then over a period, I gently prodded and worked surplus epoxy into these gaps using a fine broach.

Once as much air as was going to rise out of the glue had risen, I detached the rod then, using a cleaning cloth, wiped the surplus glue off and then using a second clean cloth dipped in nail-varnish remover, I carefully wiped off all traces of the epoxy. The top end of the fore-grip now, of course, looked perfect.

I then removed the cling-film and repeated this simple cleaning exercise at the reel seat end...except that I forgot about it for an hour or two, an elementary error, so naturally glue got under the film...despite my best efforts with a 240 grit custom nail-board to remove epoxy and then filling in several small cracks caused by removing said epoxy, it just isn't perfect. Another crack between perfection and reality, through which, more and more light is seeping. Dammit.

Stupidity aside, I'd planned to make a winding check from a fine copper washer, but in the end opted to double whip the last inch of cane in front of the fore-grip and add a decorative wire whipping, probably in garnet.

This is, as they say, to be continued...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 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 HSSRE 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, pattterned 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 arbors? 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.  Random Fish

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 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.

The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE)Splint 1The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE)Splint 1The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE)Splint 2The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE)Splint 2
The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE)Probably past it's 'test curve'. I took it to very nearly a half circle.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 24th October 2018. Spools. I'd planned to fish, fixated on autumn leaves and gentle carping, but the waters that offer this are closed, reasonable precautions after a local KHV outbreak. I muse on 'the list', ponder Dairy Farm, then for no good reason decide, possibly a decision back-stopped by tomorrow's ground-works on The PondsPete's Ponds., to strip and clean my '66X's.Abu Cardinal 66X

It is my habit to place a label on the back of the spools inscribed with the line's b/s and installation date. None of the six (6lb/8lb/10lb/12lb/14lb/17lb) were newer than January 2016. Ah. The 12lb was dated 2014. Huh.

I strip miles of line, line, cut it into 3" pieces, then clean the spools with nail-varnish remover. I carefully hone a bradawl to an excessive sharpness and inscribe the lines' breaking strains on the back of the spools. I take the opportunity to re-polish the rims with fine wire wool, a job accomplished with the assistance of a spare Cardinal 66 spindle and an electric screwdriver.

The three lightest lines' spools have a braid 'arbour'. This is easier to come by than a genuine arbour, plus if I ever hook Leviathan on a 200 yard wide water, I'll be in good shape. The lay of the braid is so poor I strip them by hand then re-lay them (electric screwdriver again) to level them up. I refill all the spools using the same method and using a permanent black marker-pen, write the date on the back on the spools. There. Good for another 2 years.

Some remedial servicing; they are of course very fine reels, but I've noted some play in the bale-arms and the spool itself has play along the axis of the spindle, caused (inside the reel) by play in the arm from the driving gear to the spindle. I shimmed the drive arm at the drive-gear end with three 0.1mm × M4 washers and replace the circlip with a new one. I eye up the spindle clip for another day. This keeps the drive arm from skewing and reduces the play along the spindle's axis by about half. I then shim the bale arm, 0.2mm × 12mm × M6 on the line-roller side and 0.1mm × 12mm × M6 on the other. This is so that the gap between the plastic and the spool casing isn't 'just the right size' for line to get trapped behind. Everything cleaned and re-greased for good luck.

With the anti-reverse off the reels are now virtually silent. One final thing, which has bugged me for some time, is the excessive flash of the handles and the bale-arm screws. I carefully (after first removing them from the reel) rubbed them with fine emery until the flash was reduced to a gun-metal like finish, a little less gaudy.

Not bad for over 30 years old.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 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 smidge 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 smidge 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 22nd December 2018. The Harlow Spacers. Having got a second Harlow, I needed a second reel-foot spacer...hm. I didn't really want to bodge something metal with a hacksaw and files. Well I did, but thought better of it. I had the bright notion that something might be made out of layered Perspex, so ordered some small sheets of 3mm Perspex in dark green and purple.

I cut out three pieces of each colour out, using the existing metal spacer as a template. I then 'spotted' and drilled the mounting holes in each of the six pieces separately. The surfaces were roughened to 'key' the applied epoxy resin, then M4 bolts were used to clamp them together into two sets of three layers, alternating the colours. So one was green-purple-green and the other was purple-green-purple. No reason.

These, when the glue had set, were rounded them off with a coarse file, then some fine-grade sand-paper and finally some 000 wet-and-dry. The M4 screws were removed and they were fitted to the reels. They're a little rough but hardly need to be works of art. There you go.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 13th January 2019. Night-Floats. Part I.

I've experimented with quills that were made to take 'star-lights', bulky things, although effective and my old beta-light floats are, well, not very twinkly. I decided to make some new ones, so I did a little research on beta-lights. 'It turns out' that the basic rule is 'bigger is better', simply because the brightness is related to the amount of beta radiation impinging on the fluorescent material on the inside of the glass and larger lights have more gas, are thicker glass, so can be sealed at a higher pressure. It is also the case that the brightest are green, yellow, blue and red in that order. This doesn't tally with my experience of using blue beta-lights, which danced before my eyes like demented alien fire-flies. Annoyingly, this doesn't tally with the hard fact that our eyes adjust from perceiving green as the brightest colour in daylight to blue at night. In any event I bought three 25mm × 3.5mm lights in green, yellow and red, to try them out. My plan was to make quill tubes to carry the beta-lights and then attach them to porcupine quills. I realise this is anachronistic.

I carefully, using a knife-edge needle-file, cut the tips off three quills (a micrometer is a useful thing) pausing only to carefully work a beta-light back out of the tightest...

I considered them for a few days - one can both repent and consider one's options at leisure, the latter having the benefit of no additional work. It dawned on me there were three quills ready-sized and it made sense to use them 'as is'. The plan was to place some kind of bung in the quill, put the beta-light on it and then seal the tip with another 'bung' and fill a few mm of the quill tip with epoxy-resin. I carefully marked a piece of 3mm cane to show the length of the beta-light and its position respective to the open end of the quill. I carefully, using this stick, stuffed the lower portion of the hollow quill with polystyrene beads to about 2mm short of the intended light's position.

Beta-lightsTop-to-Bottom: A slice of cork, the 'measuring stick', three cane 'plugs', the quills, shown with the first cork 'bung' wedged in a bit and the white area under the clear section is where the polystyrene was stuffed in and below them, one of the beta-lights.

I cut tiny plugs of cork, a little more than 3mm. I cleaned the inside of the quill with 'q-tip' dipped in nail-varnish remover, let it dry and put a smear of epoxy-resin around the bottom inside of the quill using a cocktail stick. I then squished the tiny cork plug into the end of the quill and shoved it down the tube to the mark on said measuring stick. I clean out the epoxy-resin surplus with same 'q-tip' and nail-varnish remover and put a dummy length of 3mm cane in the quill and a piece of tape over the tip to stop trapped air pushing it back up the tube.

Next day I dropped in the beta-light, made another cork-plug, pushed onto the top of the light with the tiniest smear of epoxy resin. When this had set, I filled the open end of the quill to the top with epoxy, then stashed them vertically in a block of foam to 'go off'. Once this was done, I rounded the top off, then spent a little time rubbing down the 'epoxy' tip and also the quill itself. There's no harm in thinning this off as much as is practical, as more light is better and I finished this job with P800, leaving the quill as smooth as a proverbial something. With an indelible pen, I carefully coloured the area of the quill above the beta-light black, and added another black band under. I admit my first thought was to use white paint, but decided that the beta-light was enough 'or not'; the black bands and any contrast with them would be more useful as the light fell. Then all got a coat of varnish.

Beta-lightsBottom cork plug in situ, beta-lights inserted. Beta-lightsTop cork plug in, epoxy-resin in and 'off'.

When the varnish was dry, I got the really tall vase out of the pantry, some yellow thread and no.4 shot (a no. 4 is 0.2g, a 'BB is 0.4g and a no.6 is 0.1gSo a no. 4 shot is a handy size for this kind of thing...) and thus equipped played with the watertight quills. I established they would carry 4 × no.4 but with only half the beta-light above the plimsoll line. This is enough for this fishing they're meant for, but at (say) 3 × no.4 they lolled rather. In action they'll have an eye whipped on, another coat of varnish and carry a mini-swivel, so I've added a small cork ball to the lower end, which should give them the little extra they need to cock nicely with the whole beta-light showing. If they need more, I'll modify them again.

Beta-lightsThe quills, selaed, black-banded and with their buoyancy aids. You can just make out the top one is green, the middle one is red and the lower one is yellow.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 20th April 2019. The Allcock's Superb, Part the Third

Not withstanding its innate springiness, I have never liked the monstrosity of its handle. I resolved to cut a large chunk off, some 7", half-drainpipe the remaining bit until some sensible and effective Bruce & Walker reel-bands would slide on and then put on a couple of champagne corks as a front end to the newer handle and to sand them off to provide a fore-end stop without being two 'champagney' about it. This was a lot simpler than I had expected. The bug-bear was removing the butt-ring (which was, if we're frank, 'miles' from the reel), and the utterly useless keeper ring, in order to get the champers corks on.

The longest part of the job was removing the old cork from the 10" ear-marked for destruction and then the careful scraping of all the accumulated filler and glue left on the cane. Having said that, the new corks, when sanded down, looked very nice indeed.

I put a bottle green 'winding check' whipping on the denuded section and a wide spiral whip/inter pattern to the edge of the keeper ring whipping and replaced the keeper, useless though it is. I shall when the varnish has dried, put it flat against the rod and fill the hole with cyanoacrylate gel to stop its tiny annoying rattle.

I assembled the rod and put the butt-ring back on with a rubber band. It didn't look right. Not even a bit. I got out the tape measure and measured the rings spacing from the tip to the butt-ring. If there was a plan for this, it escapes me, with no consistent spacing on the tip-section and no relation at all between the butt-ring spacing and the first ring on the tip-section...craftsmanship eh? I reluctantly decided not to alter any top-section spacings (although it will nag at me...) and opted to add a second ring on the butt section and adjust the spacing to it to be both consistent with the last ring on the tip-section, allow for the ferrule, and give a consistent spacing to the new butt-ring, which was put as close to the Allcock's logo as I could get it.

 Tip ¦---- ---- 1 ---- ---- 2 ---- ---- 3 ---- ---- 4 ---- ---- 5 ---- ---- 6 ---- ---- B ---- -- Reel -- -------- --¦Butt
Old  Tip ¦---- ---- 6¾" ---- ---- 9" ---- --- 10¾" --- --- 12" --- --- 13¼" --- ---- 19" --- --------- --------- -------- --¦Butt
Old  Tip ¦---- ---- 6¾" ---- --- 15¾" --- --- 26½" --- --- 38½" --- --- 51¾" --- --- 70¾" --- ---------- -------- --- 120" --¦Butt
JAA's  Tip ¦---- ---- 6¾" ---- ---- 9" ---- --- 10¾" --- --- 12" --- --- 13¼" --- --- 15½" --- ---- 14" --- ---- 22" --- -------- --¦Butt
JAA's  Tip ¦---- ---- 6¾" ---- --- 15¾" --- --- 26½" --- --- 38½" --- --- 51¾" --- --- 67¼" --- --- 81¼" --- -- 103" -- --- 120" --¦Butt

Hm. I did a quick stock check, stole a larger butt-ring of the same pattern and the next ring up from the 'Beastmaster'. Better. Really.

The Allcock's SuperbThe new handle, reel-bands, chapagne corks. The Allcock's SuperbThe bottle green 'winding check' whipping and the wide spiral whip/inter pattern to the edge of the keeper ring
The Allcock's SuperbButt-ring, new postionThe Allcock's SuperbSecond ring, note the site of the old butt-ring on the right.The Allcock's SuperbBest to make a note...

[Sadly, the 'BeastmasterWell, it tamed one beast at least.', used once, is not one of my great successes. It was fun, but a dog to use, so the parts will be recycled, the ferrules kept, the wire whipping recorded and the top section, which has EXACTLY the same counter as the MKIIIMust fish with it one of these days top section, will be lapped to fit as a short tip section for the same.]

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 21st April 2019. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project. The end of 'The Beastmaster'. This was a fun project and I learned a lot from the build, but this powerful rod is horrible in the hand. It's terribly top-heavy and the action is, to quote a famous angler, that of a carpet beater. I clung to the rod for some time (a kind of sunk-cost fallacy), but in the end the rings, titanium 'Minimas', were too handy for a newer project and so got 'up-cycled'. The ferrules will be re-used and the top section ferrule lapped to make a short tip for the Mk. IIIPrized but barely used...so far.. Probably.

Not all experiments are sucesses. That's why they are called 'experiments'.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 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 Big HexThe Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat The Big HexThe Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat
The Big HexThe Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seatThe Big HexThe Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seatThe Big HexThe 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 Big HexThe plate reel seat on the rod. The Big HexThe plate reel seat on the rod.
The Big HexThe plate reel seat on the rod. The Big HexThe foregrip, 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.
Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp Anglesey 2011: crucian 2010 carp

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 6th July 2019. Still muttering about the Big Hex...

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 Big HexThe 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 29th September 2019. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: 'Improvements'.

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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 9th October 2019. The GHSRE Facelift.

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 Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe new, larger, lined butt-ring.The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentA random intermediate ringThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentA random intermediate ringThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentA random intermediate ringThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 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, overday 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2019 23rd December 2019. The Other 'Mk.III'. Again.

The Mk.III proved unexpectedly good at throwing a single sprat and its hooks 30 yards or so, limited only by an under-filled '66x spool. It was also great fun catching pike with it. So as previously intimated, I changed the butt-ring to a 30mm Fuji BNLG to better suit the larger diameter spool when I felt the bigger reel was warranted, and then changed the next ring up to a 25mm black Minima and shuffled all the others up one place. I replaced the ferrule whippings with dark blue NCP 'D' thread. The smear of epoxy added to the ferrule spigot, to tighten it up, needed the merest rub down with 000 wet-and-dry. There. Finished. Honest.

The Eight Foot rodThe 'Mk.III' Pool-cue'. Eight feet, blue, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c, sort of. Cardinal 44x, bare metal spool, 30lb braid. Fine for small ones. Quite handy for the larger ones.


Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 1st February 2020. Darts. So: I found, when the Dabblers were setting fish refuges into the Lower Saxon Pond, the tip of a plastic float. So? It was about 6mm across and moulded into a cross-section of a 'cross' (sorry). This of course gives it high visibility and low resistance, which might be useful for sensitive bites. The piece of plastic was pocketed, but more pertinently, the idea took root.

I once made some very poor 'dart-flight' floats, something I didn't care to re-visit. Then, in part because the Bugangler (21¾) is learning to make violins, I discovered that good quality 'razor saws' can be had for under a tenner. The one shown is 0.35mm across the teeth, 0.25mm across the blade and, crucially, cuts on the draw stroke. Aha. I cut slots in the blunt end of four porcupine quills, long and deep enough so that a pair of plastic dart flights in an offensive pink colour left a few mm of protruding quill quarter-sections at the said blunt end. Hm. I didn't want the whole dart-flight. The idea wasn't to make a float that could be seen at 100 yards, but rather an easy sighter, with no attendant additional buoyancy or, worse, with the CoG CoGCentre of Gravity  elevated towards the tip.

Dart Flight FloatsThe 'Razor' Saw, plus a spare blade.

Mrs AA appeared and with that special sarcasm that comes as a free gift with every 25¼ years of marriage, asked if I was making darts. I put flights into the four quills, then threw them at the kitchen cork-board (the pointy ends are really very sharp). It turned out I have made some darts. I briefly considered penning a traditional angling murder-mystery that centred on a 'built-cane crossbow and porcupine-quill quarrel' incident. MM"Are you quite mad Sergeant? A true Traditionalist would never use plastic flights..."

Carefully, using a pair of braid scissors found some years ago, I cut one vane to a shallow curve. I folded it onto the next vane and cut around it. Repeated this twice and 'ta-daa', they all matched. So...I trimmed two pink sets, one orange and one translucent orange. I pared off the porcy-swarf, cleaned each slot with a piece of P150 sandpaper, coloured the cut quarters black with permanent pen, cyanoacrylate'd the flights in, then carefully ensured each 'quarter' was glued to its niche in the flights, then glued and compressed the protruding ends, using a few turns of thread.

I could have painted the 'quarters' but they'd probably not have kept their paint on, but I varnished over them and made sure the joints were sealed. A black stripe in the middle of the flights works well and a small colour band under the flights finishes the job. I expect the flights' colours to fade, but it'll be interesting to see how they fare on the water. It occurs to me, assuming they fish well at all, that iridescent dart flights in red or perhaps green will do very well for picking up torchlight or, for the latter, moon-light. Which is an idea.

They do look like darts though. At least they'll cast well.

Dart Flight FloatsOrangeDart Flight FloatsThe floats - my camera is near the end of its natural life and its focussing is increasingly a bit 'off'Dart Flight FloatsPink

I suspect that the 'flights' will end up being trimmed, so that the float has a 'sighter' only at the top half of the tip, something about 'half a set of dart-flights' size.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 5th February 2020. I Have Been a Bad Boy. Very bad. I took a perfectly good rod, no, more than that, a really good rod and cut it up to make a 'light tip' section for my Harrison's Four-Piece Avon. Yep. I really like the Four-Piece but its 1lb 10oz t/c is on the stout side for some fishing. So, for some time I have hankered after a really good quality 'light tip' section, ideally lowering the overall t/c down to about 1lb.

A previous attempt with an old incomplete multi-purpose avon rod (a pawn shop find), one of they with a dolly section and various other bits and bobs, wasn't a success. This was because the raw material's tip was thin-walled compared with the Four-Piece, so the transition from the tip to the third section was a bit abrupt. OK for 4oz roach; not so OK for 'surprise' 8lb carp.

The bad thing I did doesn't have this problem, in fact it seemed perfect. I planned to add a reinforcing whipping to the light tip's 'counter' area, with no-name uncoated green spectra braid and then coat it with a two-part epoxy that can be thinned with a little isopropyl alcohol, to the consistency of water. The notional plan was to whip onto a tacky coat of resin, mix a second batch, thin it, let it soak into the braid and leave it to go off. However 'comma' the internet says that this may weaken the resin a bit. Heat can also reduce the resin's viscosity (temporarily), but the surface its applied to would also need warming. Hm. I pondered and reached for the heat-gun. This, I reasoned, can be set to 65°C and if I used it to warm the resin...

...and then common sense kicked in. I had already carefully removed (¼" at a time) the lower portion of the 'light tip' section and of course it is far easier to make a reinforcing sleeve out of a piece of the off-cut. This cut-off also has the great advantage of having the same taper. I compared the length of the reinforced section on the Harrison's tip, 3", then carefully removed the same length of varnish from the 'light tip'. While it took some time to carefully cut such a sleeve, ¼" at a time until it was exactly right for the job - a loose 'working fit' as there needed to be space for epoxy - it was easy to fit and glue into place...

Some practical points concerning this process:

Cut carbon-fibre outdoors, do not breathe the dust and keep the dust off your hands.

I cut the blank down using a knife-edged jeweller's file. Not a hack-saw, it does far too much damage. I cut a groove in a piece of 1"× 1" timber as a former and then laid the blank in the groove. Using the flat end of the wooden former to align the file, I turned the blank, in place, until the cut-line was right around the blank. This ensured a flat square cut. I then rotated the blank and held the file in place until it was cut through. Don't use too much pressure here or the blank will delaminate a little.

The resulting sleeve was left a smidge overlong at the counter end and glued into place that way. I then gently rubbed back the 'overhang' with very fine emery wrapped around a lolly stick, until it was flush with the original section's end. As before, I did this outside and used a little water to keep the dust down. I used a piece of cork to bung up the counter end of the 'light tip' before gluing, as set epoxy in the hole is rather a nuisance to remove. I wrapped the other end of the sleeve in cling-film to stop any run off, then stood the whole thing on one end until it had set.

The Harrison's AvonThe sleeved 'new' tip alongside the old 'light tip'The Harrison's Avon'The Tool'The Harrison's AvonThe sleeved 'new' tip alongside the old 'light tip', I wondering if the sleeve isn't somewhat over engineered...

The new section was a near perfect fit on the spiot of the Harrison's third section, but needed some work as it was would not seat fully 'home' and it had the slightest of 'knocks'. Secure in the knowledge that there is plenty of carbon in the new counter, I made a tool to bore it to fit. I rifled the stock-tube and dug out a length of carbon that had the same taper as the spigot. A micrometer is a very useful thing...the plan was to make a tool that extended only as far as the spigot would, but only ground the bottom two-thirds of the counter. This was because there was a gap visible between the spigot and the counter when they were mated.

The idea was to cut the tube so that the narrow end was a little less (think some tenths of a mm) than the desired fit (5.25mm) so that when a 5mm strip of 240 grit wet-and-dry was glued around this piece of tube, it would bore out to the desired 5.25mm at a 58mm depth into the counter. I marked the 58mm mark on the tool with a pen. Cyanoacrylate was used to coat the back of the wet'n'dry, it was bound it with string and left it in the 'contemporary orangerie' to set...

This worked perfectly, although it took three sets of grinding and very thorough 'de-dusting' operations, to get to a perfect fit. I removed the dust using strips of wet cleaning cloth.

I then needed to redistribute some rod rings - the original Harrison's tip's last two rings were tiny size 6's. Quite why I thought that was a good idea...so I removed them for re-deployment on the 'light tip', then whipped on two size 8 replacements. The new 'light tip' will not have to manage more than 6lb line and mostly will be dealing with 3-4lb, so the size 6's will be fine on this. Naturally, the 'light tip' is some 6" longer than the original Harrison's tip (there is no free lunch), so it requires one more ring. The bottom ring on the 'light tip' was spaced exactly as on the original tip. I then used 'excel' to work out spacing for the remaining four, which left the ring-spacing a little wider than it was on the original source rod. This was on purpose, as it will soften the action a little, which will not hurt. The extra length will be useful in any event.

The Harrison's AvonTop to bottom; the old 'light tip', the new 'light tip', the original tip.The Harrison's AvonTop to bottom; the old 'light tip', the new 'light tip', the original tip.The Harrison's AvonTop to bottom; the old 'light tip', the new 'light tip', the original tip.
The Harrison's AvonTop to bottom; the old 'light tip', the new 'light tip', the original tip.The Harrison's AvonTop to bottom; the old 'light tip', the new 'light tip', the original tip.The Harrison's AvonA long shot to show the different lengths of the three tip-sections.

Gremlins of orderliness...hopefully, when tested, the new section will fish OK...it waggles/flexes perfectly well, the rod's curve looks smooth.

I apologise for the rubbish pictures, my camera is struggling to maintain its focus and I cannot be mithered to sort out a diffuse light source. I will now move smoothly onto making a 'dolly section' to facilitate the use of the top two sections with the handle, to do service as a brook rod...probably. So, my Four-Piece Avon now is a 'Six Piece', with three tips, about ¾lb t/c, a smidgen over 1lb and 1lb 10oz. Useful.

All the rod needs now is a tip-section to make the rod up to a 2lb curve or a smidge more, then I'll have four rods in one short bag. I may have to explore fly rod blanks for that...something like the top section of a nine foot #10. I shall also have to get a T-shirt made with "Born to Fettle" on it. Or "Born to Fiddle". Pick one.

I have not forgotten the handle needs a proper repair...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 20th February 2020. The Hexagraph Avon, one more time. This is leaning in the corner, while I consider some greenish composite cork rings, an 18mm reel seat and possibly some new rings...

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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 27th March 2020. The Hexagraph Avon, One More Time... So, I (carefully) ripped off the old reel seat and the corks.

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 smidge 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:

The Hex Avon HandleGreen composite cork rings, two sorts, plus one champagne cork. Plus the toe end of a 'shark' sockie. The Hex Avon HandleThe 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 14th April 2020. Keeping busy. Winder. I have had one of those wooden float winders for some time now, extracted from a boot sale using the levers of reciprocity. It has hung on a hook above my desk, for no other reason than 'I just like it'.

Nice to have, probably won't actually use it... but you never know.Nice to have, probably won't actually use it... but you never know.

...but. Coupla things. The rusted metal struts, hooks for the hooking of, were rusted and the wooden constituents themselves were loose, simply the shrinkage of the wood and glue over the years. Hm. The only thing holding the assembly together was 'said rusty pins, so all four were carefully cut through on both sides of the middle support. After this, it came apart quite easily.

...part dismantled...parts apart...dis-assembled

It is nicely made; machined and sawn for sure, even the cuts for the line appear to have been made with a razor saw of some sort. I used a safety razor-blade to clean out those slots, then resolved to re-glue it and replace the rusty struts with some brazing solder rod I had retained for some time, but which had far to much potential utility to throw away.

...in bits Interesting to see the dark patch where lead shot once rolled about.

The existing wire struts came out with little difficulty. The pieces in the main body were plucked out with pliers, likewise the middle supports'. The pieces in the outer supports split 50-50, two coming away and two having rusted into the wood, so they had to be punched out using a small masonry nail with the end ground flat. All the holes in all the sections were bored out to the o/d of the rod, 1.8mm, using a pin-vice. The whole was then re-assembled and glued back together in stages using various clamps. Then it sat for two months under a pile of paper...

...brazing rod is slippery stuff, even using a small hacksaw with a new blade. The rod was fully seated into one position in the winder, a small knife was pressed onto the rod, flush with the wood, and then the rod was gently turned a couple of times. The rod was removed and clamped between two pieces of 2×1. The short piece of rod was cut off just inside this mark. Repeat × 3.

...showing the four pieces of brazing rod....one pin-hole...one pin-hole

The small pieces of rods' ends were cleaned up with a flat jeweller's file. A little epoxy was put into one hole on the body, the new strut was inserted and a little more epoxy was used to glue the strut to the outer support. The slight indentation on the outer, where the strut was (purposefully) recessed a little was filled with epoxy. This was repeated for the other strut on the same side, any excess was removed using nail-varnish remover and the whole stood on its side while it went off. Rinsed and repeated for the other side. The tiny blobs of epoxy covering the strut recesses were smoothed over. By the by, such small amounts of epoxy cannot be practically mixed, so I used left-over glue from other jobs. Colour variation is due to different lighting and white level compensation. Tricky business.

Then it got a light rub down with wire wool. There. Fixed. This is what I did today.

...the brass thingy is an old bullet mould I found in a junk-shop in Reading I think. Had it a while. There. 'Fixed'.

Stay safe and well.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 21st April 2020. The Hexagraph Avon, One More Time, One More Time...

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...

The Hexagraph AvonTip RingThe Hexagraph AvonThird Ring, plus 'obsessive whippings'The Hexagraph AvonFifth Ring, plus 'obsessive whipping'The Hexagraph AvonSixth RingThe Hexagraph Avon'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.

The Hexagraph AvonCounter WhippingsThe Hexagraph AvonSeventh RingThe Hexagraph AvonButt RingThe Hexagraph AvonKeeper RingThe Hexagraph AvonReel-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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 20th May 2020. Hooked. I had to take down the smallest apple tree, on account of it being quite lifeless. While I was at it, I decided to use my landing-net handle reed-cutting attachment to remove live mistletoe from the other trees, as the tree-surgeon who took down the Bramley advised me that the mistletoe would affect 'said other trees. Ah. I cut some, then the hooked blade pulled right out of its moulded plastic. Tat.

I mulled this over, possibly while muttering a few rude words. The blade, a nasty looking hooked thing, was reasonable steel. It took and held an edge, plus it had two 3mm holes in the blunt end, which were there so that the moulded plastic would grip the blade at all. I recalled I had some steel M8? M10? bolts retrieved from the dismantled tree-house.

First, find your bolt *...noises off, from garage...* the thread was re-cut to 3/8"BSF (I have both die & tap for 3/8"BSF). That worked. Hm. I resolved to cut the bolt down to the right length, cut a length-wise slot in it, drill two holes through, then rivet the blade in with cut-down galvanised nails 'of the right size'. Sounds simple.

I decided to put a 3/8"BSF brass nut onto the existing thread, screwed right to the end-stop as it were, then allow sufficient length for the blade's slot, plus a second nut. The bolt was cut to length, and then cleaned off by clamping it into the drill and running a file over it. The same file was then used to take about 0.25mm off the o/d at the unthreaded end, so that the die would fit.

A second thread was then cut at the 'other' end, the idea being that once the blade was in place, another nut would brace the open end of the slot. This rod was then clamped vertically in the vice, using the first brass nut, then using a hacksaw and some oil, a slot was cut to within 1mm of the nut clamped in the vice. Naturally the hooked-blade was about two hacksaw blades thick, so a second blade was added to the hacksaw and the slot opened out (I know, but it worked perfectly). Although cut completely 'by eye' the slot was 'true'. Heh.

The second nut was put onto the 'open end' of the rod, then both nuts were adjusted so that when the rod was clamped horizontally in the vice (across the flats of the nuts) and the hooked-blade was slid into the slot, the blade was flat and level on the top of the vice. Sneaky eh? The blade was gently tapped through the slot until half of both its holes were visible. By eye, the rod was punched to mark where the 'rivets' would be placed. The blade was removed, both holes were piloted through with a 2mm bit, then they were opened up to 3mm. The holes were de-burred and countersunk and the inside of the slot de-burred by running the 'double' hacksaw blade back through. The hooked-blade was offered up and, stap me, the holes were perfectly aligned. The plastic tub with galvanised nails was up-ended and two perfect fits were rooted out, cut to length (about 15mm). Then, using a small block of iron and a ball-peen, the blade was 'riveted' into placed.

The die was re-run over both threads along with a little oil, to clean them up and the sharp edges and residual burrs removed with some 400 grit and a fine wire brush. Finally the threads were cleaned with white spirit and both nuts were tightened into place with a good dollop of Loctite 263. There. All done. Rather pleased with that.

The WetlandThe hooked bladeThe WetlandThe hooked bladeThe WetlandClose-up of the 'rod' and its rivets.

It is not going to break, is it?

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 23rd May 2020. Handled. The revamped cutting blade was screwed into the landing net handle, viciously applied to the mistletoe, then further re-deployed on sedges, rushes and some crack-willow. After those exertions, I realised the clamp at the top of the pole had loosened the smallest amount. Hm. I have had this pole for over a decade, a 'well known tackle maker' one and it is very solidly made (probably a mistake on their part).

The only criticism I have of it, is that water gradually accumulates inside the pole. Both sections are thick-walled and the end ferrule ('3/8 BSF' naturally) is solid brass, although it came loose about four years back and I had effect a 'temporary' repair with water-proof cyanoacrylate. The screw-collar is a reasonable alloy and has not turned to white powder (this ruined the previous landing net handle). I decide to dismantle the whole thing and re-glue it, meaning the clamp and the ferrule had to be tapped off and the old glue removed. The butt-end cap was also tapped off and both pole-sections were leant against the kitchen window in the 'contemporary orangerie', until the plumes of condensation on the window, formed around the sections' ends, had dispersed and the poles were quite bone-dry.

Many years of fine silt was removed from various nooks and crannies, the required epoxy resin was applied, cling-film was wrapped around the screw-collar base and the whole left to set. To prevent future accumulation of rancid water, four clean 1.5mm holes were bored in the butt-end cap, which is made of a soft tough plastic so is otherwise unharmed. It was then popped back on with two tiny dabs of cyanoacrylate to keep it in place.

I then decide to add some purple and green whippings under the collar simply for fun and decoration - I had a reel end of some Gudebrod NCP green and some PacBay NCP Purple, which was altogether too purple for fishing rods. I covered up bits of shiny metal with a black permanent marker and re-varnished the screw-collar (which I had previously covered with cloth tape and varnished) and the ferrule.

I applied a little Vaseline to the plastic clasp's thread and worked the collar up and down it a few times to spread it out...there. Ready for mighty leviathans of the deeps. Or any 'netter' really.

The Landing Net HandleThe collar whippings The Landing Net HandleThe ferrule whipping

In the above, it can be seen the original collar, which was very very shiny, was covered with cloth 'camo' tape and varnished over. It is a little frayed at the edges now, but I re-varnished it for good luck. Some slight damage to the ferrule whipping is already apparent, I have already used the handle, this too will be varnished over.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 18th June 2020. Riddle me this.

How does one separate the live maggots from the assorted casters, dead maggots and foul clumps of maize? Faced with 1¼ pints of said detritus, I sorted through the various bait-boxes stacked in the dungeon dimension that is 'the garage' until I located a box with no matching lid. This 'one pint' box fitted neatly onto the top of the currently occupied 'two-pint' box. Aha. I put it flat on the work-bench, then using the EATElectric Auger Technology, bored a matrix of 3.9mm holes covering the entire base.

I emptied the contents of the 'two-pint box' into this riddle, threw in a handful of fresh oats into the original box, slotted the 'riddle' into the top, then put the whole lot into a bait bucket, as one cannot be too careful with maggotsReally indelible memory.... I returned at the end of the day. Well that worked. I had perhaps 200 fresh maggots, which were then decanted into a 4" × 4" box for tomorrow's crucian foray.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 2nd October 2020. The GHSRE Facelift II.

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 smidge.

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 Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment; the butt.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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2020 18th October 2020. The Trouble ...with being stuck in the house (while roofers are on the tiles) is one looks hard at things which really don’t need changing. I looked hard at the LHSRE...

...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 LHSREThe keeperThe LHSREThe butt-ringThe LHSREThe last ring on the bottom section.


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