Video spotlight

Video spotlight: How to Build a Fly Rod

I built my first fly rod 20 years ago—a 9-foot, 4-weight on a St. Croix SCII blank. It was a supple implement that I still have in a case in the rafters of my store room. It fished well. In fact, I caught one of the biggest trout of my life using it—26-inch rainbow on Colorado’s White River.

But, honestly, it wasn’t much to look at. In a couple of places, the epoxy around the threads that secure the guides dried in a less-than-desirable tear-drop, and the gold threads on the dark green blank showed every subtle flaw. Nonetheless, I love it, and I fished it a lot for a few years.

In the years following, I built a few more rods—each one exponentially better than the last. I haven’t done it for a while—I’m no longer a starving newspaper reporter, and the motivation behind building my own rods was simple. It was cheaper. A lot cheaper.

I eventually grew to appreciate the craft for what it required from the craftsman—contemplation, patience, attention to detail … if you saw my office desk, you’d likely think I possess very little of any of those traits. But, like tying my own flies, rod-building forced me to focus and block out other distractions.

Above, the folks at Epic show you that, while a challenge for the first-time, it’s doable. And the outcome can be really, really good. As it was in my case, the final product may not have been perfect, but it was perfect for me.

Enjoy the video, and if you’re thinking about building a rod, know that it can be quite affordable (the Epic kits for their premium glass rods are affordable by most standards, but it can be done spending much less). Also, and this is important, when you’re done building your rod, there won’t be another one like it, anywhere.

— Chris Hunt