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Kenney 7'4" 5/6wt. 2pc.

Colt Johnson

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Here is a very special rod. Not only does the blank come from one of the masters of the glass community, Larry Kenney, but it was built by a close and very talented friend, Chris Barclay. The blank is unique in that it was a prototype built on a heavier weave glass; however the taper is built around the ever popular 7'2" 3wt. taper. When I talked to Larry about the blank I immediately thought of small stream smallmouth bass. The 7'4" length is a perfect compromise for handling tight quarters and still having just enough length to mend line and reach out in more open areas.

The rod handles a 5wt. line and a 6wt. line, but I prefer a 6wt. line. This is contrary to what I would have guessed as the rod flexes pretty deeply; but it is the reserve power in the butt section of the rod (which is more easily tapped into with a 6wt. line) that really makes this rod so special. The rod has power down deep to turn over a 6wt. line, and the 6wt. line is sufficient to carry medium sized poppers and smaller streamers to their destinations within a 50' radius. However, the top half of the rod is soft enough that a medium sized bluegill puts a smile on my face as if I were fishing a 3wt. rod. It's a very interesting taper, and quite frankly a taper that I have been searching for to address a dilemma that I have been grappling with for a long time: How do I find a rod that can cast larger bass flies yet still provide ample fun with an 8"-12" creek smallie? As a smallmouth bass fisherman, I have always been jealous that trout fisherman are able to chase 8"-12" trout with ultralight rods (0wt.-3wt.) as the flies are small enough to allow one to use, say, a 3wt. glass rod. Smallmouth like larger flies, even if they are themselves rather small, and it has never been too fun to chase a 12" smallmouth with a 7 or 8wt. rod. I think this rod is a perfect compromise.

Enough words. Here are some photos:




I am unsure whether I am going to ultimately pair this rod with a TR2 or a TR3, so here are pictures with both:




Joe Arguello provided a beautiful and perfect matching agate guide:





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Here are a few photos when I took the rod to a local creek. I caught a couple smallies, a bullhead (not shown) and a small but beautiful channel cat.






The family came along and the kids played in the sand. They caught dozens of tadpoles and creek chub.




I also caught a colorful longear to round out the day:



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Nice rod. I like you thoughts on the action. Lightening fast has been the rage for a while. A deeper bending rod has a place in the fly fisherman's collection.

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