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Modern Glass and Bass

Colt Johnson

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A cool discussion unraveled in the wanted section when someone was inquiring about fiberglass fly rods. http://illinoissmallmouthalliance.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9040


Mike G. pointed out some of the historical distinctions between what he called classic glass and neo glass. While classic glass is very foreign to me, I have been spending a decent amount of time building rods on several of the "neo" glass rod builder's blanks. To date, most of my experience has been with ultralight glass rods as 3wt. rods and under have been my main passion.


However, I have recently had an idea that I will be working on this year. Two of the leading men in rolling glass blanks in the united states are Mark Steffen and Mike McFarland. Mike being located on the East Coast and Mark being located closer to the West coast. I am planning on building and doing some reviews of a few of their 6wt., 7wt. and 8wt. rods for those that are interested.


The first rod I will likely be reviewing I did not build. A fellow IL glass enthusiast with a blog called, Relax the Cast, built a small production of rods using Mike McFarland's S-Glass blanks.

http://relaxthecast.blogspot.com/ He built his rod series in an 8'6" 8wt. 2pc. configuration. I bought one of his rods last week and I'm expecting its arrival today or tomorrow. Given the weather and my schedule, it might be a few weeks before I get to spend adequate time with the rod to complete the review. But I will be posting photos and comments under this thread in the future.


I have an order with Mike McFarland for a yellow E-Glass 8'3" 6wt. 3pc. blank. I'm expecting Mike to ship me that blank any day now. I actually placed this order a few months ago. I talked with Mike just yesterday and he indicated that he would try to ship me the blank sometime this week. Obviously I will need to build this one before I can do a review. But I hope to have it built within a month or two of receiving the blank and I will again be posting photos and comments under this thread in the future.


Today I spoke with Mark Steffen for a bit. Mark is sending me an 8'6" 6/7 wt. 4pc. blank to build. This will be another S-Glass rod. He told me that he would be shipping this blank at or around the last week in February. It is another blank that I will be building and reviewing. I will post future comments and photos under this thread.


This overall project will likely take me a few months to fully complete. Maybe longer as I am scheduled to begin building our new home in May. So my goal is to have these rods completed before I get too busy building our house.


Regardless, I will be updating this thread as I continue to make progress with these rods. I hope to learn even more about the capabilities of fishing glass fly rods for bass. And perhaps those that are interested may be able to gather some criteria for distinguishing the different options available for a modern glass fly rods. Others may see fit trying to incorporate a modern glass fly rod into their current lineup. And best of all, I will have lots of fun along the way!


I look forward to hearing everyone's comments in the future.


The best,


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I'm interested in bass weight glass old or new. The classic e glass & some old s glass rods are 6' to 7'9" in weights 6 thru 8. I've cast a few short & heavy rods & the ease of casting distance & weight can be surprising. Two that really impressed me are a Berkley Parametric 5" 9" for 5 wt. & a Browning Silaflex 6' 6" for 8 wt. We should have a Cast & Compare later this year with some of these glass rods.



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I would be up for doing a cast and compare later this year. I'm just going to need a few months to assemble these rods. : ) Hopefully by this summer though they will all be completed. I received an email from Mike McFarland last night and he is sending me his best taper/length 5wt. configuration in his original sanded and painted brown glass series. I'm pretty sure it is going to be an 8' 5wt. 3pc. I'm planning on finishing it out very similar to how he finished these rods.....like this (this was one that Mike built):






Mike is supposed to be sending me the brown glass 5wt. blank and the yellow glass 6wt. blank today. So I will hopefully be able to start putting some of these together in the coming weeks.



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Awhile back I was reviewing Cameron's Manifesto and happened upon this post:




The maker of these rods is Brian Ebert who has a blog called Relax The Cast which can be found here:




My understanding is that Brian was looking for a powerful glass rod capable of casting even the largest of bass flies. I found out after the fact that Brian is from Illinois and lives only about 4 hrs. north of me. Talking with Brian was like talking with myself to some extent. Without ever knowing each other, he had tackled many of the same ideas and projects that I have as he whittled his way through quite a few different rod designs and makers. It is quite logical that he would ultimately wind up with a series of blanks built by Mike McFarland, whom most of us would consider a fly rod "GENIUS" whether Mike will admit it or not!






The post intrigued me as one of the reasons I was initially fascinated with fiberglass fly rods is its usefulness as a good bass rod. Keeping in mind that I am an ultralight fly fisherman at heart, the dilemma I continually faced is that while I mostly enjoyed catching the 1 to 3 lb bass on my 1wt., 2wt. and 3wt. rods, I was forced to set aside any of my larger deer hair poppers, heavily weighted streamers and any other fly larger than a size #8 as even a 3wt. line lacks the mass to turn over medium sized flies....let alone the largest frog and shad imitations. So I was essentially trying to catch bass on trout sized flies.


When I finally realized that a 6wt. glass rod bends as deep as most of my 3wt. graphite rods I was literally hooked. Having a 6wt. line mass allowed me to greatly broaden my spectrum of castable flies, yet the characteristics of the glass maintained that quasi-ultralight, deep bending, "fish on" feel that brings a smile to my face even with a 1lb. bass.


Months had passed since I read the Manifesto post about the Lilly Pond rod series, but the underlying idea of a fiberglass rod designed around bass fishing was so in line with what I was after that the idea lie dormant in the back of my mind. Winding this introduction up, I happened upon an ebay listing a few days ago for one of Brian's rods. This prompted me to finally contact Brian directly. We worked out a deal, and he mailed me one of his rods to try out.




Yesterday it arrived. I didn't get home until late and I found the rod tube in my daughters room (She's 3 years old). Grabbing the rod tube with a slight concern as to what kinds of activities the rod tube endured spending the day with my three year old daughter, I immediately knew that the rod was unaffected. Brian wrapped this rod so well that it literally took me 20 minutes to figure out how to open the damn thing! Ha. It was as if Brian knew that my daughter would be dragging the packaged tube around the house for 8 hrs before I could get to it!




Once I finally opened the tube and removed the rod, I was pleasantly surprised. Brian's wraps and finish work are simple and clean. In fact the entire build was extremely utilitarian. The sleek and simple Lemke reel seat gave the rod a streamlined appeal. The olive green wraps were subtle. The grip was well built and of a fairly high quality. In all, my initial impression was, "this looks like a bass rod."










Having never owned an 8wt. glass rod, I was concerned about the physical weight of the 8'6" 8wt. beast. Again, noting my preferences for ultralight rods, this is a completely different animal. It has some weight to it, and even my 6.5 oz. Orvis Mid Arbor V reel could probably use an extra .5 ounces to balance the rod where I would prefer. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised that Mike's black S-Glass blank was a tad thinner and a bit lighter than I expected. Perhaps Brian's and/or Mike's idea to keep this blank a simple 2pc. design was partly motivated to keeping the number of ferrules to a minimum thus also keeping the weight to a minimum. I would also wager that these guys likely went with Mike's S-Glass so they could create a thinner and lighter 8wt. blank.






In all, I am excited to get this rod on the water. I'm hoping to be able to do some test casting this weekend on my lake (ice or no ice). I have my Orvis Mid Arbor V reel currently lined with Sage's 230 grain bass taper line. My thought is that the 230 grain line (which is on the cusp of being the equivalent grain weight of a 9wt. line) will help to load this rod at short/medium distances. I also have a standard WF 8wt. Sage Performance Taper line that I plan on casting with this rod. Without even casting this rod, I can already tell that it is going to be powerful!




I will be following up with a more detailed review of this rod as soon as I get to spend some time casting it. But for anyone looking for the "ultimate" fiberglass bass rod, I would highly recommend contacting Brian Ebert at Relax the Cast to inquire about his Lilly Pond rod series!

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I was able to spend some time on the water this weekend with the McFarland 8wt. I tried both a Sage Performance Taper 8wt. line and a Sage Bass Taper 230 grain line. My preference was for the 230 grain Bass Taper line which can be found on clearance for as little as $20.


I started with the longest and heaviest fly that I would regularly fish for bass. It was a size 1 Wilson's Bass bully. The fly has dumbell eyes and a longer zonker strip tail. There was about a 15 mph breeze. The rod cast the fly without issue directly into the headwind. about 65' was my upper limit, but it was not difficult to attain 50' to 60'. With about 20' of line out initially I was regularly able to shoot about 30' of line to make 50' casts (wind or no wind). Just for kicks, I tied on a few topwater hair bugs including but not limited to a couple dahlberg divers. Same results. No hick ups or bogs.


On the down side, this rod is a bit too powerful for my preferences. While I didn't have one available, I think this rod could handle a 9wt. WF line, or possibly even Sage's 290 grain bass line. I didn't have flies large enough in my collection to trip this rod up. It cast all of my largest flies with ease.


By comparison, my only other 8wt. rod is a Sage SP 9' 8wt. My SP is capable of reaching out further (closer to 80' or 90' with smaller flies) but seems to bog down a little faster with the largest of my flies. I honestly think that I was just starting to tap into the reserve power in the butt section of the McFarland. Had I been using a heavier fly line, I could have possibly utilized a bit more power from the butt section. I know it is there as the McFarland rod was loading in the tip/mid section only when casting. Even thought the McFarland 8wt. was lighter than I expected for an 8'6" glass rod, the swing weight was much higher than my 8wt. SP. I could more easily cast the SP 8wt. for long periods of time without tiring.


I might call the McFarland an 8/9 wt. rod, even though I didn't get to cast the rod with a 9wt. line. For me, the rod is a bit too powerful. If I were bass fishing in Texas, Florida or California, then I would LOVE this rod. Similarly, if I were looking for a saltwater glass rod or a nice glass rod for steelhead, this rod would be at the top of my list. But for my purposes, fly fishing for 1 to 3 lb. bass in Illinois, I think I would prefer more of a 6wt. version of this rod.


I'm hoping that the McFarland blanks arrive this week. If so, I will be starting the 6wt. McFarland right away. I have high expectations for that rod.

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As always, a nice write up. Love, Love those soon to be reel seats. Please post photos when you're done turning them.


Colt, I agree with your rod choice. I know many won't chase bass with anything less than an 8 weight or higher but I personally love my 5 wt rods, strung up with a 6 wt bass taper line. Yea, it limits to some degree the size of the fly that I can comfortably toss, but I don't feel that I'm handicapped that badly and I just downright enjoy it more. In fact when the water levels are lower, I'll even step it down further to a fast 4 weight rod with a 5 wt bass taper line but it does make it more of a challenge with heavily weighted flies. Look forward to your next review.

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I see no reason for a glass rod in the heavier 6wt+ line weights.They're heavier,more tiring,& cannot achieve the distance that graphite can w/o any upside.Like bamboo they're ok in the shorter lengths/lighter wts.



I also like using 4-6wt rods for stream smallmouths feeling that an 8 wt is more than needed.For me the issue when going down to a 4wt isn't in the casting since my rod can handle even the bigger smb flies at 60 or even 70'+ if needed.The problem is getting a good hookset.Especially when it comes to the bigger bass I've lost a significantly higher percentage on the 4 vs the 6wt to a degree that I don't use the 4 as much as I used to.I'd do better if i strip striked but in the heat of the moment I forget to do that.

I reserve my 8wt for steelhead.Also for largemouths to wrestle them away from heavy cover where they're usually found & which they're very good at using to their advantage..

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I see no reason for a glass rod in the heavier 6wt+ line weights.They're heavier,more tiring,& cannot achieve the distance that graphite can w/o any upside.Like bamboo they're ok in the shorter lengths/lighter wts.


Agreed. I've owned only a few 7wt. and 8wt. glass rods and they were each put up for sale within a week or so. : )


However, I do have high expectations for the McFarland 6wt. I'm hoping for a rod that is capable of casting a 6wt. line and slightly heavier/larger flies than my 4wt. and 5wt. rods, but with the deeper bending fish on fun that I get from my ultralights. Hook sets are probably going to be more difficult at times. But I'm sure practice (like anything) will help me master that skill.


I've landed decent smallmouth on the lightest rod I've ever handled, a Dan Craft 0wt. I did an ERN test of that rod last night...and it didn't even register on the charts. It only took 8 pennies hung from the tip to deflect the rod 1/3 of its length! (By comparison my Sage TXL 0wt. required 20 pennies). Yet I was able to get a good hook set and land this decent smallmouth. Which may be one of the most memorable fish I've ever caught considering the size of the creek I caught him in and the unbelievably soft rod I caught him with!



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I agree with you on the fact that the heavier the rod, the easier the hookset.


But the one thing I get really obsessive with is the sharpness of my hooks. At the fly bench, I never continue to tie a fly if at first I can't get the hook sharpness of which I seek. It must pass my forefinger skin prick and the thumbnail grab and penetration tests and if I can't get it with my file, the hook gets trashed. On the water I'm forever touching up my hooks with a full size fine file that I've cut in half, no tiny little hook files for me and again after dragging that fly thru the rocks makes it difficult to get the sharpness that I desire, I cut it off and replace with a new one, no hesitation. I really really believe it can make a huge difference in increasing your hook up and landing vs. hit ratio..... and maybe that's why I'm able to use some of the lighter rods that I do without too much difficulty.


Colt, that is one beauty of a smallie, how big was he?

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Second up is the unsanded yellow glass McFarland 8'3" 6wt. 3pc. rod. For this build, I used Joel Lemke's LC1 down locking (screw lock) black anodized seat and the insert is turned from a nice piece of maple burl. It's a bit tough to see in these photos as the down locking cap is covering half of the insert since the blank is standing up right. I just finished the guides last night, so I was reluctant to allow the wraps to touch anything yet. I will get a few better photos either tonight or tomorrow once the wraps have more time to dry.


The guides are all REC black pearl Recoil guides. I've used the black pearl recoil stripping guides before, but never the running snake guides. They were a bit difficult to wrap due to their wiry and flexible characteristics. I've heard horror stories about trying to "prep" the guide feet, but these came preground and did not need much work. Albeit, I bought them directly from REC, which probably helped. They were not as neatly ground/finished as the snake brand guides, but in all a decent guide. I'll probably stick with snake brand guides or PacBay light wire guides for the future though.


The grip is made of all flor grade rings turned to a moderate sized full wells grip. I kept the flared ends somewhat subdued (especially the rear flare so it would blend into the reel seat diameter better) as this rod is only a 6wt. rod and I didn't want the grip to seem overly large. The length of the grip is about 7".


The wraps are all YLI silk, color Antique Gold w/no color preserver. The silk thread goes somewhat translucent and it darkens to a rich golden brown color that nicely compliments the color of the blank.


I'm looking forward to test casting this one this weekend! I'll get some more photos of this rod up in a couple days after the wraps are fully dry. Let me know what you think!









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  • 2 weeks later...

NEXT UP is the 6/7 wt. Steffen 8'6" 4pc. build I just completed. Here is the review of the Steffen and comparison with the 6wt. McFarland that I did on the fiberglass fly rod forum. I hope you enjoy!


After reading Lugan's review of his 6/7 Steffen 8' (see here http://fiberglassflyrodders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=38721 ), I thought I would post some photos and comments about my 8'6" 6/7 wt. 4pc. build I'm working on. I will start with saying that everything that Lugan says about his 8' 6/7 carries over to the 8'6" as well. I was one of the people who contacted Lugan shortly before he received his rod and I received my blank voicing my concerns about whether this was going to be "too much" rod for me. Before I received the blank I started second guessing my decision and wondering if the swing weight of this rod was going to be too much. In short, I can say that it is NOT too heavy for me and it is a JOY to cast!


I'm not 100% finished with this rod, as I need to touch up the finish work on my tip top wrap which was had some inconsistencies that I sanded down and I want to add a hook keeper. So in the coming weeks I will likely wrap a hook keeper and when I finish that wrap I will also refinish the tiptop wrap. But the rod is definitely fishable and I spent some time casting it alongside my recently built McFarland 8'3" 6wt. 3pc. yellow glass rod this weekend. (see here for the McFarland 6wt photos: http://fiberglassflyrodders.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=38622 )


Here are the specs on my build:


Seat: Lemke black anodized uplocking all metal seat with hidden screw locks

Grip: Flor Grade 1/2" rings. 7" Full Wells with mild flares on either end

Guides: Snake Brand Traditional in Black Nickel ***see bottom of post***

Stripping Guide: REC Recoil #12 Black Pearl

Wraps: YLI 50wt. Copper (#183) w/ YLI 50wt. Black tipping

Finish: Two-Part Epoxy Finish. 1 coat.






I'll first make a few comments about the Steffen 6/7 wt. 8'6" rod. I paired an Orvis MidArbor V reel with the rod. The reel weighs 6.5 oz. empty and I have about 100 yds. of backing and a Sage 230 Grain Bass Taper Fly line rigged. Even though the 230 grain head is the equivalent on the cusp of being a 9wt. line, I believe it is considered by sage to be an extreme front tapered 7wt. line for turning over large bass bugs. The reel balanced perfectly, and the line/rod combo was so magnificent, I have yet to try another line on the rod. It was absolutely perfect!




I spent most of my time casting the #8 dumbell eyed wooly bugger shown in this shot:




Seventy foot casts were easily made with this rod/line combo. As long as I had 30 feet of line in the air and my loose line was unobstructed, I could shoot casts out to 70' or more very consistently. The rod was extremely accurate from 30' to 50' and still fairly accurate out to 70'. My loops were insanely tight and I was able to accomplish these distances casting into a mild breeze (probably 5 to 10 mph) although it was mostly a nice day for testing the rod.




Even though I spent most of my time concentrating on casting and testing the capacities of the rod, I did manage to hook into and land a nice 12" crappie. The fish put a respectable bend in the rod which I was glad to see as I was hoping for a rod that was not overly stiff. This rod is not. The action is very progressive and even the crappie was a lot of fun on this rod. The fact that my rod is a 4pc. did not seem to affect the action in the least.


I would go so far as to say that this is the best casting rod (Glass or Graphite) that I've ever handled in this weight class. It seems like it is going to perfectly handle the conditions that I encounter fishing for bass in Central Illinois: Streamer fishing mostly in sizes #2 to #10, dries and poppers in size #4 to #10, and still allowing a 1-2 lb. bass show off and put a nice bend in the rod! Just an all around AMAZING rod!


To offer another perspective, I decided to spend about an hour casting the 6/7 wt. 8'6" Steffen next to the 6wt. 8'3" McFarland. Going into this, I can say that the 6wt. McFarland is an excellent rod as well. But there are some subtle differences that I will note here. I had the 6wt. McFarland paired up with an Abel TR3 which weighs 4.6 oz. empty. However, that weight is certainly increased as I have about 140 yds. of backing and a 6wt. Ridgeline Airflo WF line spooled up. The reel balances very nicely on the rod:






As a general statement, I think if I were a trout fisherman trying to choose between these two rods, I would favor the McFarland 6wt. It has a bit more delicacy and I think that it would open the door for casting and fishing some smaller dries in addition to medium sized weighted wooly buggers. But if I were a bass fisherman, I would hands down pick the Steffen 6/7 wt. The steffen might not be able to present a #12 Stimulator as nicely as the McFarland, but it broadens the spectrum of larger streamers and larger poppers that could easily be presented. The Steffen has that extra reserve of power that helps turn over those harder to cast flies for a 6/7 wt. rod.





Nevertheless, both of these rods still seem to flex about the same. The McFarland probably flexes a bit deeper than the Steffen but it was hardly noticeable. For those that have read Lugan's report of his 6/7 wt. Steffen, he makes a comment about disliking that "thud" that occurs on the back cast of the rod. I know exactly what he is talking about and he is absolutely correct that the Steffen is SUPER smooth and virtually "thudless". The McFarland on the other hand, when I was casting the same #8 dumbell eyed wooly bugger, I felt a mild thud on the back cast. I was still able to reach out to 65' to 70' but my accuracy was much less with the McFarland. However, the McFarland was just as accurate if not more so at shorter distances from 20' to 45'.




While I have not tried this yet, it is my assumption that the McFarland 6wt. could not handle the Sage 230 grain bass taper fly line that I was using on the Steffen 6/7 wt. rod. Likewise, I have a feeling that the 8'6" 6/7 wt. Steffen would likely feel a bit underlined with the 6wt. Airflo Rigdeline WF line that I was using on the McFarland 6wt.




I completely intend on hanging onto and fishing the McFarland 6wt. as it is a very fine rod. I foresee favoring my McFarland 6wt. when I am chasing spooky carp on the Fox River, as it is a bit more capable of gently placing the fly. But I must say that the Steffen 6/7 wt. 8'6" rod is my favorite of the two rods for most of my warm-water purposes. The Steffen 6/7 wt. is a perfect all around warm-water rod for me! And I'm extremely pleased that I ended up getting the 4pc. design as I fully intend to make the Steffen 6/7 wt. my go-to travel rod. I've made the seat saltwater friendly, and I think the rod ought to handle everything from trout on big western rivers, light steelhead, bass, carp, bonefish, redfish, and other light saltwater, and etc., etc., etc. I built about 20 plus rods last year (mostly ultralight) and the Steffen 6/7 wt. is certainly one of the most impressive casting rod I've come across to date. FIVE STARS!


***The Snake Guides were given to me FREE by Mike at Snake Brand Guides. For those interested go to his website and see the link to request a free set of guides. I did this and Mike called me personally about an hour later. He asked about my rods and my builds and he sent me a free set of guides which arrived about a week later! What a great guy and some of the best guides I've worked with!***



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If I may customize my above review towards us Illinois Smallmouth Fisherman, I would strongly suggest the Steffen 6/7wt. 8'6" 4pc. rod!!! The McFarland is also an excellent choice, but I believe the Steffen 6/7 wt. would be the better all around smallmouth rod. It is my new "go to" rod for bass fishing in IL. The McFarland will serve as a nice backup rod for these same purposes, but the Steffen does so much so well. And I did not find that it was too heavy for my liking. The swing weight was very comparable to my Sage SP 9'0" 8wt. 3pc, but not nearly as stiff. I would much rather catch 12" to 16" smallmouth on the Steffen 6/7 wt. than my Sage SP 8wt. The Sage SP 8wt. would certainly be better if I were fishing in high winds all day.


And for those that prefer to fish road sized streams and creeks, you may actually prefer the McFarland 6wt. over the Steffen 6/7wt. The McFarland is a fabulous taper for fishing in closer making casts ranging from 20' to upwards of 50'. The McFarland is probably going to present a fly more delicately if your water is very intimate and the fish are nervous.


I decided to sell the McFarland 8' 5wt. 3pc. blank to a friend of mine who really wanted it, so I will not be building the McFarland 805. I was so content with the 8'3" 6wt. McFarland and the 8'6" 6/7 wt. Steffen that I was fine with not having the 805 McFarland in my lineup. Instead I bought a 7'6" 3wt. 3pc. McFarland blank that I'm currently building. I'm planning a trip to the driftless area at the end of this month where I hope to put the new 7'6" 3wt. McFarland, my Kabuto 7'0" 3wt. 3pc., and my TXL-F 2wt. 7'10" 4pc. to good use!


Hopefully these reviews and photos have helped some of you learn a little more about glass fly rods for bass fishing. I'll likely post a few more comments of my McFarland 6wt. and Steffen 6/7 wt. as I continue to fish both of these rods this season. And hopefully I will be able to make it to a gathering of some sort in the coming months so those that are interested can test cast both of these rods.


The best,


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Colt, how do you determine guide placement on your glass blanks? Do the manufacturers give you that info or do you achieve it by taped guides and trial and error or is there a set formula you adhere to? Just curious and wonderful write up again.

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Rob G. :


I'm sure that Mark Steffen or Mike McFarland, respectively, would be able to recommend a guide spacing scheme for each of their blanks. But from my experiences working with both of these guys, I would say that you need to ask them to provide a spacing scheme. I've never received a recommended spacing chart from either blank roller automatically.


My approach for any blank (even if they have a guide spacing chart provided) is usually to find a corresponding Sage rod in similar length/weight/action/#sections that I can look up on the Sage Manufacturers website. I'll use that as a starting point and make adjustments as needed. I like to start with the Sage spacings because I've found that more times than not their recommended spacing lands guides at or very near ferrule wraps. I try (if possible) to combine ferrule reinforcement wraps with guide wraps to eliminate the number of wraps I put onto the blank. I'm sure it's pretty minor, but my thinking is that eliminating a few wraps saves 1. Time; 2. Weight; and 3. Prevents unnecessary restrictions to the blank's flex profile. But I always run a line through the guides to check my spacing and make final adjustments before applying finish.


Particularly, for the McFarland 8'3" 6wt. if I recall correctly, the closest thing I could find was a Sage SPL 8'3" 3wt. 3pc. which I mirrored at first. I don't recall if I made any major changes, other than I may have moved the stripping guide back a inch or so.


For the Steffen 6/7wt. I followed the spacing for a Sage ZXL or a Sage SLT 8'6" 5wt. 4pc. blank. The guide spacing for the medium fast actioned ZXL and SLT is slightly different than the spacing for the faster action Z Axis and "One" rods. I opted to follow the spacing for the medium fast actioned rods since I was building a glass rod. Again, I don't particularly recall making any major changes to that spacing either.


Right now, I'm building a McFarland 7'6" 3wt. 3pc. For that rod, I'm using the spacing for a Sage SP 7'6" 3wt. 3pc. blank. The only thing that I changed on this rod is that I moved the stripping guide one inch closer to the grip to allow the guide to land right on a ferrule wrap. I just did a flex profile last night and it was perfect. I plan on finishing the rod tonight or tomorrow. It's going to be a beautiful rod. I have a really unique piece of spalted golden big leaf maple that I turned for the insert w/bronzed hardware, snake brand dark nickel guides, copper wraps, and the blank is a really cool sanded brown glass.

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I should also note that Tom Morgan has a guide spacing chart that he put together in conjunction with Snake Brand Guides particularly for fiberglass fly rods of varying lengths. I've never used his chart, but I know a lot people who do use his chart. I've emailed snake brand guide company for clarification, and it seems (as I suspected) that Tom Morgan's chart measures to the front foot of the guide whereas Sage measures to the back foot of the guide. After you make that adjustment, the two spacing charts are much more in line with one another.



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