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McFarland 7'2" 5wt. Spin/Fly

Colt Johnson

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I decided to take this one in a new direction. I have not previously seen a McFarland Spin/Fly rod (although there may be a few out there) and having previously built and fished the 7'2" 5wt., I thought it would be a wonderful blank to use.


Originally, I have/had in mind a light bass spin/fly rod. But I also thought that a spin/fly rod is a very utilitarian setup and such a rod needs to be able to "do it all." The 7'2" length is not too long and not too short. It can still be fished on pretty small water with just enough length to feel comfortable on medium sized water as well. The 5wt. line is not too heavy and not too light. I can cast most dries with some smaller streamers and medium sized poppers as well. The rod can present a fly pretty delicately, but still has enough power to handle a medium breeze. And if things get too tight or too windy to cast a fly line, a spinning reel can be attached. It's kind of a "jack of all trades" type of rod.


As for the build, I went with American Tackle's single foot spinning guides with a darkened nickel frame and a gold insert. The gold inserts look really nice with the orange colored ferrules. The wraps are YLI silk and I turned the grip using flor grade cork rings with rubberized cork and burl cork rings on both ends. It's actually a pretty simple build.


Let me know what you think.














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I've never used a combo, but have always been wary. The line/lure weights and rod loads seem so different... I mean, have you ever tried casting standard tackle on a fly rod!? It's the crazy far extreme of chuck'n'duck! If anyone has any experiences, I'd love to know how the combos stack up. It does seem a heck of a lot easier than carrying multiple rods.

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Beautiful work oh "Glass Master" ! Excellent photos as always. I love the handle work, but isn't it a shame what is considered Flor grade cork these days. Love to hear how it fishes and wondering what size jig or lure you might be able to toss with that comfortably. There used to be a simple equation as to what you would expect the fly rod blank to be rated when tossing weighted lures but not sure how applicable it is today and with glass.

Again, excellent craftsmanship and thanks for sharing.

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Thanks fellas. I don't think this rod could handle the large swim jig type lures that I've seen people throwing from time to time. But it's not meant for that. Similarly it wouldn't toss large deer hair poppers very well. For that, you'd need a stiffer rod. But I think this rod would easily handle throwing smaller 1/4 oz. spinner baits or buzz baits, smaller rapalas and poppers, float and fly type combinations, and other light tackle spinning lures. Similarly, I think it could handle size 8 clousers and buggers with smaller dumbell eyes, size 8 to 12 poppers and sliders, most any terrestrials, unweighted wooly buggers of a variety of sizes, and the like.


This rod is going to seem like a finesse type rod with a deep bending action....and would be excellent for those streams where 8 to 10" smallies are the norm and a 14" is a trophy! It could certainly handle larger fish, but those fish typically like larger lures/baits/flies which would be difficult to cast with this type of rod. But for those that don't know, I'm an ultralight fan so a rod like this seems "heavy" to me.

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You do nice work, Colt.


This is deja vu all over again. The first spinning rod I build close to 60 years ago was based on a 3 piece 8.5 ft HDH blank cut down to 7 ft by trimming the butt. I used a Herter's Browntone fiberglass blank. A big name in spinning at the time was Ernie StClaire who promoted this Wavecaster spinning rod. It featured extra large guides and a Tenessee grip-still the most comfortable grip IMHO. The resulting rod was "parabolic" and handled 1/16 to 3/8 oz lures nicely. The original blank "fatigued" and suffered a broken tip. No matter, using the same guides, I built another one on a new Herter's blank. BTW It cost about $10 for the new blank. I still have the rod but prefer the action of these new fangled carbon rods for everyday fishing.

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