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Posted by: John Sansevera (---.hsd1.ny.comcast.net)
Date: January 03, 2021 07:00AM

Time to lighten things up during these times. We have all had a major blunder while learning our craft. While in the moment i'm sure we all wanted to break the blank over our knee or send the spool of thread across the room like a 90mph fast ball, but looking back I'm sure we all laughed it off once things got back to going smoothly .
I'll start it off. Many moons ago when I started building rods I had about 4 or 5 rods that I was preparing for grips and reel seats. Thinking I was going to epoxy all pieces with one mix of epoxy was a bad idea. Having all parts pre-fitted and sizing up the epoxy on hand, 1/2 bottles of resin and hardener I figured what the heck just cut off the top's and mix them together in one of the bottles. Well one learns pretty fast about chemical reactions. Poured resin into the hardener container , which by the way was the large size containers of epoxy. As I began to mix the two together the container started to get warm, then hot, then started smoking. In about 3 minutes I had a hard, smoking large bottle of epoxy that started to melt the container.
Lesson learned , don't mix more than 2 rods worth of epoxy at one time, and especially do not use a tight small mixing container, epoxy needs room to breath like a good wine.
Well after the smoke cleared I ended up with a deformed container that was no more than a paper wieght and a bunch of rods with no grips or seats on them. @#$%& was I thinking. Looking back it always gives me a good chuckle. Guess we have all had a similar experience , and I'm sure some of you have a great blunder of your own that you look back and chuckle a little to yourself from time to time.

Fishing is not a matter of life or death, it's much more important than that

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: January 03, 2021 10:10AM

My blunders were mostly in spiral wrapping methods. When I first began over 25 years ago and some 125/135 plus rods ago(I lost count really), I built them based on the various methods I read about online at the time. Virtually all of them involved some form of accomplishing a 180 degree spiral wrap around the thickest portion of the blank closest to the reel and the entire 180 degree wrap done in less than 2 feet of rod blank length. All of these methods had unnatural forced redirection line flow, angular bends in the line flowing through transition guides and side loading of guides. I was never pleased with the results. So I set out on a course of changing this for my rods and I have finally found a different way to accomplish the transition around the blank, straightening out line flow when it counts under load, and using the shape of the rod and its taper and unique bend qualities to finally reach a way of doing it I am satisfied with. Today I am glad to say I have found a better way of spiral wrapping for my bass fishing rods.

And so I now look back on my first attempts as blunders. And, as such, I still have close to 50 or 60 spiral wrapped rods, and I dig out my early attempts- the blunders based on old methods- and I put them into a rotation stack of rods in line for stripping down and overhauling the guide system and updating all of them to the way I do it now so I can now begin to enjoy those older rods for the first time at a place where the guide system is at its most efficient and effective level of functionality.

I found that as my method of spiral wrapping changed and improved over time, I could no longer even use those early blunder attempts because the flaws became too distracting while fishing- which is what lead me to change them in the first place.

Today when I fish with a spiral wrapped rod, the rod no longer distracts my attention from the fishing. And I can enjoy using the rod knowing that now it will give me the results I wanted especially when under load of a fish being reeled in.

Here is an image of the line flow under an approximate 90 degree load. From the reel, going past the blank and into the 180's underneath, the line flow is ruler straight showing no side loading of guides, and no angular bends in the line flowing through the transition guides. Perfectly straight. This is night and day different from where I began decades ago. So I now have quite a few "blunder" rods to strip down and redo to make them function like this one:


For the record, the photo makes it appear that the stripper guide is a long way from the reel. It is only 20.5 inches which is a normal distance. But notice where on the rod my spiral transition takes place... using the taper of the rod itself to get out of the way of line flowing past it and aimed directly into the 180's now only on the rod where they need to be and not where others place them coming back much closer to the reel. Rods with guide systems on them like this one function exceptionally well as compared to the older methods I learned first decades ago. My dissatisfaction with those older methods compelled me to find a different way is all.

So yeah looking back on my blunder rods does make me chuckle a little and cringe as well. But fortunately, they can be updated!

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: January 03, 2021 10:34AM

Some years ago when I would turn grips on the rod blanks, I would use slow curing epoxy so that I could glue up the 20 or more pieces of cork for the grips along with the reel seat and the fore grip in one batch of epoxy.

I would be 100% certain that everything was clean and prepped and ready to go. Then, I would use 1 hour cure epoxy. A 1 hour cure epoxy gives one at least 30 minutes of working time with fluid epoxy. If all of the 15-30 pieces were all ready to go - along with the appropriate clamps, it was possible to do the job in one glue up mix. The advantage of using the one glue up mix, is that all of the glue on the entire rod cured at the same time so that there was never an issue with a new mix having to glue up to an existing mix.

But, after just a few of these builds, I just found it much much more convenient to do the job in smaller batches which actually ended up being a lot easier and much less stressful.

You surely do have the spiral guide wraps figured out. A perfect line flow with next to no rubbing of line on a guide at all.

Have a great day.

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: January 03, 2021 11:47AM

roger wilson Wrote:

> Kent,
> You surely do have the spiral guide wraps figured
> out. A perfect line flow with next to no rubbing
> of line on a guide at all.
> Have a great day.

Thanks Roger! The method I am now using to create my spiral wrapped bass fishing rods is detailed in the new December issue of Rod Maker magazine. Included in the new article are details on how to replicate results like those shown above on any bass rod. And I say bass rods because I don't build saltwater rods so I have never tried adapting it to those. This method works exceptionally well on all of my bass fishing rods so I focus on those. Once other rod builders learn the adaptive process based on each rod's unique bend, I am sure it can be adapted to a wider variety of rods and uses.

One thing I'd like to point out, but the particular rod I used as an example of my new "Cagey Hook Wrap" system is actually an earlier more primitive rod guide setup than I am using now.

In that image above, I got the aim of the under load line flow from reel to entry point of underside 180's spot on, but on this rod I used the basic 90 degree bumper guide. I was never satisfied with doing it this way, so I now try and balance the difference of bumper guide function between 2 guides before and after the X marks the spot where the line crosses the blank.

I use short micro guides so the side line flow redirection of using a 90 degree bumper is minimal, but increases with taller guides. By eliminating the 90 degree bumper guide and balancing out the function of it with a guide before and a guide after the X marks the cross the blank spot, I can run a much tighter line tolerance off the blank, but with increased line straightening flow when under load.

One of the unique characteristics of how I now do spiral wrapped rods is that my guides move into alignment under load, so efficiency of line flow straightening under load improves as the rod loads up to the load point that the guides were aligned for in the first place. I have also calculated into this method the slight rod twisting based on how a person holds the rod when fighting a fish. So for performance improvements of the guide design, I had to take into account which hand the fisherman is using when the loaded rod is reeling in a fish so that the guide system moves into its most efficient alignment dialed in for the person using that rod. This dictates which side of the rod the spiral should go around. One way works to the spiral wrap advantage while the other way based on pure physics works against the fisherman and spiral wrapped guide alignment efficiency. I chose to go with the side that works to my advantage.

So even though the rod I showed as an example above is technically a blunder, it is not serious enough for me to redo that one. The operation and functional differences are so minor it is not worth it to redo it. But take note of the straight line flow from reel into 180's on underside. The aim on the rod shown above is a perfect bullseye.

But here is a rod made by a custom rod builder in Texas who was on track, but his aim was severely undershot on this custom spiral wrapped rod. Notice the angular line bend as it turns into the 180's. The rod builder here did not get the aiming correct for the load bend of this rod. Does it work this way? Of course it does. Is it ideal? Not in my world.

I acquired 2 of these full custom rods built on mid 1980's Gary Loomis blanks from an elderly very ill former bass pro fisherman who is now deceased. These were among his prized rods, but since he could no longer fish, he sold them to me. I have since stripped one down and rebuilt the guides based on my way of doing it, and went around the left side of the blank which works better for me and I re-aimed the under load line flow into 180's starting now at the 5th guide back from tip and incorporated more of this rod's length into the spiral transition to bring it closer to ideal efficiency this rod builder missed. He was close... if only he had aimed a little further out than he did and he could have nailed it. The new article details how to find this correct aiming spot for each rod's unique bend characteristics.


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Re: Blunders
Posted by: david taylor (---)
Date: January 03, 2021 04:11PM

Was making a 4-piece 9-foot fly rod. Found the spline on each section and marked with tape. For the upper 3 sections I wrapped the guides on the spline-marked side of the rod. I then discoverd that on the butt section I had epoxied the grip and reel seat so that the reel seat was wrong-side up -- 180 degrees off. Thus the butt section's spline is 180 degrees opposite the rest of the rod. Thankfully, the rod casts wonderfully and, given the siffness of the butt section, I am not sure the butt section's spline really matters much on a 4-piece rod. On my next rod, I did not overlook this fact. Learn by doing.

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: John Sansevera (---.hsd1.ny.comcast.net)
Date: January 03, 2021 08:15PM

Was hoping for a good story on a runaway power wrapper.

Fishing is not a matter of life or death, it's much more important than that

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: Aaron Petersen (12.144.64.---)
Date: January 04, 2021 10:08AM

My first spinning rod was a 5'5" MHX ultralight. I was building it for the sole purpose of traveling home to fish the Olympic trout with my grandfather for likely the last time he could make that trip. I spent a meticulous amount of time wrapping the ferrule and added decorative thread and a trout label. It was absolutely beautiful. As I packed it into the travel tube, an hour before I needed to leave, and put the cap on I hear that dreadful pop. $%#&, I broke the tip. I pulled it out and cleaned the break and replaced the tip top with a larger one I had in stock. No longer perfect but crisis averted as it was just a commemorative for one use then hanging up. We hike 12 miles into the mountains and begin to fish. I am finding that it is having issues when casting. Every 20 casts or so the line wraps the rod prior to the first guide. After all the stupid things I inflicted the worst one was that I put the hook keeper on the wrong side of the rod and the line was grabbing it while casting in the wind. Still fished it and made incredible memories. Also learned a valuable lesson about the placement of hook keepers.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2021 10:13AM by Aaron Petersen.

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: woody osborne (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 04, 2021 11:16PM

just a couple of several: most recent - putting varnish on wrap on an expensive bamboo fly rod blank. too much, too soon. gotta remove and redo slower. another one was completely failing to align fly reel seat parts at all. had to get a heat gun to fix that one.

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: Robert Ford (---)
Date: January 05, 2021 03:00PM

I am having finish blunders as we speak. I am about to go back to a different product that seemed to work better for me. It's a learning process.

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: Darwin Wong (---.cpe.net.cable.rogers.com)
Date: January 07, 2021 05:54PM

On my first rod i was so eager to start trying to wrap my guides that i didn't realize i had them all on backwards lol. Guess i never really paid attention to the details of the rod until having to build them!

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Re: Blunders
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: January 09, 2021 08:34AM

This thread has been a kick in my butt to dig into a stack of rods I have in rotation for repairs or overhauling.

So I pulled out 3 rods in particular... on 2 I am simply removing all the guides and putting new micro guides on them. These 2 are some of my early attempts at spiral wrapping rods going back over 20 years ago and were never happy with, but with my advancing knowledge on spiral guide designs I am now ready to bring these two rods up to date.

But that third rod is going to be more involved.

It not only needs all new guides in an updated configuration, but I am also going to have to remove all the foam grip material. Not only do I not like the foam, but it is separating from the rod blank from use. I don't know right now if I made a mistake in attaching it, or if the foam itself is tearing apart on the inside, or what the problem is right now- I just don't know. So the only thing on this rod to stay in place will be the reel seat.

At this point I am going to consider using foam as a blunder. I will never again buy or use foam on one of my rods. Cork is far more reliable and easier to work with and shape- and stays attached to the rod under heavy long term use.

Another change I plan on incorporating into this rod is what is known as a "power hump" grip made famous by Bass Pro's heavy use of it for years. I have found that I actually prefer this shape over just a straight cork handle. It fits my hand better.

But, that said, all of Bass Pro rods sold with this power hump grip always orientate them straight up and down so the hump is at top center. When I made my first power hump grip on one of my own rods, I slid the grip into place and put a reel on the rod and began playing around with grip positioning that aligned better with how I used the rod. And so with that rod my power hump grip was rotated slightly off center about 10 degrees for a more natural and perfect fit for me. And I plan on following this same course for this 3rd blunder rod once all the foam is gone and a memory to forget because when I try and use that rod now as is, I can feel and hear the foam separation. When I cast I grip down hard on it, but as my grip releases I can hear the foam pulling away from the blank making a crackling sound that is annoying to say the least.

I am right now stripping off some titanium oxide guides I put on a rod more than 20 years ago and what I am finding out is that the epoxy I used back then- which was more than likely from a hardware store and claimed to be flexible once cured, I am finding did not adhere well to the blank. And it did not saturate into the thread to reach the blank. Not sure why. Not sure if I packed the thread wraps too tightly, or just used the wrong type of epoxy. But at least this is making removal and cleaning up of the blank much easier since the old epoxy is basically just peeling right off the blank with ease.

And this type of epoxy shows me why I should try and limit the epoxy to threads only. Letting the epoxy flow past the thread wrap and onto the blank is not working out at all. I am finding that since this type of epoxy did not adhere well the blank, it has all separated from the blank due to flexing over the years and is just really hanging on there doing nothing- meaning it should not be there in the first place. Make mental note to limit epoxy in future...

ADDED: after digging in and removing the foam grip, I found an air gap inside partially filled with epoxy and in other places just open air space. Not sure why or how this has happened. In process of cleaning out back side of reel seat now as it is the only item staying on the rod through this overhaul. I am currently looking around for a source for the power hump type of grip shape in cork. Gonna check with Mudhole and Get Bit and see what I can find. I might have to end up shaping one myself and I can't really do it on a spinning lathe type of machine since the shape is oblong and not round. Just one more thing to make it more difficult is all. But the finished results make it worthwhile.

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/09/2021 06:44PM by Kent Griffith.

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