Northwest Fly Tyers Expo

I’ve been busy getting ready for the Northwest Fly Tyer and Fly Fishing Expo (www.nwexpo.com) in Albany, Oregon this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I’ll be there in Booth #3 with my bamboo fly rods.  This is one of the largest fly tying/fishing shows on the west coast with great opportunities to learn about fly tying, take classes in fly fishing and casting, and visit with many equipment vendors and lodge/resort owners as well.  If you make it to the show, please stop by my booth.

Show Update:  It was a good show this year, although attendance was down a little.  I always enjoy this show because it’s in my home territory and I know so many folks here.  A lot of my good friends stopped by the booth and chatted.  Here I am at the show:

2014 NW Fly Tyers and Fly Fishing Expo.

2014 NW Fly Tyers and Fly Fishing Expo.

 

Fishing Bamboo on the Williamson River.

With all the cold weather and snow we have right now, we’ve been catching up on some old “to-do” items.  We spent a few days last May at Yamsi Ranch in Southern Oregon fishing the headwaters of the Williamson River.  It’s amazing fishing for highly educated rainbows and brook trout on spring creek water…requiring long, light tippets and plenty of stealth…perfect for bamboo fly rods.  Here is a little video of Mary Ann stalking and catching a nice rainbow one sunny morning.

Swinging with my Switch Rod for Steelhead.

Mary Ann and I hit a local river with one of my bamboo switch rods two days ago, hoping to scare up a steelhead.  I took out my 10′  6″  5 wt. switch rod…a little under gunned if I happened into a large winter fish.  I swung a #6 bucktail coachman on an intermediate leader….yes, Paul, you’ve had an influence on my fly selection!  The weather was cold (33 degrees) and foggy, and all we caught were frozen extremities and iced-up guides.  But it was still fun to get out.

A #6 Bucktail Coachman

A #6 Bucktail Coachman

Swinging with my bamboo switch rod

Swinging with my bamboo switch rod

 

2014 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo

Mary Ann and I just got back from Boise and the 2014 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo sponsored by the Boise Valley Fly Fishers.  We had a great time there and met a lot of great folks very interested in bamboo fly rods.  Here we are at our booth at the show:

Our booth at the 2014 Boise Fly Fishing Show

Our booth at the 2014 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo

Mary Ann also gave a casting demonstration on the do’s and don’ts of fly casting…with a bamboo rod!

Mary Ann giving a casting demonstration at the 2014 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo

Mary Ann giving a casting demonstration at the 2014 Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo

 

Building a Hollow-Built Bamboo Switch Rod – Chapter 3

I’ve been making good progress on my hollow-built bamboo switch rod.  The next step was making a custom winding check.  Bill Bennett at Bellingers made a few of these for me last year and has inspired me to build my own.  I machine small pieces of nickel/silver for the winding check, and then machine and polish black acrylic as the trim piece.  They look pretty nice on my switch rods.

Custom Machined Winding Checks

Custom Machined Winding Checks

Then it was time to blue the ferrules.  I use Brownells Oxpho-Blue liquid gun bluing solution on my nickel/silver ferrules.  First, the areas I don’t want blued get masked off with tape.  I then wipe a cotton swab drenched in the bluing solution over the ferrule, always making sure I move over the entire surface that I want blued.  It takes about 30 to 45 seconds at room temperature to get the desired effect.  Here is what it looks like:

Bluing a Nickel/Silver Ferrule.

Bluing a Nickel/Silver Ferrule.

It’s important to rinse the ferrule very well in running water to remove all the residual bluing solution.  Let it dry, and then spray the blued surface of the ferrule with a clear lacquer to protect it.  I use Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Crystal Clear Gloss in a spray can, but any good clear lacquer should work fine.  Then it was on to wrapping the guides.  As with all my switch rods, I use black thread with straw and claret tipping on my wraps.  I use Pearsall’s Naples thread on the ferrules, and Pearsall’s Gossamer thread on the snake guides.  The Stripping Guide is a 16 mm Black Banded Agate guilde.

Wrapping a Black Banded Agate Stripping Guide

Wrapping a Black Banded Agate Stripping Guide

Snake Guides on my Switch Rod.

Snake Guides on my Switch Rod.

Finally, after coating all the guide wraps with 8 coats of Varathane 900 Gloss, the rod was ready for finishing in my dipping tube process.  I put on 6 coats of polyurethane on my rods, using a dip tube filled with finish.  Each rod section is dipped into the finish and slowly pulled out.  The finish just runs off all the guides.   It takes about 2 hours to dip an entire rod.

The Butt Section coming out of the dip tube of finish.

The Butt Section coming out of the dip tube of finish.

It’s a slow process…kinda like watching paint dry!  After a day of drying time, each section gets a thorough sanding with 1500 grit sand paper, first the flats on the thread wraps, and then the flats on the bamboo.

Sanding the thread wraps after the fifth coat of finish.

Sanding the thread wraps after the fifth coat of finish.

Finally, after six dips and a final 48 hours of drying time, the finish gets rubbed out with a polishing compound.  I use Meguiars Mirror Glaze 83 as a polishing compound and a small felt pad.  This process helps take out any dust particles that have made their way onto the finish coat.

Polishing after the final finish dip.

Polishing after the final finish dip.

And that’s it.  After doing  a final fitting of the ferrules, the Hollow-Built Switch Rod is finished.

The finished Hollow-Built Switch Rod.

The finished Hollow-Built Switch Rod.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, I had to do a little casting down on the river this afternoon….

Casting a Hollow-Built Switch Rod.

Casting a Hollow-Built Switch Rod.

 

 

 

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