This page is devoted to the different style of grips I turn from glued up cork rings…and also the three method’s for seating a reel to the rod’s I make…I have some samples too of the species of wood I use for my custom turned inserts for the seats that use  “hood and grainger” hardware.

 

 …”RainMaker” series rod with full wells style cork…

               For “Trout” style rods I have two patterns I use…one similar to the “Western” style and the other like whats commonly called”Full Wells”…there are a few distinct differences with what I do vs. those traditional grip styles.

 

 …my style winding check on standard western style cork grip…

               First a little about what makes these “styles” actually different…something, many never even consider, more of what they are “used to”, or something that just happened to come on a rod they purchased.

 

 …”Western” style cork w/ butt extension…

               The “Full Wells” style on a trout rod lets the thumb orientate the rod in your hand by allowing the thumb to stop at a location dictated by the turning of the cork. In this style the fore finger wraps around the cork and the thumb is more “the pilot” of where the rod moves in your hands.

 

osage_2…reel seat detail on a a full wells grip with a butt extension…

 

The “Western” style with its “coned” fore end lets the fore finger do more of the directing…something that can be really appreciated in a “finesse” or “dry fly rod”…a bit more subtle in its gripping…but also not as uniform either. An angling friend who is also a “chef” told me how a true chef while using his paring or other precision cutlery always uses his for finger to guide the cuts…I thought this was very interesting, since it also has an application with gripping a fly rod.

 

 …I turn a locator edge on my Full Wells style cork grips…

             Many production cork grips are so generic in their profile its hard to distinguish them at times as to what they truly are…I have put a lot of time in the designs of my “profiles” to be elegant, but also more importantly functional.

 

 …Full Wells cork “Monk Style”…

            The “Spey and Switch” rods I make vary from the one hander design some, although they do share some similarities with the full wells…Since they are geared for use with “Two Hands”, the criteria for them and also their useage is different…I use a version on my fore grips similar to my “Full Wells” profile…with a more noticeably swelled center and more pronounced “bells” at either end to faccilatate the extra amount of strength and grip involved with “swinging” a two hander. The reel seats are generally solid machined ones with no wood inserts…and have a double “locking” ring in their design to secure the heavier reels & lines used.

 

 …locking style reel seat on switch model…

                        I also can use “adjustable” ring bands that slide for securing reels…in both Spey and Trout design grips. This is the method used in my “Native Angler” series and on special demand on my Spey rods. This can allow subtle changes in balancing reels and lines for different needs…which is very appealing to some anglers…Ideally a rod that is rigged with a reel balances at the point where either your fore finger (on a western) or your thumb tip (on a full wells) locate on the ncork…the adjustable slide bands can make fine tuning this perfect with various weight rigs. This might be most applied in smaller “finesse” trout models…but also has applications in “Two Handers” as well. When I install this style cork grip and attachment bands I notate with small epoxy rings to show the balance areas clearly for best performance.

 

 …fore grip detail on a Spey model…

                          Matching a reel to a rod really has more to do with cork and balance for best performance than most ever realized before…and many rods that never performed up to expectations has a lot more of about “The Calculus” of the balance of a rig, than that the actual rod itself. With the advent of larger diameter reels made from lighter materials thais can really be taken to another level. Many reels I have owned that were designated 3wt, 6 wt. etc were too generic in their markings…I rather like to know the weight and also the line capacity of a reel…to get the start on a good match.

 

 

 …adjustable ring bands on a “Native Angler” series rod less the leather wraps to show detail…

                  The final “recipe” should always be determined after testing a few different  reels for any given rod/reel combo . This something I do with all my rods I make so I can give a good recomendation for the owner as to where to start…The most expensive line and reel on the wrong match up will perform no better than an “off the shelf hardware store ” that had no thought whatsoever in its creation.Actually the frustration will be magnified because of the greater expectations.

 

 …butt detail on a three piece rod using adjustable ring bands for securing reel…

 

In years of guiding I have seen many excellent rods disgarded and sold only because someone tried to make a combo work when it wasnt the proper mechanical match…something worth considering when doing a critique of a purchase. Knowing what works sometmes starts with a very simple test…especially once you have determined the criteria of your own angling style and grip preference!

 

custom made bamboo fly rods by wandering monk

 …”Indian Summer”series rod with standard “Western” style cork…

 Breac à linne, slat à coille is fiadh à fìreach – mèirle às nach do ghabh gàidheal riamh nàire.
a fish from the river, a rod from the woods and a stag from the mountain , thefts ne’er a Gael was ashamed

  …an old Gaelic proverb….

  WM does not , and will not copy proprietary tapers or rod models of other or companies, current or past…or will I make “knock off’s” of classic or existing rods…

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