When I stumbled across these rods my first thought was 'Aha, the ideal construction of good built-cane married to the strength and stiffness of carbon-fibre'. My second thought was "How fecking much!!!!??" ††The late great Sir Terry Pratchett considered multiple exclamation marks were a sign of insanity. My psychologist says I should apologise for this error and also that I should say it will never happen again. They're not cheap, being mostly hand-made even today, and if I'm frank, I dislike the cane-coloured paint. It adds weight and they're not cane. I'd rather have the dark green colour a few of the salmon rods come in. However, saying that, in an otherwise well designed rod, it's a fabulous way to make said rod.
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The Hexagraph Avon.
I bought this in 2009, because I thought it would give me the best construction married to the best materials. It's a powerful 11ft 1½lb t/c rod, probably as powerful as most 2lb t/c hollow-section rods. What was caught with it stayed caught. I originally built it with 'low Bells' guides and one amber and one green agate stripping guide on the butt section as it looked nice . I know lined rings are 'better', but still. However some might say the intensive manufacturing process makes it over-priced.
It was never exactly how I wanted it and I ditched the sliding reel reel-bands, changed them for a sliding screw-lock in 2011, couttesy of Gary at Mill tackle. It still wasn't quite right, so in 2016 I very carefully removed the cane-coloured paint and re-made the rod it with titanium Pacbay rings and put on a 16mm reel-seat and sanded down the handle. It's lighter, all together a finer rod in the hand.
But...the 16mm reel seat is too thin and the cork, although matching, is too slender even for my small hands. As I've located an agent for Pacbay in the UK who stocks the black titanium rings, I will, although it irks me to re-do black-thread-on-black-rod whipping, re-make the handle and re-whip it. I may put an 18mm real-seat on't or I may use a pair of my amazing sliding reel-bands. The only sort that is actually any good. In any event the job waits for a wood-working lathe to ensure the handle is the mutt's knuts.
The Hexagraph Avon was first used on 30th December 2009 and has been used on at least 26 occasions, the last being the 17th June 2014.
Other diary and fettling entries relevant to the Hexagraph Avon.
22nd March 2014. I like the Hexagraph Avon, but never liked its reel seat, which has gone from the basic bands it came with to a sliding capstan thing, via some nice looking B&W bands, with a long parallel section promising a lock but the reel foot accommodated by a slot didn't work out. So, having come by two sets LRH Hexagon Winches, today I got my customised 32mm halved plastic pipe sanding tool and rubbed 1.5mm off the o/dOutside Diameter the handle, which took barely 45 minutes. This step I took, as the handle of my LRH No.3 I like, although the rod rather less so. Now I have a handle that suits my smaller than average hands. So, more use for this rod this year...
26th August 2016. The new handle of the Hex Avon. It took me a while, but I stripped the paint off to lighten the rod and improve its 'feel'. I never liked the cane-colour paint, but it would have been a long wait for an unpainted...I'd previously rubbed the long cork handle down to ¾" to accept Hardy Screw-Lock reel bands, but now removed the top 8" of this slender handle and put on a slim screw-lock reel-seat and a 3" fore-grip, half of which was a left-over piece of cork handle, the top half being a champagne cork. This needs rubbing down to the ¾" mark, saving the front of the champagne cork (so you can tell). I've just started that job, ten minutes here and there as a break from a terminally dull essay and it's amusing to have a fore-grip smelling slightly of champers...
1st September 2016. The Hexagraph thing. A pal asked me to contrast my Hexagraph Avon with the four-piece Harrisons' Avon. Both are nominally 1½lb t/c, so it's an interesting comparison. It's said by Hexagraph proponents that they are 'more powerful than their test curve', compared with carbon. That is to say a 1¼lb t/c Hex. Avon will be 'as powerful' as a 1½lb t/c hollow carbon-fibre rod. This argument is based on the idea that the hollow carbon tube, deforming under pressure, leads to a non-linear (and reducing) restoring force as a function of deflection. In contrast the solid section of the Hexagraph doesn't deform under pressure so has a more linear restoring force as a function of deflection. This sounds perfectly feasible and may be true. It may not matter of course, but that's another argument, and how thick the carbon wall is in either case might well matter more.
The Harrisons' has an all-through action which has considerable power, as someone once said 'it's really a carp rod in disguise'. It's powerful certainly.
The Hexagraph Avon has a different action - the rod is more middle actioned in comparison and a look at the blank reveals that the taper of the butt section is steeper than the Harrison's. It kind of reminds me of the Richard Walker's 'MKIII', essentially two linear tapers, one for the tip and one for the butt section. You can fish with either rod with 6lb line, perhaps 'just about' but the Hexagraph has a lot more bottom end power so might provide more control over a big fish under heavy pressure.
With the Hexagraph it feels as if I could fish heavier and pull harder. The Hexagraph is heavier in the hand as well - of course, it's got at least as much carbon (although to me it looks rather like the walls are thicker) and a foam composite inner. This only matters if you're planning on holding it for long periods.
In short the actions of the rods differentiates them, rather than the materials or construction.
So...all this got me thinking (dangerous).
It occurrs to me that the feel of the rod in the hand (not that this really affects playing the fish) might be improved by removing as much weight from the top section as possible. To that end, I've put titanium Pacbay intermediates and a titanium tip ring on the Hexagraph Avon. I judged the weight of the (cane coloured) paint unnecessary also so, with some care, I scraped it off, putting back one coat of varnish, thinned slightly to ensure it sealed those area where the carbon cloth seemed close to the surface of the resin.
Wen I bought this rod it came with a cork handle with sliding reel bands which never performed to my satisfaction (most don't). A late replacement to Hardy Screwlocks was an improvement, but not quite right. With a complete strip-down to change the rings, it made sense to put a screw-lock real seat on the rod - I put on the thinnest that would accommodate a Cardinal 66x, 16mm, All done, I thought to myself...
...but the handle was too thin. Notwithstanding the slight play in the now terminally thin cork on a hexagonal cross-section, the handle was now too thin for comfort. So I'm, with some annoyance, changing it back to an 18mm reel seat. Probably. This is a painful way to discover one's optimal real-seat and handle thickness, but at least I know now.
All said, if you're thinking about a Hexagraph Avon, I'd suggest considering an unpainted blank, using titanium rings and fitting a winch reel-seat. You'll get the most out of it that way.
4th September 2016. JAA's Top Tips. Following on from the previous entry - if you want eye strain and like making a job harder than it needs to be (perhaps you've been naughty and need punishing), whip rings onto a black fishing rod using black thread.
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The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment (LHSRE).
The first Hexagraph Salmon Rod experiment worked, the GHRSEThe Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. Part the first has become a favourite rod of mine, being soft enough to get away with 6lb line and tough enough for 12lb and has now landed double-figures doubles, several 18lb fish and one 'twenty'. It gets a few smug smiles, it looks a 'bit bamboo', but I take the view that anyone who can do no better than sneer is better moving on anyway. I wanted a lighter rod in the same vein and had planned a 9-11aftm conversion for some time.
Essentially, I used the top two sections to make a rod and a piece of the bottom section to make the handle. It is primarily aimed at perching or 'fishing for bites' where there are too many carp. Which is nearly everywhere. It's an interesting rod to fish with. It feels a little heavy compared with a hollow section, but not overly so and it's quite comfortable in the hand. It's not the best rod for casting light tackle a very long way - and by the same token it's not a rod for long-range fishing.
However, it doesn't seem quite possible to break 6lb line, even with lively carp up to 19lb (to date). It gives enough to soften the playing of moderately sized (1-3lb) fish and it absorbs high pressures progressively. Its actual test curve is about 2lb. By the same token, the amount the rod bends shortens one's lever considerably and great pressure can be applied to a fish in extremis, but gently so, so the line gets good protection from sudden lunges. I generally use it with 6lb line and the Harlow 'pin, but I'm happy using it with 8lb or 10lb main-line, and I suspect it would handle most things with the 10lb. A good, odd rod. An instructive success.
With some fishing under its belt, I suspect the top-section rings could stand thinning out a smidge, perhaps remove one and re-space the remainder. It could stand to be slightly softer-actioned in the tip and a little less weight won't hurt.
The LHSRE was first used on 1st October 2014 and has been used on at least 61 occasions, the last being the 27th July 2019.
Other diary and fettling entries relevant to the LHSRE.
September 2014. Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment (LHSRE).
For some time I'd been after a Hexagraph to convert into a 'Light' carp rod and my first choice a 14' 9-11aftm Salmon rod, one of the green ones, came my way at today's Romsey Tackle Fair, for £80. Yippee. Next...
4th October 2014. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment. Having acquired the 'right' rod, it was time to get going on the 'conversion'. The 'snake' rings were removed from the top two sections along with all and any other whippings. With a lit match and a piece of kitchen-roll, I removed the tip-ring. I examined the 'female' ferrule area with a loupe. Even on this otherwise sound rod, there were tiny cracks in the paint showing that there might be the tiniest of movment in the joints. I carefully scraped the green paint off these areas, leaving bare carbon-fibre then put three turns of carbon cloth around them, possibly tat was one wrap too many on the bottom joint. Still, it won't need to be bendy there.
With hindsight I should have wrapped those with an inch-wide strip at the open end and a resin reinforced whipping further up, but one lives and learns. While this was setting I pondered the handle. Hm. As was, it's a 14' rod, so two sections plus a 24" handle is 11'4". I debated making one, using an old JW Avon handle and various old bits of carbon tube...the rod's bottom section was measured and marked up, and carefully, after a deep breath and a silent apology to the gods of fishing, a 27" length was cut off to make the handle. That really is the end for my 'good conduct medal'.
I glued 1½" of cork-shive on the bottom end, then carefully rubbed it down to a working fit for the composite 'fighting butt', which was then cascemite'd on. Discovered my cascemite had 'gone off', opened a new tub, cleaned off all the old glue and glued it on again. When this had set, 16½" 'off-the-shelf' cork handle segments were slid down into pace, cascemite'd on and left to set. I then fitted an 18mm reel-seat.
Top tip for reel seat mounting. Mark the orientation of the seat using a black 'sharpie' - screw fitting pointing 'up the rod' of course. Make up two ¼" wide spacers with strips of gaffer tape, about 1" from either end of the reel seat. When the seat is a working fit, slide it over and using holt-melt glue, nearly fill in the end nearest the corks. Orientate and slide home (briskly). Now, (first checking it's aligned correctly) 'hot-melt' into the other open end of the real seat until its full and set. Trim flush with a knife. Then (and this is the sneaky bit) drill a 3mm hole in the reel seat in the 'flat spot' where the logo usually is. Do this by hand, using a pin-vice and about a 1mm drill, then open it up to 3mm. De-burr the hole. Turn the seat over and bore a 0.8mm hole in the seat's grove for the sliding part of the reel-hood, as near to a tape-spacer as you can). Then put the hot-melt gun nozzle over the big hole and stick a good measure of glue in the hole. It'll get hot mind. Now that won't come off. Trim off any excess glue.
|The 3mm hole for injecting the hot-melt...||...the 0.8mm whole for letting the air out the other side||The bottom end of the hhandle with its 'fighting butt'||The top of the reel-seat and the foregrip, such as it is|
Next glue the cork fore-grip on. The trick is to cascamite the fore-grip and this area of the rod then add a little hot-melt to the to completely fill the top of the reel-seat then slide the cork fore-grip (2½") into place and hold it until the hot-melt is set, at which point it will hold the cork in place until the cascemite is off...at which point the handle was put aside to be tidied up later. Probably.
The six rings' spacing on the tip section was left 'as was', Pacbay Minima' rings were whipped on. The smallest ring was a size '8' and the top four rings were single-legged to keep the weight down at that end. Once this was done, it was possible to properly align a titanium body SIC lined the tip ring. This latter is far to shiny and it may yet get scrubbed with toothpaste and coloured with an indelible pen, to remove the 'flash'.
|The top of the handle with its decorative whippings.||The bottom section 'ferrule'||The 'snake' keeper ring, which is far more usable than the traditional 'can't get the hook in the silly little wire loop' type|
|The stupidly shiny Hardlon butt-ring||One of the 'minima' double legged rings||The top section 'ferrule'. Just in view is a green 'spectra' whipping over a funny flaked bit of paint. Probably just where it got knocked on a tree. Probably.|
The original rod's middle section, now the LHSRE's butt-section had three rings whipped on and while the top one was in an original position, the lower two, including a Hardlon lined butt-ring, were placed where they needed to be. Both the ferrules' reinforcings were whipped over as well. Finally I added a very small 'snake' ring about 4" up from the bottom of the butt-section, to use as a 'keeper' ring. All the whippings were done with a red thread, which once varnished took on a mauve hue due to the green paint underneath. There. All done.
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The New Hexagraph Carp Rod (or 'Big Hex').
This tamer of Leviathans from Bruce & Walker weighs in at 12' with 2lb t/c, and I refer to it as the 'Big Hex'. The blank arrived on the 1st September 2010, and I built it using the supplied salmon-rod handle corks, with lined Fuji rings whipped in grey thread. 'Capax Infiniti' CI I.e. 'Holding the Infinite'. This amuses me. I wrote with hopeful Indian ink on the improbably thick butt-section.
Bruce & Walker also supplied a suggested ring spacing;
Measurements from top of tip section: 5" - 6½" - 7½" - 8½" - 9½" - 10½" - 12"
Measurements from the spigot end (excluding spigot): 2" - 18½" + keeper
Still didn't completely like it, despite landing a 26lb common in a 6' wide swim on this strong and flexible rod.
I replaced the Fuji's with 'Pacbay Minimas' in late 2012 and a wonderful agate tip-ring (thanks RedFin) and an agate butt ring. Still not 100% happy, so in 2014, I stripped the fore-grip corks off, cut the reel-seat off, replaced with a new reel-seat 2mm smaller in diameter, put on a cork 3" fore-grip and sanded the remaining corks down to the level of the new real seat. I hid the scratched paint with a natty black whipping in 11lb Milward Black Spider. Easier to hold, reel seat also the right way around now (screw facing upwards). I like it more now, but if I was buying it again would go for 11 foot, same t/c sans paint. In late 2016, I stripped most of the paint off and will probably re-position the reel-seat again. It's that or take a foot off the butt. I like it, but it's just not quite right at 12' for rod one holds.
The 'Big Hex' was first used on 1st January 2010 and has been used on at least 51 occasions, the last being the 12th July 2019.
Other diary and fettling entries relevant to the 'Big Hex'.
February 2014. The trouble...is the rod, the Big Hex thick corked and clunky, as it always was, now offends mine eyes. So. The plan. Reduce the reel seat to a 20mm i/d. reduce fore-grip to about a third of its length. Put the new reel seat the right way up (screw facing towards the tip), which bring the reel seat 2" nearer the fat end. Sand down the over large corks...it's almost too easy.
Cut off the fore-grip corks. It took some paint with it; I'd araldited the reel seat. No idea why. I pondered and then simply took the VSSKVery Sharp Small Knife, pushed the point through the plastic seat in the bottom on the guide groove and slit it open like a rabbit one day too long hung in the garage. Snipped off the reel hood with wire-cutters and peeled that off like a corned-beef tin-lid. OK then. Problem 'B' was that the thinner reel seat wouldn't reach the existing cork due to the rod's taper. Another happy hour with Ms. Sackoff had me reaming (steady now) out the plastic by nearly 0.5mm, and it eventually needed an inch of cork added. On the upside, the reel seat needed a touch of hot melt at the thick end and some squidged into the holes at the other and it'll never move. Top tip by the way. For corks - bore out with sandpaper wrapped tightly on an old cane section - the taper will pretty much do what you require. Only bore out to the flat-flat distance, then push over the rod, mark the 'corner' of the hex section with a pencil on both end and file a triangular groove for each corner. Makes a very snug fit, less work. Ditto the two fore-grip sections. Took me less than an hour.
Now the outside. Notice the customised sanding tool, 'handles for the round sanding of', (thanks GOSThe Gloucester Old Spot for that tip). I took the whole thing outside with some brand new sandpaper and resting on the recycling bin, had the new section down to within a gnat's in less than an hour and smoothed off a little more, very carefully with a finer grade. OK, some cork dust in the mush, but still. Then sanded the 'old' handle section by about 1mm, making it flush with the reel seat o/d and thinned the butt end a little more. Slimmer is cuter.
Cold day at Turfcroft...1
Cold day at Turfcroft...2
Cold day at Turfcroft...3
Cold day at Turfcroft...4
Cold day at Turfcroft...5
The new Avon sliding reel seat...6
A moment of foolishness accidentally reamed out the front end of the fore grip a tad, which left a gap on assembly, so I cut six slivers off a champers cork, glued them, wedged them, tied them down and cut them off the following day. I re-whipped the two rod rings that had to come off to get the cork on...and put a racy and exciting black whipping in front of the fore grip, mainly to hide the chipped paint. I used 11lb Black Spider, as I could, and it links this rod with my first carp rod. I put my snake-eye keeper back as well. And added a new date. Done. Here carpy-carpy...
I'm hoping the rod will sit better in the hand now. It's never been quite right for me, despite its otherwise sterling work and I may yet (you may take a sharp intake of breath here) cut 6"-12" off the thick end. It'll make the sections different lengths but still...it's mine and I can pole-vault with it if I want.
20th July 2016. The 'Big Hex'. I was doing some tidying up on the site (2011 is especially barren of pictures) and noticed that this rodThat's the 12' 2lb t/c Hexagraph carp rod got a lot of use in 2011. I went off it for a while, gave it a re-build in 2014I tried, not sure that it worked to try and improve the feel, but even so it's inevitably tip-heavy in the hand, so actually decided to take 3" off each end BHI apologise for this terrible thought, which even now is probably making the good folks at Bruce and Walker anxious, without them quite knowing why. and so stripped the rings off. I gave the rod a waggle GCCThe Geneva Comedy Convention oddly doesn't have much to say about fishing rods. However, giving anything a 'waggle' probably means one is obliged to smirk a bit and wiggle one's eyebrows up and down at the very least. , 'fore and after and noticed how much better it was without rings. The last rebuild swapped all the SIC rings for 'Pacbay Minimas' and wondrous butt and tip-rings, agates both. Heavy though. Hm.
I like the rod in action - it's immensely powerful, especially for bigger carp close in, much more of a middle action than the ESP floater. Hm. I've ordered titanium 'Minima's' all through and a titanium lined tip ring, plus a 30mm butt ring GCCIf you want to know what the Geneva Comedy Convention has to say about 'butt rings' you can order your own copy. Just send a cheque for £3000 made out to "Just AnotherAngler" and I'll post you a copy. I'll even sign it. to match. This took about a quarter-of-an-ounce off the top section, along with all the extraneous varnish and thread.
15th June 2019. Still muttering about the Big Hex, although I note it’s been used nigh on 50 times...I had a notion that perhaps the plate reel-seat has come of age, so had a look. By pure fluke I found a second-hand shrFor the ‘youngs’ that’s a bit like ‘pre-owned’ ‘Vintage’ Fuji FS-7SGS Plate Style Reel Fitting in stainless steel. It has a nice grey finish, which I immediately liked. So; I stripped corks, slit and removed the plastic Fuji reel seat, which, it may surprise you to know, is terribly easy. I scraped off the glue and paint then offered up the seat. I opted for the sliding ‘foot’ to be toward the butt. This was on the basis that if it does move, the reel foot is hard against the fixed part of the seat and also, when gripping the rod, the tendency is to close the clip, rather than the chance of pushing it open. Here's the seat pre-fitting:
|The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat||The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat|
|The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat||The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat||The Fuji FS-7SGS plate reel seat|
I marked the places on the rod where the binding whippings will go and carefully whipped the gaps with a green NCP thread. Amazingly, I only just found out what NCP means and what the implication is. An NCP thread remains opaque when varnished, so its colour will stand out on a black carbon rod. Huh. I'd assumed for some reason 'NCP' was some Gudebrod proprietary term. Not so, it stands for 'No Colour Preservative' (required). dipYes I feel a complete idiot.
I mixed some epoxy and cable-tied the reel seat to the rod in the middle position and at the butt end. At the fore grip-end I whipped over the metal with some 18lb fly-line backing, coloured it with green marker pen and varnished over it. That’ll hold it. When it had spent the day in the lean-to, letting the UV set the varnish, I added the other whippings in the same way. I'm not a 'zillion coats of varnish' person for the most part, but I will make an exception for these. They'll get several more.
|The plate reel seat on the rod.||The plate reel seat on the rod.|
|The plate reel seat on the rod.||The foregrip, still needs a final smoothing. That whipping is awful.That's allegedly 'grey' and 'dark green'. It's coming off. Corks look good.|
I pondered stealing cork rings off the Hardy Glass rod blank to make a new fore-grip...then I thought, nah, stuff it, I’m already ordering some green and grey NCP thread for whippings, so I'll have a few cork discs, in green and green layers. For fun one understands. While I was at it, I de-flashed the butt ring. I also stripped the rings off the top section, removed the paint on the ring-side flat and put a tiny blob of white paint where the rings had been placed. I stripped the remaining paint off and then wasted two hours with a magnifier and a very well honed scalpel blade, removing flecks of gold paint...which was strangely satisfying.
I've not used cork-discs before. I opened them up to the distance across the ‘flats’ with a cone cutter and then marked where the 'corners' were with a fine back permanent pen and used a mandrel made from an old cane boat-rod to ream the round hole into a hexagonal one. I epoxy’d them onto the rod and left them for two days then took the 'half-drainpipe' to them, although I first covered the reel-seat and bare rod with cling-film and layer of duct-tape. They need a little more work, but I'll wait until the rest is done.
By-the-by if you're celebrating 'the 16th', best fishes to you.
6th July 2019. Still muttering about the Big Hex...
I replaced the awful winding check whippings with some less garish colours, using (up) the same NCP green that I put under the reel seat, then a two-tone whipping with some dark green nylon and finally another two-tone of the 'new' NCP green with dark green nylon. I like the look of the last, so decided I'd two-tone the ring whippings as it added some colour but wasn't too 'in one's face'.
I did about half of the stupidly complex two-tone whippings and after changing colours (once) and redoing a couple (the three thread-cuts required resulted in nicked threads), I had a fit of pique and conspired to finish the remaining ring-feet off in medium green nylon and keep the ‘two-tone’ on the rings that got it first. I’m starting to lose the enthusiasm for whipping...it really doesn’t matter does it?
Then I kinda got the gig, an annoying fiddle improving with practise...so I finished what I started. I took the three remaining ‘test’ whippings off and left the rod in the lean-to, to harden the varnish on the others. I added the last whippings, put a small snake-eye ring near the butt as a 'keeper', put a whipping on each ‘ferrule’, ('mostly decorative'). Using a white paint marker, I carefully wrote 'Capax Infiniti' CI"Holding the Infinite" on the rod and the date. I varnished, thinly, the bare carbon. The white paint ran. I wiped it off, let it dry, tested clear nail varnish as a sealant and did it again....then varnished the whole rod and baked it in the lean-to for three days, cooled and hardened in the study at night. Then a last coat and three more days of this cycle.
|The motto, the whippings, the fore-grip.|
I'll fish with it, nowhere too easy and probably add another coat to the whippings. Hopefully that'll be the last rebuild...
|This space deliberately blank||I am content to wait. I am well used to it...(and back to the top of the page)||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||Watch for magpies on your path. Throw salt over your left shoulder. Walk around ladders.||This space deliberately blank|
The Hexagraph Carp Rods. Having been impressed with the Hexagraph Avon, I thought a carp rod would be amazing, so I bought one of the 'old style' rods, advertised as a "Bruce and Walker Hexagraph" fishing rod 2lb t/c, 12 foot. Sadly for me, after leaving feedback, it turned out to have been an 11'6" 1½lb t/c (the tapers and length confirmed identical to B&W specs for this rod by B&W themselves). The seller more-or-less stuck out his tongue and went 'neener neener'. That'll teach me, I check everything now, plus I don't buy from conmen. Sure, 'technically' he didn't owe me anything. Technically, he could have advertised it honestly. Technically that means he's not a thief.
Nice rod, but a bit feeble in the middle. to a fat . I do have a bunch of pictures in taken in August 2011 though.
Heh. I wrote 'butt'...(2)
Still the butt...(3)
The butt ring (stop it)....(6)
The next ring...(7)
The next ring...(8)
The next ring...4
The next ring...5
The next ring...6
The next ring...7
The next ring...8
The next ring...9
The tip ring...10
I even bought (well, 'rented') a couple more, but , and . I didn't really take to them at all.
The Hexagraph Carp Rod was first used on 16th October 2010 and has been used on at least 6 occasions, the last being the 9th June 2011.
Other diary and fettling entries relevant to the Hexagraph Carp Rod.
27th September 2010. The best carp rod in the world...probably...and now I have a 1½lb t/c 11½ft Hexagraph Carp, which is the perfect rod for most of my fishing, plays like cane, lighter than cane, stronger than cane. What's not to like? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, it won't help me catch bigger fish or more fish etc., but I will enjoy using it...probably.
P.S. 2016. I passed this rod on a long time ago as it lacked back-bone. I've got a Hexagraph 1.½lb t/c Avon which is a better rod, with real power in the bottom half for when it's needed. In fact the GHSREGreat Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment and the LHSRELight Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment are both better rods IMHO.
29th November 2010. More Hexagraph Carp Rods. Notwithstanding a severe case of 'caveat emptor' I snaffled a couple of Bruce & Walker Hexagraph rods at 11' 6" & 1¾lb t/c. Naturally I measured them and checked the t/c before leaving feedback. Even these seemed feeble in the middle section, one such took 25 minutes to land a fine 22lb carp on a cold March day in 2011, in open water on 10lb line. In the end, despite my initial enthusiasm, I parted with both of them.
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Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment (GHSRE).
I bought a Hexagraph 14' 10-12 aftm Salmon rod. I had a handle made for the top two sections and called it a 'Lightish Carp', the 'GHSRE'. My second favourite rod as of 2013, seems to be able to land high doubles on 6lb line without trouble. It's also landed a 23lb fish, although on 12lb line.
Despite my aversions to both cane-coloured paint and intermediate whippings, this rod has both and I've grown fond of both.
The GHSRE was first used on 12th October 2011 and has been used on at least 60 occasions, the last being the 30th December 2016.
Other diary and fettling entries relevant to the GHSRE.
21st February 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 1. Once, on a whim, last year, I bought a 15ft 10-12aftm Hexagraph Salmon rod, which was going quite cheap and got cheaper as it had a ferrule split (alluded to elsewhere) and even after the B&W repair, it was a good deal.
|Cracked up#1||Cracked up#2|
I don't know if you've ever waggled such a thing, despite a slender appearance, it's got real steel. I put the two top sections together and gave them a bend and waggle and thought, hm, that might make a stonking carp rod. Power, flexibility, good looks. A bit like me. I didn't have the heart to cut a chunk off the handle section, probably some sort of crime anyway, so am having a handle knocked up to give it a try. I shall change the snake rings as well.
Pictures and so on will be posted as I go - if it's a disaster and doesn't work then I'll re-en-snake and keep it against one of my longer term ambitions, to whit, Salmon from a Proper River in Scotland. Here is the butt design and the reel bands.
25th March 2012. The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2. So now the handle's back, I know I didn't make it myself, but I have no facilites for doing that and it would be a shame to desecrate such a fine rod with a bodge job.
The reel bands are some new 'old stock' I paid rather lot (for reel bands) but they look wonderful and with the long paralell section, lock solid with little in the way of pushing over the reel seat.
|Handle and '66x #1||Handle and '66x #2|
|Handle and '66x #3||Handle and '66x #4|
No you can't have my Cardinal 66X ;-) New rings and garnet thread are in the post...so more to follow.
30th March 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 3. Part 2The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 2., Part 1The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 1..
I opted in the end for some PACBAY MINIMA 4 rings. These are light, will do the job and look 'traditional-ish'. Chromed rings look better on cane colour I think and I've seldom been convinced of the need for SICs on every ring (except when spinning with super braid perhaps). By the by, the t/c for this rod is in the 2¼lb range (if not a shade higher), if tested in the proper way, with the butt held at 90 degrees to the line through the rings. Whippy for it though. (As opposed to pulling the tip down towards the butt with line starting parallel to the rod butt...)
I whipped on a few rings, some pictures are below - the problem is that the inters are so well embedded in the vanish you can't get them off without damaging the paint and even the original snake eyes put up a fight. So to save more damage to the surface colour, I've just whipped over some lumps and bumps and sealed with cellulose dope.
|Pacbay Large||Pacbay single and double legged||Double leg whipped on||Single leg whipped on||The tip ring|
The top section will have single legs through to the tip, to keep the weight off the bendiest bit. I've used the original ring postions for the new eyes and am debating whether to add a 40mm butt ring to the bottom section. That's in the post, I'll tape it up and see how it works. At the moment the second original ring postion up has a 30mm ring on and it looks a bit fine and far off right now.
The garnet whipping on the rod looked fine once doped with a rather thick cellulose, but after letting them dry and covering with yacht varnish, they went a bit odd...so I changed one and then poured half the cellulose onto some firewood and topped the tin up with thinners and tried four coats of that. Before and after below, I'll cover with yacht and update later.
14th December 2013. Lyons Gate. New to me, but I was hopeful of a couple of easy fish to put a bend in the LSRE (Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment) - I'd gaffer taped on a reel seat, near the top of the butt section and I quickly bounced off a couple of carp - this was slightly irritating, but I discovered that the whole rod wobbled about my hand/fulcrum and I suspect neither fish had a decent hook-hold as a result. The owner came by, taking my money and explained his philosophy, which didn't include 'numpties not really interested in fishing'. Explains the grassy banks, the lack of litter and even the profile of the lakes, none of which are uniform puddles.
|The main lake||The hopeful slant|
|The big perch||The small perch with big expectations||Winter|
A refreshing find. I gave up the mock-up fly-rodclick to the third part of the experiment, shipped it down and set up the GHSRE and proceeded to not get another carp at all - although I liked my spot, in the light, in 5' of water and what was, on arrival, a warming breeze...which chilled and although I had both a 1lb perch and a gullible smaller on seafood baits I gave in and took my colder-than-average toes to the 'Blue Lake'. With the same float, I pinched on an 'only good swan' to check the depths, pushed on some meat (well you never know) a promising looking greenish translucence promised no three-foot-uniformity, the float settled, whipped off, leaving me attached to a pleasing chub. Aha.
Nothing came after, but my float attracted curious hand-sized rudd which were scattered by some carnivore, so I shipped that float and line, put on 6lb, a size 14 and a quill, then caught rudd to 10oz for an hour, using scraps of prawn as bait. I started at two feet down and lengthened hoping to find a larger one, but 10oz seemed the upper limit, pretty fish, cold in the hand. One drift took my bait onto the bottom some six feet down (barely six feet from the bank) and I got a small carp as well. Heh. With 45 minutes of light (I guess), I shipped that hook and float, put on a small bullet and a size 8 and lobbed chilli hot dog into the 15 feet and fishing with the rod over my knee, foil dangling between my feet and 'big boy's hot chocolate'and add one shot of 'Black Label' for added warmth... in my spare hand, had two more chub, slabs of ice and silver, welcome on a chilly day. Dusk edged in then and with chub, perch and rudd to play with, I may have found this winter's water, I'll be back.
|chub no.1||rudd||carplet||chub no.2||chub no.3|
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Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE).
I'd had this in mind for some time, that is to make a 10' two-piece 'stalking rod' from the top two sections of a 15' 10-12aftm Hexagraph salmon rod. One such hove across the bows for a silly price, so broad-sided it, and it arrived in a tube a few day later. I'll make a landing net handle out of the bottom section.
I'll add the build entries as I get a round tuit.
The HSSRE was first used on 24th September 2018 and has been used on at least 6 occasions, the last being the 4th May 2019.
Other diary and fettling entries relevant to the HSSRE.
1st June 2017. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE). Part the Second.I was anxious about splits and there was evidence of a tiny one in the female ferrule area on the top section. Good enough, the rod was in great condition otherwise, a few paint chips but sound and solid. I stripped the snake eyes. I cleaned off the whipping and paint to facilitate three wraps of carbon cloth to the said female ferrule area. Might seem excessive, but this rod will get some serious humpty. I added a narrower strip of carbon wrap to the spigot surround for good luck, and then because I'm a man who need peace of mind I put a few braid whippings over tacky epoxy in the 8" area just down under the spigot. To put this into perspective, stretchy Class 'D' thread barely has a b/s of 3lb and 6lb spectra is thinner with no stretch. So if you're serious about a reinforcing whipping...just sayin'.
(In the interests of full disclosure, I tried to use the same two-part epoxy that I used for the carbon wraps and it refused to go off, remaining soft. As I weighed it out for mixing, I suspect it's past its 'sell-by'. So, the first set of whippings had to come off.)
I cheerfully cut the carbon spigot off the butt section, rubbed it down and epoxy’ed it into the socket in the middle section. Then I placed corks, 23mm, 11½" and a 'fighting butt' to the bottom of the handle; you'll need that at close range when it's often necessary to keep one hand free. Having glued on those corks, I tried to fit some carbon loaded foam arbours to the blank, which were advertised as being joy for fitting reel seats. Feeling like a Luddite for using duct-tape and hot-melt, I gave it a try...and it was a complete mess. I left it and went onto the top section...
I'd got hold of a set of Pacbay ‘Minimas’ in black. I whipped these onto the top section and in doing so noticed a small nick in one flat between the third and fourth ring, it's through the paint and nicked the carbon. I'll need to do something with that, although whether a resin whipping or a wrap of carbon cloth is best is not immediately clear. A splint of 1mm carbon fibre rod epoxy’d and whipped across it would more than replace the missing carbon. Hm...
I decided to keep the tip ring for the moment. However, when I put on the three × 10mm 'Minimas' it was clear that the tip ring was 15° out of alignment, so I had to remove it. This stubbornly defied heating and twisting off. Twice. I gave up before I weakened the rod and was obliged to cut a spiral groove in the tip-ring's tube and lever it open with flat blade screwdriver. Even so I had to tear off most of the tube before it finally came free. Huh.
I gave up in annoyance, put the sections on the rack, and went back to my dissertation...
31st July 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Third. The 'MK III'; Part XI. Bodges. I thought to do two things last night: (1) I'd glue a strip of cork sheet in the gap I optimistically left in the Mk.III handle, for wire decoration, and (2) use the left-over epoxy to put a couple of reinforced whipping on the HSSRE top section, using 6lb green dyneema. Simples.
Dawn light (OK, 7 am then) showed me the cork sheet was too friable a material for this job and also that the epoxy on the dyneema was still tacky so I concluded this dyneema has something about it that messes with the epoxy, as that's the second two-part resin that won't go off on the stuff. Grouchy way to start the day. I've left the terrible cork filler, as I know from experience, that leaving a mistake a decent interval, gives one a clearer head when dealing with it. This evening I stripped the tacky whippings off and scraped back the epoxy and will do it again, with 'something else'. But not today. The HSSRE is proving to be a bit of a bu88er.
2nd August 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Forth. Bl**dy nuisance, the shower packed in today. Clonk and then 'not quite right'. I 'flexed' off after a moment’s thought, and set-to descaling the boiler unit, and you can infer what you like from my detestation of all things DIY and my willingness to dismantle a shower unit. Apart from the discovery that the plumbers that fitted it did a rank job with two of the wall screws not fully home and a blanking plug missing...and the strong suggestion they not so much 'fitted a new shower' as 'fitted the boiler from the new unit in the old unit', this left me with 30 minutes gaps in my day while things descaled and dried. What to do? The fence panels were 'out' as they're too wet to lift, so I took the half-drainpipe to the HSSRE and its wonky reel seat arbours. It came out OK - I cling-filmed the corks and used a piece of 180 grit about 1½" wide, so that I didn't end up with a taper at the open end of the arbours. The reel seat is a 'working fit' and I'll glue it on. When I've fitted a new damned shower unit...
|All smoothed off, the glue left between the arbour can be seen, pattterned by the cling-film I used to stop it running all over the place.||The reel-seat in situ, I've added a locking band to this reel-seat. I expect to be hanging onto the rod for grim death, so I don't want to find it a bit loose at any point.|
Graphite arbors? I’ll give them a miss in future. They’re so friable that without a lathe it’s nearly impossible to ream them out centrally and the dust they give off is quite foul. I’ll stick to cork sheet next time or duct-tape and plastic melt.
9th September 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Fifth. I had, in the course of putting on some rings, noticed two nicks in the top section, one minor, one not so minor. If I'd seen them when the rod arrived I'd have sent it back, but there you are. I'd resolved to add some reinforcing whippings using braid and epoxy. However, it took several sticky aborted attempts to get the methodology right.
The final method was this; I used some old Drennan feeder braid for the whipping after first removing as much of the coating as I could using nail varnish remover and a piece of cleaning cloth. I pulled a length of the braid through the cloth soaked with a little nail-varnish remover until no green colour was left on the cloth. When the braid was dry I tested its strength...
All good. I mixed two-part epoxy (using digital scales to get it exactly right) and worked a thin coat into the surface of the rod with a cheap plastic brush. The coat needs to be very thin - you want enough resin to stick the thread and get into the fibres, but not so much that a bead of epoxy builds up under the whipping as it progresses, obscuring the whipping – if this occurs, gaps and crossed threads result.
Once cast off (use fine coated braid for this and tie it in a loop, it needs pulling through quite hard), use the brush to stipple more epoxy into the whipping and brush it smooth(ish) and leave it for 15 minutes or so. Repeat. Remove the excess with a finger (wear a glove if you wish) and ensure there’s a little epoxy against the ends of the whippings. There. Let it set, obviously. I did two of these on the butt section and a group of them just above the ferrule on the top section. The painted was quite chipped there and a lot of strain is thrown onto that section. Just a 'peace of mind' fix, probably.
To splint the nicks I cut a section of tubular carbon fibre to the right length (from an old rod section) and scraped off the paint. I flattened it with a rubber hammer, breaking it into several pieces, then hit the pieces until I had 'splints' of the right width. I rubbed the concave side of said 'splints' on fine emery until they was completely flat, pointed the ends and chamfered the top, to assist with whipping over them. More epoxy used to glue the splints to the flats of the rod, then roughly whipped over them until set. Twenty-four hours later I removed the braid, carefully scraped off the excess epoxy and then rubbed the top surface down with more 000 grade stuck to a lolly stick. The whole thing was then whipped over with braid and epoxy as above. Yay.
But would it take the strain? See the bottom picture. Now I believe it won't break. Whether it's a good fishing rod remains to be seen.
|Splint 1||Splint 1||Splint 2||Splint 2|
|Probably past it's 'test curve'. I took it to very nearly a half circle.|
26th October 2018. The Hexagraph Salmon Stalking Rod Experiment (HSSRE), Part the Sixth. The rod has performed well on a limited test program. I've nabbed about ten carp with to a low double size and a few of those fish were wrestled out of confined spaces without very much trouble. Despite its slow action it's a strong rod and on its first run out, holding fairly modest fish straightened two hooks. So it's a rod to use with a stout hooks; nothing under a size 8, and thick wire at that.
I'd built the rod with the original ringing pattern (the original Hexagraph fly rod) using ‘Pacbay Minimas' except for the butt and tip rings which were Fuji BNHG's. I'd noted the top was a little stiffer than I'd like, at least in the first moments of a tussle, so to soften it a smidge, I resolved to remove one ring from the top section. As it will mostly be used with 12lb or 14lb line, lined guides might also be an improvement. Using Excel, I worked out a pattern that would remove one ring from the top section, leaving the butt-ring in situ and only moving the second ring up an inch. The stock draw still has the original BNHG's I took off the Old Carp RodMy first 'proper' rod, so I used those for the re-ringing. The second ring is now on top of one of the reinforcing whippings, but the varnish seems to have gone off OK. A couple of those whippings don't seem to have quite set; I must have got something in the epoxy mix, so I'll re-do those.
Anyway, all done and a smidge softer in the tip, but the backbone is unchanged and its test curve is 3lb...during the lunchtime constitutional at the treadmill, it occurred to me that what the rod really needed was a slender tip section of perhaps 6", something like a solid carbon tip to facilitate flicking light baits, but that would play no part in a serious engagement; then I thought, might as well get it up to a little over 11" and extend the butt 6" and stiffen the rod under the handle to give little better leverage and a little lock in extremis, perhaps by overlaying some flat tapered strips of carbon over the existing flats...and then I realised what I'd done.
Still, I now know what my next project is...
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The observant and numerate reader can work out that I've owned, fettled or 'fixed' at least 16 Hexagraph rods, although I've sold or parted with eight of them.
|02:57am on 2019-09-19|