Fettling

'fettle'
verb
present participle: 'fettling'
(1) to trim or clean the rough edges of (a metal casting or a piece of pottery) before firing.
(2) Northern English; to make or repair (something).

I fettle tackle, it's part of the fun. Having had a long association with enginneering of all types, this is part instinct, part learned and comes with a healthy dose of spatial awareness. It is literally impossible for me to pick up or handle something without musing on how it might be 'improved'.

Below, the 'entry engine' has rounded up all the fettling into a long list, which includes (for example) some of the entries on the 'FloatsThe optimum number of floats for an orthodox angler is around 12. The average number of floats owned by an orthodox angler is generally greater than 100.' page, but making floats counts as 'fettling'. Yes it does.

"On my deathbed I will fettle my deathbed."

just a hook...just a hook...(and back to the top of the page) ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of bread...and a loaf of bread just a hook...just a hook... ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook... just a hook......and a loaf of bread ...and a loaf of breadjust a hook...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1977 1977.

As a callow youth, I read about making fishing lines from horse-hairs. Because 'I knew a girl with a horse', I got hold of a quantity of tail hair and spent some time plaiting them to see how it turned out. From those experiments, I reckoned you could make a reasonable line, it wasn't too stiff. It was labour intensive though (!), but using three lace-making bobbins and a cushion speeds thing up quite a lot. It's the sort of thing that you can do while watching the telly, like knitting.

The hairs varied in thickness somewhat, so for any kind of decent line you would need to sort them into similar thicknesses. From memory a hair might vary from about 2-4lb b/s. To make a long line you have to start with three hairs of differing lengths (cut them up) and then splice in a new hair when you are nearly at the end of the 'old one'. That way you can ensure each join is about the same distance apart. It's worth plaiting a small loop into the 'start' end of the line, once you've an inch of plait, form a loop and plait the loose ends in with the standing part line for about 2". Overlap new hair joins at least 1" as well. Like any long braid you need to 'work it' a bit to even up the strains.

I've no idea how you care for such a line, although I suspect some kind of dressing would help it's life along and perhaps make is more supple. I concluded conclude that knots were likely to be tricky and whipping the line to a hook was a better proposition. If I was doing it again, I'd look at a four part braid to produce a round section line.

My plaiting skills were also then used to make several bowstrings and I made a number of 18" plaited nylon traces out of 8lb Platil used for worming for pike on a local water. These had a loop at one end, attached to a link swivel and the other end had a size 6 long-shank fly-hook whipped on the other. worked well and I never got bitten off, although the traces generally were only good for two or three fish each.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1984 1984. At last a Proper Rod. I'd got a bee in my bonnet about having a proper fishing rod, despite going fishing less often. A (new) tackle shop on Desborough road in Wycombe offered me a blank which met my description, soft action, about a 1½lb t/c, 11 feet long. It was mostly carbon, but I wonder now if there isn't some glass in the mix. This cost me £40, a lot in 1984, it had a duplon handle and reel seat fitted. I went into Newbury and bought 'Fuji BNHG' rings (the sort with the luminous insert, I just liked the colour) and thread. The thread was thicker than grade 'D' (they must have seen me coming) and I whipped the rings on top of a thin coat of araldite and then smeared a little more into the whipping surface. Sounds awful, but the rings were was still going strong in 2004.

I took it down to show 'Old Bob' and he couldn't believe how light it was.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 1993 September 1993. The Pole Rig. This stuff is based on my own use of the pole, which is all about the convenience of a fixed line, rather than the speed and sensitivity biased pole fishing that match fishermen use. You are unlikely to see me hunched over my pole [ ;-) ], fishing on the far bank of anywhere with all pole sections out. I'll sneak round the other side and just use the top four or five...

For instance, I would rather keep the pole tip two feet from the float, to give me enough line length to re-bait without completely dismantling the pole - I am not convinced the tip next to the float gives me enough of an advantage to offset the nuisance of re-baiting otherwise. I enjoy using the pole for general fishing, as when the fish are not excessively large it is convenient, satisfying and flexible. I spent the first decade of pole-fishing with a home-made quick-release eyeThe home made quick-release flick-tip eye.

• Elastic Rigging. I kept this quick-release eye until buying a newer 5m telescopic in 1992 for £16. Then I graduated to an elastic rig strung inside the pole and having had experience of a large carp on the pole early on in angling lifePossbily as nerve-racking an introduction to carp-fishing as one might get, I went for a set up as shown below. I take no credit for the idea, it was from an article in the Angling Times of September 22nd 1993.

I started by taking my old roach pole butt section and using a piece of the second section made a spigot joint that allow me to fit the 'new' pole's lower section onto this 'butt'. I left the weight on the end. I made a bung out of a champagne cork, roughly sanded down to the right diameter to jam in the end of the 'new' pole bottom section. I araldited a plastic disgorger through the middle so that the end with the hole was stuck about 3" through and the disgorger's tapered hook-removing end out of the other. I cut this end off smoothed it off. The observant may notice the panel pin stuck through the plastic, embedded in the resin. Not that I'm a belt and braces type of guy...a piece of tubular surgical elastic was slipped over the disgorger and whipped it on with thick thread. I used a 15lb "Black spider" braid used PVC varnish to seal this 'whipping'.

I whipped a small dacron loop over the end of the surgical elastic, leaving about a 6" length. Take the No.8 elastic and make a large loop with a double over-hand knot about 2' in length. Thread this through the loop in the surgical and then tie another double over-hand loop with itself. Tighten the knots. Tightening knots in elastic is awkward, but I do it by tensioning both ends and rolling the knot up and down until it's snugged down.

The goal is to end up with about 6" of double elastic, 6" of quadruple and 6" of surgical. The idea is that when the single runs out of stretch, the double absorbs the shock, and so on. Take care that these knots cannot, when the elastic is stretched, get jammed inside the top section of the pole. The 'bung' went in the bottom of the 5th ('new') section. A pole bush went on pole tip.

The pole rig from Angling Times of September 22nd 1993 Champagne Cork Bung

Thread single pole-elastic up the inside of the pole (I used a piece of pike trace-wire), extend the pole and then tie on a pole tip connector - tensioning the elastic so that when you've finished the connector is pulled against the bush. Did it work? Are bears Catholic? With this rig, No.8 elastic and 3lb line, I landed any number of carp up to 17½lb. As long as the water is open with no snags you can get by with little trouble.

Some old pole stuff Champagne Cork Bung Some old pole stuff Elastic double looped at the bottom end Some old pole stuff Don't buy pole winder strechers, use old elastic

I wouldn't recommend this for carp fishing though, but it's handy if they come along. This rig will handle quite a bit but does lack power so getting a large fish to the net can be hard. I believe this necessitates totally exhausting the fish to get it to the net, which is not ideal.

While we are on the subject, threading elastic is a pain at the best of times. A threader is well worth having, but I admit I've never bought one, but have one made up out of twisted 8lb Alasticum wire, with the loop end very small. It works well, and is cheap, and coiled up, will sit inside the smallest "seal easy" bag.

Keep some of the old pole elastic - the smallest diameters make good little pole winder stretchers, as shown. Make some up about ¾ of the winder length and some about 1½ times. That'll cover all eventualities.

• Rod and Pole. These days I always have a pack of elastic when out with regular rods. On holiday in the Broads, having taken a 2lb t/c carp rod, but wanting to fish for bits and pieces, I made a flick tip of sorts out of the rod by putting about 4 feet of elastic through the rod rings, double once and twice as above and looped over the last ring on the top section (2 piece rod). The other end was threaded through a cork bead (made from a wine cork at the time), drilled out a bit, and then a pole elastic joiner. The cork bead/pad doesn't do anything other than prevent a break-off punching out the ceramic liner in your tip ring. Looks a bit odd, but works terribly well actually.

• Float Things. I'm also not a big fan on the mimsey little rings on the side of some pole floats, which pull out at the slightest pull. While there are occasions when 'top and bottom' attachment is a necessity, bottom end only often works well or better, especially if you do not want the pole overshadowing the float and bait. So I have a few floats with braid eyes whipped on the bottom stem, mostly the ones with thick carbon stems. I use these for margin carp fishing as well. Small porcupine quills turned upside down make good sensitive pole floats for bottom end only fishing.

Pole Floats Pole Floats

• Protecting that 'Top 3'. Likewise I feel that top sections are not that robust in real life. The outer layer on many poles is thin and small knocks or nicks translate to doom under pressure. Do yourself a favour and stick a coat of clear matt varnish over the top 3 sections of your pole. Or even 2 coats. Avoid varnishing the joints together...

• Where to Put Your Pole Rear End. Lastly I never ship my pole back behind me, never being that much of a hurry (and few places have that kind of space). I use my rod pod to keep sections on. I covered the cross bars with rubber sleeving, and put the sections across them. I angle it a bit back from the water though just in case...you can easily keep them in the right order then as well for adding length in a hurry...I usually put the butt rod rests on the side of the bars nearest me, front and back to rest the pole on when I need to put it down.

• Dapping Flies - Dry and Real. Try dapping dry flies with a pole...or live ones, crane flies worked very well. You need to be very quickInsanity dapping...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2007 25th August 2007. The Webley & Scott Super Avon. I picked this up for £10 in a junk shop Leominster while on holiday (see earlier this month). I wanted a softer rod for those fish that bounce of my Harrison's Avon t/c, especially Frome grayling, so I planned to restore the Webley & Scott for that. It spent the holiday lying along a shelf in the holiday-let's kitchinette, giving me time to contemplate how I might make it a 'user'.

It required quite a bit of 'restoring'... half of the rings were rusted and three were broken or bent beyond redemption. The female ferrule on the butt section was split, presumably by ramming it into the ground, as the plug of mud was still in there. The bottom end of the butt was mangled as well. I removed the damaged section of cork and shook out the mud. I cleaned the inside up and cut a piece of old carbon roach pole section to fit inside the broken counter, by dropping it through from the butt end.

Having got the right size, I roughed up the bit of pole, cleaned the inside of the counter with very fine emery, put araldite rapid on the inside of the counter with a bit of cane and dropped the pole section through, pulled it home, truing it a few times to smear the epoxy evenly around. I pulled it though enough to open the splits to get glue in them, and then pushed back a tad so they closed up. I then put a small cable tie on the piece of pole to stop it slipping down into the rod, and then used several small cable ties to bind the counter while the epoxy went off.

When the araldite had set, I cut the pole section off flush with the original counter end then shaved off the excess epoxy with a scalpel blade. I made a small cork plug for the counter's hole, glued it in place and cut it off flush with wet scalpel blade. I made a new butt-end with a champagne cork and glued it in. Interestingly, the butt was mostly aluminium tube - I didn't investigate how the tube and the fibre-glass were joined though. Keeping to the green-with-yellow edging whipping scheme and keeping all the logos and lot number intact, I replaced the rings with 'Fuji SICs' and varnished over the new whippings. It'll be interesting to see how it fishes. I wish I'd taken some before-and-after pictures now.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2008 31st January 2008. The Chapman 500.

A 1960's vintage rod, according to Chapmans themselves, based on the label type. An auction-site bargain at £60, advertised with a loose ferrule, which turned out to be the male on the top section, which I slid off then araldited on. As straight as the proverbial arrow. There was still ferrule knock, the female on the middle section was loose on the cane, the glue having given up the ghost. I eased the brass off, cleaned it and the cane, put a few turns of thread onto the cane to center the ferrule, then used epoxy-resin to re-set it. All good.

I replaced the rings with Fuji SICs and used the ring spacing for the CH550Chapman 550, which entailed adding an extra ring to the rod. I removed the old rings and all the other whippings, removed any loose varnish then used thinned yatch varnish to seal the edges of the old varnish and any other cracks and then put a couple of careful coats over the top of the repaired sections to 'level' the varnish up. I left it as it was after that, waterproof and sound and whipped the new rings in the appropriate places, using a dark bottle-green thread and gave each whipping a light green border. How does it fish though, this is what I want to know.

Later in the year, the 550Chapman 550 with low Bells guides made me smile, so I re-ringed the Chapman 500 with low Bells and a clear agate stand-off butt ring taken from an old Scottie spinning rod and an agate tip, improving the feel. The 'Jammy Bender', which I liked a lot, was, through lack of use, passed to a very good home in 2011 Sold to the bloke at the back and was someone's first cane rod, they could scarcly have done better. I occasionally miss it, a very good rod.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2008 13th April 2008. Today my Chapman 550 blank arrived in the post. It's clean, unvarnished and a quick exchange of emails with 'John' established the guides are to wrapped on the same side as the ferrule punch-marks. OK then.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2008 30th April 2008. The Chapman 550.

I'd yearned for cane for a bit so ordered a blank in December 2007 ("550 Blank, not impregnated, medium flame colour and bronze ferrules fitted. Handle, with reel fittings/rings"), inluenced by the convenience of three-piece. It took me four outings on a new water to Christen it, but eventually I had a brace of 10lb commons and a couple of 5lb ghosties. Now I see why some prefer it for playing fishing. Having said all that I never really took to it. I bumped off a lot of tench, it seemed very stiff and the ferrules were a bu88er to get apart.

After some time on the rack, I took of the Fuji rings and whipped on, using garnet and bottle-green threads, low Bells, an agate butt ring and a white agate Hardy tulip tip-ring. It looked vey pretty then and even fished OK. In March 2009 Chapmans made me a tip section (54" Custom made tip section for Chapman 550 at 1-1/4 lbs t/c) to make up a 'combo' type of rod. It was a beautiful thing but the first time I took it out, the tip dragged on the roof of the car and the top 5" snapped clean off, like it was a candy-cane. I returned it to them but never followed up for one reason or another. In the end another rod which was racked so long I Sold to the bloke at the back it on to what appeared to be a reasonable home.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2009 February 2009. The 'A bit like a Chapman 700' rod.

I acquired what appeared to be a reconditioned Dennis Pye, 4lb t/c (!) nuts, but I rather liked it. It turned out it had the wrong tapers so not a Dennis Pye. Despite my affection for it, it never got used and was Sold to the bloke at the back to the same good home as the Chapman 500, which is good to know.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2009 1st April 2009. The B. James MK IV

I acquired a B. James MK IV, late 1950's vintage, which was, frankly, a dog. The original reel-bands were missing, replaced with two brass ones I had to snip off, to avoid damaging the cork. The butt thimble was "uhu'd" on, and it came away without damage when I put in a very long 3/8" bsf thread. The butt-button was badly perished. The second ring on the bottom section was not original and corroded, whipped on with D grade cotton, and the varnish over the top made the colour run from three intermediate whippings either side. The top section had a set against the rings and a bit of a dog-leg near the tip.

A closer look showed the rings on the top section had been removed, the rod turned around and re-whipped by a blind spider. So I removed all of them, cleaned back the varnish to the cane and re-whipped temporarily in bottle-green. This included gluing on the tip-ring, which hadn't been. Slightest of knocks on the ferrule nothing candle-wax won't make fishable. A charitable view owuld be it's a 'project'.

I cleaned the butt thimble, got hold of some reel bands and a rubber button for the end. I let in the cane at the butt very slightly (I can hear the sharp intakes of breath around the world) to prevent the thread on the button or a spear (I have a few, I use them) pushing off the thimble at a later date. The cork was restored with five minutes of a plastic pan scourer and washing up liquid, more or less pristine, then lightly steam to remove any compressed areas. No cork removed. It's managed a couple of double figure carp, although the 16lb'er made it bend alarmingly. Sold to the bloke at the back it on rr...to a 'rod-restorer', who insulted me by doing some fast adding up and taking away to try and confuse me, in respect of a rod-ring I'd had poorly repaired by the same.
(1) I can add up and take away really fast and
(2) even if they'd made an extra fiver ('no'), I never used said restorer again for anything. Ever. Never will either. Plus I've put the word about. Well you would wouldn't you?
.

I found it to be a horrible rod, too soft, no spine, not at all the feted legendary rod . I'm told by one who knows better than me that the cane quality is everything, but for me, this rod was not worth what I spent on it. Plus, the 'mate' who cheekily sold me a complete dog, is not my definition of a 'mate', but it's just as well to find that out.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2009 10th August 2009. I've not really got on with my 550Chapman 550, a new blank I bought last year and then built myself, with its two tone green whipping an Fuji rings (I know, I know). Two options then. Strip it and sell the blank. Or, I eventually decide, as I have an agate butt ring and Hardy white agate tulip tip (off the LRH No.3Which was, by the way, the first cane rod I ever owned), I get some traditional wire cradle guides and rebuild the rod in maroon with some bottle green trim and rings that seem to look better. Fish will tell if it's a successful transformation.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2009 November 2009. J. S. Sharpe 9ft Spinning Rod.

A really nice light little rod, only used a few times by one of the Littleanglers on a mass outing. Sold to the bloke at the back for what I paid for it, seems a pity, but it was probably never going to be used.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2010 2nd May 2010. The Hardy LRH No.2 9'6" Salmon Rod

I bought this in 2010 as it was known to be a 'useful' carp rod. It had clear agates all the way up and a wire butt-ring which was odd, but still. One of the clear agate intermediate rings was cracked so I passed it onto a rod-restorer to get a 'proper job' on it. I had to chase it endlessly to get it back and in the end, well, I can do better myself and it was just as if one of the other rings was now cracked. I'm not doing that again.

I changed the 'new' cracked one in annoyance, then put the rod on the wall. Two years later I got it down, put Low 'Bells' on the top section on the opposite face - the rod had a 'set' and 'agates' are heavy and possibly are not really required. I then used it to catch five carp to 9lb, two very feisty pike in the 4-5lb range and a gaggle of 'pasties'. It's rather nice, easy but powerful. The reel-seat could do with being 5" nearer the butt though. Fish over 6lb only I'd say. Strike hard...best with a 'pin and fish close in.

I miss it. I'd like another, a good one, with fully sliding reel-bands, so I can place the reel to make best use of the length, plus I'd fit titanium rings. I think it would be even better then. Sold to the bloke at the back to Haydn, always better to see a rod used.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2010 5th September 2010. ...these are the foundlings, the flotsam and the injured. When they're fixed I'll show them again.

the foundlings we have the technology

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 20th March 2011. The 9'8" Mystery Rod'

A rod which I re-built from an old nameless salmon rod, the best guess a MARCO salmon wormer, which took a 9lb, two 10lb carp and a 4lb tench on its first try-out. Stripped of its crumbling corks and cracked black/gold jasper, I fitted an agate stand-off butt-ring, 'low Bells' guides and a red agate tip ring. The new corks gained a sliding reel-seat and I refitted the brass butt-cap, with a 3/8" thread, into which is screwed the original outlandishly large rubber button. It's stout, about the same at the tip as an LRH No.2, but with a steeper taper and will do very well for silly piking. Anyway, used much or not, I like it. Still hanging on the wall waiting for something.

The Mystery Salmon Spinning RodThe whole rod, end-to-end. It's a nice colour.
The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The butt and the male ferrule The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The butt and the male ferrule The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod One of the 'low Bells'
The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The sliding reel-seat and one of the tip-section rings The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The tiny 'low Bells' keeper-ring and the date The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The rather fine butt-ring
The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The female ferrule and the tip-ring The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The female ferrule and the tip-ring The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod Another view of the keeper-ring
The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod Video et Taceo; 'I see and keep silent', the motto of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The Mystery Salmon Spinning Rod The sliding reel-seat and one of the tip-section rings

You might have spotted the double locking nut on the reel-seat. This original rod had a fixed aluminium reel-seat, and its sole locking nut fitted the new sliding one, so I added it on. The handle was sanded using the 'half-pipe cut length-ways' method and is a pretty decent job even if I do say so myself. The reel-seat moves but is a 'working-fit' so it's unlikey to come loose during use.

The ferrule is the one which the rod came with. It's still very tight; I've not even had to run over it with the modified pipe-cutter. It's also worth noting that the cane under the original corks, especially the last foot, was the most appalling workmanship. The strips were oddly shaped and badly glued. But, hidden as they were, under the cork, who would ever know? The tip-ring looks nice but the agate is a tiny bit loose, so there is something of a tiny rattling noise, but I'll super-glue it one of these days, plus the cork is not quite right where it enters the butt-cap. I'll probably fix that one day as well.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 4th May 2011. Darts. I knocked these up for a pal who's eyesight isn't so good. They're literally dart flights glued into a cross-slot in the top of two porcupine quills and a plastic waggler. You can buy float tops to do this, I find out now...they're displayed, by the way, on 'Going Fishing' by Negley Farson.

DartsDart-flight floats for the hard of fishing

'Star Wars Day' also.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 25th May 2011. Edgar Sealy Octofloat, 11ft.

An auction site surprise at £26.30, possibly because it was advertised as a "Sealey vintage split cane fishing rod". The only work I did on it, was to replace the thicker than 'D' grade thread on the top-section whippings for 'A' grade garnet, although I took the trouble to rotate the rings to the other side of the top-section while I was at it. I'm sure it took 1oz off the weight. First time out I landed a 13lb carp on 4lb line. Surprising rod.

After over two years 'on the rack', I Sold to the bloke at the back this rod on for a decent profit, although to be fair, I'd re-whipped it. Another rod that would be better with titanium rings.

I nabbed another one cheap in April 2012, but it was beyond hope, with twists in the cane that were beyond mine and another's wit to straighten. Even Sold to the bloke at the back as such, it was taken up by someone, presumably an optimist.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 13th June 2011. Bu88er. An hour to strip the broken rings and old varnish, four hours straightening the tip with a hot air gun, an hour whipping the rings on, just the tip to go, then varnish today, tomorrow, good for the 16th...and the arm of the tip ring snaps clean off. Rats. This Octofloat has been severely bent, the ferrules even seem to have a set. It's usable, but not without some rotation of the sections to offset the kinks. Perhaps a restoration too far. On the rack for now. OCT...where it remained. Even Nobbington-Smythe couldn't sort it out. Bent and twisted to heck. Sold on as a 'bare blank' to soemone who though they might be able to fix it. Good luck!

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2011 6th October 2011. Translucent Tipped Quills. As mentioned above, an experiment. These, as the name suggests, are quill tips which are coloured and translucent tipThe use of the word 'tip' is not sufficient excuse however, to snigger behind one's hand in open defiance of the Geneva Comedy Convention's strong recommendation to simply raise one eyebrow (either) about a quarter-inch (6.35mm). . Why? The advantage of these is that the tip will 'light' for your disappearing pleasure whether the light is behind you or in front of you POh yes it will... . In short they are more visible in all light conditions. These quills were just cleaned, coloured and varnished then fished using a single rubber on the bottom end.

The flourescent quillsThe flourescent quills

So a few notes on the making of such: prepare the quills as above, but before varnishing, apply colour to the tip with a fluorescent marker pen. The technique is to apply colour to a dry quill in even strokes from 'the line' to the tip, turning the quill as you go. Once you've gone right round put it aside to dry. Leave it a day and repeat. It will depend on the pen, but about four coats should do it, each only takes a few seconds. Then put a coat of thinned varnish over the coloured area and allow to dry for 24 hours.

There is some variation on which pen's colours go with which varnish without running. One must figure that out for oneself, for Rustin's yacht varnish, this section is true, but for others it may vary.

Translucent quills Here are a few fully made. The top four are porcupine quills with a 'bird-quill' tip. I left the porcupine quill tip inside the 'bird-quill' tip but painted it white first, to see if that reflective surface inside would make them any more visible. Nope. On reflection (sorry), the whole idea of the translucent tip was to allow light from any angle to diffuse and re-radiate, so that the tip was 'lit' with any incident light. Obviously anything blocking that through path would make them less effective. Duh. Translucent quills A selection of half and fully finished quills with translucent tips (with a Cardinal 66x in the middle)

Give the varnish the faintest of touches with '000' emery. Whip on the eye, any other decorative stuff up the float. My preference is to finished with two closely space 6/0 thread whippings with the last right on the edge of the coloured part, which gives it a nice neat line, then thinned varnish over the whole whipping, especially the eye end (holding by the varnished tip) and hang up to dry. When dry put two-three more coats of colour on, when that's dry one cost of full strength yacht. You can add another if you prefer.

The flourescent pink was most visible on the water, then flourescent blue, then flourescent orange, then green. Yellow and dark blue tied for 'worst'. The green colour reacted with the varnish and went 'some other colour' that probably has a fancy colour-chart name, but wasn't much use otherwise. The yellow just wasn't very visible. The dark blue (a marker pen) didn't transmit enough light to work at all well.

It's interesting to recall that in "Still Water AnglingStill relevant in 2011" Richard Walker suggested that the best all-round colour for float-tips was a shade of vivid salmon-pink he mixed up himself.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 5th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker MKIV "G" s/u, Part I. I was fortunate to bag one of these on a well known auction site - I'd always wanted to try one and serendipitously it arrived on my birthday. It wasn't perfect of course, but a good 'user'.

Specifically, there was the tiniest of cracks in the top section ferrule, telegraphed by the cracking of the whipping varnish and the tip ring came apart in my hand when I tried to remove it for re-whipping. I determined to buttress the crack by cutting a 1 inch section off an old whip and dropping it over the top section and aralditing it on. I took all the rings off and having cut the section, on a whim at lunchtime, found a repair kit on the 'net, carbon cloth, resin etc. Hm. I ordered it and it turned up the following day. It was £30, good for three repairs, in fact more than this on inspection. I went for that.

I, of course, first read the 'pdf' instructions for the repair kit and made my custom rod jig as shown below. I then carefully mixed resin and grinding paste in the 3:1 ratio, threw it away and mixed the resin with hardener. You can see the cleaned rod section, and make out the shadow of the two whipped areas and the cracks if you look really closely. I should have phot'd the whipping which shows the crack starting well before it's clearly visible on the fibre glass. Here's one which shows the same thing.

It's a good policy to check the whipping on the female of ferruless rods, as the cracks in the varnish telegraph a crack forming well before it becomes a problem. My plan was to use graphite cloth to replace the whipping at the cracked end. As the whole idea is to use heat shrink wrap to force resin into the cloth, I decided to run an experiment on the site of the second whipping. I'd put the 'tack' layer on, whip over it in Garnet 'D', finishing the whipping just outside the tack area (or you'd never pull through to finish) and then put a resin layer over it and shrink wrap that as well to see how it worked.

The snaps below show:
The tack layer.
Shrink wrapped and shrunk.
And cleaned up ready for whipping over.
And whipped over.

I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule customised precision rod jig... I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule ...showing the way whippings split over a crack - on a split hexagraph I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule The carp
I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule Tacked...(tack layer applied) I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule ...wrapped, shrunk... I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule ...and cleaned up

Impressions; well it's filthy stuff the resin and the cloth. One really must wear the gloves, not a fun job in the main, I can enjoy whipping, but there's little joy in this job. Cut the carbon cloth outside as well. The resin itself seems on the brittle side to me, it's not unlike high build whipping on trashed rods, which I've picked off to salvage rings, not yet convinced this resin is worth the coin, perhaps araldite "precision" would have done just as well. The strength after all is in the carbon and while it's done a good job, once that resin's used up, I'd consider sourcing the cloth and shrink tape elsewhere - heat-shrink tubing might even be better.

The impregnated whipping is 'OK', there was a lot of air bubbles in the thread itself, some which remained when it had set, although thinned varnish filled most of them. I may try using thread for such a repair in the future, but using probably some clear shrink tubing of the right diameter. More to follow later in the week.

I admit the crack is hard to spot - 'G' top section ferrule mended top section whipped over with one coat of varnish

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 9th February 2012. The Bruce and Walker MKIV "G" s/u, Part II.

The always helpful folk at Bruce and WalkerCourtesy and proper customer service sent me replacement butt and tip rings for my rod. The tip-ring was a 'write off' but the butt was OK, but, well you know. I replaced the top section rings and tip-ring using a medium green Gudebrod thread, which was not the original colour, but the carbon repair wasn't original either...replaced the butt ring and added a tiny bells ring to the butt section an inch or so up from the logo, about 45° offset from the butt ring - this is the 'keeper' a much more accessible keeper than the tiny slivers of wire sold in this guise.

The corks were cleaned off with a plastic kitchen scourer and washing up liquid, when rinsed and dried, then wiped down with white spirit. The butt end of the rod was full cork, but the corks were split and frayed, so the cork was cut off flush with the end of the blank, the impacted cork extracted, then fitted a champagne cork into the hole, paring it down so it met the handle corks, more or less spot on.

The rod was then cleaned off with a damp cloth and rubbed down with white spirit. Both sections got a coat of thinned yacht varnish (60/40), which leaches into cracks and scratches sealing them. Any spot where the varnish had lifted, leaving a kind of bubble, I punctured with a pin and sealed with the same varnish, which sorts it out, more or less. One last full strength coat will go on later today. Photo's follow.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Cracked up#1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment 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.

The GSHRE Butt The reel bands The reel bands

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 2..

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #1 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #2
The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment Handle and '66x #3 The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment 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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment: Part 3..

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay Large The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentPacbay single and double legged The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentDouble leg whipped on The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentSingle leg whipped on The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 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 Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4..

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 2nd June 2012. The Great Salmon Hexagraph Rod Experiment: Part 4. Part 3Part 2Part 1.

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.

The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment after... The Great Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment ...before

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2012 1st December 2012. Some I made earlier...

Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional...
Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional... Traditional Goose-quill floats Goose-quill floats, nearly traditional...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 23rd March 2013. Floats.

I took these pictures on a whim and then forgot about them until 2017...a variety of quills and two oak-apple perch bobbers. The former, made with swivels in the base, ended up gathering dust, until I clipped the swivels off and replaced them with a rig-rings. I habitually use a link-swivel for attaching floats and it seemed like far too much metal work to clip this to another swivel. The oak-apple perch bobbers looked lovely but fished like dogs. The almost round profile allowed them to heel-about like an unballasted ship, so I threw them out in the end...

Quill floats Quills Quill floats Quills Quill floats Quills

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 11th May 2013. Net#1. I've been sitting on this job for a bit. The ash hoop came courtesy of Andy Batchelor along with the spreader. I was nervous about the brass screw fittings taking the strain so I put a thin washer under the lip to spread the load, especially on the last fixing at the end of the fork.

Net#1 The brass spreader Net#1 The brass spreader

I needn't have bothered as the ash pulled it quite easily (Andy said it would, I recommend both the product and AB's after sales serviceProper Landing nets...and some fine floats, he was happy to answer queries and questions by email), you can see though I've used slightly longer screws on 4 of the positions to allow me to place a nut, purely for locking. I've put a smallest dab of 222 screw-lock on them as well. The hoop had 2 thinned and two full strength coats of Rustins' finest.

Net#1 The brass spreader Net#1 The brass spreader

The net is one that I got a a boot sale for £5, it's a contemporary 40" triangular, but it gives the net the depth to accommodate anything that can go through the hole - it you look really closely you'll spot a drawstring I've threaded through the net about halfway down. When pulled up, this makes the net a bit handier for those smaller thing (so I don't have to cart about two nets...). Even Mrs Anotherangler admired the brass and ash, wasted on a net though apparently...

Now, an oddity - I've had some glass-fibre tent poles in the study for a few months, one of them needs mending. I got them out to do the job and pulled out of the ferrule on one end, what I took to be a piece of grass or leaf...but it was this little fellow, a smooth newt. I can't for the life of me understand how it got in there, or when.

The ex-smooth newt. It's only resting.The ex-smooth newt. It's only resting.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 26th May 2013. Net#2.

The great big landing netThe Ferrule The great big landing netThe Ferrule on one end The great big landing netThe locking pin The great big landing netThe location hole

Moving on....I put the ferrule (thanks Redfin) into the cane and then drilled a 1.5mm hole though the bamboo and started that hole in the brass. Took the brass out and then drilled it out, then through the other side of the brass (slow drilling, done "by eye"). I put the brass back and used it as a template to drill right through the cane.

I then drilled the ferrule's holes out to 3.9mm (the pin is 4mm) and then removed the ferrule and eased the holes open with a needle file until the pin was a working fit in the ferrule.

I opened the holes in the bamboo out to 4.4-4.5mm or so. The idea is, that when I glue the ferrule in (using slow setting epoxy), to tap the pin to get a slight spread, which will lock it in the ferrule but will not split the bamboo.

The great big landing netThe locking pin hole The great big landing netCascamite'ing the splits The great big landing netThe pin fitted The great big landing netThe pin fitted The great big landing netThe ferule in place

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 5th June 2013. Net#3. The ferrule is now glued in, the pin was spread slightly - some careful hammer work with a pin punch clamped upside down in a vice and a makeshift punch made with a cut down allen key. The epoxy was worked into the gap around the pin to fix everything and the whole thing left to go off in a warm place (conservatory).

The Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle III The Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle III The Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle III The Landing net handle IIIThe Landing net handle III

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 6th June 2013. Net#4. Put a coat of epoxy on the cane and whipped over the ferrule end with 30lb PowerPro, then coated with more epoxy and applied shrink wrap, which when heated forces the epoxy into the thread.

The Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IV The Landing net handle IV

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 24th August 2013. The JW Avon's new reel seat. The old JW Avon reel bands were tripe - those sliding plastic reel bands - they never worked on my rod, being too loose a fit. What to do...?

I didn't really want to put a fixed seat on, that's way to much work, so I rifled the big boxes of fishing stuff in a cupboard upstairs and found a Fuji plastic tube reel seat...aha, this fitted over the corks, but was very tight...so I converted it into a sliding reel fitting. I didn't need the sliding aspect really but it's an experiment I've been meaning to try for some time.

Firstly, I put all the reels I use into the guide and drew around them with a fine permanent marker to ensure everything would fit.

I removed the top ring of the fitting, which I levered away using a flat bladed screwdriver. I placed assorted reel feet back in their outlines and completed the outlines with the marker.

The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...1
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...2
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...3
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...4
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...5
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...6
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...7
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...8
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...9
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...10
The new Avon sliding reel seatThe new Avon sliding reel seat
The new Avon sliding reel seat...11

I dremmelled (using the little round saw blade thingies - take care, they'll have your finger off if they slip) a cut-out in the barrel of the reel seat along the outer line I'd marked previously. I checked the various reel feet fitted and then cleaned up the edges of the cut out with a small file.

Placed on the rod handle the only problem was that the fixed reel band didn't really hold the reel foot down as there was a gap. I debated turning the band through 180 degrees, but it would look silly. So I retrieved some of the plastic cut out previously and made a shim to fit in the fixed reel band's recess. I used some other bits to see if loctite would really hold the pieces together well (it did).

Stuck it back on the rod...I had to removed the butt end of the handle so have bored a champers cork as a temporary butt, hot melt glued on, until I've fished it a bit and am happy with it.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 11th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #1 - the plan being to make a light through action rod of about 11' from an 8-10 aftm fly rod - almost fell at the first hurdle really. The 9/10 weight 14 footer was stiffer than my #10-12 Hex. ...which didn't seem right. I sought the maker's opinion for sanity, then, despite being re-assured it was a softer rod, tied both rods to a step ladder - I used a string bag and braid threaded through to the top ring on the bottom section of both rods - where they were tied across the steps. I plotted the displacement from horizontal (both rods bang on 140cm from the floor in this set up) and here is a small graph. I'm bu88ered if can make Excel display it how I want...weight in 'oz' and the deflection is in 'cm' from horizontal(no load position). So lighter the 8-10aftm really is...

The Hex wins by 10%... The Hexagraph wins by 10%...

I planned to set to work with the thread and rings - I'd bought some Pacbay Minima's and a nice tip ring, plus a 'match cork'. I have a reel seat and although the thread ordered was NOT the colour in the picture...no matter, I have a large reel of red grade 'D' so will use that. 'W'. Ring spacing, 'as is'. Now, before I desecrate a perfectly good (if going for a song) salmon rod, I've opted to tape on a reel and take it to play with some simple-in-the-head carpusules...OK it looked mad, but I wanted to know and if it was too stiff, then it would have returned to evilbay whence it came and I'd look for #7-9 13 footer. Lead on McFluffchuckerclick to the second part of the experiment.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 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 grass covered banks, the lack of litter and in fact even the profile of the lakes, none of which are uniform puddles.

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 3ft 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 14 and a quill and caught rudd to 10oz for an hour, using scraps of prawn as bait. I started at 2 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 6 feet down (barely 6 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2013 19th December 2013. LSRE. The Lighter Salmon Rod Experiment #2. I thought the taped up 14' rod a 'bit boingy', but with 20/20 hindsight you would expect that - hold a 14' rod 5' from the thick end and wobble it about, you'll see my point. So, there was only one way to find out if the rod would 'work' so... to the worrying bit (try saying that in the same way you might say "...to the batcave!"). I used the handle on the GHSRE as a guide and marked up the butt section...and added an inch. I swallowed hard and got out the junior hacksaw...I debated leaving a few inches cork-less for the B&W logo, for 'tis nice looking...zoopah, zoopah, zoopah, zoopah...very thick walled this blank...zoopah, zoo-click. And breath in.

OK then, mops sweat from brow, my plan was have a fore-grip of about 2-3" (for the look of the thing), so sliced the cork handle in two 'as required'. That worked out, Now, several streaks of inspiration all struck at once. The first, was to hacksaw off the section of the butt with the Bruce & Walker crossed salmon logo as it would fit exactly over the 'new' rod handle, just before the grip, which would look nice (and brace it better than whipping). The second, was the thought that the cork butt-end on the salmon rod handle remnant was the right size for the new rod - I wondered if I cut around the cork joint between the rings done to the blank and twisted it hard - and away it came clean. Hah! Then thirdly, I recalled some large copper washers I got from a builder - was one just the right size to sit between the crossed salmon and the cork...? By golly yes it was.

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

So, I removed the two rings on the butt section. Using cheap fly backing to build the blank (while leaving glue spaces) I hot melted the handle end in place - having previously 'bunged' the bottom of the handle section with a champagne cork (the thin end) and sealed the inside of the old cork end piece with cellulose dope to waterproof it from the inside. I spend a few minutes with a countersink bit manually countersinking the cork fore grip so the screw end of the reel seat was under the cork then put all to one side for the morning. As an afterthought I whipped a small snake-eye ring on, as a keeper ring. So much easier to use that the tiny bits of wire sold for that purpose...

The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE The LSREThe LSRE

I whipped a length of cheap fly backing along the blank, under the top half of the cork section, doubled it back about half way and tied it off. Doped it and let it dry. Wood glued and placed the larger of the cork sections, so tight a fit, it didn't need anything holding it in place while the glue set...overnight. I hot melted the tip ring on while the glue-gun was on and whipped over the tang.

I used thin strips of gaffer taped to space the reel seat off the blank, three such 'spacers' at intervals. The idea is the tape is temporary while the hot melt in the gaps does the actual job...so I hot melted it on...get the glue gun good and hot and move very fast. I should mention I'd already checked the orientation required and marked it up - oddly not the direction of the rings on the butt section - lastly, I carefully undercut (at about 45°) the fore-grip cork and with the same wood-glue (plus doped fly backing whipping), slid this down over the reel seat. I glued the copper washer over the end of the cork (having first shone it up with a wire brush and then degreased it thoroughly), epoxy'd the B&W logo section on and held it hard against the cork until the epoxy went off. Added a short whipping in front of the logo section. Spot on.

The ringing was a doddle (and if I'm honest was done first), reusing the spacing of the existing rings. I used a B&W pink ceramic butt ring left over from a rebuild of a MKIV G and then put three double legged Pacbay Minima rings on that section, one more on the top section and then single legged all up to the tip ring. Having removed a double whipping I replaced the missing whipping with a dummy. It looks neater that way.

So more or less done. I've sealed the whippings with thinned yacht varnish and given them two coats of full strength. That's it, all done. To the lake! (Should be said in the same way one says "To the castle!")

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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...So 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 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 Spotfor 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 aobtu 1mm, making it flush with the reel seat o/d and thinned the butt end a little more. Slimmer is cuter.

The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Cold day at Turfcroft...1...1
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Cold day at Turfcroft...2...2
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Cold day at Turfcroft...3...3
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Cold day at Turfcroft...4...4
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
Cold day at Turfcroft...5...5
The Big Hex faceliftThe Big Hex facelift
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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 27th February 2014. The Harlow Reel. So the problem is one of small hands and big reels. I needed a spacer for the Harlow - it's perfect for the 'pin carping, large diameter, not too large, holes that fit fingers and a wide drum, exactly the job for 80 yards of 'oh my word it's a monster' braid backing and 50 yards of mono over the top. I've got little hands and need to get my index finger around the handle and my thumb on the rim. I simply cannot get on with holding the rod in front of the reel, feels all wrong, always has. So 'a spacer'. I experimented with some washers...and spent an hour on the sofa watching Ms. Sackhoff SBDoes anyone else think they have a special department for making up 'slightly rude sounding made up names' in American TV land?  kick robot butt, while I idly span my reel (honest). The resulting dents in my fingers and black marks from the metal told me to add more space and file off some metal...I drew up a spacer and a very nice man agreed to trade it for some monstrous stret-peggers...

The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The traditional drawing on the back on an envelope...1
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The problem...2
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...3
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...4
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...5
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...6
The spaced out HarlowThe spaced out Harlow
The solution...7

So here is the progression on the job and below is the progression of the 'payment'...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 28th February 2014. Barry's Massive Stret-Peggers .

Below is the progression of a 'payment', some very big stret-pegging quills made as a quid pro quo (...Clarice) for Barry, who made a spacer for my 'Harlow' 'pin. Thanks Barry.

Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
The quills (about 10'', goose primaries)...1
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
Bottom eyes, tacked on with cyranoacrylate...2
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
Tips in progress - flourecent pink over the bare quill.
You can see pencil marks, but those'll be covered
with black thread....3
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
One of the side-eyes, glued with waterproof
cyranoacrylate then whipped on....4
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
One side-eye whipped on...5
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
Almost done...6
Barry's Stret-peggersBarry's Stret-peggers
The emphemera of float making...7

I can't for the life of me find pictures of the finished articles, although I was sure I took some...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 26th March 2014. The next projects are: Fit low 'Bells' guides on the LRH No2 (remove the heavy 'agates') and use it, after having turned the rod over. If possible move the reel seat. Put a nice cork handle on my old carp rod. Ditto my Harrison's Avon, also re-ring, remove some of them, which will soften it a tad. Turn a Nerf jolt into a loose-feed gun.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 April 2014. The 'Gudgeonator'.

I found a little #4 weight fly-rod at a Dorchester boot-sale. £20, delaminated for 4-5" above the ferrule. It hung neglected on my wall for a year then, barring the male ferrule on the top joint which I cut off and dug out, hardly slashing my fingers at all GuAOr, more positively, 'the rod took the blood sacrifice it required' .

Mixed the cascemite, bound the split, peeled off the varnish. At the top end, perhaps 6" in, the slightest thickening, a loupe exposed the deftest of repairs. Huh. Stripped butt section, cut off the corks, cut the cane through just above the reel seat with a hacksaw - I dug the cork out from around the tube with a variety of pointy things, while watching some 'period mystery' and drilled out the 3/8" BSF thread on the bottom. A short handle was planned, two floor grade 4" lengths and a champagne cork half bored, the re-used reel seat, two more champers corks.

With the butt sawn down, I was going cut the tip down the 4". First I fitted the ferrule, the slightest of rubs with sandpaper and it slid on - I varnished both pieces of cane with half-and half to seal them, then mixed Araldite rapid and fitted the counter - a closed end counter I had to work the metal back and forth until the air popped out, then bound the tangs flat with cable ties. Funny thing, when dry it had bulged the metal a few thou as the picture shows from where I worked it in - to give it a waggle. As thought, a little over-waggly, so off came the tip. Varnished both sections 'full strength'.

[I know it's not always 'done', but I seal my bare cane with thinned varnish and give it one coat of full strength before fitting bits. Nearly all the cane water damage I've seen is around the whipping and fittings, which crack and under them is bare cane. You get the idea - never mind that nice porous cork gently getting damp with cane under it...]

The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
Reel seat, cut off...1
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The cane at the thick end...2
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
Female ferrule...3
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The corks and the reel seat...4
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The counter removed (blood not shown)...5
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The champagne cork butt-cap (and a nice tin)...6
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The corks and the reel seat...7
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The butt-cap glued on...8
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The handle under construction...9
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The handle under construction...10
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The handle under construction...11
The 'Gudgeonator' ProjectThe 'Gudgeonator' Project
The 'Avon Gypsy'...12

The rod, as acquired, was black trimmed, fine it looked, so I kept that idea. What rings? This is a slight rod, a 1lb chub might test it hard, brook rod or no and I wanted no more weight. In the end I went for the eyes it came with, the snakes, closed them up ever so slightly, and trimmed off any extra metal I judged they did not need. The tip was a fine little agate I have no memory of getting - the rod's original a white agate, cute, but chipped, such a pity, the butt ring is a small amber agate off a Hardy rod, long gone.

I whipped over the ferrule tangs and sealed with half-and-half. A nice colleague bored my Champers corks on a handy lathe two through for the fore-grip and one blind-drilled for the butt end. Glued on, a few turns of thread for the glue first. The real seat I set with gaffer tape strip built up - I hot melted the bottom end generously and piled it onto the cork and held it down until the glue cooled, then filled the other end with the same stuff (tip, don't get liquid hot melt on your fingers, it burns and rips the skin off when you pull it away). Two more corks and glue. Some sanding to even things up, but a bare minimum. It's not a show pony and it's fun to leave the corks showing their origin.

Such a tiny rod, for small streams and small fish needed a small reel - I give you an 'Avon Gypsy' from Romsey Tackle Fair. Perfect. Now for the fish.

P.S. I used it once for a dart at some small rudd and tench, the snake eyes don't really work at all with mono. I replaced them with some tiny single leg eyes.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 4th May 2014. The Allcock's 'Superb' MT4"May the Fourth be with you". Well, it makes me smile... .

This cost me £20 at boot-sale, blissfully unaware at the time of it's comparative rarity, but I liked it. The cane was fletched-straight, but the ferrule was worn past redemption. So I replaced the ferrule and took off the 'sea rod' rings, which some say are 'authentic', although I prefer to say 'rubbish'. They were rust-pitted for the most part and the tip ring was broken. I replaced them with Pacbay Minimas and added a Hardlon Stripping guide butt-ring. This reduced the weight on the top section. The female ferrule isn't 100% straight but it wasn't before...the cane under it was rounded slightly off-centre. I left it as was. I've had carp to 12lb on 6lb line with it and it's very steely. It has, as they say, 'the feel'.

It does however, have a 31" handle, far too long and fat. So I'll probably remove 8" and sand the rest down to ¾" and add decent sliding reel-bands. I'll let you know. The Woodsman' has one, with its awful original rings and mine is much the stronger rod. Odd. That's cane for you. In any event with a new ferrule and nice light modern (chrome/titanium) rings, 'twill be a joy to use.

Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The rod...1
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The label...2
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The handle...3
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The handle...4
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The handle...5
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The butt ring...1
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The female ferrule...2
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The rather worn 'counter'...3
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The cracked tip ring...4
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The ferrules removed...5
Allcocks_SuperbAllcocks_Superb
The old ferrules...6

The original rings, removed weighed 0.6oz, of which 0.4oz was on the tip section. The new set, which included a lined Hardlon butt ring (0.15oz), was 0.3oz total. With a wild cry of "Try getting outside more, tackle collectors." I removed the old rings...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2014 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 Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 3mm hole for injecting the hot-melt... The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment...the 0.8mm whole for letting the air out the other side The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe bottom end of the hhandle with its 'fighting butt' The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod ExperimentThe 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 Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment The top of the handle with its decorative whippings. The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment The bottom section 'ferrule' The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment 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 Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment The stupidly shiny Hardlon butt-ring The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment One of the 'minima' double legged rings The Light Hexagraph Salmon Rod Experiment 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 18th March 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #1.

I picked up Allcocks 'Perfect' (20 quid) a year back, it's dead straight, 9' on the nose a terrific honey colour. The butt-ring is missing and the real seat is set well down the butt - an old salmon spinner. It was, Nobbyngton-Smythe reckons, Allcocks most expensive rod ever...

So...my plan is to strip it...make a butt section, something a bit like a Chapman's handle, two feet long dowel, or something fairly rigid, and turn it into a 10'6" or 10'8" carp rod... 10As I'm already fairly sure that I'm not going to Heaven, I'll risk it.

The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The tip...1
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...2
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...3
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...4
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...5
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...6
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...7
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...8
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
a middle bit...9
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
The butt...10

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 23rd March 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #2. I removed the corks, not so hard, found water damage, not serious, but this is why one might consider varnish before corks go on, discovered the reel-seat was plastic, tacked on through a box-wood cylinder, the lower cane still with its outer shell on. There's a big nick out of the cane just up from the reel seat. That's going to bug me, the rings are going on the opposite side to the old, so the nick is going to be on the underneath of the rod - it's unlike to matter much, but I'll epoxy/dyneema it anyway. A lot of careful scraping was required to get the mixture of glue, string and gunk of the section under the handle - which was rough in places.

The ferrule and counter came off easily enough, the female on the butt section cut off flush with the cane, then a steep spiral cut with a hacksaw - one must be careful doing this, the idea is to cut a gentle spiral up from the open end until the brass is paper thin - work around and up the ferrule until the cut is nearly at the 'cane end'. It pays to cover the last few inches of cane with gaffer tape first, so avoid damaging the cane if the saw catches. Optionally, gaffer tape your fingers as well...

Insert a flat blade screwdriver into the slot cut at the 'open' end and twist it gently, the brass should open up, tearing any last layer of brass - if you've cut it thin enough. With a pair of pliers, you can usually 'unwind' the ferrule until the last bit can be slid off. Be gentle, use the saw to ease open parts of the cut which are not quite deep enough. Next time I'll post pictures on how to do this...look at this - the cane under the female ferrule. You can just see where cane flats have been glued on and turned down. The counter end has been rounded as well, but is back to whole hex section cane before it gets to the ferrule 'exit', so no loss of cane at the critical points.

The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
'nick'...(1)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
'nick'...(2)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
glue line/water damage?...(3)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
glue line/water damage?...(4)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
'nick'...(5)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
'big nick'...(6)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
Reel seat pin hole - another on the other side...(7)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
Ferrule pin, to be filed flat...(8)
The Allcocks' PerfectThe Allcocks' Perfect
Ringstead beach on a nice March day...'just because'...(9)

I've cut away the varnish on either side of the logo to keep it on the cane. For the handle I've cut a two foot piece of cane from the butt of an old 'Black Seal' rod, a terrible thing (but cheap...). This is 15mm across the flats at the thick end, so will use it to make a butt section with a 'reverse' taper, not that I think it will bend at all. This will be strong, heavy enough and slender enough for me to get corks down to 20mm for 'Lockfast' reel bands...that's the plan.

The real shock was to find water damage on the top section just past the second ring. There were a few black marks under the varnish but one of them had the tell-tall black line along a joint and I despaired briefly. I gave the section a good bending and it was 'quiet' no creaks and 'tik-tik' noises, but nevertheless its existence gnaws away like a loft-mouse in the night, so I used a two-part epoxy and reinforced these areas with some grey 6lb dyneema and brushed a little more resin into the thread. I'm pondering black whippings, I like how the look on cane (since owning a sadly, un-straightenable Octofloat in black thread) with perhaps a few turns of green wire on the thick ones. Hm... Ferrules ordered from the truly helpful Ted Oliver, still the best quality.

Once the ferrules arrive I'll order cork, rings and thread.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 10th April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #3. The top section had multiple deep nicks across the flats where every silk whipping had been cut off. Careless and crude. Resolving to put reinforcing over all the nicks along with the two areas where water damage showed and using a two part epoxy, a tack layer was applied between 5mm pencilled markers and then whipped over with 6lb dyneema, brushing more epoxy over the whipping. Horrible job and my first thought was it would be unmanageably lumpy (it's not really) and a tad ugly (it is). Unable to reconcile myself with this, it didn't look good or 'right', and taking RedFin's advice, ordered some white silk thread to re-do in silk. Once varnished the whippings will almost fade into the cane. So a happy hour cutting off the first go and scraping off the epoxy came ot pass, then the cane got a coat of thinned varnish, while the silk was in the post...

Also the ferrules; They came, fine solid things, the smaller pair fitted the cane almost to the mil, the larger needed some work...investigating the lathe at the work-shop it was clear the cane was 'too long' to build up and machine down. Both sections of cane needed some work, the bottom end of the Allcocks' needed just the corners off really and that barely (I took 4¼" inches off the bottom end, it was rough on the outer layers - although mighty tough to cut - and the nail holes from the original reel seat bothered me, those ought to be well inside the counter's brass embrace.

The handle section, the late not lamented Black Seal, needed work. Decided to use the same technique used for cutting cork handles down, i.e. 30mm plastic drainpipe sawed in half lengthways used as a sanding former. If this didn't work well, the duff bit could be cut off. By rotating the cane in my left hand at a steady rate and cutting in short strokes (stop it) back and forth at a constant rate with my other hand, while regularly offering it up to the female for size(I said stop it), it was quite easy to maintain a true and even cut. I discovered twisting the ferrule hard left black marks on the cane, so using this as ersatz 'engineer's black', worked steadily until a 'working fit' was achieved, then gave the cane a few a few gentle strokes (...come on!) with a finer grade. Time elapsed about 30 minutes. 'By eye' it's not possible to see if 'true' or not, so probably 'not'. Huh. Not so hard.

Repeating the sanding exercise, after cutting the lower end of the Allock's off, took only 10 minutes to fit the ferrule - this was very nearly a fit 'out of the box'. Again, 'true'. Measuring the total length with the rod laid out on the floor, with a 24" handle and an inch off the tip (Oi! Really...) - which was bevelled for the original tip ring - it comes in at 10' 8". The ferrules' feathered edges were removed with a jewellers file...so annoying when the whipping frays here...and then also coloured in the bright brass with a black indelible marker - with black thread over the top, there'll be not a glint.

One other thing. The butt section was hollow - sort of - perhaps eight inches deep, this was filled with epoxy and carbon rods.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 16th April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #4. Having decided to whip the rod in black thread, on a whim, I decided to use some green wire to give the ferrule whipping some muted bling. The whipping over the ferrule was done using a 'C' grade black thread, with an overlay of '0.16mm/0.006"/AWG 34' bobbin wire, with a green enamel coat. They're strictly decorative, which is to say, not there to add strength.

'Twas like this; cast the whipping on, after three turns put a 'pull through' loop under the thread and do three more turns, then flip the loop back out of the way and whip up to about six turns from the 'cast off' point, then whip a backward loop (facing the opposite way from the 'cast off' loop) for three of those turns and finish the whipping in the usual way. Keep the whipping turns tight together.

Then use the first loop to pull the end of the wire through to start it off. Whip the wire on top of the thread whipping following the grooves between the threads, the first turn is critical. When you get to the second loop, pull the wire through to finish. The line used for this needs to be stout - the wire is hard to pull through and using 6lb dyneema, the wire will break at the pull through as often as not (which is OK as long as it's tucked under OK).

Thinned varnish is then applied; make sure it soaks in between the wire turns. They'll get another coat or two of undiluted 'yacht' later. You can see a few places where the wire whipping varies a little, the thread itself varies slightly, there's not much to do about that, but it looks fine for one who is 'less than a perfectionist'.

You may have realised by now, that as a rod, this might be something of an animal...my original idea was to produce something like a 'MK III' but a shade longer than 10', but less than 11'. While on the face of it it would have made a nice 9' rod, I find that too short for practical general carp fishing and my experince of 11' cane rods is that they are mostly a little over long.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2015 22nd April 2015. The 'Allcock's Perfect' Project #5. I have now whipped over all the top section iffy bits with white silk thread and varnished. It's a swine to pull though and cut without wisps of silk remaining...however...I finally cut the tip down 1", then assembling the rod in its bare state I measured the overall length at 10' 8" and cut the butt section at that length (allowing for ¼" wear on each ferrule). Once cut down, took it outside to play and the first proper waggle was a surprise. It's not as heavy as I expected and has 'the feel', very much so. Heh. Here carpy carpy...

The next job is to form the handle. I've opted for a champagne front cork (for fun), bevelled a little on the inside, then a section for the 'Lockfasts' some 12", which I'll glue on and sand down in isolation. Then I'll place cork over the rest of the butt, finishing the butt end with another champers cork. This amuses me, but also the cork is very good quality...

Here are the rings. The butt ring is a game guide, but the others are Pacbay titanium and a Fuji titanium tip ring. I did this as they look OK, they are very very light, not a bad thing and lastly, in the case of the tip ring which needed at least a 3.6mm tube diameter. It's a heavy piece of cane. The tip was 'gun smoke' when it turned up, I may have wire brushed it a bit to match the others better...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 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, whip rings onto a black fishing rod using black thread.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 9th September 2016. JAA's Top Tips - The modified pipe cutter for tightening brass ferrules.

I'd heard all the rumours so bought one to try it out. It's not hard. You get one as shown and drift out the pin holding the cutting wheel. Then you find a bunch of washers that are a loose (ish) fit on the pin and pack the space out. These are stainless steel M5 'Form B' I think. Brass might be better.

The modified pipe-cutter Pin drifted out, cutting wheel ready to come out. The modified pipe-cutter Cutting wheel out.

Drift the pin back in. Ideally with a parallel pin-punch, but a 3" nail with the point cut off and a block of wood with a hole in it will do fine.

The modified pipe-cutter Washers fitted, pin not quite home. The modified pipe-cutter Washers fitted, pin home, cutter re-assembled. The modified pipe-cutter The model I used.

Put the offending female ferrule in the cutter on the area that overlaps the rod - this will help prevent you over tightening it and is also most likley to be 'true'. Do it up until it's tight - not so tight it squashes the brass.

Rotate the cutter around and work it toward the open end of the female. You're aiming to wind it up the barrel not scrape it up.

It's a slow progress, but bear with it. Test. Repeat.

It took me two 'runs' to stop the ferrule on my Milbro tourist knocking and one light one to tighten slightly the other one. With this model of cutter it's easy to hold the screw in place to stop the cutter loosening, but I might add some nylon washers to the internal thread to prevent this.

Simples.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 14th September 2016. 'The Milbro Tourist' restoration. Bought on fleabay about three years ago for £5, after I failed to buy one seen at Romsey. It's a four-piece solid glass-fibre rod and this one was in a bad way. The ferrule on the first joint was ruined, torn with pliers. I'd bought a replacement and then put the thing to one side...

Recently I picked it up again, took the rust-speckled 'bells' rings off and chucked them. The handle was sound but dry and the butt button was a mess. The orginal reel-bands were binned. I resolved to fit a small reel-seat, a nice one which came via one of two broken fly-rods in a rubbish bin. I cut off three cork rings to make space for the reel-seat. I glued the counter on the second section, left it overnight and then put the female on the first section, pushed them together and put the rod on a flat surface to ensure that any 'set' the rod was in line with the reel seat setting. The alignment marks can be seen on the ferrule, rod and the reel seat.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The original cork handle and the posh reel seat...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the old handle...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The counter ferrule on the third section. The aradite
was cut off flush when ¾ set. The tissue
and duct-tape stop the glue running out of the join...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The handle with corks removed, the female ferrule,
the third section, fore-grip cork and the reel seat...5

I 'super-glued' two small rectangles of fine grit sandpaper on the end of the reel seat and spun it a few times on the cork to flatten it off. Removed said sandpaper and glue, then araldite'd the reel-seat in place. I reamed out the hole in the new fore-grip cork, just enough to slip over the thread of the reel seat and cascemite'd it on, extending the handle by about 2", leaving the original logo and name in place.

I removed the last two inches of cork from the butt-end and put a champagne cork over the glass, araldite'd it on. I rubbed it down with the 'plastic half-drainpipe' PHDThis is a 5½" piece of 32mm plastic pipe, cut in half lengthways. Wrap sandpaper around this, following the inner diameter. Working with even strokes while rotating a cork handle a little after every few strokes, it's possible to achieve nigh-on perfect handles with a little practise. Use a micrometre to check the diameter regularly as you go along. , to meet the original handle's diameter. The female ferrule was then araldite'd on using the alignment marks.

'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The bottom end of the handle with corks removed
and the champagne cork replacment...1
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...2
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The plier marks on the third section...3
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The reel-seat and foregrip fitted and glued. The green
whipping at the rear of the seat is also visible. A black
whipping has been added to the glass by the fore-grip...4
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
The chamfered down champagne cork...5
'The Milbro Tourist''The Milbro Tourist'
A view of the finished butt (first) section...6

I put black whippings on the ferrule end and in front of the fore-grip - which was rubbed down, but not quite to the diameter of the main handle. At the back of the reel seat was a clear area of metal - this was designed to be under cork on a fly rod - there's little point to that with this rod, so I whipped over that section with green thread and varnished it. Before I put the rod together I considered cutting this piece off flush with the flange, but decided it made no odds. With hindsight it might have looked neater like that, but araldite is a powerful incentive to leave it alone.

Above the counter on the third section were two horrible digs into the fibre-glass. It looks 'just like someone undid the ferrule using pliers'...I didn't much like the look of that, although thought it unlikely to break. I ran waterproof cyanoacrylate into the cracks to bind the fibres and whipped over with black 'D' thread, an extension of the ferrule whipping. The female ferrule on the third section had a slight knock, so I used a modfied pipe-cutter to tighten it up see belowIt's really quite simple for how that works.

Rings. The original pattern was two rings on the fourth (tip) section, one on the third and one on the second. I've changed that to three, two, one using 'Pacbay' titanium, plus a titanium lined tip ring. There was a nick in the glass just south of the tip-ring, so I made sure that was on the 'underside', dabbed it with waterproof cyanoacrylate to lock the fibres , gave the tip section a severe bend test, then whipped over it. The ring spacing used was [T, 4", 9½", 16½", 25½", 36½", 49½]. I lightly scraped down the old varnish, whipped everything with black thread and varnished. It looks very smart, especially with a Cardinal 33 loaded with 4kg braid. Nifty. Fits in a back-pack.

'The Milbro Tourist' The finished rod, all four sections 'The Milbro Tourist' The finished rod, all four sections, with Cardinal 33 fitted. 'The Milbro Tourist' How it looked when I got it (picture swiped from the internet) and this is 100% better looking than the one I bought.

...replacing a ferrule, adding that reel seat and those new rings means the fittings have four times the value of the rod. Still...'up-cycling' is all the rage. upA cynical view is; 'upcycling' is a word used by a type of person to suggest 'Second-hand, but I could afford a new one, I'm doing this because I'm environmentally conscious, not because I'm one of those wretched poor people.' No-one is fooled by this.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 17th September 2016. The B&W MKIV 'G' S/U. I picked this rod up a few years backThe Bruce & Walker MKIV 'G' S/U and in 2014 decided to 'ring' the changes and fitted titanium 'Pacbays' then re-built the handle. The handle was a wreck so I completely replaced it and added a reel-seat, I find the original reel-bands are, respectfully, 'not that good'.

The original handle was 29" long, possibly driven more by fashion than function, so put the reel-seat 15" from the butt-end. With my hand on the reel-foot there is 2" of handle sticking past my elbow. The 'fighting butt' is convenient at netting-time, for wedging the rod-end into the abdomen without causing injury. T'other end is a bored out champagne cork. Sanded down it looks nice, although there's the slightest concave shape to the fore-grip, which I'll remove presently.

The B&W MKIV 'G' new handle The handle with it's new reel seat The B&W MKIV 'G' new handle The view down the handle

Because the reel-seat ('liberated' from an old Cormoran telescopic rod) had chromed bands, to remove the flash I carefully coloured them with a purple permanent marker, then whipped over them with garnet thread then varnished - now they're garnet. There's probably someone throwing up their hands somewhere, but with modern rings (removing 1oz from the tip section) and the new handle configuration, it's a better rod - and it was a pretty good rod to start with. It's one of my favourites.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 26th September 2016. The Handle Repair of Insanity. As I noted previously, a 6" section of the corks behind the reel-seat were loose. I thought perhaps the PVA glue I'd used hadn't set properly. I cut this section out, discovering that where I'd used thread to pack the blank to the cork I/D, the top layer was free of layer beneath as the glue hadn't penetrated the thread.

I cut a 6" section of cork in half length-wise, glued thin strips of bamboo inside and shaved them down so that the corks fitted perfectly on the handle. A whole lot of 'cascamite' was applied, then the whole caboodle was bound with string. When set, the handle was reshaped using the 'half-32mm pipe" method. It needs a light 'P180' polish, but can you see the join?

The Handle Repair of InsanityThe cork sections with splints. The Handle Repair of InsanityOne cork section in place The Handle Repair of InsanityThe finished handle, not unlike the old one. The Handle Repair of InsanityCan you see the join?

With hindsight, lazy really, and I know in my heart it'll all have to come off and be re-done properly.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 12th October 2016. I must stop going in the garage. I was hunting for something to make a wide diameter cork borer and found my old home-made telescopic landing net handle, four pieces, about 11 feet. The metal bits at each end had seized (but came off with the aid of a hacksaw), but it was designed to fit in the bag for the four-piece Avon. Hm...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 22nd November 2016. Blue. Having left two paintbrushes lying on the tin to 'clean later' and forgetting about them (not for the first time), I popped into a craft shop to buy some new 'rubbish brushes' bruAs opposed to proper artists brushes, which would be a terrible waste of a good brush if used for painting my floats. In truth I buy on 'the bay' now as I can buy ten brushes for the price of two in the shop. . Humbrol, it appears, have fluorescent blue paint in aerosols...

I'll have to see what such blue-tipped floats look like on the water of course, but promising...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 23rd November 2016. Double quill trotting floats. I decided to make some trotting floats out of two bits of swan quill glued in the middle, as I have some. Here's what I've discovered. The quills fit well together, one inside the other, they are very similar shapes. If you're putting inserts into one end of the other (I used porcupine quill), water-proof cyanoacrylate isn't ideal as it doesn't fill gap well. Araldite would be better. The cyanoacrylate is fine for the two larger sections' joint though. Both of which are whipped over anyway.

The end result is ascetically pleasing. It's tempting to whip up the whole length, but why cover that up? I might consider filling the quill sections with green dye to stain them and making a tip section, either from porcupine quill or cane.

Really not so difficult to make though. Cut the quill off just above the 'joint' with a junior hacksaw, then use a very sharp knife to cut them to a 45° angle. For other joints, use a nail board to rub the edges down by running it sideways in a 'draw-file' fashion up over the step in the joint...and at this point, sans varnish or thread, I hid them away to avoid further distractions from my studies...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2016 30th November 2016. I decided to rebuild a Shakespeare 8/9 aftm fly rod.

This was in part due to the handle being very worn and the suggestion of websites, various, that snake eyes might be better replaced with small rings as the back-cast is smoothed. And being an engineer first, I have to improve stuff. It's literally compulsory. I had a fine reel seat to fit as well, replacing the tinnny one that came with the rod. This 'scavenged' reel-seat also had a 3/8" BSF tread hole in the bottom end. Investigation showed this to be a tight push fit in the body of the real seat, so I whacked it back in with Loctite 263 liberally applied. The rest was tedium, removing two part epoxy'd rings, but I knocked 0.5oz of the weight of the top section in the process. By complete coincidence, the rods' CoGCentre of Gravity with a Snowbee Steatlth #9/10 (with line) fitted, was at the right bit of the half-wells cork. Huh. I added one small snake-ring back on as a 'keeper-ring'.

Plan "B" was to make a butt extension - part of my idea was to allow myself the option of taking a breather and fishing conventionally now and then. The eyed fly-rod rings help this and it occurred, that a short butt-extension, that could screw into the blunt end would make that more practical. I robbed a bit of cane with a 3/8" BSF 'socket' on it (an aborted rod-rest, too heavy and too FTF FTFI'm sure there are Fundamental Traditional Fishermen who use nothing but split-cane rod rests, but for myself I tend to use (a) the toe-end of my foot (b) the tackle-bag and (c) the ground. Very occasionally I'll use (d) a forked hazel twig. If I remember to take it with me or havn't left it behind at the previous water. ) and cut a piece of studding just long enough to engage fully with the extension section, a 3/8" BSF full nut and the rod fitting. I put the studding fully into the rod, did the nut right up, unscrewed the studding 1mm, then Loctite 363'd the nut in place.

This is so when done up, the nut will bear against the flat surface of the handle fitting before the studding 'bottoms out'. Then this project, like the double quills above, got stuffed in the cupboard for 'later'...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 14th March 2017. Curiosity, proverbial. It occured to me that the a slender carbon switch leaning on the window-sill, aka an 'ice rod', might make a fine thin flexible tip for a salmon fly-rod tip section, as part of an experiment to make a tough adaptable 'all round' rod.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 20th March 2017. Curiosity. Drat. The slender carbon switch mentioned in the below entry was exactly the wrong size to add a slender tip to the fly-rod tip section. Simply put, if I had cut the fly-rod tip section back to allow the insertion of the 'tip' I'd have ended up with a 'broom-handle-with-a-quiver-tip' type of affair which was not the idea at all.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 9th July 2017. The 'MKIII' incarnation of the blue 7' rod.  I'd been eyeing up the old glass-fibre 7' rod for some time. I've no idea why it has such a hold, just my first rod, 'tis all. But it looked weary.

To explain; the 'MKI' incarnation was 'as it came' from the shop in 1974. This, at exactly 7' and fitted with 'low Bells', got used for everything until 1979. Then, in an attempt to make the tip section into part of a chimera carp-rod, I cut off the brass counter and ground/wet-and-dry'd the solid fibre-glass into a spigot that fitted the middle section of my 9' fibre-glass float rod. This made a very powerful 9'6" tip-and-middle-action rod, with a t/c in the region of 2½lb which would have stopped most carp - but felt and looked unwieldy. Not completely mad, but it didn't really work.

So, the 'MKII' incarnation was due to restoring the 7' rod c. 1980. This necessitated cutting off the 'spigot' previously created, hence losing 3" or so off the length. The counter then fitted was never quite in-line as a result, not that this stopped it doing a fine job. I fitted a new female ferrule, reinforced it with brass wire...see pictures down the page and fitted ceramic lined Fuji rings. Overkill perhaps but it then accounted for some fine fish, even if only used where space was at a premium.

The 'MKIII' incarnation started off as a rebuild to smarten it up. Honest. My whippings needed to go; these were very tidy, but with less varnish than would prevent dirt runnels between the threads. The ferrule need replacing and the corks, long ago varnished, a score a years perhaps, looked OK but...the reel seat had acquired a slight looseness, which had bugged me for some time.

The Seven Foot rod The 'MKII'. Seven foot (6'9" then), blue, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c. As well as a gazillion perch, it has accounted for many pike including a 17lb fish caught through a hole in the ice, a wrasse in the 8lb range, flounders, plaice, sea-trout, eels, bass and a couple of decent carp, ruffe, eels, bream, chub, roach, rudd...and a few gudgeon. I know, 'I don't get out enough'.

I stripped off the rings and using the hard square edge of a steel ruler, removed flaky varnish. The glass is a really fine blue colour, which is embedded in my psyche. It occured to me, while idly staring out the window, on the sill of which was a cheap 24" 'ice-rod' , to make an extension to the tip-end with some 10½" of the said 'ice-rod' (9). I decided to fit this using a carbon-fibre sleeve (8), an old telescopic rod section cut to fit. My first thought was to make this sleeve into a ferrule, using the blue glass-fibre tip (7) as a spigot, but then decided to epoxy it on. I cut ½" off the tip (7), as there was a suspicious white area at that point - whether this was caused by strain or the heat used to remove the tip ring, I know not.

The join of the 'ice-rod' (9) and the 'sleeve' (8) is shown by the arrow (10) in the first picture.

This 'ice-rod' tip is nigh-on unbreakable and in use I'd expect it to fold out of the way rather, like a quiver tip, so I resolved to cut the carbon-fibre sleeve (8) just long enough to take the strain and whip a lined intermediate ring over the point on this sleeve where the two solid sections meet (11). This provides a de-facto tip ring, onto which any serious strain will be thrown. This will allow the use of lighter lines for gudgeoning. The overall rod length is now up to 7'7".

In the second picture the point where the 'ice-rod' (9) butts against the fibre- glass tip (7) is shown by the arrow (11). Once glued into place, I fitted three rings of reinforcing carbon-fibre at each end of the sleeve and one over the 'join' (10), the latter will nestle between the rod-ring's 'feet'.

The MKIII Pool Cue The 3.5mm diameter fibre-glass tip (7), the carbon-fibre sleeve (8), the 'ice-rod' section (9), and the arrow (10) shows the top end of carbon-fibre sleeve (8). The MKIII Pool Cue Showing fibre-glass tip (7) inserted into the carbon-fibre sleeve (8). The arrow (11) shows the marked point on the carbon-fibre sleeve (8) where the fibre-glass tip (7) butts against the the 'ice-rod' section (9).

The sleeve (8) had the slightest looseness of fit to the fibre-glass tip (7), a mis-match between the tapers of the two parts (an inevitable consequence of this type of fettling), so before gluing them together, I rubbed the thinnest coat of epoxy onto the top 1" of the fibre-glass tip. Once set, this provided exact alignment for the final gluing. When gluing, I found that the air-tight fit of the sleeve (8) to the glass-fibre tip (7) prevented it being fully inserted, despite me applying sustained pressure. In the end, I bored a 0.3mm hole right on the point where the two sections meet in the sleeve (11). This worked fine and any weakness will be supported by the de-facto tip-ring and a small carbon fibre sleeve. I did nudge the middle reinforcing ring a mm or so up the sleeve(11), so had to shave ½mm off the 'tip-ring' foot to seat it properly.

On to the ferrule replacement. The butt-section female ferrule had a neatly whipped black thread coverall, to cover the flashy but careful brass wire whipped-and-soldered reinforcing I put on in 1980. Clearly I'd resolved to make it as stout as possible. You can see the wire, the solder and the epoxy. Actually not a bad job. It came away easily, the soft (lead) solder barely resisting and I discovered it was a '× 2' whipping.

The MKIII Pool Cue The female ferrule, with its neat black thread whipping. The MKIII Pool Cue The female ferrule with its brass wire reinforcing whipping. The epoxy on the fibre-glass bears the imprint of the thread. I porably whipped over it while it was soft. The MKIII Pool Cue The two wooden arbours that supported the reel seat.

I cut off the fore-grip cork, removed the excellent winding check, to be reused, and worked the reel-seat off, pulling it up the rod and twisting it 2mm back-and-forth. A blister later and it was off. It's good quality and is stamped "MODERN ARMS COMPANY LIMITED BROMLEY KENT". The reel-seat was mounted on two turned beech or boxwood arbours, a good solution. However, the reel seat needs turning round - the screw lock at the top has two advantages - firstly the natural action of the right hand on the rod works to tighten the screw NOT loosen it and secondly any strain on the reel pulls the reel-foot into the screw, locking it, as opposed to providing slack for it to come loose.

This means the rear-grip needs to come 4" up the rod in order to keep the reel foot more-or-less where it was before. I pondered keeping one wood arbour, but decided, after discovering the impossiblity of boring carbon arbour without a lathe, to use the tried and tested tape-and-glue, using hot melt and epoxy.

I pondered making a carbon-fibre ferrule - replacing the brass - with the glass-fibre on the butt-section acting as a 'natural' spigot. This would be lighter and possibly stronger. Hm. I spend a few days batting this mental ping-pong ball back-and-forth. In the end, although kind of liking brass as part of the soul of the rod (I know...), I went for the technical superiority of carbon-fibre. This was also free and I'd gain experience and expertise of making spigot joints.

I opted to make and fit a spigot onto the butt-section, not really liking the idea of the bare glass-fibre spigot. To get the best fit, I first made the tip-section 'female' (1) from a piece of the old telescopic rod. I dropped it over the tip section (2) and then carefully cut away ¼" at a time until I had a good working fit and an overlap of the tube (1) with the glass-fibre (2) of 1½". This was the length of the old brass counter. I wanted the spigot to be about 2½", so cut the bottom end off the tube at that mark 'plus a bit'.

The MKIII Pool Cue The carbon-fibre 'sleeve' (1) and the thick end of the fibre-glass tip section (2) The MKIII Pool Cue Showing the 'sleeve' fitted over the tip-section (1). The line on the sleeve shows how far the glass extends into the 'sleeve'. The MKIII Pool Cue The reel-seat, the winding check and the butt-cap.

I used the 'other bit' (4) and slipped it over the butt-section glass-fibre (5) and cut it back a bit at a time until it overlapped with the glass by 1½" as before and cut the other end off 1¾" from the end of the glass. I then cleaned up a piece of an old fly-rod flyTwo butt-sections of 6-7aftm rods found in a rubbish bin at Bishop's Green, along with broken top sections...  to use as the 'spigot' (3), having first cut the thinner end down to ensure a good fit in the tip-section 'female' and then cutting it to length, inserting it through the butt-section 'sleeve' before replacing it. That'll make more sense with the pictures. I epoxy'd a thin section of an old roach-pole top section through the spigot and when it was set, cut if off flush - to add a little strength. I can't make an impression on it with my bare hands, so rationally, it's probably strong enough.

The MKIII Pool Cue (5) The narrow end of the glass-fibre butt-section, (4) the sleeve that will both contain the spigot and mount over the fibre-glass and (3) the spigot. The MKIII Pool Cue Showing the spigot (3) inside the sleeve (4) The MKIII Pool Cue Showing the spigot(3) + sleeve(4) fitted over the fibre-glass (5)

I was going to chamfer off all the various edges before gluing, but why weaken the tube where it's under strain? So I expoxy'd the spigot (3) in the butt-section sleeve (4) and then epoxy'd this assembly over the end of the glass-fibre (5). The female on the tip-section was done when the butt-section had set, as I wanted to double check the spacing before gluing. I wanted about ¼" gap (6) when assembled tight to allow for some wear.

That sounded too easy...What I did was mark with a pencil the point on (3) where the sleeve came down to. I then put a rough spectra braid whipping up to this pencil mark. This stopped me misaligning if the pencil mark is obscured by glue. The whipping also prevents the epoxy running out of the ferrule...inside the spigot/sleeve they'll be quite a bit of epoxy, but this will settle at the bottom and any air bubbles can escape though the middle of the spigot. I wrapped the two places where epoxy might get out with cling film and stuck rubber bands over them. I left it for 24 hours...

I again decided to add a little more strength where it was most required. If you think about it (or try it), you can crush the end of a tube a lot more easily that the middle of the same tube. So, the ends of the load bearing tube will be reinforced and also the places where the tube meets the internal fibre-glass. I used carbon-fibre tube sections for this pundered from an incomplete JW Avon I got in a junk-shop.

When flexed, there a bit of a flat spot (something one can also say about the brass ferrule), also the rod is now another about 4" longer, making the overall 'restored' length 96" (8 feet).

I wanted to keep the blue theme, so I put a coat of white paint over parts of the carbon-fibre ferrules and (gently) whipped over the paint with D-Grade blue thread - so it looked blue when it was varnished.

There was a ridiculous pleasure to be had from the lack of reaming required to fit the corks to the glass-fibre. So easy...the butt-cap was a kind of white neoprene, still solid enough and attached to the 'ally' cap by what looks like a nylon thread. I decided to just reuse 'as-is' and cleaned it up, inside and out first. I had a small tapered spinning rod fore grip. I reversed this so the taper fitted inside the butt-cap. I then put epoxy inside the butt cap and fitted it over the cork - which was essentially acting as a template to centre the cap. I left it to set overnight, standing on the butt-end. I pulled the cork back up the rod, then mixed more epoxy smeared a little on the glass and put a good dollop inside the butt-cap and then worked the cork back down the rod and slowly pushed it into the butt-cap. The idea was to do this incrementally and wait for trapped air to be forced back out through the cork. So I applied pressure three or four times about 15 minutes apart. Then it was left standing on the butt-cap to set. The next issue was that this re-purposed fore-grip shI'm sure you've noticed that posh folk and virtue-signallers use phrases like 're-purposing' and 'up-cycling' rather than 'second hand' or 'make do and mend'. This is to make absolutely sure we all know they can afford to buy new stuff but they're doing us a favour.  had a slight rounded profile at the thick end, where it will adjoin the main corks.

The MKIII Pool Cue The butt-end before sanding. The MKIII Pool Cue End of a spare piece of cork, with four sandpaper pieces glued on

Top tip; get something round and flat, like a piece of spare cork handle and glue four small pieces of sandpaper on the flat surface with cyanoacrylate. When it's dry, place over the rod and against the surface to be flattened off and sand it back by turning it. It's also handy for flattening off cork sections after you cut them to fit and with care you can even make a tool to recess the end of a reel seat into a piece of cork.

I glued the main cork on with cascemite and then made an arbour from duct-tape about 1" down from the corks. I filled this with epoxy and pushed the reel seat into place. (I'd already done an alignment exercise and mad marked the corks and the reel seat with a black line with an indelible pen). I then ran the rest of that batch of epoxy into the reel seat from the other end and used the 'fore-grip' cork to hold the seat central while the epoxy set. When it had, I ran another batch of epoxy into the tube and repeated the process. When that had set I filled the remaining space in the reel-seat tube with plastic melt glue.

I trimmed the hot melt off flush and glued a few strips on sandpaper on the surface with cyanoacrylate (see 'top-tip' aobove) and sanded a recess into the fore-grip for the reel seat, removed the sandpaper strips then epoxy'd the foregrip on. I epoxy'd the winding check on, ensuring a thin film of the same covered all the forward facing cork.

I covered the reel-seat with cling-film and then put a turn of duct-tape at each end. Using a 6" piece of 1¼" plastic pipe, cut in half length-ways as a sanding block, I chamfered the fore-grip down to almost meet the winding check and chamfered the reel-seat end the same amount. I did the same to the corks at the other end of the reel-seat and also smoothed off the joint at the butt-cap end of the handle.

If you've got this far, it might look as if I've galloped though this re-build, but in truth, most stages were a day apart. The handle, for example, took 20 minutes but spread over four days.

So. I then put a Fuji lined ring on the butt and the 'de-facto' tip and Pacbay Minima's in black for the rest. Black thread (which looked nice) but blue thread on the new tip, which is black in itself...

The MKIII Pool Cue The butt-end sanded down, plus the top-section 'ferrule' The MKIII Pool Cue Tip of the rod, with the 'male' ferrule on the bottom section.
The MKIII Pool Cue The third ring on the joint, a lined 'Fuji' The MKIII Pool Cue The maker's name

The MKIII 'pool-cue' is over a foot longer than the 'MKII' and a foot longer than the 'MKI'. It's lighter due to the carbon 'ferrules' being about 10g lighter overall than the brass/wire and the orginal rings mostly being changed for lighter ones. Now I need to fish with it. Just because...

The Eight Foot rod The 'MKIII' Pool-cue'. Eight feet now, blue, solid glass-fibre, 2½lb t/c, sort of. At least I have a hobby.
...yes, the top section has a slight curve, caused by years of use 'the other way up'...

Lessons learned:
• Cut tapered tubes down a ¼" at a time, or less, until they fit.
• Cut those tubes with a knife-edge needle file. A hacksaw will split and splinter the tubing.
• Keep all the off-cuts.
• Wear a mask, carbon-fibre is horrible stuff.
• Decent carbon-fibre fly-rods provide 100% better quality carbon tubes for this kind of thing, with twice the wall thickness of most rods and easily four times the thickness of pole-sections.
• Carbon-fibre is amazingly strong.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 1st August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part I.

I've long had two water barrels in a chain, garden for the watering of, and it occurred that an open top and a few minor modifications would turn one into a fine goldfish pond. Of a sort. I cut the top out and glued in a grille, made roll of fine mesh chicken-wire into the inflow and egress pipes (no fish in the soakaway please) and then popped a solar aerator into the mix.

The aerator is 'over-powered' for the size of the barrel, but no matter. It's battery 'backed up' and there's a single rechargeable LI battery inside the unit. I can replace that no-trouble if required. The solar panel is probably 'not quite' enough for the job, these things never are, but it'll do for now. I have another somewhere and if push comes to shove, I'll put a DVM on the output and buy a bigger one with the same output voltage.

The tube for aerator were stuff through a hole in the top rim, so removing the lid didn't entail dismantling the air-lines and like most air-stone they float a bit. Because the barrel is deep and narrow I decide to put both stones on the bottom. Mrs AA recalled that we had plenty of hag-stones around the drive, so I bagged a couple, put the tubes through the holes and re-attached the air-stones. Done. The solar panel is a little low - it blocks a little sun-light to the barrel, which has little enough light. I set it to 35 (the optimum nagle for a due south PV panel in the UK. I'll raise the height of it down the week, I'd prefer it well clear of the top. The pump itself, seen strapped to the connecting pipe is 'IP44' rated. In theory. I'll make a cover out of an old plastic box next week and mount it so I can see the status light though the lean-to window.

The fish in a barrel escapade The-two butt system...plus clutter The fish in a barrel escapade The lid, cut out and with grille hot-melt glued in The fish in a barrel escapade The solar panel and the pump, temporary mounting
The fish in a barrel escapade The two aerator tubes The fish in a barrel escapade Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and barrel bubble The fish in a barrel escapade A newt eye (attached to the newt) and a frog's toe (attached to the frog) are not out of the question

Tomorrow, two goldfish will be put in a bag of water and dangled in the barrel to equalise the temperature and released into the wild. As it were. These fish were captured in the ditch alongside the WetlandThe two goldest ones were re-homed in the Littleangler's fish tank, and being 'regular' goldfish, I think will be hardy enough.

For the moment, this is an ersatz fish tank, but the longer term plan is to establish a more natural habitat with the addition of some pond silt, water snails, plus daphnia. At the end of the summer the goldfish will be re-tanked and the plan is to introduce a few small crucians to the barrel, and tough blighters that they are, they'll be fine I don't doubt. No pike though. Oh no. They'd swim up the drain-pipe and colonise the pond next door.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 2nd August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part II.

The fish are in the barrel...they're in bags for 10-20 minutes or so to reduce any thermal shock from the nice warm tank in the house and the quite fresh barrel. It's rained hard for the last few hours and while the water running in is probably high in oxygen it'll be colder than the tank by some margin. The tank will remain on standby...'in case'.

The fish in a barrel escapade Bagged gold-fish. The fish in a barrel escapade Free as a bird...oh wait...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2017 3rd August 2017. The Fish in a Barrel. Part III. Good news. The fish are not up-side down this morning, so I bunged in the bit of gravel from the 'reserve fish-tank' and knapped out the bottom of a large cracked terracotta flower-pot for them to hide in.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 16th January 2018. The 'MK III'; Part I.

A tube arrived today with a cane rod-blank in it...I've always wanted an actual 'MK III'. That is, the Richard Walker double-built cane carp rod, a 10 foot two-piece compound of two straight tapers. In his own words "Of course it was designed for fish of 10lb and upwards..." ('Drop Me A Line' p.198). I always fancied, notwithstanding 'the narrative', that this rod was the more likely conqueror of the 44lb record, although I can't substantiate that. But it has always intrigued and over the course of a long set of sporadic emails, the idea was born and an offer was made. The tapers for this rod are on Page 27 of Drop Me a Line, and these technically, make the rod a compound taper, the top and bottom sections having different tapers. On the opposite page (p.26) there is a ring spacing, which I may or may not use. Here it is:

The Richard Walker MKIII Carp RodThe whole blank in the string
The Richard Walker MKIII Carp Rod The thick end of the butt section, show casing the double-built cane The Richard Walker MKIII Carp Rod The Tapers The Richard Walker MKIII Carp Rod The thin end of the butt section and the thick end of the tip section, the double-built cane clearly visible.
The Richard Walker MKIII Carp Rod A wider shot of the blank's ends The Richard Walker MKIII Carp Rod A wider shot of the blank's ends

The blank itself has a slightest odour of charring, perhaps a slight smell of treacle, and on the ends the double-build can clearly be seen. The tip section has been left a trifle longer than 60" to allow for the fitting of a tip ring. The first order of the day is to lay it on a flat surface to work out which face the rings will end up on. Once marked (pencil), I'll then varnish it once to seal the cane, while I seek out a good quality reinforced ferrule. Once the ferrule is on, and a little time has passed, then I will give the whole thing a waggle or two and consider my next move. I have no set date for completion - it will be built bit by bit and if it's not ready until September, then it's not. But where to try it out? Now that is a question.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 February 2018. De-Flashing.

One of my bug-bears is the incredible shininess of some items of fishing tackle and have a particular dislike of very shiny rod-rings and other rod fittings. I've sorted out a way of dealing with chromed surfaces that doesn't do a bad job. Firstly, you rough up the surface of the metal. Use '000' grade wet'n'dry perhaps, although or toothpaste or wire wool might work. Once mildly roughed up, colour over the offending metal with a dark grey indelible pen, more than once if you like. Black works well also, but green tends to produce a finish that's a smidge too Christmassy for me. This is surprisingly durable, and can be easily re-applied. However if you really wish, varnish over the colour, matt varnish obviously.

You can remove most indelible pen using nail varnish remover on a piece of kitchen-roll, but take care not to get it on the rod itself or glue, varnish, etc. As with all fettles, it's wise to do a tiny experiment somewhere where it won't show, otherwise you can end up with a tip-ring that looks like a Christmas-tree bauble, to give a random example.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 23rd March 2018. The 'MK III'; Part II. Post. Two things arrived in the post today. Firstly, a set of finest bronzed reinforced barrel ferrules for the MKIII project. These, after some too-ing and fro-ing with the always helpful Ted Oliver, turned out to be a spot-on fit. Item two, my Harlow Reel number two. Yeah...

The MKIII rod's ferrulesThe perfectly proper bronzed reinforced barrel ferrule for the MKIII.
Harlow Center PinMy second Harlow...now I need a spacer for the reelseat...

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 9th May 2018. The 'MK III'; Part III. So, after making the counter a good working fit to the cane, some inertia crept in. Or work related ennui after long office days for which I am out of practise. Or something. I've opted to seal the blank in its tube with a 250g bag of silica gel to draw any residual moisture out after the long damp spring. Once it's been in there a few days, I'll remove it and give both sections a quick coat of varnish to seal the cane and then I'll start gluing on the brass bits. Must order some fittings...

(I'll scrape the varnish back where the ferrules and handle are glued on).

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 26th May 2018. The 'MK III'; Part IV. Decisions, decisions...I've dithered on the matter of the fittings for and the fitting of the MKIII. I'm not sure why, I've had a couple of notions then put them aside, something about spoiling a dream with a less-than-perfect reality, or not being able to get EXACTLY what I wanted. I can get titanium intermediate rings in grey but only if I order from Pacbay directly and I can get a titanium tip-ring but only if it's very shiny (why are so many fittings so damned garish?) and I wanted to fit the really good Bruce & Walker sliding reel-bands as they seemed fitting, but don't quite trust myself to do that job with only half a piece of plastic drainpipe and a lathe is an investment I'm unwilling to make at present.

And so on and so forth. The thing is, the rod is perfect right up until the moment I put something, anything, on the cane, which has stayed swaying on hooks since I varnished it a month ago and then varnished again today. My prevarications are defended by desires for unattainable perfection, although fears of splintered bamboo and sad sets haunt like the shapeless terrors of M. R. James.

I gave myself a stern talking to; after all the rod is there to be used, I can dream while it's in hand. Even a self-declared rational-empiricist cannot always vie against human nature, so I shall feed my inner archetypes in short spells, while hunched over a mythical rod, while next an intimate, old and deep pool. All you Jungians out there can make what you like of that.

So; I'd fitted regular Pacbay TT4XGs to a previous cane 'project' and they looked fine, admitted further defeat and got a Fuji BCMNAT tip as it was about the only one readily available with a 4.5mm tube and with a gun-smoke finish (although I'll swap it out for a lighter one when such are back in stock), then further marred perfection with a 30mm Seymo 243S-BC for the butt-ring, as the alternatives are either black or look wrong. I'll dull down the stupidly flashy chrome before I whip it on. I'm going to fit a screw-lock reel seat, as plastic would be against nature, so a matt 'gun-smoke' ALPS reel-seat. There, all decided and ordered before I change my mind. Again. I'll use black thread, then build it just like this:

The Richard Walker MKIII Carp RodYep. Just like this.

Finally, one traditionally inscribes on some aphoristic Latin motto, but I'll go with "Oh Whistle and I'll Come for You...". What's the worst that can happen?

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 27th May 2018. The 'MK III'; Part V. The Day of the Ferrule. The counter is closed-end, so I bored a 0.8mm hole through to vent any trapped air during gluing. The inside of the ferrule and the cane were cleaned with white spirit then dried for quarter-of-an-hour in a patch of sun. The ferrule was then fitted 'to the hilt' and, with a pencil, the cane was marked at the point the ferrule 'ended'.

I mixed some 'regular' Araldite (top tip; weigh it out in the right ratio for best results) and applied it generously to the inside of the ferrule. I did the same with the cane and then put the ferrule on the cane and pushed if firmly into pace, right up to the marked line. The excess adhesive on the bottom of the ferrule was removed, then, using the string the blank came tied with, the tangs of the ferrule were bound firmly into place and the whole hung up to set. The female is a tad loose on the butt-section, so I smeared a little left-over araldite onto the cane and left that to set also. I'll glue the female on tomorrow.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 29th May 2018. The 'MK III'; Part VI. The Day of the Other Ferrule. The coat of araldite applied yesterday had reduced the slight play in the ferrule, although it was still there. I bound the tag-ends of the ferrule to see if that would stabilise it, but unconvinced, I opted for another thin coat of epoxy first...

...a treadmill-day later, epoxy generously spread on cane, placed a large blob on the end of the cane before putting the ferrule on and then drop a little into the top of the tube to run into any gaps, plus provide a seal against water ingress at a later date. This was my plan. As previously, I'd carefully marked on the cane where the bottom of the ferrule should end up, by comparing it with the length of the counter. Once in place, I bound the ferrule tangs down and the ferrule in place with the remaining delivery string and stood it vertically to set. Cunningly cunOne of my best line-managers used to say, after any particularly snide piece of politicking, "He is a man of much cun, that's for sure." We knew what he meant. , I shone a torch inside the ferrule and, using a piece of cane dowel, dropped a blob of epoxy right on the end of the cane before leaving it to go off. I shall now wait a whole week before doing anything else. I can use this time to admire the fittings and to worry about the ferrules not being on straight or the rod breaking.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 5th June 2018. The 'MK III'; Part VII (a). The Next Stage. Below are the ferrules with their black thread whippings applied since the last entry, then given two coats of best 'yacht'. Below is the picture of the piece of cork 'cascamited' to the bottom of the butt-section and rubbed down (using the 'half section of 32mm plastic pipe' method) to accept the pictured half-composite cork-butt which will also be 'cascamited' on. When that's set, I'll trim it back flush and offer up the next 6" of cork handle to ensure I get a good join between the two - inevitably, nothing 'off the shelf' is perfectly true .

The Richard Walker MKIII The counter The Richard Walker MKIII The female
The Richard Walker MKIII The rubbed-down cork The Richard Walker MKIII The butt-end

Before more handle-fitting, the next step will be; polish the ferrule to fit and give the blank a proper waggle...I admit to being a tad apprehensive.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 6th June 2018. The 'MK III'; Part VII (b). The Waggle. I polished the counter and took the rod up the garden and gave it a serious serious waggle, getting it into a full quarter circle and whipping it back t'other way for a few minutes. Mrs. AA held the tip for me (stop it) and I pulled the rod into a quarter circle on all the six planes and nothing went 'crack', 'creak' or 'ping'. As a result it has the slightest of 'sets' in the tip section, but that was expected and in fact wanted, as I need to know where the rings will be mounted. Phew. And yay.

The rest of the handle goes on now and a ring or two. Exciting.

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 8th June 2018. The 'MK III'; Part VIII. Rings. I decided to put a few rings on the tip section; it’s a good job for tired eyes on a Friday. I marked off the measurements shown in the diagram and using rubber bands, placed the rings. Hm. You know, it didn't look right. Odd. I went back to the measurements:

T ¦––– 8" ––– 8½" ––– 10½" ––– 11" ––– 13" ––– 6" –––¦ F

So, the first thing, is that doesn't add up to 60", but 57", making the ferrule three inches. The other thing, which you notice after a moment of really looking at this spacing, is that the differences between the rings' spacings are:

1 <–––> 2 = ½"
2 <–––> 3 = 2"
3 <–––> 4 = ½"
4 <–––> 5 = 2"

See? Odd. With a linear taper you'd expect the rings to be spaced in a linear pattern. Well I would. It struck me that if I made the '2 <–––> 3' spacing 9½" it would give:

1 <–––> 2 = ½"
2 <–––> 3 = 1"
3 <–––> 4 = 1½"
4 <–––> 5 = 2"
5 <–––¦ F = 10" (end of ferrule)

...making the ring spacing:

T ¦––– 8" ––– 8½" ––– 9½" ––– 11" ––– 13" ––– 10" –––¦ F

That seems better. The whole rod then:

T ¦––– 8" ––– 8½" ––– 9½" ––– 11" ––– 13" ––– 10" ––F –– 5½" ––– 18½" ––– ¦B

A mistake by Mr. Walker? He did say it didn't much matter where the rings were, which is more-or-less the case. Nevertheless, I whipped the rings on using these modified spacings. Once one half of the whippings were done I assembled the rod and gave it another waggle. Steely. Has heft. Hmmm...*potters off and orders single malt's*

Fettling Fishing Tackle in 2018 6th July 2018. The 'MK III'; Part IX. Seat. Having thrown myself at the mercy of the panel'The Path by Water', it was suggested by the maker of the cane that I glue cork sheet to the cane and then sand it down to round. Of course...*slaps own head*

Pausing only to completely fail to buy the epoxy recommend by the same panel, I duly mixed some Araldite, painted the cork sheet and the cane with it, then carefully wrapped (carefully measured and cut) cork sheet around the cane and bound it on with good old fashioned string. The following day I trimmed off the excess epoxy with the VSSK and then using the 'half-drainpipe' method and some P60 sandpaper, cut the cork back down to a tight working fit for the Alps reel seat. I did the whole job with the coarse grit, reasoning this would leave a better surface for the glue to 'key' onto. At this point I had to put on a reel and give the rod another waggle...

The Richard Walker MKIII The cork sheet, glued and rubbed down... The Richard Walker MKIII ...with the reel seat fitted over it.

My first thought was to put the reel-seat right against the already fitted corks, but on reflection, I’ll leave a gap of about 3mm and glue a strip of cork-sheet in the hole and then carefully whip over it in green enamelled wire, just for funsies.

I glued the tip-ring on the top section with the leftover epoxy. Irritatingly, the tip-ring's frame is not quite aligned with the eye, so I've ended up with a slight misalignment; by 'slight', I mean "I know it's there but you'd never notice". Annoying, but not so annoying that I'll take it off and glue it on again.

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01:54am on 2018-07-16 JAA