D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

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lastlight
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D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby lastlight » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:22 pm

Whilst at the Redditch Vintage Tackle Fayre last November I bought a very battered cane fly rod. I bought it at the last knockings and paid all of a fiver for it, intending to pass some time away during the winter months restoring it, if not to its former glory then at least to a serviceable condition. It is 10'6, three pieces and the butt is signed D McLeod & Co Glasgow. It is a very slim rod.
True to form I managed to end up back in hospital with flu and various assorted side effects which has knocked me around for a few weeks, so today is the first time I've actually had a good look at it. I have an idea to turn it into a coarse rod for roach fishing, take off what few "fly eyes" remain and replace with a set of Fuji single leg guides. The problem of course is the reel seats being at the bottom. I think I really need to sand the handle down so the reel seats can travel the full length of the handle. My restoration skills are pretty basic if I'm honest so I'm not too optimistic, but it's not like I'm going to be a lot out of pocket if I cock it up. I'll keep you posted.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a belated but sincerely meant Happy New Year.

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby JAA » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:23 pm

Sorry to hear you've been under the weather, but good to hear from you.

I'd offer the following:

Firstly, consider using PacBay Titanium Minima rings. They'll look the part, but crucially will weigh very little and with a slight cane rod that will make a difference (I reduced the weight of an Allcocks Superb top section by an ounce by using them, which is a fair bit in context).

It's worth looking at Titanium framed ceramic lined tip rings as well for the same reason. It's (probably) going to be quite a soft rod, so keeping the weight down on the top section will help.

https://www.guidesnblanks.com/c/rod_gui ... rod_guides

Secondly, echoing advice given long ago by GOS; with such a project, it's worth lashing it fishable, even if one tapes on rings and reel and then give it a proper fish somewhere, even if it's a 'silverfish' pond at a commercial complex. That'll stop the inevitable despair of putting in all the work and getting a dog of a rod. If you fish somewhere copiously stocked, you can also tinker with ring spacing and even where you want the tip ring, i.e. if the rod might be better a little shorter.

Lastly, I recommend the 'half-drainpipe" method for handle 'adjustments'...

http://www.anotherangler.net/html/fixin ... 2018-03-10

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby gloucesteroldspot » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:13 pm

At ten and a half feet and three piece it is almost certainly what used to be called a wet fly rod, which means it will be very soft actioned (aka floppy). That's not to say it couldn't be made into a functional bait rod for smallish fish. As JAA says, it might be worth strapping a small centrepin onto the handle near the top (tape it on with electrical tape) and replace and missing rings with whatever you have lying about (again, these can be taped on, though I would form a rough whipping with nylon thread - no need to varnish) and fish with it. You will know whether it's worth the effort of conversion or not, but be honest with yourself.

If you decide to proceed, and want to have a slightly longer handle with parallel corks, you might save time and effort by cutting off the existing handle and reducing the length of the butt section to take a handle made up independently. You might decide an eighteen inch handle is about right, in which case cut the rod fifteen inches from the butt, which should encompass all the original handle and reel fitting. You can then form a new handle on a length of 5/8" beech dowel and join it to the end of the cane with a 6 inch piece of 15mm copper plumbing pipe - three inches of dowel and three of cane inside the pipe. This can then be covered with cork, and a forward swell shaped into it. Make sure the dowel and cane abut inside the pipe and do not leave a gap, or the copper can bend under the cork. Crude but effective - and if you make a neat job no-one will ever know.

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby JAA » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:00 pm

gloucesteroldspot wrote:If you decide to proceed, and want to have a slightly longer handle with parallel corks, you might save time and effort by cutting off the existing handle and reducing the length of the butt section to take a handle made up independently. You might decide an eighteen inch handle is about right, in which case cut the rod fifteen inches from the butt, which should encompass all the original handle and reel fitting. You can then form a new handle on a length of 5/8" beech dowel and join it to the end of the cane with a 6 inch piece of 15mm copper plumbing pipe - three inches of dowel and three of cane inside the pipe. This can then be covered with cork, and a forward swell shaped into it. Make sure the dowel and cane abut inside the pipe and do not leave a gap, or the copper can bend under the cork. Crude but effective - and if you make a neat job no-one will ever know.

That'd stiffen it up a little as well, which might not hurt.
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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby Weyfarer » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:24 am

I went down the route of turning a fly rod into a coarse rod back in 2007/8. The tale of this conversion I posted as an article on either the Waterlog forum or PurePiscator. Either way I cannot track down the pdf (but now I have, see next post) but I do have the photographs I used.

Briefly, the rod was a decrepit Allcocks Popular which I got for a few quid on eBay. I built a new handle of cork rings over a duralumin tube and sunk a female ferrule into the top of the tube thereby making the rod a two piece with detachable handle. The action is very, very soft and it is great fun to use freelining and light lead fishing for small-river chub and as shown in one of the photos it was quite good at subduing middling carp from a local ornamental pond.

Good luck with the conversion Lastlight, you will find JAA's and GOS's advice invaluable.

Fly rod before (225 x 338).jpg


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Last edited by Weyfarer on Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby Weyfarer » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:37 pm

Apropos my post above, I've now unearthed the full text of the original article:

Rod Conversion – fly to coarse.
The trials and tribulations of an enthusiastic amateur.


I had two possible titles for this article but couldn’t decide which was the better so you have both. They each complement the other but the second is perhaps more apposite to my bumbling ways. It’s not that I have no experience. I do, but it was all so many years ago when my vision was 20/20 and my fingers were nimble. My first home build was a J B Walker kit in about 1960. This was a rod of whole cane butt and joint with solid fibreglass tip and as a first attempt I was really rather pleased. This was followed by a cane MK4 carp rod from the same firm and in the seventies I built another two MK4s and a fly rod, this time of glass, from Olivers of Knebworth. In between times I’ve cannibalised a few rods, repaired a couple of broken tips and elsewhere on PP you may read of my restoration of an Allcocks Black Knight.

For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of a soft, easy actioned 10 or 11 feet cane rod for chubbing. A Legerstrike would be nice or maybe a MK4 Avon. I’ve studied auction catalogues and I’ve kept an eye on eBay. The prices are a bit steep but there again no more expensive that a decent carbon rod so should I or shouldn’t I? Yes of course I had too; after all I have more than enough carbon rods with chub catching attributes. As I scanned daily through eBay listings of vintage tackle I noticed that cane fly rods tend to be less in demand and as a consequence they tend to realise lower sale prices and especially so if they are obviously severely distressed. The final impetus to proceed came through reading River Diaries for is it not the bearded one himself who sometimes bottom fishes with such a rod? Thus it came to pass that I parted with twenty quid and received from a lady in the Scottish Isles an Allcocks Perfect fly rod that an estate agent might describe as having “great potential”.

The first job was to assemble the rod and assess the project ahead of me. The state of the whippings, reel seat and so forth were of no importance – being mere cosmetics that would be stripped off anyway. The critical factors were the ferrules and the cane. As anticipated the cane had a droop but rotating the three sections in various combinations gave me a reasonable straight rod apart from the top section which most definitely was a bit off true. The female butt section ferrule knocked so that would need reseating but I knew from previous experience it would be a straightforward task. OK then, the project was on and to make project just that a bit more challenging I decided to spend as little as possible on new components.

Over a couple of evenings I sliced off the old whippings after first making a note of the placement of the line guides. I then scraped off all of the old varnish using the back of a craft knife. Very cautious use of fine grade sandpaper revealed a lovely looking piece of cane, light honey coloured with only a few small superficial knocks and dents. I drilled out the pin holding the wonky female ferrule and it slid off quite easily. The tiny hole was filled with a bit of epoxy filler and dabbed with black Magic Marker so that it blended almost perfectly with the patina on the ferrule. I few turns of fine nylon whipping thread provided a tight seat for the ferrule to be glued into back place.

And now the handle. Mmm, what shall I do here? I unwound the insulating tape that a previous owner had presumably used to give a firmer grip for his reel. Underneath was raw cane and a hardwood plug onto which the end cap had been fixed. A sensible person would have removed all the corks, bought some spanking new shives and produced a new twenty-odd inch handle. However, that would mean corking over the Allcocks decal and this I was determined not to do. I had an old handle lying around so I figured I could somehow spigot the two together. I hacksawed off the cane stub (about four inches) and then started to drill down the length of the cane with ever increasing diameters of drill bit.

Why is split cane so called? Answer: because it splits when you shove a drill bit down its length! Damn and blast. I shoved loads of Araldite down the hole, pushed in a metal spigot and then slid the spare bit of handle on to the remainder of the spigot. The latter component was built around whole cane so drilling that out was easy. I then put this bodge job away for a few days for the epoxy to cure. The real danger with an inflexible spigot is that stress on the surrounding cane is so great under flexing that there is a danger of the cane splitting apart again. However, all of the action in the rod (as one would expect from a fly rod) is in the top two sections so I was not too pessimistic. But it was a bodge and I do not like bodges! However, fate played a hand because a few weeks later, whilst cleaning out my late father’s shed, I came across a really crabby old rod (the sort you see hanging from fibreglass “oak” beams in tarted up theme pubs) that had an almost perfect Wizard style handle on whole cane although it was a little short at just seventeen inches. After a bit of thought I decided to saw the handle off, remove a few inches of corks at the top end of the handle and then I installed a spare brass ferrule that I conveniently had in my odds ‘n sods box. It was pure serendipity that the ferrule was almost perfectly sized. I just had to shave a little off the built cane to accommodate the male ferrule and then order (horrors - I had to spend five quid with Guides ‘n Blanks) about six inches of ready made handle with swelled end. When this arrived I simply glued it over the protruding few inches of the female ferrule. Careful sanding blended all corks and now I have a smart twenty inch detachable handle.

Most of the guides I had previously removed from the rod were useable and I was especially pleased that the agatine lined tip and butt rings were undamaged. All the guides, the butt cap and the winch fittings were scrubbed up almost like new using Duraglit silver polish. Before I whipped on the guides I gave the bare cane two very thin coats of exterior grade gloss varnish applied by finger not brush. Then began the a week of evenings whipping on the guides and covering the ferrule splint ends. I used a fairly bright red coloured fine Rayon thread. I’d already carried out a few test whippings on some old cane to see what the colour would be after varnish was applied as I didn’t want to go down the route of colour preserving formulations. The end result is a rather pleasing deep burgundy with just a hint of transparency so one can just discern the underlying splints. Not quite Barder but I’m happy with the effect.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the project was to restore the Allcocks decal. About half of it was missing so I set to with some acrylic model makers paints, a very fine black marker pen and a fine paint brush. Once again, I did a test run to see if acrylic paint and varnish were compatible. They were. My penultimate job was to put about six or seven coats of satin finish varnish on the whippings and I then went over the whole rod with a further three coats of the same.

What was the ultimate job? I was still a bit unhappy about the top section ferrule – remember it looked a bit skewed no matter how I mated it to the next section? A friend confirmed my fear that the male ferrule was not properly seated. Damn and blast again. Can I live with it? No, it will cause me sleepless nights. It had to be put right. I struggled with this ferrule. I tugged it, I heated it, I swore at it and still it would not shift. I was depressed. I took my hacksaw and chopped it off! I figured that the ferrule was so small (about an inch and a half) that there would be no dramatic effect on the rod. All I needed to do was to drill out the cane stub. I wrapped loads of tape around the brass ferrule to protect it in my workshop vice. As previously described with the handle, I started with a fine drill bit. It snapped off deep on the centre of the cane. Damn, blast and bother. Laboriously I used another fine bit to drill a series of concentric holes around the embedded bit. With a bit of poking about with a pair of needle-nosed pliers I eventually extracted the piece of metal. Plain sailing from now on eh? It seemed so as I went up through the drill diameters. I just needed to remove the sticky tape and I’d be home and dry. I could have cried for when the tape was removed I discovered I’d drilled through the side of the ferrule. Damn, blast, bother and …….

In one of life’s little mysteries something happened. The garden shed mentioned earlier produced a lot of rubbish which I took to the local council dump. As I wandered along the line of skips depositing cardboard in this one and plastic in another, I spotted two brown rod bags poking out from under a pile of junk. Quick as a flash they were spirited away and I high tailed it back home. Through the fabric of one of the bags I could make out the unmistakeable hexagonal shape of a cane rod. Alas, when it was slid from the bag it really was fit only for rubbish but can you believe, one of the ferrules was almost a dead ringer for my ruined one. It just needed a little rubbing with wet emery paper and it fitted perfectly. It was duly installed on the cane and now I have a perfectly straight rod. I was at peace with the world again.

For the record, the rod has ended up as three piece plus detachable handle. M It is ten feet six inches long and weighs just nine ounces. Does it work? As I write this the rivers are not yet in season so I’ve tried it out on a local lake on what term chub substitutes – small carp of two to five pounds. I teamed the rod up with a Mitchell 308 and six pound line. It flicks out a freelined piece of flake a treat and performs brilliantly with the cane soaking up all the lunges and plunges of these hard fighting fish and I even had one of seven pounds. I can’t wait to try it on the river.

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby lastlight » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:31 pm

Gentlemen,
Forgive the delay, we've been away for a few days. Thank you all so much for your advise, I'm not sure that I feel confident or competent to undertake some of the suggestions - and I need to print off your comments to really study them before I start to strip it down. I'm going to follow JAA's suggestion and "lash it up" with a set of eyes and take it next time I go fishing. Providing it performs satisfactory and I manage not to break it then we shall be good to go.
Once again gentlemen, thank you for your comments and advise, it is one of the great joys of this forum knowing that there is always assistance available and a great depth of knowledge out there amongst the "Pathers".

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby Mr Mole » Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:54 pm

I am sure there is potential in these conversions, especially as an alternative to possibly paying silly money for the real thing (whatever your thing is).
I have a couple of cane fly rods, a Hardy deluxe 8ft6in from 1959 and a Hardy Fairy 9ft6in from 1936, both with spare tops and in very good condition. I have put a line through them but can't honestly say I got any pleasure from casting and fishing with them, I fully appreciate modern materials when it comes to casting a fly and old cane does not do it for me.
But what to do with them? There is not much market and being in excellent condition I am loath to hack them about and probably still never use them as coarse rods!

I also have a Sharpes Scottie 11ft 3 piece (plus spare top) fly rod - sort of grilse rod with a 17 inch handle (so single handed for strong bloke and double for others), 1962 and also in excellent condition; but this rod would convert into a lovely chub or barbel rod, absolutely no doubt about it and has a lovely curve with some power. But again - should I hack up a really nice useable fly rod into something I shall barely use? I haven't got the heart to do so, they all sit there never seeing the light of day :text-tumbleweed:

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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby champ » Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:45 pm

Many years ago i met a couple of anglers on a stretch of the Dorset Stour that drove a couple of hundred miles a few times a month to fish for the big roach on this particular section.They built their own roach rods using soft fly rod blanks which at the time they told me helped avoid very big fish "bumping off".They caught their share of big uns and certainly seemed to know what they were doing.As an add Terry Eustace made a rod called the Soft Special,for similar reasons if i remember correctly.Perhaps a use for your rods if you fancy big roach fishing.Terry also said his rod was good fun with smallish carp too!. :test-smileyfishing:
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Re: D McLeod Glasgow fly rod

Postby JAA » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:11 am

I've modified three fly rods for regular use:

(1) A 10 foot (3.05m) rod; made from the top two sections of a Hexagraph 10-12aftm 15 feet (4.57m). This has a test curve of 3lb (1.36kg). One must use this rod with very strong hooks...I made a landing net handle out of the butt section.

(2) An 11 foot 6 inch (3.51m) rod; made from the top two sections of a 9-11aftm 14 foot (4.27m). A 24 inch handle was made from the rod's bottom section. The test curve is 2lb (0.907kg).

(3) An 11 foot 6 inch (3.51m) rod; made from the top two sections of a 10-12aftm 14 foot (4.27m) . A 24 inch handle was made from a tubular section off an old fly rod. The test curve is 2.5lb (1.13kg).

I've noted the test curves - while this measure is not the b-all and end-all, it serves to suggest a line strength range that is appropriate. My experience with these rods is that they can be used with lighter lines than the test curve suggests and I regularly use (2) with 6lb line, especially if I'm fishing for 'anything that comes along but likely to get nuisance carp'. I've even used (3) with 6lb line. I've had a twenty pound carp on (3) and a 19lb on (2), the latter on 6lb line and never felt in any trouble.

The rods are (naturally) slow actioned, and this is an asset for some types of fishing and not at all good for fishing far-off and having to strike fast. The flex of the rod means that even if fishing close in and near 'some snag', the 'give' of the rod needs to be accounted for in one's calculations regarding the fish, viz-a-viz said snag.

However: they are pleasing rods to use, have enormous (and slow) power, and item (1) would pull a donkey out of a field of carrots, as the saying goes, but it'd be bent into a quarter circle to do it. I've had a number of low doubles on this rod 'under the tip' and played them to a standstill without stretching the rod anywhere near its limits. I wouldn't use this rod with anything less than 12lb line and the first time I used it, I straightened two Korda B hooks on quite modest carp, as the rod, once flexed, simply overpowered the hooks...I use the thick wire versions with this rod now.

If I was making another such rod, I'd consider making the handle 'without flex' that is, rigid, as with such a soft action, a little firmness under the hand is not a bad thing.

In the case of the Sharps you mention Lastlight, if it was me, I might consider cropping it to 11ft and then making up the handle by putting a carbon tube around the cane and corks over that (to stiffen it). But I'd lash it up, measure the 'test curve', such as it is, and fish with it a couple of times with an appropriate line, before I made any 'big' decisions. There are plenty of easy carp ponds about to work such a lash-up over.
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Lastly, where rules permit, braid mainlines will offset the softness of the rod, if you feel the need to do so. Typing (say) 2m of mono onto braid with an 'Albright' knot has pretty much the breaking strain of the (lighter) mono, and is certainty stronger than one's hook-knot.
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