From the 2013 Class




Saturday, when we arrived we went to Vic Edwards’ home where we would build our rods. We received a quick rundown of the week’s schedule. Lunch/dinner was at Spike’s Keg of Nails, a historic place in Grayling, MI. We stayed above the old Ausable Fly Shop, right on the main branch of the Ausable, for the week. Joe Levesque and I decided to fish for the evening – in the snow.

Sunday morning Jim Ottevaere and his brother Joe picked us up at 7:45 to return to Vic’s for breakfast and to start work. They explained the roughing form, the planing form, and what to look for with the bamboo culm. Next they showed us how to split the cane, which we all took turns doing. Then they showed us how to straighten and file the nodes. This took us until lunch. After lunch we started rough planning to get the proper angles for a six-sided rod. Next we adjusted the forms for final planing and began to plane. Two of us achieved final dimensions for our butt sections.

Monday, when we completed our butt sections, we adjusted the forms for the tip sections and began to plane. After completing planing, we wiped the pieces prior to gluing. As people finished, we glued them using Ron Barch’s binder. After they set for awhile, we heat treated them to help the glue set faster.

Tuesday, when we got to the shop we starting removing the cotton binding string. This was followed by filing and sanding to remove the excess glue. It was a challenge to do this without rounding the edges and losing the dimensions. We polished the sections with steel wool and applied a coat of Watco Danish oil as a sealer. We cut to final length and installed the ferrules. We started working on our cork handles.

Wednesday, installed our cork handles and started wrapping guides. As we finished the wraps, we applied two coats of varnish to the wraps only. This was an all-day process.

Thursday, we started dipping rods and relaxing. Dipping is a slow process! We picked up our fishing licenses in anticipation of fishing the world-famous Ausable.

Friday, met our guides and went fishing. My guide was Jerry Regen who owns his own Ausable River boat. We fished the Manistee and found it challenging fishing. Jerry and I had a wonderful time talking and fishing. He taught me how to fish the Manistee and Ausable, which is quite different than our local techniques. First, the rivers are much shallower. Second, the rivers move much more slowly. They use trees for their structures, which can be a nightmare for getting flies hung.

Saturday, I fished with Jerry. We left from his house which is only a block from the fly shop where we stayed. We floated the main branch of the Ausable all day. Jerry shared a lot of local history. Saturday night, we had our big graduation dinner. They presented each of us with a rod sock, rod tube, and Hardy LRH Lightweight reel, courtesy of the founding TU chapter.

For me the hardest part was working to such tight tolerances.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this week possible. I hope more people from Colorado Springs have the opportunity to attend.

Cory Thomas

PHW Rod Building Class May 2013Cory Setting Planing FormsCory's InscriptionGroup Photo

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