"Believe Made that Way"

You've read descriptions in classic tackle catalogs that say something along the lines of, "Two tips, one of them one inch short, believed made that way." 

I chuckle when I see them.  I have a rod shop filled with "believed made that way" rods. Every one of my own rods that I have kept to fish myself is a "believed made that way rod."  Every one is a fine rod.  But, tips might be of different lengths, or the mid might be shorter than the tips or the butt.  Did I make those rods purposely that way.  No.  Some rod makers might make rods with different-size sections; but, I do not.  They're the results of mistakes. Rod makers that can bring themselves to use mistakes for tomato stakes, kindling, or simply broken up over their knees after spending 60 or more hours getting them to the point where the mistake occurs genuinely deserve high admiration.  Personally, I just cannot do it.  So, they become my personal rods.  Sometimes I give them to friends.  Other times, I sell them at steep discounts.  Who wants to pay full price for a mistake?

Let me give you some examples.

My personal boat rod for Atlantic salmon is a 8 1/2 foot, 8-weight, 3/2 rod.  One of the tips is one inch shorter than the other.  Why?  I made a one-inch measurement error when cutting  one of the tip sections to seat the ferrule. I did not notice it until two weeks later when I cut the second tip section correctly.   Does it make any difference in how it fishes?  No.  I actually prefer the shorter tip (photo).  But, it's hard to sell a rod with tips of different lengths unless you have a really good story, a really, really, compellingly good story, or a captive subsidiary with credibility in the vintage and classic tackle business that will vouch for it: "Believed made that way, unique, one-of a kind, $7,000."  

Oh, for those interested, I have a match for this rod that I'd like to sell.  Actually, it's even a nicer rod than my personal 8 1/2', 8-weight; but it also has a mistake.  I cast it for the first time earlier this week.  What a great rod!  I had not mounted the reel seat when I cast it, so I stripped off all but about 5 feet of line from the reel, which I put in my pocket.  One back cast, and 85 feet were out the rod tip.  This rod has a couple of issues.  One, I destroyed one of the strips for one tip section at the point of gluing.  So, I decided to substitute in a strip from a different bamboo culm; I had high hopes for this rod, so I substituted a strip from the same culm in both tip sections so they would be symmetrical, a sought after quality among some.  The new strip is noticeable because the culm of origin was flamed differently, so one strip in each tip section is lighter in color.  But, that's just the first problem.  The second problem occurred when I was dealing with some straightening issues created, of course, by the first problem.  The net result is that one tip is 1/4 inch shorter than the other.

My personal heavy trout rod, which I use for streamer fishing as well as all-around trout fishing, is a 8 1/2', 3/2, 6-weight rod, serial number 2011CRC1.  The   mid-section   is 1/2 inch shorter than the butt and the tips.  It, too, is a wonderful rod.  I love fishing it.  This is a rod I made for the Catskills Rod Challenge at the 2011 Catskills Rod Gathering.  It placed highly in the accuracy competition.  And, it was competing well in the distance competition.  But.... We all watched a an excellent caster cast 60 feet with the rod on his first cast because he had stepped on the line.  His second cast went 95+ feet.  He was just getting the feel of the rod.  He was certain he'd be able to cast a line the winning distance, except that it sheared beneath the upper ferrule on the mid-section on his third cast.  Per Brandin, who runs the rod competition so competently, afterwards questioned me about the rod.  "Nice rod," he volunteered.  "What happened?"  I started on a long-winded explanation of a mistake in hollowing.  He cut me off.  "So it wasn't on purpose.  You goofed-up.  Right?"  "Right," I agreed.  The caster now has 2011CRC3.  2011CRC2 was donated to the Catskills Fly Fishing Center and Museum to raise funds for its new Heritage Center.  I have pledged a rod for five years, 2011- 2015, for this purpose.  The rod I make will be a duplicate of the rod I make for the Catskills Rod Challenge.   You can bid for the 2011-2015CRC2 rods when they come up for auction by the CFFCM.

Or, if you're really persistent, and are willing to pay a premium for unique, one-of-a-kind, "believe made that way" rods, please Contact me




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