A very skilled angler named Peter contacted me earlier this year with a unique project. He had an idea for a fly rod & none of the larger tackle manufacturers offered what he specifically wanted. Peter was an experienced angler who liked to pursue Permit off the shores of Florida & other locations. For those of you who are not familiar with Permit, they are an extremely cautious fish, streaking away at any sign of movement. This makes them difficult to catch & anglers go to extremes to fool them - including wearing clothes the same color as the sky & water, & even painting their boats & oars to blend into the environment.
Before I agreed to make this rod for him, I needed to do some experiments, to test the methods of painting a graphite fly rod blank. You see, no manufacturer made a blank we could use for the rod in the color we needed. After confirming the color with Peter & talking to a few paint experts & manufacturers, I made up some test pieces cut from an old graphite blank. After ironing out a few details in the process on my end everything seemed good to go.
For this rod we chose a blank made by Winston: a 9 ft, 4 piece, 9 wt, Boron III. As I quickly learned, in order for the paint to have good adhesion to the blank you couldn’t just paint it. The blank needed to be prepped for painting. To do that the glossy outer finish on the blank had to be removed evenly. I didn’t want to actually remove any graphite material, as this would alter the action / feel of the rod, just the shiny outer coating.
The metal parts on this rod needed to be black. That’s because painting line guides doesn’t work. Friction from the line soon wears it away & the coating of paint interferes with the line passing through them. So we went with black line guides & a matte black metal reel seat to match. This contrast gave the rod a handsome look while also kept it from standing out from the environment where it would be fished.
All the guide wraps you see on 99% of all fly rods will be glossy. That’s a pretty standard thing so it wasn’t easy to find or create a thread coating that would come out with a matte finish - one which also wouldn’t alter the color of the wraps. After numerous experiments tried, I finally settled on a concoction I was happy with. It took me a few weeks to discover how to do this. In the end I was successful & the wraps came out great.