I’m always inspired by folks who use the sport of fly fishing to spread goodwill & help make this world a better place. Recently, my good friend from Colorado, Terryll, gifted me with a beautiful box of over 100 of the best tied flies I may have ever seen. I was curious about who could tie such nice flies, so I asked Terryll. These flies were tied by a man named Jerry Warrington from Grayling, Michigan & Terryll told me that Jerry has quite a story. He went on to explain that Jerry makes up these boxes to sell & that all the proceeds go to fund his efforts to teach children suffering from cancer how to tie flies. Well, that definitely sounded like something I could get behind so, on Terryll’s advice, I contacted Jerry to learn more about what he’s doing.
I asked Jerry about his background in how he got started teaching children with cancer how to tie flies & what he told me was truly inspiring. He has a story I think we all need to know. I think that here it’s best if I just let Jerry tell his story in his own words, as he told it to me:
“.... my tying and the sales of my flies/boxes never have been about lining my own pockets. Instead, for the last 18+ years, most of the money has gone back into the annual tying classes with "my kids"-- kids battling/surviving cancer, just like me. It's long been my way of giving back and paying it forward, all at once.
My own war with the disease began on my 44th birthday in 1997, when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two weeks later, the tumor had been removed and my long road of treatments and physical therapy to realize a full recovery had begun. I had to re-learn the normal things that we all take for granted-- speech patterns, the mere buttoning of a shirt, eating with a fork or spoon, and to an extent, even just walking. The first weeks were far from pretty, but they were necessary for me to regain any sense of normality.
Fortunately for me, my chief oncologist also was a fly-fisherman like yours truly. One day, not long into my therapy, he struck upon the idea of using my love of tying to help me regain my hand-to-eye coordination. I had been tying most of my life, and setting me up in my hospital room took little more than having my wife bring my portable tying kit with her on her next visit. Despite some very awkward attempts early on, my flies slowly began to take shape, thanks in no small part that I tend to be stubborn when challenged, and it soon became obvious that "Doc's" idea was starting to pay dividends.
As I spent my "non-therapy" hours sitting at my fly vise and trying to wrap hackle, I started getting the occasional visitor to my room-- a kid or two from the Children's Cancer Wing enroute to the lab. The "occasionals" soon became regulars, and it didn't take long before my room became something of a gathering place for the kids. They all were fascinated with the fact that I was taking a simple hook and turning it into a fly-- well, something of a fly --and they would stay until the nurses ushered them back to the Children's Wing.
These regular gatherings continued until the day of my discharge and the long ride home. Before my departure, I held one last tying session in the Children's Cancer Wing, at the end of which each child was presented with one of my flies in a small plastic box, each with the hooks cut off flush to the body of the fly. On the drive home, my family and I collectively agreed on the idea of hosting tying classes in our home for small groups of kids battling/surviving cancer like me, and "my kids" soon became a reality. That was over 18 years and three other tumors ago, and we're still going strong.
As it stands today, we continue to do the annual tying classes for "my kids" completely FREE OF CHARGE!”
What a story & what a guy!! Personally, I’m blown away by Jerry’s fortitude & kindness. This is something that I think we can all get behind & support.
Folks, these flies are simply amazing & expertly tied. He calls these boxes his “Miracle 100+” boxes. In them you get a large amount of flies (110 to 120 flies) from dries to nymphs to cover just about any fishing situation. Not only that, they come in a very cool 2-sided fly box which is included in the price.
Now here’s the best part: these boxes currently cost only $85, including shipping!! Folks, that’s about 78 cents per fly, with a box, coming right to your door!!.....and all the proceeds go to a great cause!!!! How can you beat that?!!?
Here's a couple photos of the boxes...just look at what all you get!!
In addition to his “Miracle 100+” box, Jerry also offers a streamer box. In it you get 65 streamers for $65, including a 2-sided fly box & shipping. When you add it all up, that’s way less than $1 per streamer - & tied way better than any fly you’re going to get from a catalog!!
If that weren’t enough, Jerry will do up custom ties for you. Just tell him what you need & he’ll tie it up for you.
I can’t say enough good things about Jerry, his flies, & his efforts to help kids fighting cancer. Please folks, if you need flies & can help him out, then please get a hold of him. I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.
You can contact Jerry directly through his email address here:
Get a great deal on some of the best tied flies you’ll ever fish & support a great cause. To me, what Jerry is doing represents the best of what fly fishing can be!!
I hope you've all been able to take some time this fall to get out there & wet a line. It's my favorite time of year for fly fishing. Both trout & bass are becoming more active as the water temps come back down & there are more insects on the water again.
Unlike the spring, there are usually much fewer anglers on the stream at this time of year. You can have more room to enjoy the surroundings & quiet solitude. The fishing is a little less action-packed & moves at a slightly slower pace but that's okay. With the leaves changing color, & the trout decked out in their fall colors, everything is just so much more vivid.
Locally here in Western PA, fishing conditions have been tough, as the water levels have been way down. Now, I don't mean to brag, but even under these difficult conditions I've still been able to land some of the bigger fish in the stream....and yes, I released this beast back into the wild. I know, you're a little jealous, but that's okay, haha!!
I hope you've all been enjoying the fall season, the fly fishing, & all the things that come with it.
Had enough of the nasty politics during this election year? Well, for those of you who aren't happy with either candidate, good news - your fly fishing expert guide Hank Patterson has decided to run. For those of you who follow Hank, well......okay.
Rather than go on about how Hank is the guy for the job, let's just hear him tell us in his own words. Hank doesn't hold back, so mind the language in this video. Hay, he's a passionate guy!
It's shaping up to be a very busy autumn here in the rod shop. I just finished planing up a bunch of bamboo strips for some fly rods & then it was time to glue them up into rod blanks.
For those of you who don't know, or have never really thought of it before, the rod sections in a bamboo fly rod are laminated - that is, they're made from tapered strips of bamboo that have been glued together. In order to accomplish this, I like to dry-fit the strips together & then tape them up with some masking tape. The tape can then be peeled back so all the strips in a section lay flat. Then they're painted with glue.
The tape allows me to roll them back up again after the glue has been spread.
Now, to get it right, you need to bind the strips together with a nice, tight, even amount of pressure. To accomplish this I use a binding machine that rotates the rod sections while wrapping them with a strong cord. The strips ride on the hooks you see, being turned by a hand crank & a continuous belt that allows the binding cord to wrap the pieces together. (I didn't take any photos of the sections going through for fear of getting my camera covered in glue!!)
As you can see, this contraption has bound many rods through the years, as evidenced by all the old glue stuck to it!!
The binding cord comes down from the top & the tension of the cord can be controlled. This is so I don't snap any delicate tip sections & yet can really bind down on some bigger butt sections. I'm proud to say that I made this puppy myself, many years ago.
After the glue is done flying around the shop, the rod sections are then hung up for a while to let the glue set up. Humidity is an important factor for this, so I always keep a close watch on the temperature & humidity in the rod shop.
...And that's it - the end of the first half of the journey to making a bamboo fly rod. Once the glue is set up, the cord is taken off the sections, they are sanded, a sealing coat of varnish is applied, & then they're ready for the ferrules......& so on until the rod is completed.
I hope you've enjoyed this quick peek into how I glue up bamboo strips into rod sections!
Is a custom bamboo fly rod in your future? If so, please contact me & we can discuss what you want your fly rod to be.
One of the great advantages of having a fly rod custom made for you is the control you have over choosing each & every aspect of the rod. The reel seat is no exception & it's a nice place to add a personal touch to your rod.
Reel seat hardware mostly comes in either aluminum or Nickle-Silver. The aluminum is lighter & less expensive, but if correctly polished will take an expert to tell it apart from its Nickle-Silver counterpart. Nickle-Silver will develop a patina over time which will give it the appearance not unlike a five-cent nickle coin - unless you polish it frequently to keep it's shine.
Take a look at the photo below. From the left are polished aluminum, "brushed" aluminum, & polished Nickle-Silver:
Of course, you also have your choice in overall reel seat style. By that I mean that you can have a screw-locking reel seat (like the one on the left in the photo below), or a traditional cap & ring style seat. Both are very capable of holding your reel securely on the rod.
For an even more personal touch, you could have the reel seat hardware engraved. This is a very nice way to get a truly custom reel seat & a rod unique to you.
....and this is just the reel seat - there's many other ways we can customize your fly rod for you. Grip shapes, wrap colors, reel seat wood choices, etc the list goes on & on. We're only limited by our imagination.
So, if you've been thinking about a custom-made fly rod for yourself, please contact me & we can discuss what it is you want. Not sure? Well, we can bounce ideas back & forth & work together to design a rod that will look & fish exactly as you want it to. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
Folks, I absolutely love it when you send me photos & stories of your fishing adventures. I love to hear from friends, clients, & anglers from all over the country & the world sharing some of their experiences with me. After spending so much time making each rod, I always have to wonder where they will see action. So it brightens my day when folks share with me the places & the stories they have of fishing their fly rods.
Recently I was honored by a friend & client in Colorado who took the time to share some photos with me of his new custom bamboo fly rod in action - & some of the gorgeous trout he landed:
Man, I've got to get out to Colorado someday - it's beautiful there!!
Another friend of mine recently spent some time fooling some of the very intelligent trout of the Catskills in New York. These fish are very finicky & can be very challenging to catch, but they are beautiful:
He was fishing a historically famous section of the Upper Beaverkill. Note the low water, making fishing conditions even more difficult:
Thanks for sharing these great photos & the stories that go along with them guys!!
You can see these & more photos over on the "Beyond The Rod Shop" page of this site. It's where I show the best of the client & friend submitted photos.
Do you have any photos you'd like to share? Maybe you've got a rod or a fishing bag from me & want to let everyone see the wonderful places where you use them? Please feel free to share them with me anytime. I love to hear from other anglers & see the gorgeous places you all fish!!
Now that October is here, we can get back to some fantastic fly fishing for trout!! I hope you all have some fishing planed soon.
So, why not start the new fall season with a new fishing bag!! These bags are a great alternative to wearing a vest & have classic, traditional good looks. Try one - you'll love it.
Did you know that the front pockets of these fishing bags are made to fit the leather fly wallets that I make in my shop? Right now I have a huge variety of fly wallets available - from eleven different types of leather!!
Perhaps you're already thinking to next fishing season? If that's the case, why not start out next year with a brand new custom fly rod? Now's the time to order one to have it in plenty of time for the very early season. Just contact me & we can discuss what you want & need your dream rod to be.
Good luck out there on the stream!! I hope you all get to enjoy the gorgeous trout & crisp air that fall has to offer!!
The Pliant Rod
News from the shop of Chris Lantzy, Custom Rod Maker along with industry news, profiles of interesting characters, reviews, history, & whatever else strikes our fancy. Your comments & feedback are welcome. Please email me your thoughts.
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