Some folks like to have their custom fly rod made up with dark metal parts on it. This can be a very classy look on a fly rod.
Bluing is actually a surface treatment done to the shiny metal rod parts. Think of it as a form of controlled oxidation, which turns the metal surfaces to a dark blue, or gun-metal grey color. Not every type of metal can be successfully treated this way in the rod shop. Typically, only Nickle-Silver rod parts can be blued (aluminum is much harder to blue & it's best done by an industrial process).
Because we're treating the surface of the Nickle-Silver parts, it's important that those surfaces be cleaned very thoroughly. You must wear gloves when you do this, as even the natural oils from your hands & skin will contaminate the surface & interfere with the bluing treatment. Only after all the parts are cleaned & prepared, can you begin.
You might see in the above photo that the male slides of the ferrules have been covered with tape & the inside of the female ferrule has a plug in it. This is to keep the bluing agent from getting onto sections of metal where we don't want it.
The bluing agent is then applied by hand. You must work fairly quickly & try to get an even coating. The part is continually in motion, being turned, so that the bluing isn't darker in one spot than another.Once the rod part is colored sufficiently, the chemical reaction of the bluing agent is halted by rinsing the part in water.
After the bluing process is complete, the rod parts must have a protective clear coat of enamel over them. This is so the bluing doesn't rub off of the part & so oils from your hands & other dirt won't contaminate the bluing.
As this is a surface treatment only, you can't blue parts of a rod that will have friction, like the threads of a screw-locking reel seat or the wire line guides, but you can blue the slide rings in a seat. Of course, cap & ring style reel seats are no problem. If you want the wire line guides & tip tops dark, it's best to buy the commercially coated black ones, or ones made from titanium. After many years of use along the stream, the bluing will fade & wear off a bit. That's why it's not uncommon to see vintage rods with blued metal parts that have faded a bit.
Of course, the Nickle-Silver ring & frame of an agate stripping guide can be blued:
Also the Nickle-Silver winding check & the strap & ring style hook keeper can be treated this way, too.
Dark colored metal, while not appropriate for every fly rod, can be a very nice enhancement to your custom rod. I do charge a bit more for this, as it's time consuming, but for an extra $30 or $40 more (depending on what all you want), it can be a very cost effective customization for your fly rod.
I absolutely love to see photos from anglers of their fishing adventures. I really do. It's as if I'm right along there with you. As a rodmaker, it can be hard to find time to get away & travel to some of the places where I send rods to, so it's especially nice for me to see the places where the rods that came to life in my shop end up.
My friend, Randy was gracious enough to send me some photos of his travels in the western USA this summer. He's a very skilled & knowledgeable angler indeed & was kind enough to answer some of my questions, too about the fishing out in those parts. Thanks, Randy! Just look at these gorgeous places & fish!!
Here's a shot he took from the Big Horn Mountains:
Oh, how I want to be there & cast my line into that water!!
Here's a couple from the Black Hills:
Here's a couple from Clark's Fork in Wyoming:
Just look at how clear & smooth that water is! Any movement in a place like this could easily put all the trout down for a while. It takes a skilled angler to catch fish here, which of course, Randy did:
I'm extremely blessed to be a rodmaker & meet so many wonderful anglers & great people. To see more of these photos & many of the other ones anglers have shared with me, please check out the Beyond The Rod Shop page of this site.
I hope you're all getting some time out on the water this autumn!!
It's my favorite time of year again, & it's really hard to beat fly fishing in the fall. The weather & the water temps are cooling down & with that, the return of the hatches. That, in turn, means rising trout!! There's nothing quite as gorgeous as a trout decked out in it's fall colors! Add to that the streams are vacant of many anglers & with the leaves soon to be changing colors you've got the recipe for some beautiful days on the water fly fishing for trout.
Trout aren't the only show in town either in the fall. Bass become more aggressive as the water cools & their instincts tell them winter is coming on. They begin to feed ferociously, bulking up for winter. You would be very remiss if you ignored fly fishing for small mouth & large mouth bass in the fall. Can't get out to the stream? Well any local pond will do as well, as the fish there try to pack on the pounds for winter as well. Bluegill, crappie, sunfish can give you a very memorable day of fly fishing this time of year.
It's a busy time of year, no doubt, but I hope that you can all get some time this autumn to wet a line on your favorite pieces of water. Some of your best memories of the fishing season this year could be made this fall. Good luck on the water!!
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.
These rods are available right now. please Go to the "Available rods" page for more details: