Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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Hi everyone!

I'm new here and after cruising this site for a bit decided that there are some great opportunities to learn a lot from a very knowledgeable member base.

I'm just getting ready to start building my own rods and want to use a 8' - 9' 2 piece fly rod blank to make a spinning rod with single foot Aluminum Oxide guides and use a close faced underspin reel with monofilament. I had one similar to this built in 98 but just recently broke it and the fellow that made it is sadly no longer with us. The rod has no markings on it that reference rod wt. or action so I guess I'll have to start from scratch.

I'm pretty passionate about bluegill fishing and that rod was the ultimate BG rod. I just want to build one as close to it as possible. I already have orders for 3 of them once I get into the building process. LOL

Has anyone on here ever undertaken a project like this and if so, what wt. rod blank and action did you use?

Thanks for any help you can provide,

Keith

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Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on April 25, 2012 at 5:58pm

Keith is right. Getting a built rod down to bare stock is a challenge.

I would go hybrid - get the old guides off and replace those, but just affix the reel up the handle, a la Tennessee-style. Or is it Kentucky?

Comment by Keith Homan on April 25, 2012 at 5:52pm

JB - Like Dick said - Anything is possible. Just depends upon how much work you want to put into it. I've never done it but have heard it takes some effort to strip the old off and get everything nice a clean so you can start over. Kind of like building a house. It's less work to start from scratch and build a new one than it is to completely remodel an old one. Some may disagree but I've done both and that is my opinion.

You might try one of the bigger players like Jann's Netcraft or Mudhole - a lot of times they run specials or clearance sales and some really nice blanks can be bought at a decent price. The other option is to strip the old and give it a makeover. If it turns out to be more work than you bargained for you can go the other route the next time.

Let me know if you have any other questions.  

Comment by dick tabbert on April 25, 2012 at 4:01pm

JB the sky is the limit and almost any thing you can make work. I'm lucky cause I live near Jan's Netcraft and I us to be able to try parts on for fit so I knew they were the right fit then buy what I needed. The guys at Jan's are good about helping out and answering questions. I have been out of the rod making for quit some time but I'm assuming things haven't changed much. Probably the hardest thing to fit would be the handle but they have different size inserts so you can get your right size to make your handle fit. Good luck sounds like an interesting project I'm thinkin the rod will have all the flex in all the right places.

Comment by JBplusThuy on April 25, 2012 at 3:02pm

Thanks, Keith. What do you - or other rod builders here - think of the practicality of taking an existing fly rod (a Fenwick FF-90, perhaps) and removing the guides and reel seat, then re-doing it with spinning guides and a spinning real seat?  If  I could find an 8.5 or 9 foot Feralite blank I'd just have a rod builder build it up as a spinning rod for me, but that's been a long, fruitless wait so far...

Comment by Keith Homan on April 11, 2012 at 5:37pm

Hey JB -

I have built 2 so far. Both are 8' 6" moderate action 2pc graphite. One is a 5wt and the other is a 6wt. The 5wt is a birthday gift for my son and the 6wt was built just for the fun of it. Both turned out very nice and are getting field tested this Friday by me and my boss. I also have a 7' 6" medium fast  and a 7' medium fast that I will be building next. I'm thinking that the 7' 6" medium action will be my "go to" rod this year because I really like the feel of the bare blank.

These are the first rods I ever built but I spent about 3 months building jigs, studying the process, building a workbench and studying the process some more. I read a lot of books and material on the subject. Watched countless videos on line and spend a lot of time on rodbuildersforum.com.

Probably the most satisfying hobby I ever got involved in ....... just not sure what I'm going to do with all the rods I'm building LOL 

Comment by JBplusThuy on April 11, 2012 at 1:23pm

Somehow I missed this thread back when it was posted :p

This is something I have an interest in as well, although I have no time to undertake building a rod at present (have never tried it, yet). What I've been watching for is one of the old 8.5 or 9 foot Nightcrawler Secrets rods from Fishing Facts Magazine/Northwoods Tackle. Almost got one about a year ago on eBay. I do have 5 and 7-foot models but have really been wanting one of the long rods. They were built on Fenwick Feralite fly rod blanks. I don't know what weight, but they were intended as bass and walleye rods, so I am supposing not less than 7 weight, and quite possibly 8 or 9.

Would it be at all practical to take a 9 or 9.5 foot Fenwick rod from that era and convert it to a spinning rod?

Comment by Keith Homan on December 31, 2011 at 12:58pm

David & Steve - I really appreciate the feedback and thanks for the offer of assistance. Always nice to have a quick resource when you get stuck.

Thanks also for the measurement lesson. I'll take some readings with the caliper this afternoon and post up what I find.

In regards to Mudhole.....I have their catalog and it's awesome. The thing with Janns is that it's just 2hrs north of where I live and I can get some personal time in with one of their rod builders. At this stage of the game that would probably benefit me as I get started.

What a great site!

Thanks again

Keith

Comment by Steve Connell on December 31, 2011 at 9:24am

I have built quite a few of these type of rods starting out in the 70's.My main objective then was I was unable to find a manufactured rod with the action I wanted,so I had to build my own.That said you wont save any money making you're own but I enjoy it as a hobby now.I currently have two blanks I am working on now that are cascade fly rod blanks,one is a 6 weight and one is a 7.Both are 8-1/2 foot.My intention is to use the 6 w. as a live bait -dropshot rod and try the 7 w. as a spoon chucking rod.I know the 7 will toss a spoon a mile my concern is it may not be stiff enough for hook sets.Both of these blanks are reasonably priced at 24.60 and 25.49 each.I purchased them from Mud Hole tackle out of Florida they have a huge selection of all the rod building stuff you'll ever need.Jans Net craft is also good just my prefrence.Last I checked I have way too much rod building stuff to quit now so I guess I'll keep building!Good luck and have fun.Any questions you have on building you can P.M. me and I'll try and help. Steve

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on December 31, 2011 at 8:57am

Thanks for the feedback Keith. I'm no fly rod expert, but I can share what I know. It may help.

Most fly rods recommended for bluegill are intended for light fly-line weights and have a slow-medium flex action. Panfish specific rods can be as low as 1W or 2W, but these are hard to find. Scanning the Netcraft catalog, I see several in the 3-5 W range that should work. 5 W makes for a good all around rod, while 3W is better for smaller fish and shorter casting distances.

I would also say  a medium action, or flex, is about right. This flex business gets tricky, but basically it refers to how much a rod loops on the back cast. Keep in mind the 'action' of the fly rod is intended to propel the line itself to the target, with working the lure and striking the fish being of secondary importance.

Slow flex rods are intended for light lure presentations over moderate casting distances, but require the wide loop and roll we traditionally envision for small stream/small trout fishing. For bluegill these are fine, except that you don't want a fly rod for bluegill.... you are after a long spinning rod. So, my bet is medium flex will be better suited to your needs.

In summary, a lighter line-weight rod with moderate flex should make a decent spinning rod for bluegill. I go into all this because we're guessing here - no one knows for sure what the builder of your rod used. 

Can you make some precise measurements of the rod itself? There are three physical dimensions that appear to be most relevant:

1. Overall length, in feet. This is measured from butt to tip.

2. Butt diameter, in decimal proportions. This is measured at the end of the grip.

2. Tip dimension (fly rods usually use 4-5 size tip tops). This is measured 1/2" from the end, where the tip's tube ends.

PS The tip tube measurement is the INSIDE diameter of the tip top's tube (the part that slides over the blank's tip). This measurement is given in 64th's of an inch.  A blank with a "#5" tip, requires a #5 tube tip top.  The #5 is actually 5/64th's of an inch.  A #5.5 is 5.5/64th's of an inch, etc...

PLEASE NOTE that Blank Manufacturers Tip specifications are "approximate".  The blank should always be physically checked with a Tip top Gauge or Caliper before selecting a tip top.

With this information, you may get closer to getting what you want.

Please don't think I'm trying to sound like an expert, here, or make this too complicated. I don't know enough to do either - I'm learning here, too. But the fact is, it isn't gut simple. In order to duplicate what you had, there are some things you need to understand. Perhaps you can take the rod with you when you shop for blanks and that way get a good match?

Comment by Keith Homan on December 31, 2011 at 7:19am

I'm heading to Netcraft as well - probably next weekend. I've done the math and you are correct. There is no savings to building a rod yourself which I can see. I just want to replicate the rod that I had which was an 8' fly rod with spinning guides and a spinning reel. For me, it was the best all around rod for panfishing that I had ever fished with. Especially from a float tube.

As far as the action - my old one behaved more like a fly rod with a med. fast action.

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