Recent years Sept. and Oct’s have been extremely busy due to the fall chinook returns. Some of these “up river brights” (URB’s) can exceed 30 pounds, as a steelhead generalist the chinook mess with my fishing this time of year. Don’t mind hooking a chinook from time to time but they don’t fight like steelhead. Since I prefer acrobats over bulldogs I don’t seem to fish as much when the fall chinook arrive.
Spey casting and two-hand flyrods have influenced my fishing and my interests significantly over the last couple decades. I’ve become obsessed with Scottish/Irish speycasting history and the rods used a 100 years ago to deliver flies to trout and Atlantic Salmon. A guy named Alex Grant came up with a rod he called the “vibration” and he made them in all lengths imaginable. Mr Grant didn’t use ferrules, instead he used spliced joints that required lashing together. Alexander Grant also made violins, the following link provides a little background on Mr. Grant. You might need to copy and paste the link.
Today we tape the sections together instead of wetting the leather stips and tying it down tight. Over time I’ve collected a few spliced greenheart rods (none of which are actually authentic, they are C. Playfair made rods, Playfair bought the business from Mr. Grant). I’ve long thought about attempting to hook and land a steelhead on one. So far I haven’t fished one but am getting closer to trying. The longer the rod the more tip heavy they get so I’ve concentrated on two rods, a 10′ and a 12′ rod. Both rods are 3pc. with 2 tip sections and each of them had experienced a break in one of the tip sections prior to my ownership. Both breaks had been repaired, with splices, thread wraps and glue, who’d a thunk? I stripped both rods of their varnish and guides and am in the process of refurbishing. The 10′ rod is getting close to being fished though the extra tip and mid section are on my rod drying motors as I write this. The 12 footer still needs guide wrapping etc. (see pic) These rods require humidity or they will dry out and become brittle…and likely break…again, since they are likely close to 80 years old they need some extra care and feeding. The main trick is to maintain the humidity, the oils the greenheart type trees (could be made of multiple very dense straight grained South American woods) created to keep them strong and flexible. I intend to soak them in teak oil and keep them in my more humid basement since I’m certain they are extremely dried out. Not sure yet if I’ll put a final varnish on them…we’ll see. Mostly experimentation here. And, I intend to fish them and catch steelhead on them, both of them. I’ll try the longer ones later if the short one’s trip my trigger. Here’s a pic of the two, the short one is missing two sections, those sections are on the guide wrap drying motors as I type. One pic.