by Roger McCourtney
Itís close on mid May as I write this and judging from the content of the message board on this site, many of us are itching to get fishing.
I wonder how many times we have all had the kit out, lovingly checking it over, replenishing lost leads, swivels and other bits and bobs.
How many of us have looked closely at our rods? Now is as good a time as ever.
It may not be much of a substitute but it will make us feel better for a while and by following these guide lines you might just save a little heart-ache and learn a bit into the bargain.
Right let us begin by removing the rod from itís bag. Under good light check the rod guide inserts for cracks and chips. If a ring is damaged now is the time to replace it. One will need to remove it from the rod. This is not a very easy job on modern rods. The reason is that most rings are tied and then varnished with a high build "epoxy" varnish. This needs to be removed with the utmost care. I have yet to find an easy way of accomplishing this.
I suggest the following procedure. Take some masking tape and wrap it around the rod at the very ends of the varnish both above and below the tyings. This is to protect the blank should the knife slip!
With a very sharp blade, a new Stanley Knife blade or a Raza Scraper blade, cut into the varnish. Assuming the reader is right handed and with the rod laid on a bench of some sort with the thin end pointing to the left, make the incision against the metal foot of the faulty ring. By so doing, the blade will cut into the metal and not the blank. It does take time, gently cut, donít try cutting it all off in one go, you wonít! If the blade slips, as it often does, hopefully it will catch the wraps of tape and not damage the blank. Once the varnish and thread is cut through to the ring foot, it is often possible to peel it off. Remove the first bit then turn the rod around and repeat the process. Try to gently remove all traces of finish.
If this sounds too difficult, take the rod into your nearest tackle shop. Most shops have access to someone capable of carrying out rod repairs. Some poor soul, often a retired gent who is desperately trying to supplement his meagre pension. Or some poor fool like me!
If you do the job yourself refer to my previous article about rod making and find out how to tie on a new ring etc.
Assuming all is well, why not give the rod a thorough wash down? Use warm soapy water and wash the rod down with a soft cloth. Pay particular attention to the rings. It is amazing how much crud is picked up on the ring inserts. A cotton bud is a useful tool to do this.
If your rod is equipped with a "Fuji" style reel seat, give this the water treatment too. Pay particular attention to the threaded part. Remove all bits of grit and grime. Again a cotton bud is useful. If your rod has any Duplon parts fitted. Use a nailbrush and scrub clean.
If the rod has a cork grip, you might wish to clean and renovate. To make a really good job of cleaning cork, get hold of some Scotch Brite rubbing down patches from your local car accessory shop. Then wet the grip and spread neat washing up liquid onto the cork. With copious quantities of both water and detergent, scrub away with the pads. The results will surprise you!
There is a drawback however, it is almost certain that the scrubbing process will remove some filler from the cork. Fear not! We will restore the grip to its as new condition.
Get some cork filler. Actually it is easy to make your own. Get a bit of real cork. Donít try and use "reconstituted" cork as found in cheap wine bottles. But a real cork stopper from a decent bottle of plonk will usually be real cork. Somehow or other you need to reduce the cork to dust! Try putting it in an electric drill and with a bit of fine glass paper sand it away to dust! Mix it with a bit of water and some Waterproof Resin W woodworking glue and you have filler. Apply to the pits and fissures in the grip leave overnight, sand it down and there you have it.
Failing that, ring me up and I will send you a bit! For a suitable financial reward of course!
Having done everything so far, when the rod is nice and dry, get a black marker pen and paint (?) over the shiny bits on the frames of the rings! Nice touch!
Finally, get some of that stuff that you use to clean the dash and plastic bits of your car, clean and polish the rod. Use it on the reel seat, particularly the threaded bit. The thing will feel nice and smooth.
Now your rod will look newer and feel better. You will be itching even more to get out and try it.
One more thing, I will be no doubt bumping into some of you during the coming season, rod inspections will take place!!
by Roger Mccourtney