Tadpole (1)

My rod building bench finally got to see some action lately. I had four ongoing projects, some of which I may have written a little about before.

The g0ne cave, displaying evidence of rodbuilditis episodes.

The g0ne cave, displaying evidence of rodbuilditis episodes.

First project is a broomstick, a brutally fast rod for messing with pike, and maybe someday less reasonably powerful critters, the kind one finds in the salt. This rod is complete now, but I still need to test it, so I’ll get back to it later. Plus, I’ve been wanting to try to cast with a really rigid rod for a long time. I think it will be an eye opener from the casting point of view.

I also wanted to do an all-glossy-black theme on my first 5wt ever. The hard part is done (finding suitable elements, especially a black grip). Now I need to find time for the slightly boring part: measuring, wrapping the guides and applying finish on the wraps.

The third project is only complete in my head but I haven’t even bought all the components yet. It will be a 486 on Eric’s ANR blanks, the best 4wt I have tried so far. On this one, I go for light, so it will be very minimal, skeleton reel seat with cork spacer, short grip, light wire guides.

My ingenuous notion of a tadpole, prior to this project

My ingenuous notion of a tadpole, prior to this project

But the topic of today’s post is very different. It’s a tadpole. Tadpole is a nickname for flyrods build around Batson’s fiberglass spinning blanks. As you may have noticed, glass is all over the place again in the fly fishing world, and there’s a couple of reasons for that: some are good (like its ability to withstand plenty of abuse, sometimes the price), some are hard to assess (like the beauty of brightly colored or translucent blanks, or the famous glass feel) and the rest is pure marketing BS, a commodity I doubt we’ll soon be lacking of. Tadpoles’ success is mainly due to their price: they’re a cheapskate’s delight. You can get a blank in France (from Rodhouse on special order) for a meager €13,42, which means that provided it’s not your first build and you’re willing to go blue collar enough on components, you can get yourself a rod for around €50. If you’re into rodbuilding, and have spare components, it will cost you less. I don’t think you can do much better for a new rod.

So I cunningly thought: since I don’t really really need a short lightweight rod (I’ve got my Belle (yeah, I know it’s a little lame to name rods (but I don’t give a flying F))) and since I can build one of those for really cheap, let’s invent an excuse: the tadpole will serve an empirical agenda. I may not need the rod, but I want the experience, so let us make it full of novelties. Namely: a vented grip, and major blank surgery (extension and ferrule creation). That’s what I did, all went well. Here’s the plan for (very near) future posts:

  1. On how to create a spigot ferrule
  2. On how to make a vented grip
  3. Tadpole tests

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