The story...

 

J. Becker approached me several months ago with a fly rod need.  He had heard that I was there local person to contact and that he'd find my build process very open to client involvement.  As an avid steelhead fly fisherman, he had several fly rods of various weights in his arsenal, but felt it was due time to purchase his first custom, handcrafted  "switch rod".  Knowing that I build all kinds of "switch rods", no matter what definition you use, JB was excited to see what I was capable of dreaming up using his suggestions as guide lines to follow.  This build was about constructing the business end in terms of power and cast-ability and less about decorations and frills.  He enjoys fishing river mouths and making casts from sandy shores into the Great Lakes.  A rod with back bone, ability to punch lines out with distance and authority and also swing gaudy streamers through funneled runs was the build criteria needed to be met.  JB brought over a few of his favorite fly rods  to use as reference and Red B allowed us to borrow his 8wt. Batson switch rod.  Thank you Barry!  He found this level of service quite helpful in determining what action and weight best suited his needs.  Commenting a few times about how great it was to have involvement in the decision making process.  It was determined that a modified fore grip, a slightly longer removable mini fighting butt and a modified aft grip from a spey handle that was also removable was needed.  The fore grip was modeled after an existing grip that he preferred and the two removable fighting butts are great for offering a rod with more versatility.  After several emails and about a dozen visits at the workshop, the details that I needed to incorporate were crystal clear in my mind.

 

 

Build Specifications:

Blank:  Batson Enterprises 10'8" 4pc 7wt Switch Blank

Reelseat: Batson Titanium Finish 8L2 Woven Graphite Insert

Stripper Guides:  Batson UD Titanium Finish Stripper Guides

Running Guides:  Batson "F" Titanium Finish Fly Guides (Oversized)

Guide Wraps:  HT Metallic Pewter

Ferrule Wraps:  HT Metallic Pewter w/ Alignment Dots

Winding Check:  Batson Titanium Finish Metal

Hookkeeper:  Small Titanium Bent Wire

Decals:  Deb Brown, Decal Connection/Southern Graphix, Waterslide Application

Cork:  Batson Fore grip Modified to Length, OD, and Shape

F.Butt:  (2) Removable Fighting Butts.  (1) Modified Mini Rubberized Cork & (1) Switch Casting EVA/Cork

 

The Photos:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build Review:

 

I found the majority of this build to be extremely easy going and methodical.  One color wraps are easier to complete and even though JB requested no frills, I still incorporated some spiraling for the decal area and first couple stripper guide wraps.  The most challenging (and barely) was modifying the factor fore grip and fighting butt cork to the customers specifications.  Getting the shape and exact OD was important.  The HT Metallic thread looks stunning in the sun.  It is subdued in shade, but the moment the radiant light hits the windings they just come alive with sparkle.  JB and I share a preference for the titanium finish because it looks so good with darker colors.  The hues of the metal, the thread, the reel seat insert, and even the EVA of the switch rod butt grip really pull together to create something special to look at. 

 

This switch rod blank from Batson is relatively new and I'm sure an absolute hit for them.  It is extremely versatile.  Having built on the 5, 6, and 7wt. models, I am extremely happy with their performance and power.  The rod is set to be delivered this afternoon and I'd expect to have a photograph of JB, the rod, and bright silver bullet as soon as the season is underway.

 

 

 

With this rod, the adventure ends, but another awaits my attention....

 

 

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