Regarding Ferrule Care on your Bamboo Fly Rods, for years I have heard that you should never apply anything in the form of a lubricant to the Nickel Silver Ferrules on your Bamboo Fly Rod. I was told any form of lubricant collects dust and grit and can scar the metal.
Well, I have become a convert. I have done a lot of research and have found that many makers and builders (some quite well known) use beeswax or soap (lightly applied) to the male ferrules on their fly rod. I have tried Ivory Bar Soap (99.9% Pure, of course) and have been very impressed. The ferrules slide on great, pop well, and are easier to remove.
Certainly you should clean the soap off at the end of each day’s fishing, but a very light application of Ivory Soap (that’s what I use) smoothed on the male ferrule and any excess wiped off truly facilitates the smooth seating of the ferrule. Thus far I have seen no problems at all from this. An additional advantage of using soap as opposed to something else (beeswax for example) is that soap comes off cleanly with water.
Another thing I have done (and continue to do) is carry a small piece of 0000 Steel Wool with me on fishing trips. Sometimes is seems the Nickel Silver on my fly rod oxidizes and no longer fits. A few twirls of the bamboo rod while lightly holding the steel wool on your male ferrule is usually sufficient to knock off any oxidation. You don’t want to do this unless necessary, however, because if the ferrule is ever turned down too much, you have a problem.
Preparing Nickel Silver Ferrules before affixing them to your fly rod is very important. Most Bamboo Fly Rod builders and makers use Nickel Silver Ferrules on their rods. Generally, these ferrules will have to be lapped and their tabs will need to be feathered. If the owner prefers, then the tabs will also need to be crowned.
But regardless of where you purchase your ferrules, before you begin the lapping process, you should always:
1. Clean the inside of the male and female ferrules where they mate with the bamboo. This is important to make sure your epoxy has a clean metal to adhere to. In addition, and this is especially important with ferrules made from solid nickel silver bar stock, there can also be metal residue which should be cleaned. We use Q-Tips dipped in alcohol or acetone to take care of this.
2. BEFORE you begin to lap the male slides, check the interior of the female ferrule where it mates with the male ferrule slide for burrs. We suggest that if you have any question at all about the smoothness of this portion of the ferrule, take some 0000 Steel Wool, wrap it around a Q-Tip and spin the steel wool around inside the ferrule until you are sure there are no burrs and the nickel silver is as smooth as you can get it. Then clean it with a Q-Tip dipped in either alcohol or acetone to insure there is no metal residue.
Now you can lap the male ferrule slide.
This recipe was acquired from a tugboat captain in Mobile, Alabama by my Dad around 50 years ago. It is very easy and quite delicious.
You will need:
- A medium size covered dish, suitable for baking in an over (Corning Ware, Pyrex, etc.)
- Heavy aluminum foil
- Several thick fillets of white fleshed fish (Snapper, Flounder, etc.)
- Large Onion (cut into moderately thick slices)
- Worcester Sauce
- Pepper (preferably freshly ground)
- Loaf of French Bread (thickly sliced, butter between slices, wrapped in Aluminum Foil)
Now, line the baking dish with Aluminum Foil and then place several pats of butter on the foil. Lay onion slices on top of the butter spread loosely over the bottom. Then place pieces of fish on top of the onion. Now place butter on top of the fish and douse liberally with Worcester Sauce, finishing off with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat this cycle for two more layers, close the Aluminum Foil, place the lid on the dish, and put the whole thing into a preheated 350 degree oven. Cook about 45 minutes, placing the buttered and wrapped French Bread into the oven about 15 minutes before you remove the fish.
The fish will be well seasoned and the juice can be ladled over slices of hot French Bread.
Southern Rodmakers Gathering: In the middle of October, my son and I drove from Atlanta to Mountain Home, Arkansas for the 2013 Southern Rodmakers Gathering (SRG). Although this gathering of bamboo rodmakers has been around a long time, this was the first time we went; 95 rodmakers participated, apparently a record attendance.
The gathering was held a short distance outside Mountain Home at a fishing resort located on the White River. The resort is very small and only has a few rooms, so participants commuted from home (if close) or stayed at hotels in nearby towns. Those lucky enough (or smart enough) to stay at the resort had an opportunity to fly fish before and after each day’s activities in the White River which flowed only a few feet from the cabin doors.
For just a $60 registration fee, there were days packed with demonstrations, tips, and techniques on building bamboo fly rods and lunches and suppers covered by the same $60 registration. The educational opportunities were enormous and if you were careful to take good notes, you could, in a few days, learn some tricks of the trade that would take years if you had to discover them on your own.