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I am curious about fighting butts I am building an 8' 8wt for the salt and want to put a fighting but on the rod. I have never done this before, and neither have any of my rod maker friends. What has to change on the reel seat assembly to accept a fighting butt?  Could one fashion one out  of cork and mount it to the butt cap if so, what way would give the best strength? Any and all suggestions welcome. (Jon Holland)

    I bought a REC seat for my 8.5' 8wt saltwater rod.

    I got the removable butt, it's cork and a composite end.

    Consensus was when I built it to make the butt section to length without it, so with it it's 1.5" longer than the rest.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    Just leave enough cane below the reel seat and glue cork there. Usually two-three 1/2" rings and cap.  Capping it off can be done numerous ways, metal or domed undrilled (is that a word?) cork.  Burl cork looks good, but can be brittle, although I've had no problems that way.  Assuming you'll be using an uplocking.  If not, the transition could get tricky.  Inset the bottom ring, I think.  Only other thing, of course, is making the adjustment for length so things even out with the tip section.  Hate to say this, but take a look at the way graphite builders do it (I'm doing an 8 wt plastic for my son right now with an extended butt).  On any rod over 5 wt, I much prefer a fighting butt.  Keeps the reel handle out of your shirt when that drag is screaming.  Bass and stripers are hard on shirts that way.  I see Bob Nunley has suggested a detachable.  That's a very good option, but on an 8 wt I can't see ever removing it.  (Bob Brockett)

      On an aside, Larry Dahlberg used to advocate adding weight to the fighting butt.  He'd attach this appendage to fighting butts filled with quarters.  I tried this and actually inset drilled quarters into the cork of the fighting butt (should've used heavy washers, but I wasn't as cheap then).  Fulcrum effect.  It really does make a difference, at least it did with graphite. Balanced the rod out nicely and made the tip seem lighter, the whole rod seem lighter.  Sure, it added to the overall weight of the rod, but weight is relative to where it's placed.  I do plan on doing this with cane when I get around to making something heavy enough to warrant it.  Of course, if you're making a purely traditional rod, you wouldn't do this, but if you're experimenting and interested in pure performance, I think this is easily done and would rival or exceed most things you could do, like swelling butts or messing with guide size/placement.  Simply put, offseting the weight before the hand with weight behind.  Then again, given the weight of natural material vs synthetic, maybe it wouldn't make so much difference with cane. Just a thought.  Hope I don't killed for this bit of heresy.  (Bob Brockett)

        I prefer the fighting butt be an integral part of the rod, because I can never figure out what to do with a detachable fighting butt. Besides lose it, that is.

        Adding weights to the fighting butt is intriguing, but one may achieve the same effect by using a heavier reel.  (Reed Guice)

          Heavier reel would be similar in effect, but Dahlberg figured that the effect was more pronounced the further back from the hand (reel being to close) and you could use less weight overall for the same effect and not have to put a big clunky oversized reel on.  There was some math included in the article, but that was a long time ago and I probably didn't understand it then.  But, I tried it; thought it worked well.   This was on uplocking seats.  I've always felt downlocking balances rods better, maybe because the reel sits back just a bit further from the hand.  Downlocking much good on heavy rods, though.  At least I don't prefer them.  (Trick works very well, better really, on spinning rods.)  Actually, trying to remember, I think I used nickels, not quarters, but that's, as they say, neither here nor there.  (Bob Brockett)

            There is absolutely nothing complicated about Dahlberg's "figured" approach. It is very fundamental physics and the  very  same  principle  behind  the  seesaw,  or teeter-totter, that all of us should have played on while growing up; maybe even as a grandparent with a grandchild, as I have. It is the age old "fulcrum/lever" exercise, and the only time math should come in to the picture would be if you wanted to calculate precise counter balancing weights for a given lever, in the converse, the length of the lever necessary to counter balance two disparate weights on either side of the fulcrum. (Think two-pan balance scales.)   (Frank Schlicht)

            I am not doing this with bamboo, but I have recently integrated 1/4-20 threaded brass rod into the butt. Using a turned brass bar, I can add weight to suit onto the threaded rod

            The weight has a threaded hole, so as I can more or cap off with a bolt and a little Loctite.

            I started with formulas, but there is complexity if you want to account for lines, guides and the actual weight distribution of a rod. In the end, the formulae got me close. What I liked defined what I have done.

            I want another season to  decide if this is the best or not.  (David Wilson)

              Very interesting, Dave.  Much more scientific than I got.  Your way, you could at least come up with some general parameters for what amount(s) of additional weight might work better for a given rod length/line weight, etc.  Then fine tune as needed.  Let me know how this works out later.  Good stuff.  Thanks!  (Bob Brockett)

          I like the idea of permanent fighting butt hardware, nothing to lose or misplace.

          These by nature are bigger rods,  which mean more weight. In the hand and of course to cast. The Abel offset reel foot idea is well worth a look at, it feels a lot lighter in the hand when compared with conventional reels of the same weight,  I do not know why this is so,  but it just does.

          The term "balance" is sometimes put in the  mix, think of the point of balance the fulcrum. Then add in the weight of the line that is being cast.

          The weight of the rod, reel, handle shape along with the business of casting, all needs to be considered to get a balanced feel.  (Peter Jones)

    When, on very rare occasions, I do a fighting butt, I make it a Detachable Fighting Butt. I make the extra butt out of a .685" Piece of whatever wood  I use for the reel seat, then center drill it, and basically make a male ferrule that fits down inside the butt out of bar stock. On the end of the reel seat, I center drill it and put a tubing female ferrule in the hole. If you want to use a cap and ring reel seat, still, no big deal. Just center drill the cap and silver solder the tubing into it, then center drill the filler to accept the tubing.  DO put a moisture check in the bottom of the tubing. It must be drilled as close to exact CENTER as possible so it looks nice and in line when attached. You can leave the wood on the detachable part bare for a couple of inches then put a few rings of cork out to the end or you can run cork all the way so that you have a cork to cork match. Put a flat nickel plate on the end with a piece similar to a cork check soldered to it. That gives you a nice clean looking piece when it's not on the rod. Make a nice short wooden piece with the same size nickel bar stock on it for a plug for the hole in the end of the reel seat when not using the fighting butt.

    I saw another modern makers rod, and i can't remember who it was, but seems like someone on the Left Coast, that put a 3/8 X 10TPI threaded pin in the fighting butt so that it would screw onto the rod. The threaded pin was only about 3/4 inch long and the hole was tapped directly into the reel seat wood. I think I'd prefer to put a tapped steel insert in the hole, but that may be over engineering it a little. He then made a short cap with a 3/8 x 10 pin it it to fill the hole when not using the fighting butt.

    Either way works well, either way can be made to look very classy.  (Bob Nunley)


If I make a two piece rod with a removable fighting butt do I size it with the fighting butt on or off ?  I am thinking off but having never done it before want to make sure.  (Rick Barbato)

    First, it is your rod and you can and should do exactly as you want. If it was my rod, with a removable fighting butt, I would "size it" or find center without the fighting butt. (Timothy Troester)


I am making a rod for steelhead and want to put a removable fighting butt on it.  I am wondering if anyone has found a Nickel Silver(preferably) that looks and functions good or and Aluminum that would be nice on a bamboo rod.

Thanks for the input.  (Rick Barbato)

    I used a REC seat, aluminum with a cork/burl fighting butt.  I like it. If you want I'll send a picture.   (Pete Van Schaack)

    Bob Venneri makes both a solid fighting butt reel seat and a removable fighting butt reel seat.  I have the solid one on one of my salmon/steelhead rods and its very nice.  All nickel silver hardware.  (Mark Wendt)

    Also, Bellinger made reel seats and a removable fighting butt. (Marco Giardina)


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