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How about a good old fashioned discussion on Tapers?

I made a 6’ 4 wt 4 piece backpacker rod.

I have fished with this rod several times, and I really like it. It's parabolic so the whole rod gets into the cast, but with the stiffer mid section it has some reserve power. Due to the parabolic nature of the rod roll casting is very easy. It is a 4 piece, the rod sections are a little over 18 inches long with the ferrules installed. It was made for backpacking to small Sierra Mountain streams. I had dry fly fishing in mind when I designed the taper, some might call the action tippy. I used truncated aluminum ferrules and the smallest ferrule is 7/64ths - a kind of hard to find size (benefits of making my own ferrules). NS ferrules might change the action a bit - Al is one third the weight of NS, but since it is a parabolic taper the ferrules are in relatively stiffer sections of the rod. Except for the largest one closest to the handle. That one is a compromise since it's in the section of the rod that should be more flexible, so I had to use a short handle and reel seat. The action length goes all the way to 64 - 65 inches so reel seat and handle can only be about 7 or 8 inches long. If you are careful and do it correctly store bought reel seats can be trimmed down a little, and handles can be cut and reshaped if you don't make your own. Remember - this is a small stream, small fish rod. Don't go after 5 pounders with it.

0     0.070
5     0.074
10   0.078
15   0.094
20   0.110
25   0.128
30   0.144
35   0.158
40   0.172
45   0.182
50   0.192
55   0.198
60   0.200
65   0.230
70   0.250
72   0.250  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I have not had time to analyze the tapers but my first reaction is that the whole secret of making such a short rod in 4 pieces so successfully is in the ferrules, presumably they were as short as possible as well as as light as possible.

    Did you consider using cane ferrules?  (Robin Haywood)

      The aluminum ferrules seemed light enough. I also made them shorter than usual.  (Darryl Hayashida)

        Exactly as I suspected.

        Many years ago duralumin ferrules were occasionally used on very long rods made of bored out Tonkin cane for use with a float, this was for the quaint old English pursuit of Roach fishing.  The protagonists of this, which were few, then took to using hollow built cane with cane ferrules.  It was felt that cane ferrules would not stand up to much stress. This was before modern adhesives and wood hardeners.

        It would be nice to see someone make some duralumin ferrules available again, they don't wear well, but then, neither do snake rings!  (Robin Haywood)

    I couldn't compare this taper because of the differences that I have to make mine, for the use of my 2 MBFS (Mini Metal Bamboo Ferrule System). But I made a small three piece rod 6' #3 and perhaps what Robin said is right, all the

    secret is in the ferrules (shortness and lightness). I always use 3 pieces because of the  stress section of the rod is more protected, I think.

    What was your experience with the 4 piece and ferrules stress?  (Marcelo Calviello)

      No problems so far.  (Darryl Hayashida)


Has anyone built the 8 ft 4 wt "B" rod from Bob Milward's book and recommend it.?  I'm trying to decide between that taper and the 204E by Garrison.  (Ed Miller)

    The 204e is a really sweet rod but there is a lot of different between a 7 foot 3 inch rod and an 8 footer.  (Gordon Koppin)

      As Gordon suggests, there is a big difference between an 8 foot 4 weight and a 7'3" rod. For all around fishing, the Garrison would be the more conventional choice. Having said that, I have done some experimenting with an 8 F.E. Thomas foot taper I posted a long time ago, and which is in Frank Stetzer's archives. The taper is actually somewhat similar to Bob's, although I think Bob's would be a bit faster.  8 feet is right at the limit of weight in a solid rod that will still feel "right" with a 4 weight, as long as you select a moderate taper. I like the Thomas taper for bank fishing along spring creeks, and it is a great roll caster, excellent for fishing wet flys. The version that I kept for myself is a one piece rod that has a wonderful sense of touch with the line. If you build a two piece version, keep it as light as possible. This would be a good rod to splurge a little and outfit with a GW titanium ferrule, or just use a truncated ferrule. Keep everything else on the rod shaft as light as possible, also.

      A couple years ago, Chris Bogart encountered me fishing soft hackles with this taper, and we spent a couple hours trading rods, fishing and kibitzing. He now offers a hollow built bamboo ferrule rod in the Thomas taper that is absolutely exquisite (as much as I hate to admit it!).

      Anyway, I guess I am encouraging you to try one of the 8 footers. I have not cast Bob's, but he knows his way around a taper. The Thomas taper follows, compare the two and decide. Good luck, and enjoy the results. Of course, I'm a big Garrison fan, too, so no matter what you decide, you really can't go wrong.

      0- .062
      5- .075
      87-.314  (Tom Smithwick)

        For those with it the Thomas taper is listed in RodDNA as a 5 wt so I missed it earlier—I suspect this was a mistake when it was entered into the program. Can someone post the Milward  taper so I can add it to RodDNA for comparison?  (Larry Puckett)

    I made one several years ago, and last year I had the pleasure of casting Bob's original rod up at Corbett Lake. It's a very smooth, fast action taper that works great at 30-50'. Several years ago I took the one I made to a casting expo in Oregon, and a lot of guys really liked it.

    For those who aren't familiar with the taper, it's a PHY Para-15 with .010" subtracted from all stations, and an extra .005" taken off the entire tip.  (Tom Bowden)

      So what you are saying is that all stations on the tip are reduced by 0.015” and the other stations  on the  mid and butt are down by 0.010”? Or is just the tip station reduced by 0.015”?  (Larry Puckett)

        Sorry I wasn't clear on this taper. It was derived from a Para-15 taper, with .010" removed at all stations, and an extra .005" removed from the tip. By that, I mean .010" from the butt section, and .015" from the tip section. I'm not sure which para-15 served as the starting point, but following is the taper (without varnish). According to Mr. Milward, the extra .005" provides a step-down effect, which makes the rod faster in the tip and reduces swing weight.

        Sorry for the confusion


        Station  Diameter
        0            0.062
        5            0.077
        10          0.096
        15          0.109
        20          0.125
        25          0.143
        30          0.157
        35          0.176
        40          0.193
        45          0.21
        50          0.229
        55          0.241
        60          0.25
        65          0.258
        70          0.268
        75          0.277
        80          0.287
        85          0.29
        90          0.29
        95          0.29 (Tom Bowden)

          Thanks for the clarification. Somewhere in this thread I thought we were talking about 3p instead of 2p rods, since they are 8’ long I guess. At any rate this clears it all up nicely.  (Larry Puckett)

          I just plugged the numbers into RodDNA and compared it to the other PHY 15s and it looks like it tis based on what is referred to as rod #4 Light Tip. The stress curves cross at the 48” point and the Milward has the higher stresses in the tip as might be expected with the extra cane removed.  (Larry Puckett)

      By the way there are 8 different PHY Para-15 8’ tapers in RodDNA, any idea which one you’re talking about?  (Larry Puckett)

        I have only seen six different tapers for the PHY Para 15, but they were all 2 piece rods.  Is this a 2 piece rod with 0.015 removed from each station on the tip and 0.010 removed from each station on the butt?  (Hal Manas)


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