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I want to build a 3 wt rod for a friend of mine.

Small meadow stream, 20 to 30 foot casts - tops.

All dry fly. 

Maximum trout size is about a 12"  brown.

6' to 6'6 I suppose, but I'm open to suggestions.

Joe Kimsey is 80 but can still bang out a full line with an 8 wt.  He has a disciplined casting style.  (Leonard Baker)

    If you would go 7' a Garrison 201 is hard to beat.  (Joe Arguello)

    I love my 6’ 3 wt. I built from Cattanach's taper.  I do just the type of fishing you are describing, except that "meadow" does not describe the streams I use it on.  "Hemlock snaggy velcro-brush-lined" is much more accurate.  It speaks volumes that I like to fish this rod in places like that, but also where I have room to cast more.  I find it to be very versatile.

    The action goes way down into the grip, so if you don't like that kind of thing, you might not care for the rod.  Personally, I think it is great on this particular rod and is perfect for the really short casts on really small streams.  Again, versatile.  (Carl DiNardo)

    I'm not a big fan of really light lines, especially anything under a 4wt. With that being said, there is one 3 wt taper that I like and would fish under circumstances that called for it. That's the 6'8" F E Thomas 3 wt. It is an exceptionally nice taper.  (Will Price)

    I have made several of Wayne's 6' 3 piece 3 wt tapers Like them a lot. Just finished one about a month ago.  (Tony Spezio)

      I have made that rod and it a fine tool.  (Gary Nicholson)

        It is a sweet little rod is it not, I have another ready to wrap. I was fishing the first one I made on a small creek here for Bluegills and hooked into a 2 pound bass. I did get to land it on that small rod.  (Tony Spezio)

    6'8" FE Thomas - absolutely great 3 weight.  (Bob Williams)

    I have a G197 Garrison 6'9" 3 wt. that I like very much. Bruce Howell built it for me back in the 80's. There is a 7'9" 3 WT that I am wanting to try real bad.  (David Roberts)

    Thanks for the great suggestions.  Thomas, Leonard, Garrison, Cattanach.  So many to choose from. I'll probably make them all!

    Again,  many thanks.  I'll keep you all appraised of my halting progress. I get my shop rewired weekend after next; the garage was so dark the lightbulbs carried flashlights. (Leonard Baker)


I would like to make a 7’6” 3 weight.  My problem is that my final forms start at .030 and go up .005 at 5in. stations.  Most of the tapers I am finding are either smaller, or the tip is under .060.

The two I did find were similar.  One is Smartt Stan and a Lewis Special.

Has anyone built these rods or cast them.  Any info would be a help or if you know any another tapers that might work. I heard that Leonard had a model 38 ½ that might fit the bill but I can’t find the taper.  (Rick Barbato)

    Take a file and draw the surface of your forms down a little at the tip end, then sand it smooth. Make sure to keep the file flat on the surface. I think Mike Shay one time used a belt sander on a set of his.  (Larry Puckett)

      Yep...I did that...

      easy as pie...  (Mike Shay)

      If you do decide to drawfile the forms, make sure how far up you'll have to do it. I did that, successfully, but found that the stations for 15 or 20" also were too small, when "cranked".

      Probably ought to know what you're getting into before you're up to your ears. It's not hard, but it's not FAST either.  (Art Port)

    Rather than filing down your forms, there's another way.  Make a one foot wooden (or metal) extension for your forms & screw the forms & extension to your workbench.  I bet it'll work for one rod.  (Ron Larsen)

    Here you go with a sacrilegious solution. Make the tip with your forms as tight as they will go  on the tip stations then sand each flat to the desired thickness. That small tip is all power fiber anyhow.

    Good luck with the project..  (Jerry Drake)

      I agree with Jerry, don't mess with your forms. You won't have to sand off much to get the tips down to dimension.  (Bill Walters)

        I have seen a lot of people post smaller rod tapers and say that they beef up the tip section to .60+ anyway and the rod turns out to cast great.  You might build it as close as you can to the taper based on what your forms will allow, and then tape on guides and give it a cast.   If you don't like the way the tip flexes or bounces or whatever, then start lightly sanding to get to your final dimensions.  Just a thought from a newbie.  (Greg Reeves)

        Yes well...

        I did take a belt sander to my forms and have absolutely NO regrets having done it. It's not like sanding a piece of wood after all. My first set of forms were made by Lon and the tip groove only went down to .031". Giving a tip dimension of .062" if I was lucky. I wanted to make some rods that had final tip dimensions of .048 and .050. That would have meant sanding .012"-.014" off the tips. Which pretty much would have left a tip made out of glue, not power fibers. Besides since I flame rods mostly, the color difference would have been quite noticeable.

        You guys can sand off the powerfibers if you want, but sanding down the top of the forms was no big deal. Maybe a half hour.  (Mike Shay)

          Man, do I feel like a Goof. Never thought about a belt sander.  I made my forms by hand and they only go down to .030".  Was not looking forward to breaking out the file again.  (Pete Emmel)

            I wasn't suggesting that anyone MAKE their forms with a belt sander. Only to modify them a bit if they see fit, you know?  (Mike Shay)

          I’d go with Mike and belt sand them down.

          Most of my rods have tips less than 0.060. I would be unhappy if my forms were not able to be set to these dims.

          You aren’t taking off much steel so the forms are highly unlikely to go noticeably out of whack.  (Stephen Dugmore)


Being fairly new to rod building (starting my 6th rod) I am looking for a 7’6” 3 wt.

I have built a Payne 101 and like the action I am wondering by changing line wt in RodDNA if the numbers that it generates would be the same only in a 3 wt. or would it need some fine-tuning,  If anyone has tried this how did it work out?  Is this a good idea or should I just build a proven taper?  (Rick Barbato)

    I don't use RodDNA, but I know it works fine with Hexrod.  (John Channer)

    If you are using v1.3, you have two options:

    1. Simply changing the line weight to 3 and generating a new model/taper or 2.  Use  the  Controlled  Modification  and subtract .012 (.006 per line weight) from  the existing LWV (line weight value) and generate a new model/taper.

    I have successfully used both methods, and if you do both, you will get slightly different values, both legitimate in my opinion.  Select both and view the stresses together and make a decision as to which you prefer.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions regarding RodDNA.  (Larry Tusoni)


Does anyone have a taper for a fast 8' 2 piece 3wt that they would part with?  (Jon Holland)

    Go to, find the taper archive and uce the program to convert the Dickerson 8013 to a 3 wt, you won't be disappointed.  (John Channer)

      The Dickerson 8013 will make a fine 3 wt but it maybe too fast in the butt for most folks. If you reduce the butt to

      80-- 287
      90-- 340

      it will be slowed down just a little to a medium fast rod something like the Cattanach Taper, the Sir D as a 8 ft.  (Bob Norwood)


I would like to know what everyone would suggest would be a good taper in the 7’ 3 wt category for a graphite convert.  I know what I would choose, but would like to know what the rest of the list would pick.  There aren’t many in the databases I have looked through so I have chosen a couple of tapers and either reduced the line weight or shortened the rod.  Which taper would you choose to build for this person?  (Greg Reeves)

    Garrison 201, 202 or 202e depending on casting style.  (Joe Arguello)

    I know you asked for a 3 wt but you also state that you are a graphite convert. I think the "Sir D" taper from Wayne Cattanach will suit you very well. It's a 7 ft 4 wt with a fast action.  It probably feels very much like a graphite 3 wt.  (Larry Swearingen)

      Sir D's got my vote. (Thanks to Tony S.)  I've built seven so far for fellow graphite junkies and all have loved them.  Today I will start milling the Sir D 7642 in the hope it will be pretty close in action to the 7042.  Sure wish I had more patients to slow down my casting stroke for a less progressive taper.  Maybe that will be my 2010 resolution.  (Tom Key)

        We had this discussion  a couple weeks ago.  If you have old postings, see Al Baldauski's from Dec 11. If you can believe what stress curves say, Wayne's 7642 is different from his 7042 (Sir D).  The 7642 looks slower, maybe semi-parabolic (whatever that means).  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

      I have to agree on this, it is one sweet rod.

      I also made a 3 wt from his book, not sure if it was a 7', I can't look it up now. It too was a sweet rod but I did not fish it. It was a gift for a friend.  (Tony Spezio)


I am needing to build a short 3 wt rod for small fish, tight cover, with casts 20 feet or less.  Sometimes a little more if out poking around for bream.  I've been wanting to build the F.E. Thomas 6'8" 3 wt taper for a while now but looking at the stress charts, It looks like it loads properly at 50 feet of a 3 wt line.  Now this is where I could be screwing up with stress charts because I am looking at the maximum stress between 200k and 225k when the line line length is set to 50.  If I lower this down to 20, the maximum stress never breaks 130k and to me that means it would hardly bend.  Am I thinking correctly?  Also, is the F.E. Thomas taper a good choice for this scenario or can ya'll think of a better taper.  (Greg Reeves)

    Yes, this rod is quite quick and I have one that carries a 4 wt forward  for distance and 4 DT for close up. It throws an unreal tight loop. (Doug Easton)

    You might take a look at the Cattanach 6632.  It is a very sweet rod for close in casting.  (Dan Zimmerlin)

      Just to confuse you some more, I've built a number of the Winston 6' 3 wts. that I really enjoy. I fish mine with a DT3F line for brookies in the Sierras. It's good for tight-in fishing, but can lay out line as well.   (John Parmenter)


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