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Well like I said last week rods 001 and 002 are in the books.  I'm planning on taking a little time off building, but I seem to have the bug and I'm already thinking about 003.

Knowing that I'll get a lot of different responses, I'd like to get some suggestions for what taper to pick.

My first rod was a PHY Midge (#2 was a gift for someone so I won't comment on it).  I picked the Midge because I didn't expect the first rod to turn out that well, and wanted try a more all a round useful rod when I had more experience.

So, I'm looking to build this next rod for myself.  As I've said a few times earlier I'm very new to fly fishing.  For right now all of my fishing will be done in Northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula on rivers like the Jordan, Pigeon, Fox, Escanaba, Ontanogon, etc.  I'd like to build an all around type rod that I can use in a variety of situations (dry and wet flies, nymphs, small streamers, etc.)  I'm thinking of a 5-6 weight probably 8 feet (2 or 3 piece).  I'd like a tried and true taper.  As far as action goes, I don't know.  All I've ever really fished is a couple of graphite rods, which I found to be okay at longer distances but extremely difficult in close on some of the smaller spots I find myself in.

If I were a client, what taper would you suggest?  If you could include a couple of sentences about why I would appreciate it.

Also, later this spring I plan on building a little bigger rod to use for larger rivers or maybe for hex fishing which I've never done.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    I love the Dickerson 7613 as an all around 5-6 weight rod.

    Also, it's more or less native to your local waters.

    It's 7'6" and uses a 13# ferrule.  I have build five of these and everyone who has one loves it.

    You can find the taper all over the web.  For instance here.

    For a bigger rod, I love the Dickerson 8015 Guide Special (8' 7 weight rod).

    Try the 7613, it's a great rod.  (Patrick Mullen)

    I'd suggest that you consider the Para 15, lighter tip.  (Grayson Davis)

    Very interesting.  The two replies that have come through so far would have echoed both of my choices.  For a 5 wt, I'd go with the Dickerson 7613.  I've made 3 so far and all of them have been really nice casters.  On the larger rod, I'd pick the Para 15, any version, including the version modified by Wayne Cattanach called "The Force."

    Can't go wrong with those tapers, just keep in mind that you'll have to work with the Para's as they're a little different than some of the rods out there.  Not bad, just different. (Todd Talsma)

    You want a 7'6" for those streams. On the Jordan in particular a 6'3" that you already have will fish great at Section 13 creek and in the brookie water and the Tricos at the discharge of the hatchery above that. But you will appreciate the length of the 7' 6" at Werner and State. Then on the Pigeon it will be back to the 6' 3" as you go north of the forestry headquarters - the West Lost lake area. And if you haven't done it. The midge will be a great adventure on 7 Mile creek for the spawning coasters. Just make sure you get the penthouse campsite at 12 mile campgrounds.  (Wayne Cattanach)

      I would take Wayne's recommendations to heart he lives in the area, as far as tapers go, look into some of Wayne's tapers, I have built his 7' 4 wt and a Sir D. which is an adaptation of his 7' 4 wt. Also built his 6'3" 4 wt, mine fishes great with a DT 4 silk line. His book has his tapers as well as being available on line.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    Payne 201.  (Steve Weiss)


In my search for a taper suitable for my grandson (five fingers old; I'll take my sweet time making it), I've pretty much settled on a version of the Lee Wulff Midge, 6’.  I've never seen or cast one, but there have been some fairly remarkable claims made about this rod; e.i., that it will cast anything from a 4 wt to a 7 wt quite well, with the real sweet spot being somewhere between a 5 and 6 wt.  I was just wondering if any of you know of any longer tapers, say 7.5’ to 8’, that you would say the same thing about?  Much prefer fishing rods in these lengths myself.  (Bob Brockett)

    A couple years ago, didn't Ron Barch write about a Cross Sylph that he said was excellent with anywhere from a 5 to a 7?  I don't think I can find my old issues of The Planing Form, but That's where to look.  (Lee Koch)

      I just did a single built Cross Sylph and find it a very nice rod. Handles a 5 wt DT well.  (Frank Paul)

    I've cast both an original and have built (2) PMQ versions of this taper. One was the first on I built when I started making rods.  The other was a rod for my daughter (so I get your logic here). 

    It's a great taper & will handle 5-7 wt's easily.  Even got a 6 lb steelhead on one just to prove I could.


    The best rod for a kid in my opinion is an Echo Gecho. 

    This might be the coolest graphite rod I've ever used.

    Here's why:

    • It's ugly! (but all graphite rod's are)
    • It's basically indestructible. 
    • It has a kid's size spey style handle that really helps them grip it.
    • It's also quite parabolic in action - it basically cast's like a Para 14.  (actually a lot like a Para 14 with a shade softer tip, I've never cast another graphite rod like it)
    • It's far easier to teach a kid to stop then it is to teach them to make a forward stroke & the parabolic helps this.  I started with roll casting and this helps too.  I just tied a 15' piece of colored ribbon to the tip and let her play with it in the yard a few times.  When I took her fishing all I had to do was tell her when to stop to stop her hand and the line would zip out.
    • I taught my 7 year old niece to cast using one of these too.  In no time she was throwing shocking loops.
    • It's long enough that it keeps the line and the hook out of the way.
    • A kid is  better off with a two hander roll casting (8 feet long) than 6 footer (and safer).

    And apparently it works.  She made a 25 foot cast herself for this trout!  (she's 3)

    Babulic, Jenna

    Babulic, Jenna 2

    So as bizarre a recommendation as this may seem if it has to cane for a kid; a Para 14 with a 3 inch removable fighting but is just about perfect.  (Jon Babulic)

      Wonderful pictures.  (3 years and a 25’ cast?!!  SWMBO keeps telling me women are smarter, but this is ridiculous!)  That's one colorful fly rod.  Feel like a fool if you lost that on the bank!  Funny you should mention a plastic rod.  I have an old fiberglass blank (7’?) that I never did anything with.  Honey colored.  Think it was a blem.  Very soft action.  Maybe I should tie a few (very bright) knots on that thing and start there.  Make the bamboo rod in time, as something special & to get him headed down the right path.  Anyway, seems like sound advice.  Thanks for the pix.  I'll show them to the wife and boy I can hear her already!  (Bob Brockett)

    Payne 102  8' 5-wt.  Consummate fly rod.  (Steve Yasgur)


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