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Could someone explain to me what the capital 'E' designation means in Garrison Rods?  (Wayne Daley)

    The "e" designation was added by garrison after he changed the tapers in response to the new nylon fly lines that had just been introduced.  Up to that time, his tapers were all designed to cast silk lines.  After nylon showed up, Gary decided the old tapers needed to be reworked slightly to compensate for the new lines (if you look at the numbers he made the rods a little stronger, and if I remember correctly just a bit faster?).

    For modern plastic (PVC and urethane) lines, I think the "e" tapers are better than the non (maybe the folks who pan the 209 taper tried the non "e" tapers?).  Personally, I really like the 209e, the 212e, and the 201e.  (Chris Obuchowski)

      Aren't the E designations a little bit longer also?

      On the topic of Garrison, one of his rods is on my "to make" list this winter.  I seem to remember that I read somewhere that there is a typo in the taper for the 209.  Am I right?  One of the stations is listed at .234 and should be .224 or something like that.  Does someone know what I'm talking about or I just making things up?  (Aaron Gaffney)

        The 209 has a big dip in the stress curve at the 0.234 mark.  That implies a bad value.  An intentional hinge would be a bump in the stress curve and I don’t remember seeing any hinges in Garrisons tapers.  (Al Baldauski)

    As others have said, the E version is the stronger, but not by much, if you compare the station values you will see that the biggest difference is just 0.003, and the smallest is 0.001. These are not large differences, but when they continue for the whole taper do make the 212E somewhat stronger. Although I would think that someone casting them might have difficulty identifying which is which and their performance would be affected more by the caster than the taper,  regardless they are both very nice rods, although they are a little soft in the butt and therefore cast a little slow. However they are great for new casters, very forgiving.

    These are just my thoughts.  (Bob Norwood)

      Garrison's book has several inconsistencies, particularly in this E business.

      I quote from page 273: "One of the major differences between the medium tip and the regular or E tip (?) is that Garry always chose  1 size larger tip guide for the E rod --"

      But on page 280, where he publishes his 212 tapers, the E taper has the same top guide as the non-E version. Also on that page, the 209 and 209E top guides are the same.   (Bill Fink)

        Yes you are right, there are mistakes, but remember that the book was finished really without any final input from Mr. Garrison. In fact, it's amazing it was finished at all, which is a real tribute to Mr. Carmichael and friends. So maybe we should be kind, no that's THANKFUL that it was finished, for where would we be without Mr. Garrison and all that he has given us.   (Bob Norwood)

          Thank you very much, I'm curious did the versions your referring to have a swelled butt?  Someone else mentioned that the HEXROD version stopped at .295" at station 80", however the  RodDNA version, seems to have a slightly swelled butt with stations 85" at .330 and the 90" and 95" stations were both .340"  (Wayne Daley)

        Usually in a case like that, when a writer goes out of the way to specifically state a change is warranted that usually is the correct data. The information that did not change on a chart usually is simply a typo or oversight that slipped through proof reading.  (Adam Vigil)

          Do you know if the change was made in the last updated printing. I still have the old copy, sold the mew printing of the book to a list member. Maybe I should of kept it. He might check it out and post what he comes up with.  (Tony Spezio)

          Would you please tell us what your message means in plain English?   (Bill Fink)

            Plain English,

            Usually if they tell you in a sentence there is a change...go with that.  (Adam Vigil)

              I think I understand your point now. The written word in the para on Page 273 about the E-versions picking up one top-guide size  is correct and the taper tables for his 209E and 212E on Page 280 are therefore  incorrect. This will come as a shock to a great many makers.  (Bill Fink)

                I thought it was commonly known top guide needed to be bigger for the synthetic lines.

                I always thought so. Don't know where I learned it, I thought maybe here.   (Adam Vigil)


Does anyone have a list of which Garrison model is best suited to which line rating?  (Paul Blakley)

    206 is a 4wt, 209/209e 5wt, 212/212e 6wt.

    The E designation is for the tapers that garrison "beefed up" a bit to better handle synthetic lines (IE. nylon, and the e tapers do well with modern PVC/urethane lines; the non-e tapers are slightly slower, if you like that, and were designed for silk lines).  (Chris Obuchowski)

      Here is the list that I use

      GE-8972-221  (Bob Norwood)

        I was hoping that someone on the list would open a discussion on Bob's  message but it hasn't happened so I must display my ignorance. Could you please decipher the code you used on your list of line sizes? I don't dig it.  (Bill Fink)

          I'd say that he has the maker initials, rod length listed, then the line weight the the number of pieces and the maker's model, so


          would be "Garrison, Everett (SP?) - 6'9" 3/4 wt 2 pcs - model 193"

          Is this correct Bob?  (Todd Talsma)

            You got it.  (Bob Norwood)

            BTW it's how I file all my tapers in my data base, by maker etc.

        Does anyone know what the Garrison 193 is?  (Gary Nicholson)

          I like my version with a DT4.  (Doug Losey)

          6' 9" Trout 11/64 ferrule. Swell butt starting @ 65".  (Don Schneider)

        Just to add confusion.  I fish a 5 weight on the 212E.  (Gary Nicholson)


So many people have asked for the Garrison 209E conversion to 3 piece, I figured it would be easier to just put it on here.  I have made 2 of these, one for Nick Kingston & one for another guy.  Everyone who has cast it loved it.  Thanks to Bob Norwood for the taper.

0"    .070
5"    .084
10"  .104
15"  .122
20"  .136
25"  .149
30"  .162
35"  .176
40"  .1895
45"  .202
50"  .213
55"  .226
60"  .2385
65"  .253
70"  .267
75"  .282
80"  .300
85"  .325
90"  .325
95"  .325

Ferrules 10/64 or 11/64 & 15/64  (Bret Reiter)

    OH yeah, I used a double taper line on it for fishing but I think Nick had a weight forward.  Oh yeah, Nick I forgot to tell you I fished it before I sent it to you.  Had to make sure it worked OK you know!

    I also have this in 2 piece version & it is one incredible rod.  I have had several guides in Michigan that have cast it & they drooled over it.  (Bret Reiter)

    If anyone wants pics (AKA proof the lucky rod works).  (Nick Kingston)


Recently I built the Garrison 221E, light salmon. It's not been fished yet but the plan was to build it for Pink salmon and perhaps Coho on the beach. Pinks are a little less energetic salmon but still rank right up there with a Rainbow of the same size. 4-7 pounds generally. Coho are vicious wild big brutes of generally 12-15 pounds with few matches in fighting ability.  Just for the sake of those who haven't fished them. But my point is: Everyone who has cast my 221E on the back lawn is wowed by it's ability to throw line. Now that's not to my credit, albeit I built close to specs, but I think it's to Garrison's. So the question is, for all you Garrison fans, are his tapers as good as I think I'm finding out now? Even though they aren't modern in the sense of being parabolics or maybe Cattanach tapers? Not to say anything against modern tapers because that would be stupid. Just to ask if maybe I have come to the realization that the name 'Garrison' means a whole lot more to rod makers today than what I supposed was the case. How do you listserv members feel on that one? (Don Ginter)

    I've made quite a few Garrison-type progressive-taper rods, based on the 212E. Most were slightly modified using Bokstrom's "Controlled Modification" program. Several are used on Vancouver Island's Cowichan River. I've found them to be good, all-purpose rods that roll cast with ease, and will still punch out a long line.  (Ron Grantham)

    I'd say Garrisons won their fans via a distinctive, high-tech for the period appearance combined with a distinctive feel, produced by those carefully engineered tapers.  Garrison rods convey a sense of precise, smooth flexion through the entire length of the rod, persuading the user that, here, the ultimate capabilities of the material have been attained. I finally concluded that Garrison rods do not actually cast better, or farther, than equivalent Payne's and others, but they do a good job of persuading you that they do.  Garrison was able to sell his rods to the moneyed and sophisticated New York high end angling audience, competing directly against Payne, for a reason.

    There were these Chinese copies being sold by a US rod dealer some years ago.  I picked one up at a fly show, and (though the finishing seemed nothing special) I was amused to find that they had successfully copied the Garrison feel.   (David Zincavage)

    are his tapers as good as I think ?

    In a word, Yes. For me anyway, the Garrison tapers define the category of moderate progressive. There is just enough cane in the tapers to get the job done, and no more. As a consequence, they are lighter in the hand than parabolics or fast tapers. That does not matter much with short, light line rods, because the weight difference is not significant. It's a different story when you start talking about steelhead/salmon tapers. I like all of the tapers, but it's the 212, the 215, and the 221 that really shine in comparison with other tapers from the great makers. (Tom Smithwick)

      I've got the 212e on my long list of rods to make.  I have just one question concerning this (and other similarly troubled) tapers:  since the recipe here calls for a size 13 ferrule and the blank itself measures (according to Hexrod) 13.39/64 (.209) at the midpoint, what are most of you fellas doing there?  I know Milward and Gould have strongly warned against relieving much cane in the ferruled areas.  Their advice would seem to be a jump up in size to a 14 and just take enough cane off to flatten the apexes.  Have we reached any kind of consensus here?  (Bob Brockett)

        If I remember correctly Garrison called for a #14 on the 212E and that's what I used. Milward has a simple formula which I've always relied upon if in doubt. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head (should by now) so I'll dig it out and post it when I find time. (I bet somebody else has it on the top of his head).  (Don Ginter)

    I think Bill Harms is in a great position to answer you.  I say this having finally just gotten my hands on a copy of "Split and Glued by Vincent C. Marinaro."  Great, great read and pictures, and the scholarship is first rate.  Apparently, the answer lies with the theory of the convex taper. 

    Anything I'd say beyond that would be to recap Bill and Tom Whittle's scholarship on the subject, but it appears Robert Crompton and George Holden were fans of the concept and, as you know, Garrison got his education, initially, from Dr. Holden.  Many of our list members are familiar with convex taper construction, and Tom Smithwick cast and evaluated Vince Marinaro's rods for the book, so I'm pretty sure Tom can give you a better explanation.

    On the basis of personal experience, and having built a 215 for a friend, all I can tell you is that they are wonderful casting rods.  I'm laying in a supply of graph paper tonight so I can better visualize what my casting hand has been telling me for years.  (Steve Yasgur)

      I  have only ever built the 209, but I have now built a few of those. In fact, I am half way through one at present.  I loaned the first one I built to one of our river guides to play with, and he was adamant that he wanted one, and ASAP.  The thing that impressed him, as it did me, was the rod's capacity to handle a 20 foot cast right now, and in 30 seconds or so belt out 60 feet if needed, and without any noticeable increase in effort, or any huffin' and puffin'.  I don't especially like the rod, being more of a Payne aficionado myself, but those who do like them, like them a lot!  If I send  someone facsimiles of a Payne 101 and a Garrison 209 to try out, it's quite surprising how few like them both, but equally surprising that pretty well everyone really likes one or the other.  (Peter McKean)

      My old father-in-law never built anything but Garrison tapers, and he built quite a few.  He always said that if he had a 20 foot set of planing forms, he could plane up long strips  and that you could select pretty well any Garrison taper simply by moving up or down the forms.  We always, though affectionately, regarded him as a bit of a ratbag  (Oz slang for "quite eccentric") but who knows, in this he may have forsaken the ratbaggery for once !

    I have made both the 221 and 215.  I made the 221 as a three piece and the 215 as one as well ( right from the book ).  I haven't fished the 221 as it was made for an Atlantic Salmon fund raiser, but have fished the 215.  I used it for a week of fishing every day in Labrador for large brook trout and Arctic Char (my biggest was 7 lbs. plus).  I found the rod very comfortable to fish all day long in heavy water with a large variety of flies and a 7 wt floating line.  It also worked well for protecting the tippets even though the fish had habits of diving in between large boulders.  I never lost a fish to broken tippets or knots.  I did use truncated ferrules on the 215.  (David Van Burgel)

    Where did you find the taper for a 221E? Both of my copies of Garrison only list a 221. What is the difference in taper between the 221 and the 221E?

    I have used a 221 on steelhead and salmon. Mine worked best with a SA steelhead taper fly line in 7 weight or 8 weight.  (Jerry Drake)

      You are absolutely right. It's not a 221E, it's a 221 in the book and that's the rod I built. I hang my head in shame. :-(

      And thanks for picking up on that one!  (Don Ginter)

        Not a problem. The 221 is a great rod. I have put a lot of big fish on the bank with mine. Mine does have a permanent set from the king salmon fishing.

        Both of the 212 rods are great too.  (Jerry Drake)


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