L. Kenney 888-3 Prototype build

Greetings from the world’s laziest blogger. In fact, I’m not a blogger. I merely record things here for posterity. As I sit here 15 minutes into the new day watching some Chuck Norris movie from 1978 I felt compelled to share some pics of a rod I’ve recently completed.


I was fortunate enough to pick up the blank in question off of Larry Kenney awhile ago and I’ve been sitting on it ever since. My feverish “one rod a year” build schedule didn’t afford me the time to get started on this one until a couple of weeks ago. Being that it is a new year I decided to make a conscious effort to get some more builds finished. I don’t care for resolutions, of the New Years variety or otherwise but you know…modest yet achievable goals and all that. Plus I’d kind of like to fish some of them.


So the blank is an 8′ 8″ for 8wt spread out over three pieces with Mr. Kenney’s black spigot ferrules and latte paint job. He sold the blank to me as a prototype; I believe that he was working on the taper and wasn’t quite happy with this one. I got a chance to cast it today for about 20 minutes between ice floes on the Allegheny and it feels pretty damn nice to me.


As far as the gory details are concerned, the tip top and guides are Snake Brand as always but this time I opted for the Universal guides with Mike McCoy’s proprietary ECOating. The reel seat is the LC10 in a nickel finish from Lemke Concepts. The thread wraps are Fish Hawk rust #257 nylon and YLI #223 for the tipping. Lastly, the Portuguese cork was glued up and turned down on a makeshift mandrel chucked up in my cordless drill.


I finished the wraps out with Thread Master Lite but I think I’m going to switch over to spar varnish for awhile and see where that takes me.


I’m terrible at describing rod actions so I’ll just say that the 888-3 has a good amount of power with a softer tip. I only had a Rio 7wt Smallmouth line with me so I didn’t try different lines but I could keep a lot of line in the air while false casting. Where I ran into trouble a few times was trying to over power the cast resulting in a pretty evident tailing loop. I’ve had this problem on most softer rods I’ve cast and I really have to slow down and let the rod unload itself. It looks better and feels better. All in all I’m very happy with the rod and think it’ll prove itself a true 8wt in my hands.


Gotta go. Chuck Norris just drop kicked somebody through their car windshield. Take care.

Kabuto 764-3…finally


This rod was a long time coming. It’s been “on my bench” for over a year. I’d wrap here and there and when I could and finally I got it together this May.

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The blank is a 7’6″ 4wt Kabuto from Japan and it is as advertised. I couldn’t even detect a spine on the blank when I was prepping my guide spacing.

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I got an opportunity to fish it recently and high water put my dry fly plans off so I actually swung a brace of wets with it and had no problems. I even caught a handful of colorful brook trout. I couldn’t resist tying on a size 14 Royal Wulff after awhile and the Kabuto just sings as a dry fly rod. You could say that we bonded.

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I used Snake Brand Universal guides as they’re the best. The straw colored silk wraps are of the Pearsall’s Gossamer variety as are the antique gold and black trim wraps.

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The stripping guide is a Mildrum SRMC. I love an agate stripper but I constantly worry about breaking the stone while I’m fishing.

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The reel seat is also from Mike at Snake Brand Guides and the spacer is an amazing piece of buckeye burl. I wouldn’t normally use an uplocking seat on a 7’6″ 4wt but I had to see this spacer on this blank. I think it worked well.

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Every build that I’ve finished has come with a lesson, usually not a free lesson either, and this Kabuto was no different. After applying my second coat of epoxy I was extremely happy with my wraps. They were slender and smooth and the silk just melted around the guide feet. Feeling industrious I decided to finish shaping a cigar grip for another build I’m working on. I set up my lathe…ok, it’s a hand drill…and began turning down my cork. I kept checking my timer so I could rotate the blank while the epoxy set and avoid the dreadful sag then I’d go back to my cork about 8 feet away. About 30 minutes into my sanding I went back to my Kab blank and noticed a fine layer of cork dust all over the table…and the wet wraps. I had to let the epoxy dry thoroughly and sand them down a bit before applying a third coat. I was pretty mad at myself and the wraps are a little fatter than I wanted but the fish don’t know so it’s ok.

Thanks for reading.

Swinging Into 2014

I’ve pretty much given up on making the 120 mile drive to Lake Erie to specifically fish. Gas is expensive, I have countless responsibilities at home, and my luck has been so poor when it comes to steelhead and fishing conditions, I was beginning to think I was cursed. I still make the drive up but usually to visit family and friends. If conditions happen to be favorable while I’m there I’ll go out for a few hours. I’m operating under the notion that someday in the future I’ll have more time to spend chasing these fish.

A week ago the North Coast was locked in ice due to the now infamous polar vortex. Every single tributary was frozen over. Fast forward a week and mild temps and snow melt had the creeks in fine shape. I jumped at the chance to swing a few big Intruders in the off color water.

I had lulled myself into a trance to the rhythm of cast-swing-step-repeat. This is half the reason I fish this way…it can be very relaxing. Suddenly the line went tight and the loop of running line slid out under my index finger. I felt the head shake. Finally. A fish. Not a monster but a respectable fish on the swing. Its a good start to 2014 and I know it’s not to be taken for granted. I’ll take it.

Waiting Lists.

I had contacted Larry Kenney in 2012 about purchasing one of his rods and he explained to me that he didn’t make a lot of rods anymore but still did so on his own schedule. When you’re as good as Larry you can do that. Mr. Kenney was hired by Harry Wilson in 1975 as the first employee at Scott fly rods. He continued with Scott until 1996 and his years of experience are evident in his tapers and aesthetics. His rods exude an understated classiness. I lined this 8’6″ 6wt with a Rio Grand 6 and walked down to the river. One cast and I had an ear to ear smile on my face. It’s a strong rod with a lot of power but it’s also delicate. A rod that I could just cast for a long time without even thinking about fishing. Here are a few pictures…enjoy.

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Thanks for reading.

June 19, 2013

I recently heard a phrase that has stuck with me somewhat, “the days are long but the years are short.”  I thought of it again this morning as I headed out into the Highlands and realized that Summer begins this Friday at 5:04 a.m.  It seems to me like it was April just last week.

The Stream.

The Stream.

I threw my gear in the truck and headed to a “local” stream that got a good rain the day before. I was a little disappointed to see a car parked in my spot which is well up off of the main road. Oh well, what can you do?

Lil' native.

Lil’ native.

The first pool I stopped at produced a little brook trout on a black ant almost immediately. Seeing as the hole was spooked I hiked on upstream. I settled into my next spot which involved some crawling to remain undetected. Hearing a noise behind me I wheeled around to find two employees of the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. It turns out I was about to fish a pool directly adjacent to a Louisiana Waterthrush nest. Then one of the birders sloshed right through the pool to show me the nest, which was burrowed into the stream bank. They then asked if I could wait a few minutes so they could record some info. For what it’s worth I really do enjoy birds, however, I just smiled and said it was nice to have met them and moved on.

Perfect little chute.

Perfect little chute.

Moving on proved beneficial and I got into a few more fish before heading back to my truck. I was back in the city by 1:00 p.m.

Quick pic and then back into the pool.

Quick pic and then back into the pool.

Thanks for reading.

What a difference…

…365 days make. The hat on the left is my fishing lid from 2012. The one on the right is the one I’ve been wearing in 2013. No contest. I’ve barely gotten out this year and I couldn’t be happier about it. A newborn WILL cut into your time on the water but as my friend Coty reminded me, “fishing will always be there, these moments won’t.”  So there it is. A brief post to maintain a little relevance and a reminder to enjoy your kids. And most of all, happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

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Take care.