3.20.2013

Fly fishing diaries | Making a plaid rod sock

A fly rod needs a fly rod sock, and a tube to protect it. My 54-year-old fly rod didn't come with either, and I wonder where they disappeared to. Fenwick rods always came with both.

A rod tube is a pretty simple thing to construct: figure out the length and the number of sections needed, and find the perfect fabric. For a Fenwick rod, that means plaid flannel. So today I went in search of plaid flannel. I hoped for green... it would have been perfect to find the Fenwick plaid, but that wasn't in the cards.

I did have a choice of a couple of dozen different plaids and colors (I guess plaid flannel is in style right now), and finally narrowed it down to two. One is red and black, the other is navy and red and green with some fine white and yellow pinstripes.

I couldn't choose between them, so I got both.

I figure that this old fly rod isn't the only one I'll ever own, and when I find another rod I can't live without, it will have a wardrobe made from the red and black fabric.

So... time to design a rod sock.

Dave's Fenwick fly rod is a 4 piece, nice and compact for backpacking. He bought it in high school, and it came in a simple green plaid sock and an aluminum tube. I pulled it out of the tube and pulled out each of the pieces. It hasn't been out of the tube in at least two decades, and it's beautiful. I used his rod sock as a model for my own.

My sock only needs two sections, so I had a dilemma: do I make the sock as wide as his, or do I make it with only the sections it needs? I decided to make it wide... when I roll up the sock the extra fabric will protect the rod. I also decided to make it long enough to fold over the top so the rod won't slip out, and add narrow grosgrain ribbons top and bottom.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.


Dave is busy cooking up a design for a protective tube for the fly rod, as we're discovering that tubes for 2-piece fly rods are pretty hard to come by. Not many rods are made with just two pieces anymore; most are 3- or 4-piece (or even 5-piece) to make them easier to pack and carry around.

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