A Tom Morgan Rodsmiths 8′ 6″ 4 Weight Fly Rod – Part Two

A Tom Morgan Rodsmiths 8′ 6″ 4 Weight Fly Rod – Part Two

In the previous post we begin taking a look at a graphite rod from Tom Morgan Rodsmiths. Clearly we found a lot of attention to detail and a strong desire to produce a fly rod a step above what is commercially available elsewhere.

Okay this time around we’re digging deeper. My digital scale reports the rod to be 2.75 ounces. That’s light. Now if the reel seat was cork, I imagine this rod coming in close to  2 ounces. A super light 4wt. That’s not to say the existing reel seat is anything to turn up your nose at. In fact it is a handsome, single uplocking, nickel silver seat with an exotic wood insert and the Tom Morgan Rodsmith seal on the butt cap. Quite attractive.

The grip is a 6.5″ long, half wells, with a nickel silver check at each end. Note both checks are octagonal, like the rod tube. Here again attention to detail. Moving forward we see a hook keep with red windings tipped in gold. The rod’s size and line weight are next, carefully written in gold lettering. The original owners name appears on the flip side in gold as well. And in the above photo, you see that the female ferrule has a check and the same color windings.

There is a single agate stripping guide, followed by snakes guides and a tip top. All wraps are perfectly done. Yes, more attention to detail.

Now we come to the “vintage” question I rose in the first post. This rod doesn’t have a serial number, but it does have a build date of  April 1995. Here’s why that is interesting. When Tom Morgan sold Winston in 1991, you can be sure the contract had a “noncompete” clause. That’s the way the business world works. Consequently Tom was unable at the time to start building rod commercially under his name. At some point down the road, however, Winston gave Tom the green light to start Tom Morgan Rodsmiths. When was that? Ummmm. As best I know it was sometime in 1995, making this rod one of the earliest Tom Morgan Rodsmiths made. In fact this might be the first one out the door, the first one Tom sold. Who can tell?

In the final post, we’ll take this rod out for a test drive. I’m anxious to see how it performs, and I imagine you are too.

 

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A Tom Morgan Rodsmiths 8′ 6″ 4 Weight Fly Rod – Part One

A Tom Morgan Rodsmiths 8′ 6″ 4 Weight Fly Rod – Part One

Recently a friend offered to lend me a fly rod built by Tom Morgan Rodsmiths. I quickly accepted. Why not? Naturally I wanted it to be a fiberglass fly rod. If you follow this site, you know I own and have reviewed a fair number of Winston fiberglass rods built under Tom’s watchful eye. These rods, sometimes referred to as the “Trophy Cup” series, have afforded me many fine days on the water. And I hoped to compare them to a newer Tom Morgan “glass” rod. This latest rod, however, turned out to be an 8’6′, 2 piece, graphite rod for a 4 weight line.

As soon as my friend handed me the rod tube, I realised something was up. First off, it was exceptionally heavy, far heavier than any other tube I had ever felt. Man it was a brick. And it wasn’t round either?

When I got home, I immediately put the tube on a digital scale. With the rod and the sock inside, it weighed an amazing 3 pounds! Easily double what you would expect. On top of that, the tube was octagonal. Which meant it would not roll off a table or be hard to grip with wet hands. And the paint job was textured too. Wow, thoughtful.

At this point my antenna was up, ready to catch every detail.  A typical rod tube cap is a flat metal, threaded, disc weighing an ounce or two. This cap was 1.5″ tall, solid enough to be a damn door knob, and deep enough to hold a big shot of whiskey. And get this, it weighed over 4 ounces by itself. But what really caught my eye was what came next – the rod sock. It is beautifully made. Now rod socks are usually a single layer of material; this one has two layers and tips in over 5 ounces! The outside material is a dark red wine, echoing the tube’s color. On the interior, the sock is lined with a black velvet-like material, and the whole affair is hemmed with a colorful border. Yes I was impressed and I had yet to even see the rod.

Sliding the rod out, I discovered it to be expertly finished. The butt cap has a Tom Morgan Rodsmiths emblem.Yet interestingly enough, I couldn’t find one on the rod itself. So is this a “kit” rod? No, I don’t believe it is. Rather I think the lack of a badge or emblem on the rod is a reflection of this rod’s vintage and how it may fit into the history of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths.

In the next post, we’ll delve into this “vintage” business and take a much closer look at the rod. We’ll cover what it weighs, the windings, the winding checks, the grip, the reel seat, the stripping guide and the other fittings. Then in a third post, we’ll get real serious and take this lovely critter out for a cast or two. Can’t wait! Part Two

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Report from Harriman Ranch

Report from Harriman Ranch

Dave’s trip out west is coming to an end, but he sent me a report on his latest adventure  – a day at Harriman Ranch on Henry’s Fork. Locate 28 miles south of Yellowstone, the eight miles of water known as Harriman Ranch is a mecca for the dry fly addict and the outdoor enthusiast.

At this time of year, the Mahogany dun hatch is in full swing. This is Paraleptophlebia bicornuta, not what we call the Mahogany dun here on the east coast. That mayfly is the larger  Isonychia bicolor.  Mid-morning is often the time the western Mahogany dun pops up. And you can expect spinner falls later in the day. Ahhh…gentlemen’s hours.

Bug Soup

Dave and Pete saw times the water was covered with mayflies. Check out this hatch! Hey bug soup! You gotta love it. Dave tell me he hooked a rainbow of near 4 pounds that broke him off in the weeds. Exciting fishing to say the least.

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Dave is still out West

My friend Dave sent me more pictures from out west. Lord that looks like fun. I’m drooling. Trout and more trout, and even grayling. He and his buddy Pete are having a blast. Get a load of Dave’s grin. Now there is a happy angler. Lotsa BWO action from what I hear. Big fish on small flies! And you gotta love the bottom picture taken at twilight.

Now don’t you think these guys should be wearing Stetsons?  Come on, you’re out west soaking up the culture. Doesn’t have to be a real Stetson; their expensive. A cheap straw cowboy hat, the kind you pick up at the gas station, will do. Hey, when in Rome go whole hog. LOL

 

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September Doldrums in Long Island Sound

September Doldrums in Long Island Sound

Well I was back on the water yesterday with the same poor results as last week. Plenty of bait. Yet no fish to be found. We’re stuck in the damn doldrums, folks. Get this: Surface water temperatures are hovering around 68 /70 degrees..hot, hot. With temperatures that high, unless we get a series of quick cold fronts, I doubt we will see a strong fall migration for weeks.

Is the Sound getting warmer? Yeah I think so, but why believe me? Below is what the The Long Island Sound Study has this to say. The Study was formed in 1985 as a joint effort between Connecticut and New York along with the EPA to monitor and help the health of the Sound.

“Average seasonal water temperatures have been slowly but steadily increasing at this location (Niantic) in Long Island Sound.  Winter temperatures appear to be increasing more rapidly than spring, summer or fall temperatures, and winter 2012 is the warmest since the inception of this record by a large margin.  Increases in surface water temperatures have been linked to observed changes in the fish community.  Cold-adapted fish have been observed less frequently in recent years, while warm-adapted fish have been observed more frequently.  The combination of increasing water temperatures and changing fish community is believed to be indicative of climate change. The overall mean from 1976 through 2015 is 3.90°C  (39.02 F) for winter, 11.22°C (52.20F) for spring, 20.07°C (68.13F) for summer, and 12.24°C (54.03F) for fall.”

And get this: I just heard a report that someone saw Mahi Mahi around Fisher’s Island. Really? Well the first frost in Connecticut is typically around October 11th. Couple that with a moon tide and the action should begin. Lets hope.

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