Adding an Extra Stripping Ring to a Salt Water Rod ..... Why?

Lewis Chessman

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Last week I picked up an old Biscayne Rod Mfg 'Billy Baroo' 9 ft #10 out of idle curiosity. I thought it a bit odd that it should have three stripping rings and that they should be so close together on the butt and when showing it to a friend he noticed that Ring 2 was of a different style. I then noticed the lack of any metallic blue thread in its whippings, unlike all the others on the rod. The rod's been customised ......

From the butt upwards:
1-P1050344.JPG

The ring spacings are (from memory) 45 cm, 65 cm, 92 cm:
1-P1050345.JPG

The first ring (original):
1-P1050347.JPG

The second ring (customised):
1-P1050349.JPG

The only reason to add this ring that I can think of is to minimise line-slap (if it's a problem!) but I'm not a salt water fly-boy so maybe I'm missing something?
I'm inclined to remove it unless someone can think of a good reason not to.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Lewis.
 

Ard

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Hi James,

Removing; are you intending to keep it or move it on, removing may require that you apply a coat of finish between where the wraps are located going in both directions until you either reach the other wraps to avoid having a burnished area where you removed the guide.

Just my thoughts, been a long time since I've messed about with guides on graphite.

If I had a second thought it may be why remove it at all, why not see how the rod works prior to doing anything. I'm guessing the guide (being offset) is just unnerving to look at.
 

philly

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That's an interesting set-up. Especially the spacing between the guides. I would think it was done to eliminate line slap like you said. Just not well thought out. I only have two stripping guides on my 8 wgts but I use a spinning guide where the ring sits much higher off the blank and the rest of the guides on the rod are single foot spinning guides.
Like Ard said see how it casts before you decide whether to do anything with it.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks, gentlemen. Absolutely, I'll give it a trial cast before doing anything at all. Just need to buy a #10wf first!

I know what you're saying about the rod varnish, Ard, and have considered it a bit already. Given that the extra ring is a bit of a bodge job I suspect that the customiser hasn't sanded the blank down under the feet. With a degree of care and a greater degree of luck I'm hoping the old whippings and epoxy might come away quite cleanly and simple fingernail pressure will remove any remainder, leaving the original varnish in place. If not, well I've ordered some rod varnish already for some other wee jobs and will add this one to the list if needs be.

Cheers, guys.
 

Rip Tide

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I'm not sure that "line slap" would be the right term
The whole idea of stripping guides is to get the line to straighten out so as it will pass smoothly through the snake guides
I often put an extra guide or two on rods that I recondition. but not on the butt end.
Your first stripping guide should be placed at the distance that you, personally, reach to when stripping in line.
 

First Light

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I'm not sure that "line slap" would be the right term
The whole idea of stripping guides is to get the line to straighten out so as it will pass smoothly through the snake guides
I often put an extra guide or two on rods that I recondition. but not on the butt end.
Your first stripping guide should be placed at the distance that you, personally, reach to when stripping in line.
^ Good advice, especially on a heavier weight rod.

Although not widely known outside of the south, Biscayne makes quality rods. They are in Miami and manufacture mostly saltwater spinning and conventional rods under lots of different brand names. Three stripper guides are common on 10 wts and heavier, so am curious what are your thoughts/reasons for wanting to remove one of the stripper guides (question is for the OP)? And yes, the reason for 3 strippers is to control line slap before the line gets to the snake guides - especially important if you are lucky enough to latch onto a big hot fish in saltwater.

Side note: One of the fun things of having someone onboard who is not accustom to catching big, hot, & fast moving fish is giving them instruction of what to do with the fly line that is still lying on the deck when the fish bites and bedlam ensues.

Being the instructor and watcher and not the angler, there is often 5-15 of fly line lying on the deck or sand (if we are on land). The fish takes off like a dragster and the fly line jumps up and starts flying everywhere. It gets flipped around a stripper guide, around the reel, around the reel handle, around the rod butt, around the anglers finger or hand, around his shoe or toe, or around anything and everything you don't want it to get wrapped around, and then the line goes slack as the tippet parts. If you have not seen it or experienced it, it's almost as exciting as landing the fish - even for the angler whose heart rate has gone from 80 to 140 in about 3 sec. :)
 

knotjoe

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I'm inclined to remove it unless someone can think of a good reason not to.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Lewis.
Yeah, that's definitely a strange location and spacing for a guide, at the very least removing it will tell you if there's a "secret" underneath. Functionally, it looks more like a way to reinforce or hide an area of damage than anything else.

Don't be surprised if there's a nick or gouge under one of the wrappings. Of course, it could just be someones brilliant solution to a problem we don't fully appreciate. Only one way to find out.
 

Lewis Chessman

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My thanks again.
knotjoe: Aye, you could be right! I hadn't thought of it being 'a beard', but maybe ....

First Light & Riptide: Interesting. As knotjoe says, the second ring is in an odd position, being closer to the first than the third. I can set the rod up for a static curve test at some point and see if it looks like it's influencing the line much, but it's so far down the butt that I doubt it.

The only function I could envisage was for better alignment of the spare line thrown in a cast and that, if the gap between rings 1 & 3 now (1 & 2 originally) was too great then power might be lost by the line hitting, even wrapping around, the blank (as often happens if one accidentally misses an eye when setting up!).

However, it isn't a particularly well executed whipping on the current Ring 2, functional but a bit crude.
Before buying I did some on line research into Biscayne and I'm pleased to read First Light's comments about them - it echos all I've read elsewhere - little though that is! Very little is to be found about their fly rods but the fact that they are a respectable, independent rod company was enough to garner my interest. Part of my curiosity about the extra ring is that I'm not sure if it's serving any purpose - I'd imagine an established company like Biscayne knows how best to space their eyes - but maybe not?

If it hasn't got a positive function then I'd rather restore (if that's not too grand a term for this old stick!) it to 'factory specs' and if the rod is, indeed, better with it I'll happily re-whip it, but this time with the metallic blue threads included. I'm getting really anal in my old age! :doh:

We've a winter storm blowing through this week but I'll test cast 'as is' when possible, though it'll be with an 8/9 short spey until I get a #10. No hurry on my part, though.

Thanks for the descriptive footnote, First Light, nice. ;)
My old boss used to go around cutting the buckles and straps of his guests' expensive wellington boots with, "You'll thank me when you don't lose a fish!" his reply to any complaint. This simply left them with a bemused expression clouding their anger ..... but we all know here what he meant! :)
 

flav

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There's an extra stripping guide on heavier saltwater rods because you fight big saltwater fish with the butt of the rod. That's where most of the bending of the rod will be, and the top half of the rod will be more straight. There's a lot of pressure on those bottom three guides when you fight a fish like that, so you want stronger guides on the rod butt.
 

bonefish41

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LC...my thought on a Biscayne flyrod is big fish heavy tippet as in no less than 20 and perhaps 30 to straight 50. Is your "Ten" really a 10 or is it like the old time pre Shimano Loomis Megas e.g. Mega 10 or Mega 12. My suggestion to follow your suggestion put a bend in the rod say 8-12 lbs see what the new guide looks like in the bend but the location is odd I would have split the distance equally...why do it... if I was going to use heavy tippet I might use three strippers to manage the line when fighting a big fish on heavy tippet whereas a snake might bend out ...the picture long time ago when in me "youse"... it was a RPLX 12 blank with straight 50 for filming...I could not pull more than 12-13 pounds...but the guide/line stress was on the last three strippers...that's why I put three on but now I'm lucky to pull 7-8 lb and that's for five minutes...as others suggested I would pull that ugly third off and wrap some thread around where it was for looks...HardPull.jpg
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, bonefish41, great photo! I understand your points, thanks.
I envisage using the rod primarily for Atlantic salmon, but they could be in the 20 lb+ class, fresh and frisky, so a bit of butt will prove useful. The tippet strengths are greater than I'd usually use so I'll have to play gently should the opportunity arise as I'll be on 12 lb/15 lb b.s.

I'll do a curve test this week and see where the action is, then plot a course of action. Happy to move, remove or redress Ring 2 as the rod suggests.

I'm afraid I don't know the G. Loomis Megas other than by one photo! They were a later IMX series, I think, circa '89?
When you question their line rating, was it rated heavier or lighter than true?

I don't know whether this blank was made by Biscayne in-house, made to their specs elsewhere or bought in 'as is'? J. K. Fisher supplied some blanks at one time but there's little info out there about the company despite their longevity.
On we go. So many rods, so little time. ;)
 

First Light

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^ A couple of comments on the GLoomis Megas as I was one of their prototype testers when Steve Rajeff built them - yes, they were rated for the heavier size line, but would cast the lighter size line if you (1)slowed down your cast a bit, or (2)lengthened your line that was out the tip.

The rod you have may in fact be a Fisher (Kennedy Fisher) blank, as Biscayne was known for their Fisher rod blanks back in the 70 and 80's (both conventional and fly). In the 1980's the Kennedy Fisher rod building company went out of business and Kenny Carman (owner of Biscayne) had to go with a different blank for his fly rods. As I recall Billy Pate heard that and purchased all of Biscayne's remaining stock of Kennedy Fisher fly rod blanks (Billy owned World Wide Sportsman tackle shop in Islamorada, Florida, at the time).
 

knotjoe

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I don't know whether this blank was made by Biscayne in-house, made to their specs elsewhere or bought in 'as is'?
Do you really know if it's a Biscayne rod period? I mean, it's an eBay purchase and the label could be printed off by anyone these days. Could be an old build and decal, but it doesn't actually look so old or used especially the epoxy around the guides. Something built around the 70's, 80's, or 90's and used a good bit would likely show a bit of yellowing and perhaps some cracking at the guide foot/wraps where the epoxy sloughs over onto the blank.

Entirely possible the seller doesn't even know what it is, they just sell stuff on eBay and take the labels at face value. Could be a vintage Baroo or just about anything else.

I'd look for a flat spot near the "odd" guide on the backyard bend test. Some rods break clean and it's possible to put in a fiberglass tube or permanent spigot at the break. Might be a perfectly good and structural repair there, but you want to know about it before putting the rod to the test on fish.

Assume nothing on this rod or it's true origin.:icon_neut
 

knotjoe

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OK, this is just a theory after a largely unsuccessful web search for Baroo fly rods. I found this image on Pinterest and it makes me wonder if your rod was once a 3 piece which was later altered into a 2 piece. Not the similar wrap and position near the spigot ferrule on the butt section.





Here’s the link, it’s just a random image and as close as I could come. Heckuva coincidence if someone just randomly picked that strange location for a guide, I’m thinkin’ more like a 3->2 piece mod (for whatever reason they deemed necessary).

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/5e/56/52/5e5652bd62839e29bf8cfadca2805d08.jpg
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, knotjoe, well found with that pic! The rods are certainly similar - the seat, cork style, blank finish and applied spigots are all the same. Mine has snakes not single leg guides and the decals differ. If the rod had been converted from 3 to 2 piece there would be a second sleeved joint on the top section, but there isn't, so I don't think its a 'Frankenrod'. ;) Nor is there any sign of a fix under Ring 2, though there could be a chip, and the Biscayne case I have, though similar, is the correct length for a 2 pc 9ft rod, so I think original to this rod.

I guess someone could try and forge a Biscayne fly rod with old parts but why bother, particularly in the UK where there is zero brand recognition. I bought it uncontested for under $30 as there's not much call for 9 ft #10 sw rods here, especially vintage graphite ones (with free, extra rings!). My guess is that this was a holiday purchase brought home to Britain in the mid-90s and left in a cupboard for a quarter of a century, hence the decent condition. But that's just a guess. :)
 

knotjoe

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Hey, if you’ve removed that unusual guide and there’s not a seam or junction under any of the wraps, then it’s obviously not a spigot/fusion situation. If you haven’t, look for a seam when you do. Sounds like you have and it doesn’t appear to be a fused blank, which, wouldn’t be a bad thing anyway.

I guess someone could try and forge a Biscayne fly rod with old parts but why bother, particularly in the UK where there is zero brand recognition.
Because it’s rod building and you can! Entirely possible to fuse a spigot ferrule in the butt section, cut and build another ferrule further down, and then use a tip of full length from another rod of same make and specs. Defective 3 piece becomes fully functional 2 piece. Great many rods get returned to manufacturers for breakage or damage, they have a lot of parts to work with and hone their repair craft. There’s always a “full rod” in the pile somewhere, just have to put it together. If I ever come across a pile of damaged or blems at a price, I’ll have to think about it just to try some of the rodbuilding techniques that apply.

Frankenrods have their own unique charm (and I like it better than the cupboard story:D). Either way though, you got a sweetly unique rod at a great price. Go catch something on it.
 

sweetandsalt

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Also, go to Saltwater below and find the thread about extra strippers on 12-weight rods. Some well described thoughts there.
 

knotjoe

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Also, go to Saltwater below and find the thread about extra strippers on 12-weight rods. Some well described thoughts there.
Good thread. They're mostly discussing standard spacing with 3 strippers. What Lewis was wondering about on his rod was the position of the extra stripper. Given no other evidence of alteration, looks like it's a tamer guide and the position of around 4" from the first stripper is typical.

This one is more in your camp, S&S...it's a saltwater thing with warm temps and soft lines. From what I know (very little here), tamers are put there to help diminish line slap on warm, pliable lines in the more tropical regions. Apparently some folks feel it helps control the line on casting/shooting prior the standard guide spacing down the rod. A helpful addition, IOW.

Makes me wonder if this rod might have been fished quite a bit prior Lewis's acquisition. A custom job with a tamer? This old stick could have years of luck in it.:thumbsup:
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks sweet&salt, I'll take a look shortly.

'Tamer Ring'!
That's a completely new term to me, knotjohn, many thanks. I can't recall if it was here on the NAFFF or over on the UKFFF where someone started an FF Glossary thread and that has to be an new entry. :) Tropical temperatures are seldom seen in Scotland so the problem of over-supple warm lines has never troubled me. I admit, I'd never really considered it before, being more likely to suffer frozen rod rings, but the idea is clear, cheers.

Funny, kj, I actually awoke thinking of this rod's past. A custom adaptation on a custom rod? It suggests to me that the original owner (or a member of his party) had sufficient experience, confidence and ability to undertake the 'fix' on what was (I presume) a not-inexpensive rod in its day. The extra whipping is strong but not very neat, functional. Maybe it is just an amateur's attempt to improve it, maybe it was hurriedly done overnight 'in the field' having discovered the need for it? We'll never know, of course, but I do find it fun to play detective with these old rods, even if it's just idle musings. :)
 

Lewis Chessman

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I've had a read of the 3 Rings thread in the SW forum and get it now, thanks. Funny that the same question cropped up within a month and shame on me for not having looked first! But I'm glad I didn't as this thread has provided me with yet more food for thought.

I loaded the rod up with an STH ST3 Turbine and Barrio Short Spey #8/9, the closest I have to a #10 WF, and tried a grass cast. The single-handed Spey was pretty smooth and, considering I was on grass, rather satisfactory. I'm sure it'll cast nicely on the river. Overheading was no problem other than I ran out of garden! I didn't stay out long in the chilling wind but was happy enough with the experiment's results. The only negative is that the rod (4 3/4 oz) is slightly tip-heavy in the hand despite the 10 1/2 oz of reel & line counterbalancing it, and the whole might be a bit hefty for a full day's fishing.
No matter. It's more common that I get a few hours on the river rather than a whole day and this rod can join a few others I consider 'session rods' to enjoy when their time is right.

Next, I took the gear inside and tried to set it up, weighted at the tip, for a stress photo. The rod was lined then a light weight attached to the line hanging below the tip. This puts a light strain on the line in the rings without drawing line from the reel. I put a weight (about 1 1/2 lb) in a plastic bag and attached that to the tip ring with a large, strong paper clip (very easy to place/remove).
Unfortunately, I just couldn't fix the weighted rod anywhere to allow me to take pics so I'll have to describe the resultant curve.

Essentially, the point of bend in the curve of the weighted rod was centrally placed around the ferule, describing quite a tight inverted 'u'. The top section looks softer than in bonefish41's photo in post #10, with the tip pretty much pointing straight down during the test. The butt section is somewhat firmer in action showing much less bend than bonefish's Sage RPLX 12.

What was apparent was that the customised 2nd ring was doing next to nothing as a transitional guide, the line barely changing angle as it passes through.
There is, however, an extremely noticeable angle created at the 4th ring (1st snake) just 2" above the joint, exacerbated by the heavy curve at that point . To my eye the rod does look 'one ring short' but not where the extra eye has been placed! If 2 & 3 were both moved further up the rod the angles would be more obtuse - but that's more than I want to do, at the mo anyway. :)

So, given that the tamer ring isn't aiding the cast in this oft-frozen wasteland I call home, and that warm, soft, sticky lines are unlikely to plague me in Scotland, I removed the extra ring this afternoon. There's no sign of any damage beneath and it'll take a little work to either restore and revarnish or, probably easier for me, to just whip over the spot. I'm going to try to restore though, just for the experience. Pics when I'm done, honest. ;)

Thanks again, folk, your advice is invaluable.
Lewis.
 
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