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Spey Rod Ferrule Care
Lets face it, spey rods are subjected to tremendous forces while casting, and some times bad things happen. If you've ever had a spey rod blow up in your hands you know how heartbreaking it is. Spey blanks fail for a number of reasons. Sometimes it's because an earlier bump or ding has placed a weak spot in the graphite and it manifests itself later. Another cause is severely overloading the blank, usually by casting a line heavier than the rod was designed to handle. The third reason, and I'd venture to say the most common, is casting with loose ferrules. Even if you carefully assembled the rod sections before hitting the water, just the act of casting can cause rod sections to loosen up fairly quickly. I used to tell myself to check the ferrules periodically throughout the day, but honestly I rarely remembered. Now I take care of my rod before I hit the river and I never have to worry about it. Care and maintenance is quick, easy, and cheap, so don't put it off any longer.
What you'll need:
Your favorite spey rod
Cotton Swabs
Candle or Bees Wax
Electrical Tape

Periodic Maintenance
Several times a season it's a good idea to tune up your ferrules. The first thing you want to do is check the female ferrule for dirt or grit. Foreign substances in your ferrules will keep the sections from making a good connection. It also wears away at the graphite, compounding the problem down the road. The best way I've found to clean out female ferrules is with a cotton swab. Insert the swab into the ferrule as far as you can, press it against the inside wall of the blank and pull out. Rotate the blank slightly and repeat until you've cover the entire surface. It's best if you can insert the swab without hitting the sides, as the idea is to draw any grit out of the blank, not push it in deeper!
If you look at a male ferrule you will notice that it's a little duller looking than the rest of the blank. That's because it has a very thin coating of wax on it to help it "stick" to the female ferrule. Over time the wax wears away and needs to be replaced. I've heard long debates over which type of wax is best, candle wax or bees wax. I've come to the opinion that it doesn't really that much, the important thing is that you remember to do it!
Place the wax gently against the blank at the base of the ferrule and rub towards the tip. Rotate the blank slightly and repeat until you've covered the entire ferrule with a light even coating. If you end up with any small chunks of wax, remove them from the ferrule with your finger nail.
I've found it's easiest to perform the maintenance at home between fishing trips rather than on the river. If you do plan on cleaning on the road, remember to store your wax in a cool place. Cars can get pretty hot, and melted wax can be a real mess!

River Care
The best way to keep your rod from loosening up while casting is to tape the sections in place. First put all of the sections together as you normally would, making sure that the guides and reel seat are properly aligned. Use a good quality electrical tape (I'm using stylish blue for better visibility) and start on the female section about 2 inches above the ferrule. Place the tape on the blank at a 30-40 degree angle and begin wrapping down, overlapping each wrap about 50%.
Wrap down about 2 inches over the male section and reverse directions returning to the top. You'll want to trim the tape so that the end is on the back side of the blank. That way if the tape begins to peel up a little bit it won't interfere with shooting line.
You'll notice in the photo that the corner of the tape is folded over on itself just a tiny little bit. I like to leave myself a VERY tiny "courtesy tag" to make removing the tape easy. One quick note; you'll definitely want to tape the ferrules BEFORE stringing your line through the guides. Doing it the other way around is a serious pain in the rear!

Author: Brian Doelle
Great Lakes Spey Clave


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