Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The "Fleaflicker"

Own a piece of rod building history.
 This rod was built using a unique graphite blank that was produced for only a short period of time in the 1890's. Thw blank was designed by Dale Clemens, owner of Clemens Custom Tackle and noted author of several classic rod building books.
 The "Fleaflicker" was part of Clemens "Apogee" series of blanks that were built using both hollow graphite(butt section) and solid graphite(tip section). The tip section has a very small diameter, but it is very flexible and durable because it is solid graphite.
 This six-foot blank was originally designed for an ultralight spinning rod, but it works equally well as a 4 or 5 weight fly rod. Perfect for streams with tight cover.
 See the attached excerpt from Dale Clemens' book, Advanced Custom Rod Building, whiich describes the blank in his own words.
Dave Fowler
  Excerpt from "Advanced Custom Rod Building"(pp. 13-14)
 "Apogee graphite blanks
" Quite honestly, I debated whether I should even mention Apogee blanks because they are propriety to my supply business and were designed by myself and my manager, Dick French, with the assistance of a number of RodCrafter friends. It's hard enough wearing two hats. Apogee is our trademark for an extremely innovative concept in blanks, and I didn't want to be accused of blowing my own horn to sell my own products. However, the blanks are totally unique and have been accepted especially weel by custom rod builder. RodCrafter friends who knew I was working on the revision of this book felt it would bean important error of omission if I did not discuss these blanks. So- here it goes.
 We started with the design concept a number of years ago in anattempt to make a true ultralight graphite blank. This was to be a blank that honestly could cast a 1/32-ounce lure. The problem was you could only make the walls so thin, then they would collapse in use. We came up with the idea of using the same amount of graphite in the tip section, or even a bit less, but making it solid instead of hollow.
 The tips were made of a solid cylinder of graphite, which was then ground to form various tapers. The diameter of these rod sections were exceptionally small, only about 3/64ths at the tip. The thin profile could slice through the air with much less resistance than bigger-diameter hollow blanks. This reduced the loss of energy put into the blank by the caster. It also meant that a very light weight could load these delicate tips. They were delicate in the sense that they would cast 1/32ounce, but more rugged that regular hollow tips because they were solid. There were no walls to collapse or crush.
 The initial ultralight spinning blanks were called "Fleaflickers" and were offered in two models: five-foot and six-foot lenghts. Using two-pound test lline, Dick and I cast 1/32ounce an average of 45 feet. What suprised at first was that when we put a lure weight of 1/8ounce on the rod it did not overoad it. We had fifty blanks made up and offered them to attendees at the National RodCrafter Seminar who were interested in helping us test them, and the following year we listed them in our catalog...."
Reel Seat


"Fleaficker" By Dave Fowler

Stop in the shop and give it a cast.
Thanks to Dave Fowler for the info on the "Fleaflicker". He has a very limited quantity of these blanks left but is willing to make a few for anybody interested in buying one. Swing by the shop and give it a test cast!

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