Fishing The Fly Forum, based in Aberdeenshire,  Scotland

Sandy Nelson

The 2020 project
« on: August 25, 2020, 11:06:31 AM »
HI Folks

Just a wee spiel about my project i've had on the boil since early this year. the final step was christening the first demo rod last night.

As you all know, Glass is my addiction (along with bamboo :X1) and the one i can actually build economically for everyone to share.
The last 8 years i have been mostly building Epics, but this year with the lockdown, my shelves got emptied of stock, so i had the opportunity to do something i've been wanting to do for a while.
I've built on a lot of different blanks over the years and have a really good idea of what i like and what works. So i got together digitally with Mike McFarland in pennsylvania as he is the best independent blank maker and the one guy who understands glass better than most. So after a couple of prototypes and some cross market exploration he has made me a Blank which is exclusive to me.

I knew i wanted 7'9" as it has the reach of an 8ftr but is light in the hand like a 7'6", it had to be a 4wt for some folk and a 5wt for others (this is much easier with glass as it depends how you cast as to what you like on most rods) i wanted 4 pieces and it had to be Clear glass with a colour option. So we have Clear or Warm yellow. It has a distinct Para style action which means it can be used to present very delicately but also wound up to get some distance with very little effort as the blank does all the work. Its much lighter than you expect and has the balls to deal with double figure fish (the final prototype handled a 9/10lb fresh run salmon with no issues)

The conundrum was S-Glass or E-glass and Why? Sglass is not a new material, itís been around as long as Eglass, since WW2. So the all new all singing and dancing material spiel is just BS (the only real advances are in resin technology). The main difference..... Sglass is 90% unidirectional fibres and needs a separate scrim cloth to keep it round and give it strength. It is by nature faster and recovers quickly but can have some tip wobble as the scrim is very light at the tip. Now faster is not always what folk expect it to be.  Eglass however is 70% unidirectional and 30% cross weave, this means no separate scrim cloth so it is lighter for a given size. It has its own built in strength and is less prone to tube deflection than Sglass, so given the right taper it feels stiffer, crisper and recovers faster, but at the same time it bends a little deeper and smoother.
Iíve tried Sglass and Eglass in the same spec rod, the Eglass feels nicer to cast, recovers quicker and is lighter in the hand. Itís slightly larger in diameter but not enough you would ever notice. I was a complete convert once I tried it.
Old school glass was made from Eglass because it was the best material for the job
Sglass has been pushed to try and distance folks minds from Old school glass( which was actually very good if you bought a nice one) so largely just a marketing ploy which I fell for for a good while.
Sglass is still better for saltwater applications as you are building strong fast rods for the winds and the weight is not such and issue, but for smooth trout dryfly rods , quality Eglass is best. No paint and Eglass means itís the strongest and lightest you can build a blank.

Consequently i have gone for E-glass for my trout rod, but i have access to Mike McFarlands brilliant GTX (S-Glass) range for saltwater rods and they come in Black or Clear glass

I've also got a Carbon Nymphing 10'3" 3wt blank that Mike has sent me to try out, so there will be a Demo of this available to send out to folk for feedback. I've no idea how to use this , so it will be going into the hands of guys who do this kind of fishing all the time to see if its a worthwhile addition.

Having a Glass dryfly rod and a specialist nymphing rod as my own two products should keep things niche enough to keep me interested and amused during the long winter months.

The first batch of blanks are basically all spoken for and my winter is fully booked (although i may be able to squeeze one more Clear glass build in) But both Demo rods will be available for anyone who wants to try them out.

So the Product of 6 months of talking and Design work from Mike McF has culminated in this. My first Glass rod on my own Blank , its a 7'9" 4pc 4/5wt . Quite poetically this is the 100th glass rod i have built and my 250th rod overall. Which came as quite a surprise when i worked it out. For something that is a Hobby, it's obvious that I must get bored easily  :z7

If anyone has any questions, just ask. There are good reasons behind every descision made during this project.


John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"

Duncan Inglis

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2020, 09:39:59 AM »
Stunning reel seat Sandy, does it allow you to move the reel fixing point to balance the rod?

Steven Kidd

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2020, 11:01:34 AM »

These look stunning, great achievement after the number of years you have been building rods......i played around with your very early 3wts and Barrio 5wts back in the day and owned a few!

At some point i will place an order with you for sure, :)



Sandy Nelson

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2020, 11:46:22 AM »
Hi Duncan

There is a degree of movement with that style of reel seat, , itís not much maybe an inch either way, off centre , but I find the rod balances fine with most reels in any of the positions.
I like the double banded ones because it has the lovely flared wooden end with I think looks great.  On a 7í9Ē rod  you can use any type of seat uplock, downlock , downsliding and the double banded and they all look good and work as well as each other, so itís all personal choice. I have them all,  as options for people.

And Steven, itís been a Fair journey for a hobby.  But itís great to think so many folk are out there catching fish with things Iíve made for them. :z18


John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"

Mike Barrio

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2020, 12:32:06 PM »
Had a few casts with this on the river the other night :z16

Cracking rod, already discussing which reel seat and wraps I'd like on mine :z12   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Kerry Jordan

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2020, 08:24:14 AM »
Interesting post Sandy and Iím one of those still catching fish on the 4 Epics you built for me. Yesterday I took my 480 with me to find I only had a reel loaded with a 3 weight Barrio Smallstream line. Iíd previously used the rod with a Rio 4 weight line which was fine, but the above combo was simply outrageously good at short and medium range.  I donít think the 480 was ever regarded as one if the star performers in the Epic lineup but maybe itís one that flew under the radar?

Rob Brownfield

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2020, 14:57:19 PM »
Most interesting. What do you think of S2 glass, which I believe is meant to address some of the issues you mention re scrim and bounce?
Ok, I admit it, I quite like this salmon fishing lark....

Sandy Nelson

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2020, 15:58:47 PM »
The S2 for the original epics which CTS made was a great material. Not so keen on the next generation though.  The interesting thing for me was how much lighter and faster the tip recovery is with The Eglass we have used, compared  to the S and S2 .  I tried S glass and E glass in the exact same spec side by side and the e glass felt nicer, then I ran that e glass against a pair of original epics side by side.  Again it felt nicer, much lighter than the 580 and with the same liveliness  and light weight of a  476 but  with the  extra reach.  I know it sounds subjective , but thatís how I did the testing. I ended up with something that is actually better than I original hoped for. It ticks all the boxes and is the best of both worlds in my eyes.
Itís tougher too which is great for troutbum sticks  :z16
John Geirach 1999 "Millions of trout have died of old age before i could catch them and there's not a damn thing i can do about that"

Mike Barrio

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2020, 19:24:43 PM »

For those of you that follow Sandy's rods ..... I have recently updated his page on the website  :z12

See:   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Fred Hay

Re: The 2020 project
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2020, 07:49:15 AM »
Just had a look at the new web page for Sandy's Rods - very impressive.


† Forum moderators : Mike Barrio - Hamish Young - Sandy Nelson

Barrio Fly Lines, designed in Scotland ... Cast with confidence all over the world

Barrio Fly Lines - - At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!

Please click here to read our cookies and privacy information before using our website forum

All content on this website is © copyright