Sandy's Custom Fly Rods
My name is Sandy Nelson, I've been building Fly rods for over 25 years and for 10 of those I worked closely with Mike Barrio to produce the Barrio range of fly rods.
That opportunity furnished me with a wide experience of many materials and a variety of styles of fly fishing rods, from this I have established the ones that I like to work and fish with.
Mike's decision to no longer produce a range of fly rods presented me with the chance to take my hobby and use my favourite blanks to provide a bespoke service in small and exclusive numbers.
I am very fond of the Epic range of S2 Glass-fibre blanks produced by Carl McNeil in New Zealand, From 2018 these will be made with the new 8 micron ZenTron Cloth, increasing the performance of these already superb glass rods.
They best represent the features that I like and look for in a fishing rod. They provide extremely smooth casting and powerful blanks, that can easily cope with New Zealand's and Scotland's large selective trout and often breezy conditions.
They are robust in a way that carbon can't match, yet are still light enough for you to never notice the difference. They excel at presentation casts and when coupled with the correct fly line, are exceptionally accurate.
To me, they represent the best aspects of a high quality split cane rod but are affordable and workmanlike enough to bring 'that' feeling to your everyday fishing. The range of cool colours also adds a welcome helping of fun to your outing.
They provide immense fun with fish of all sizes allowing you to enjoy the fight of a smaller trout yet still have the backbone to subdue a larger fish without tiring it unnecessarily.
These really are rods for the Trout Bum, they are almost unbreakable yet still remarkably sensitive, I aim to build them in an unpretentious way with functional yet smart hardware that reflects the practicality and simplicity of the concept.
I don't carry a lot of stock as the rods are built to order, but I do have access to the full range of rods and I do carry my most popular sizes (370, 476 and 580) and colours (Nude, Olive and Salsa) in small numbers. That way I can build on the most up to date blanks in the popular colours /sizes yet still order whatever the customer wants from the range, if required.
For more details see swiftflyfishing.com/collections/epic-fly-rod-blanks or contact me to see what I have available, or to discuss the options on size and colour.
I use natural wooden inserts by Ray Lee with custom Lemke Up-locking reel seats to provide unique and classy hardware, a choice of inserts and finish of reel seat is available at time of ordering (a down-sliding Ray Lee Nickel silver reel seat is no cost option.). The Flor grade cork that I source direct from Portugal is hand turned to form my preferred Snub nose mini wells, or reversed half wells style grips, or any variation that you prefer.
I use only the best Pearsall's and Langley silks for whipping the guides and like to match the silk to the insert or the look the customer is going for. This is finished with 3 thin coats of epoxy for a glasslike transparent finish.
I use Snake-brand lite guides in Chrome and Dark Nickel, with the option of Fuji SIC, Minima and Joe Arguello agate strippers with a variety of inserts, all hand picked by me for colour and figuring.
I build 10 to 12 rods during the winter when I cannot get out fishing, receipt of deposit confirms your place on the list, and from there I aim to build not just a unique rod that reflects the owner's personality and preferences, but one that remains an everyday workhorse and will become your go-to rod. Along with the very high quality finish, I would like to build you a 'fishing' rod not a museum piece.
I build from the end of October to March and the slots are strictly limited and on a first come, first served basis. I will take orders all year but need confirmations from July/August onwards with an aim to have the blank order in by the end of September.
* 2018/2019 slots are still available *
All rods come supplied with handmade Tweed rod bag by my good lady wife and the Epic Katana style natural glass-fibre rod tubes
These individual rods are £425 including UK delivery and all standard options.
Having been asked many times to describe what each rod is best for, I have put together this short selection of rod descriptions.
Epic 370: New for 2018, this is a shorter version of the 476 and is a lovely smooth but crisp dry fly rod, especially geared towards smaller streams where tricky casts are the norm. Brilliant at tight quarters, yet able to lay out a long leader when you find yourself out of the trees and the rising fish are at the far side of the glide. For 2018/19 available only in Olive.
Epic 476: The perfect dry-fly rod with a crisp punchy action that is ideal on freestone and rocky streams where presentation is the priority. The smooth action helps with wiggles and mends whilst maintaining control at all distances. It excels with flies in the 12-20 size range and will still chuck a weighted nymph under complete control, should the need arise. For 2018/19 available only in Olive and Salsa.
Epic 580: The all-rounder, equally at home punching out a small streamer into a squalling stream, as it is producing a left hand curve cast with a size 14 dry to that fish rising in front of the boulder on your favourite freestone river. It handles flies from 8 -18 without quibble. The smooth action can be wound up to send a dry 100ft to that awkward lie under a tree on the far bank, as well as making all those tricky presentation casts much easier. Turning over indicators and weighted bugs are no problem and it can hustle an angry trophy trout, without fear of popping a fine tippet. For 2018/19 Available only in Amber, Olive and Nude.
Epic 686: This is the daddy of the freshwater Epics, which also makes a great light saltwater rod and has the gumption to deal with whatever the wind may throw at you. Power is the name of the game and launching large, bulky and /or heavy flies is easy, what surprises you is the way it will present a size 14 dry. All that lovely Epic smoothness is not lost in the power, the rod just gives you extra umph when you need it. Extremely capable under any conditions, but perfect if you fish bigger flies and streamers. For 2018/19 Available in Olive, Salsa, Blue and Amber (not carried as stock)
The new FastGlass 11 blanks made from the ZenTron material have a unique Snakebelly finish, which is slightly textured adding an extra dimension to the superb finish that Epic are achieving with the new manufacturing process.
Colour choices include the following which I will carry in stock, Olive (the lower profile, classic option), Salsa (the vibrant, fun option), Nude (Uber Cool and clean option)
Also available by request in some sizes (not all, please enquire as to availability), Amber (reminiscent of a fine Bamboo), Blue (which just pops in the sun and screams Saltwater) and even a Gloss Black (for those of you who don't want folk to know your secret!) These are not always available and maybe in limited sizes only, so ask if anything stimulates your imagination.
I look forward to hearing from you and discussing your own requirements for that unique and personal rod you have always promised yourself.