Dr(e)ams of Islay for Anton in Russia
A rod inspired by a fishing trip I took with Anton to Islay last year which involved plenty of fishing and plenty of testing of the wonderful local whiskies. Anton asked me to build him a rod that evoked memories from that trip, and as a whisky aficionado that meant wood, whisky and copper.
The rod is built on one of my LemonGlass 8'6 #6wt blanks and the wraps have been finished with whisky coloured thread with copper trim bands. A length of copper thread has been wound up on the bottom section upon which is the inscription Dr(e)ams of Islay. An agate guide was selected to match with the theme.
My favourite aspect of the rod, however is the grip and the reel seat insert. These were fashioned from a stave from an old cask that I picked up at Lagavulin during the trip. to make it more interesting I sanded smooth and glued the two pieces of the charred inside of the stave together to give a line of black burned oak. The reason to make it is my favourite aspect you may ask, well that's simple - drilling, turning and sanding the wood made my entire workshop smell like a distillery warehouse!
As I wanted the grip to be comfortable and to avoid a chance of slipping I knew that I needed to do something special. I had seen some of the beautiful work on the grips that Tom Regula of Bespoke fly rods and that definitely gave me inspiration. I contacted Tom and sought his permission to imitate his unique style for this one off build, as a true gentleman he approved - thank you Tom.
Dr(e)ams of Islay is a beautiful fast action glass rod that will hopefully be put to good use in the rivers and lakes of Russia, and more importantly I wouldn't be surprised if it occasionally goes back to where it was inspired to take on the wonderful wild browns of Islay, accompanied by a few drams of the water of life no doubt.