May 27th, 2002

J.C.'s New (Pack) Broom-Rod
By James Castwell


JC and the new pack broom
It is with mixed emotions I bring this information to the world. Number 3, yes, this is the third 'broom-rod' I have been compelled to produce. The whole story is not a pretty thing. But, I will try to make it bearable out of concern for anyone silly enough to be interested.

Many years ago I decided that the expression, "it cast's like a broom," just had to be proven, or at least investigated. I know, I know, but that's the way I am, sorry about that. So I did it. I built a broom-rod. The local hardware store (housewares section) yielded the raw material, mostly. The one chosen had the plastic bristles cut at an angle, hence the name 'Angler' appeared on the plastic cap for same. Some old guides, fly and spinning, (remember, I was new at this) along with a somewhat functioning single action reel, a few conduit clamps, left over epoxy and tape for a handle and I was in the 'rod building business.' Oh yes, a 12 weight fly line conned from a major company who figured if they provided me with one, I would go away. They did, I did.

And so 'Broom Rod One' was no longer a thing of my devious imagination, it lived. Not only lived, it achieved a place of actual value. I found since it would not 'load,' the only way a cast could be performed was by doing the double-haul. Neat, I would use it to help teach the double-haul, and I did just that. In that it did 'cast like a broom' was not necessarily a bad thing, but in fact (like Martha Stewart would say), "it was a good thing." Or something like that.

broom butt

I used it for a few years while trying to teach casting to those who would listen. I did not let many know that part of the course would include the broom-rod, just seemed like the prudent thing to keep secret. In reality it turned out to be a very good tool for the job and found it's way with my other rods on trips for conclaves and sporting shows. Over time some very well thought of casters had the good fortune to be invited to cast it, some even enjoyed it. It was used for the distance event at a big time cane rod doings in Michigan one year, made quite an impression on those cane guys. One 'Master FFF guy used it to 'tune-up' the night before his test. (Midnight, parking lot, front of motel, Montana) He passed his test the next day.

It was stolen (abducted or kidnaped really) at a show once in Salt Lake, or Denver, (I can never keep those two towns separate) but, showed up after being gone for only two days. I refused to pay the ransom too. I watched many of the worlds finest grunt and struggle with the thing, got a few pictures which I will hold until I need ready cash. Then tragedy struck. It got swiped, for real, I never found it again.

Not to be deterred from my goals, I replaced it. Same things mostly, no reason to improve anything. But, Broom-Rod #2 was just not the same. I used it for about three years, dragging it to Fish-In's and other gatherings of dubious merit, when I got another great idea. I needed a 'Pack-Broom-Rod.'

broom parts

So, here we are today, launching to the world the birth of the insidious devise. Broom-Rod #3 (pack model).You will notice the bristles are still slanted, that has class and no respectable broom-rod would perform well with them any other way. One well meaning (I think) chap out east threatened to make a 'Mop-Rod,' but, fortunately for all of us, he just never got around to it. But, I diverge, with my wife's encouragement I went to all 'top of the shelf' materials, "do it up right," she said.

broom tip top

A trip to the fly-shop... I mean the hardware store again, and the main part was over. An extension handle, or rather a set of them (three in a bag, I needed two bags) and I was ready. Taping my resources by phone got me a reel seat, handle, and some guides. I am sworn to secrecy as to where these came from and I promised Bob I would not tell, so please don't write me asking for a source. It took some doing but, I managed to fit the pieces together and with the addition of a broom-head (from the hardware store again) and another call to the fly line company and my vision of perfection was complete.

broom guide

broomseat

The Broom You may notice the wraps are a bit unique, (I found a big spool of real nice wire) so, being out of A sized thread went the extra mile and 'bound 'er in wire.' I apologize for the seemingly heavy epoxy on the wraps, but, it was some very old 5-minute stuff and I did the best I could with it. That and the wire wraps... nice and strong. I will put 'mouse-over's ' on the pictures if you need some real technical information.

All in all, it was a fun project. It will show up at some of the 'Fish-In's' in the future ( if not swiped in the meantime) and I can either mail it or pack it with me on the planes much easier now. If you find yourself fascinated, as did I, with this kind of project, either seek conventional professional help (a clinic comes to mind), take a long drive or walk, spend a few days fishing on a nearby brook or... see what your own hardware store may have. There is nothing quite like breaking out a 'Broom-Rod' at a function to bring humility, embarrassment, joy, blisters, colorful language, lots of sweat sometimes, and peals and peals of laughter. From me to you... enjoy. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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