Again, I owe a great deal of thanks to the guys listed below for donating many of the pieces that make up one heck of a combo for a lucky raffle winner.
The story goes like this. Matt Tucker and I have been planning on fishing together for a while, but it never pans out. Well, earlier in 2004 Matt emails me and asks if I'd like to join him on the Spring River, July 18th. I say yes, and that I'll have to bring FAT as he's been after me to fish Arkansas. Then Matt tells me WHY they'll be there.
Turns out that Matt Tucker and Brent McClane (www.OzarkChronicles.com) were selected as one of the teams for the 2004 Fly Rod & Reel Trout Bum Tournament. Well, part of the competition is to see who can raise the most money for a fly-fishing related charity.
Matt & Brent had selected Hooked on a Cure (www.hookedonacure.com) as their charity, and among other things had a raffle going to raise money. Ron Ciami of Trout Camp Rods had donated the grand prize, an $825 bamboo rod! Knowing how I'm always looking for a REASON to build a rod, I decided that I should make that raffle's pot a bit larger...and this whole combo was born.
First I contacted Bob @ Hook and Hackle....I had decided that the 7 pc. 9' IM6 blank he was selling would be ideal for the Ozark Streams so that would be the rod I was building. While gathering up my order, I asked him if he'd be interested in donating their special cases...figured it was worth a shot. 10 minutes later not only had he donated the case but also the blank!
The next morning I was out fishin with Frank Nardomarino and Richard Brown (FAT) - Frank had been watching the emails and by this point I was thinking a "combo" would be better than just a rod and case. Frank offered up to take care of the reel without hesitation. Meanwhile, FAT was donating guided trips to the raffle.
When I started building, the reel seat I had planned to use didn't fit...no biggie I asked Dave @ Winslow Rods to send me some pics of his A8 size seats so I could pick another one....I also casually mentioned that "donations were cool too". LOL, Dave instantly offered up this stunning custom reel seat that now adorns the rod.
And that left me with LINE...Frank had offered, my buddy Ken (rod #13) had offered too, but I wanted to see who else we could get on board. In came Rick from Rods By Rick, who not only offered line (he sent 4wt. and 5wt....the 4wt. will go on another charity rod) but also sent all the goodies needed to round out a COMPLETE combo.
That left me filling out the rod materials and spending arguably too much time getting this rod perfect. No matter how slow you go, it's not going to be perfect as it's made by a human being, but I didn't want to disappoint all my friends who had so generously contributed to this effort. I can only hope I did them proud. You might be interested to know, that when it's all tallied up this combo's retail value (without my construction TIME & consumeables figured in) is $424.07!
My best wishes to Team Ozark Chronicles, Hooked on a Cure,
and the lucky guy or gal who wins this combo...may the fish
be feisty and abundant!
P.S. - Guess who won this rod? Unbelievably, one of the guys
who offered to help contribute to it but had already purchased
tons of raffle tickets (so I declined his generous offer)....
Well, Ken Follensbee won it (who also ownes his Lucky
#13). Guess this is just Ken's year or something!