Spending north of $1000 on a rod, but still not happy with the guide spacing or the timber the factory chose for the reel seat ?
First world problems perhaps, though there’s a lot of scope these days to get exactly what you want on a fly rod from the custom builders like HCE in Melbourne.
On first meeting, at the Ginger Baker Cafe in Bright, Tony, one of the partners in HCE hands me his favourite small stream rods built on a Sage 7’9 #2 Circa blank. It’s an impressive looking rod with an REC reel Seat and Black Ash burl timber insert and black nickel snake guides.
The build is simple, much like a factory sage and beautifully executed from grip to tip. I think he also had a CTS 3 weight with him, but after first cast with the two weight, I didn’t put it down so that one will have to wait for another day for it’s own review.
I’m a real fan of the Circa rods and regularly fish the short 3 and long 4 weights on my local waters though this is my first touch of a 2 weight and I’m thankful of it.
The rod is a little slower in action than the Little One 2 weight I last reviewed and has a very sweet, forgiving nature like a Circa should. Casting heavy double fly rigs 80 feet or big fat hoppers at 60 might find it wanting, but in close with standard sized dry flies it’s very much at home.
The water we fished on the Buckland river in North East Victoria was a great venue to try a light fly rod being quite open, shallow and wide on the middle reaches and tight and technical up top.
In both sections the rod performed well but it’s worth mentioning the weather was fine and the fish were looking up in a non selective manner. A windy day in early season might have changed the picture. No doubt, Tony has a rod for that day as well.
HCE, or ‘Hard Core Element’, is a collaboration between mad keen fly fisherman Tony Liparota and Peter Emilan. They build custom rods in Melbourne on Sage, Loop and CTS blanks.
In addition to the range of blanks from these suppliers, HCE have developed in conjunction with CTS a number of proprietary blanks for specific fishing applications, namely the Native Spec, Stream Spec, HAVOC and Hyper Spec. Details of these rods and other information can be found on the website.