The 2018 National Fly Rod Building Competition was a great success! The purpose of the program and competition is to expand the therapeutic experience for PHWFF disabled veteran participants by giving them the experience of building their own fly rods to further their physical and mental rehabilitation through the sport of fly fishing. It also has a fun competition component which gives participants the chance to win prizes for their rod building abilities. These prizes may include the opportunity to further their rod building experience by attending Bamboo Bend, a week long bamboo rod building school in Michigan, or to attend a National Destination trip to Arkansas’s famed Little Red River. Thanks to a generous grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation we were able to bring this great activity to even more programs and participants this year.
The competition began on January 8, 2018 and closed on April 13, 2018. The standard fly rod kits to be used in the competition were purchased from our good friends at The Hook & Hackle Company who also assembled a panel of judges for the competition comprised of a professional rod builder, Hook & Hackle employees, a PHWFF participant, and a PHWFF volunteer. This year saw the creation of three separate categories for judging:
- Category 1 (Beginners): This category is for PHWFF participants new to fly rod building who have not built a fly rod before. Those in this category must use one of the standard Hook & Hackle rod kits. However, they are allowed to use different thread than what is provided in the kit and build a custom grip. They can also be as creative as they want with inlays and other decorative techniques.
- Category 2 (Intermediate): This category is for PHWFF participants who are building their 2nd or 3rd fly rod. Participants in this category must use one of the standard Hook & Hackle rod kits. However, they are allowed to use different thread than what is provided in the kit and build a custom grip. They can be as creative as they want with inlays and other decorative techniques.
- Category 3 (Advanced): This category is for PHWFF participants who are building their 4th fly rod or more. Participants in this category can use the standard Hook & Hackle fly rod building contest kits or any other manufactures kits. Participants in this category can use their preference of blanks, components, thread and inlay techniques. Whatever they can dream up and build is permissible in this category.
Due to the tremendous skills of those veterans participating, the judges spent many hours methodically reviewing all the submissions. “This year, there was so much outstanding thread weaving that impressed me, says Ron Weiss of The Hook & Hackle Company, “The category 1 builders really rocked and the rods as a group were the best I’ve seen in the 10 years we’ve been doing the contest! Congratulations to all the winners and participants who entered their hard work.”
And now, we are pleased to introduce the winners of the 2018 PHWFF Fly Rod Building Program and Competition to you:
The Rod Building Program wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous support of The Bob Woodruff Foundation and all of those who contributed their time, talents, and expertise including Ron Weiss, The Hook & Hackle Company, our great programs and our volunteer instructors. THANK YOU!