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We are pleased to announce the winners of Category 2 (Intermediate) of the 14th Annual PHW Fly Rod Building Competition! 

Following an exciting Public Judging Round (during which over 400 votes were cast!), six finalists proceeded to the Finals Round to be judged by an expert panel who determined 1st, 2nd & 3rd place.

Now in its 14th year, the National Fly Rod Building Competition is focused on expanding the therapeutic experience for Veterans participating in PHW programs by giving them the experience of building their own fly rods to further their physical and mental rehabilitation through the sport of fly fishing.  The program also has a fun competition component which gives participants the chance to win prizes for their rod building abilities, skills and creativity in a fun contest.


Category 2: Intermediate

This category is for participants who are building their 2nd or 3rd fly rod.

3rd Place

Allen Odell | PHW Murfreesboro, TN

I was born and raised in Southeast Alaska and commercial fished on my family’s boat. After being drafted in 1965 I was at Fort Lewis and then Fort Hood. The troop ship to Vietnam took a month to get there. When I returned home, I went back to fishing with my family. I got involved with PHW in 2013 at a DAV meeting. I enjoy tying flies and fly fishing. Both are relaxing and challenging activities. Working on this rod was frustrating but left me with a sense of accomplishment when finished. The Flies on the handle were transferred from Waterslide Decal Paper and then epoxied in place. After they dried the whole handle was epoxied.

I built a 10-foot,7 weight, 4-piece flyrod hoping to catch larger rainbow. I used an alignment dots system for assembly. I didn’t like the design on my cork, so I wood burned fish scales on my handle and butt. Adding the fish scales to the cork handle made a better grip on the handle. Adding the rainbow decal was a more of a challenge than I expected.

Fly Rod building keeps me focused and involved in an activity that I will enjoy the end results when finished. I enjoy meeting and interacting with other veterans who have similar interest. I have learned a lot about water safety, fly tying, casting techniques and rod building.

Allen Odell | PHW Murfreesboro, TN

2nd Place

Joseph Ashley | PHW Winston-Salem, NC

I an Air Force veteran. Have been a member of Project Healing Waters for almost 5 years . Built this years rod with a broken finger going into week two of the build.

I built an 11ft 3 in 3w black carbon fiber rod. The seat inlay is made from burl maple. Tread was pac bay pink. Guides are single foot.

I put 2 layers of tread protective then after that dried I add an extra layer of tread protective that had pink glider add into it and painted it on my wraps. Then when I was ready to epoxy I mixed pink glitter into the epoxy and used that to finish my guides. I also experimented with feathers inlays again, this time I used thread wrap about 2 1/2 inches as a base the applied the feathers.

I got a lot of flack for chosen pink from the guys, but I built the rod so my wife might start fly fishing with me , which got me more flack because I’m not the 1st to try this…..

I enjoy spending time with my fellow Veterans and the volunteers, we lost one of both this year both will be truly missed. One would give you the shirt of his back (Larry) the other would jump into freezing water to pull you to safety (James)

Joseph Ashley, PHW Winston-Salem, NC

1st Place

Aaron Trevino | PHW Winston-Salem, NC

Fly rod building is my outlet of all the pain and struggle I deal with. From ptsd to aggression and the thoughts of suicide. This program has thought me tools and skills on and off the water to bring peace in my life. Rod building is my peace and one I will continue to become better and challenge myself to be great at. It’s the peace I find building every rod that’s different

I built a 7’9 white fiber glass Custom turned 5 1/2 in aqua fire spectraply with a plane cork grip, Aqua fire spectraply plane fighting butt, Black snake guides, Black CBR real seat, with Aqua metallic and Sliver metallic thread.

I choose the maze pattern cause it show crazy my life is. The custom 51/2in spectraply plane with turn grip is by far my best achievement Arrow guide wrap under every guide. I wanted the rod to be prefect from that everything flows together with.

Being on the water fishing getting addictive to the strike. Knowing that my pains and struggles can all be released on the water. Being around other vets and volunteers that can help me grow and know I have a brotherhood of all walks of life.

Aaron Trevino | PHW Winston-Salem, NC

Join us in celebrating the tremendous fly rod building talents of all our PHW participants!

Fly Rod Building: A Life Saving Gift

“Fly rod building is very therapeutic for me, it is my release. It allows me to focus on something and allows me to be creative which I think is a key part of recovery and healing

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