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We are pleased to announce the winners of Category 4 (Veteran Ambassadors) of the 14th Annual PHW Fly Rod Building Competition! 

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 4: Veteran Ambassadors

This category is for individuals registered as both active participants and active volunteer with an active PHW program

3rd Place

Albert Lamele | PHW Martinez, CA

I used an unnamed blank found at a thrift store. 7 foot, 5 inches, four piece, seems to be 4 weight. Used wood stain to darken handle cork. Bought wood reel holder and guides. Did a simple diamond thread wrap above the handle. I buy upgraded components and like to experiment with different diamond thread patterns.

Albert Lamele, PHW Martinez, CA

2nd Place

Michael Scott | PHW Martinez, CA

Mike Scott was born La Mesa California, and raised in Concord California. Mike reported to boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot – San Diego in September 1982. After boot camp, Mike attended schools in NAS Millington TN, and MCAS Cherry Point to become a flight line avionics technician. Mike was also stationed at MCAS El Toro and MCAS Iwakuni Japan. Mike’s active duty service ended in September 1986. Mike has a passion for fly fishing and is actively involved with the Martinez CA PHWFF Program.

No special techniques or materials utilized. I wrote my name on rod, with year built and rod model in lieu of applying decal provided with rod blank. The cork handle had a number of imperfections, holes and a crack. To address the problem I used 2 techniques. 1. Wood filler than sanding. 2. I finely shaved a wine bottle cork with the similar color, then mixed with a clear drying wood glue. I applied in areas to fill any imperfections, then sanded up to a 320 grit sandpaper. When focusing on wrapping or epoxy application, I think about nothing else. With all the distractions and stresses in the world, the ability to singularly focus on one thing is very relaxing

Everyone I have met has been wonderful and supportive. It is good to be around veterans and doing something I love. I have been on several outings, always caught fish, had great comradery, and always relaxation.

Michael Scott | PHW Martinez, CA

1st Place

Daniel Snelling | PHW Colorado Springs, CO

I am an active PHWFF veteran volunteer, participant and a Colorado Springs native. He joined PHWFF in 2016. As the Education & Staff Development Lead, Dan is responsible for training at monthly meetings, fly casting classes, fly tying classes, net building classes, rod building classes and weekly meetings.

The rod blank is a G. Loomis blank, 9 foot 5 Weight. This is the second rod I have built. The grip is 6.5 inches (I have small hands) and is a modified half wells grip (the center of the grip is more pronounced than a factory grip). I wanted the rod to stand out as a totally custom rod, so I decided to create a 3D tiger Wrap on the rod butt extending 6 inches out from the grip. I used three different colors of thread (all size A), Purple for the base thread, light blue for the contrasting color, and silver braid.

Daniel Snelling | PHW Colorado Springs, CO

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

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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