Scandalous Sticks

July 31, 2010 at 5:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments

So I went away for the forth of July weekend to my friend Steve Vance’s house.  This last winter I met Steve on Facebook. We got to talking and found out we had been on the Metolious  River at the same time last year. He had a picture of a huge Bull trout on his page. Well the funny thing was I was on the other bank watching him fight this beast and had no idea it was him.

That was it, we started talking about fishing and both seemed to have the same views on the Fly Fishing world today. It also sounded like we fished the same way alot of the time. Well I hadn’t caught a bull trout and I wanted to so Steve and I made plans to fish as soon as possible.  We talked alot over the next few months and Steve told me he was a rod builder. I’d built two rods of my own and have always dreamed of doing this as a business or at least as a side business.
March rolled around and Steve came down to my place. It was March 9th and Steve showed up with something for me that was just mind blowing. In  the time we had been talking he had built me a spey rod. Not just your ordinary spey rod but a super nice spey rod. It was a 12′ 8wt. The blank had been made as a test blank by a top secret blank maker. There isnt a 12′ 8wt on the market today, I might be the only one with one. It has fine metallic green wraps on a green blank. I was in shock to say the least. The rod was beautiful and I wanted to fish it right away. I wasn’t quite sure what Skagit head to buy for so we went for the 570.

Steve had been waiting for some cork to arrive but it didn’t come in time so he had to go with the standard spey handle offered in most rod building catalog. We went to the Metolious River to test it out on some Bull trout. Well mid morning I hooked into one about three pounds, not huge for a bull trout but a nice trout in my book! The rod cast sharp but crisp and made nice loops. I was concerned that the handle was too big so I sent it back with Steve and he turned it down on the lathe then sent it back to me. I was like a kid in the candy store I tell you, when I got it back I ran out and went out for early summer steelhead. Well this time I hooked a fiffteen pound hen. The rod fought the fish well and now with the handle turned down it really felt sick in my hands. This Rod had Scandalous written all over it !Now I’ve run into this other guy named Rich Schaaff  of East Fork Fly Photography. We had been talking back and forth on Facebook about his photos and we found out we were both from the east coast and he only lived about a half hour away from me. Well we got to talking about fishing for Browns and that was it we were going out to get some.  I called Steve and said he should meet this guy cause he seemed pretty cool and he really liked to fly fish. Well we all got together on the River X  and went fishing for a couple of days. In the mean time I knew Steve had some nice rods and I knew he knew how to fish for browns because he had pictures of them everywhere! Well this charater takes us to this River X and he is out fishing and he is catching one after the other. I was having a tough couple days trying to settle in. Then we went for a drive and I kind of broke away from the guys cause I saw a piece of water I really liked. I sat there for a bit and then started casting to a spot that looked like it would hold fish, when not five feet in front of me the largest brown I’ve ever seen and I’m not joking when I say 36″, brown rises up and takes a bug and drops back to the bottom. I almost crapped in my waders! I was frozen with joy and excitment and fear all at once.

Well I missed that fish twice that day and I can’t tell you how much the adrenalin was rolling that day. So the next day we came back but the fish had moved on. But Steve had spotted a fish and caught a nice one just before he spotted it. So he said come up here and try and catch this one but use this  rod. I have to tell you it was this weird looking short yellow rod Steve said it is designed just for this river. It is 5′ 6″ and it was a 4wt. I was skeptical but said ok I’ll try it. I cast really nice for a short little rod! I was impressed and I saw this nice brown that Steve pointed out. Well on the third cast I hooked this beast on a size 22 (I’m not telling ). Well holy hell this fish was huge and it was bending the rod like a willow, but the rod held like a champ. This fish took me down river,  wrapped me around a rock and how the tippet didnt break was beyond me.  Steve went into the river grabbed the leader and the fish went up river like a rocket with me in tow. Ha ha I can still feel the rush! Then he went under some moss and the rod just sat there and bounced like nothing I had seen before. The tip of the rod danced with the fishes every move we got the moss free and down river he went again. We landed him after only a few minutes. I was blown away by this rod. Our friend Rocky gave it a name. He called it the pygmy rod because it was so short, yet so powerful. It is a fiberglass rod and the action of this rod will make you feel every movement of the fish. It is amazing. So now I was on the hunt for fiberglass. I wanted something of my own and I found a blank after searching long and hard. It was a three piece lamaglass 4wt. I ordered the parts for her and then I found a special thread that my father had given me from when he use to build rods and it was a match for this rod. That made it have even more meaning so I went to see Steve on the fourth of  July weekend. We got to work on this thing and he went to town wrapping this rod. Well wow you want to see a craftsman at work. This guy was just doing this without even measuring the wraps but each one was perfect. Again I was impressed! When the wraps were finally all on we got it ready for epoxy and it was like the magic hour. Steve and I had talked about the wraps and what was going to happen when we put on the epoxy but what happened before my eyes was just down right awesome. This is the final product of two friends working toward a goal!


Steve Vance was seven years old when he started learning to make rods. He is Twenty six years old now. You tell me what you think because every rod this guy has shown me has had nothing but class and a lot of thought put into them. You can contact him @ stephenvance001@gmail

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