Friday, January 31, 2014

W.S. Franke, Rodmaker

In sorting through some old paperwork in these cold long days of pre-spring, I came across an invoice for a custom fly rod, built and purchased in 1990.

I met Bill Franke at a Worcester, MA fly fishing show and was instantly impressed with his custom rods, but more importantly with Bill himself.  Turns out Bill was not only a builder of fly rods, but an engineer and designer of custom reel seats and the PFOOT, a patented replacement foot for the classic Pfluger reels of the past.  Read about Bill here.

To my specs, Bill built a 9' 2 piece 3 weight on a beautiful Powell green blank, western grip and a birds-eye maple with nickel-silver seat.  The rod is medium action and a relaxing change from the fast action Sage's I usually take to the water.

With a little silver polish, this beautifully crafted rod is ready for the Spring.  I pair it with a classic Orvis CFO III or the Fly Fishing Benefactor's  Deschutes I, a great little reel at a super price point.

I look forward to fishing this piece of personal history this year, in the relaxed manner it was intended for, and I will remember Bill Franke in the same way; a quiet gentleman, a craftsman, and a fly fisherman who will be missed by all who came to be in his presence.  Thank you for the memories, Bill.