So the first question is about rod rings. There are four common options that we fit; Recoils, H&H Single Legs, H&H Snakes, Fuji Torzites Titaniums. The Stripping guides that we fit are Fuji Titanium frames SiCs - unless we are fitting Torzites throughout of course.
The advantage of the Recoils is that they are the lightest, you can bend them are they pop back into shape. The disadvantages are every once in a while they break (everything can break of course - that is life) but I have heard a few times now that they are more prone to breaking in very cold weather conditions - ice for example - yes some people do fish in ice. The biggest advantage for me is their lightness. They are the lightest rod rings available and believe me, it makes a difference, particularly in the lighter rod weights.
Now there are instructors who really don’t like Recoil rings, particularly if they are demonstrating over grass and haven’t slickened their lines in a while. This is when either Single Legs of Snakes come into play. It might just be me (and Viking Lars for that matter) and while I’ve been meaning to run tests, I haven’t yet, but I’m pretty damned sure that Snakes add stiffness to the rod.
Where Snakes are an advantage is for casting Shooting Heads. The Shooting Head connection bounces its way up Recoil rings - Lars told me this (when he was ordering Snakes!). Also I once compared two original HT6 Prototypes, one with H&H Singles against Recoils and I believe that the Single Legs allowed the line to shoot further - that was important to me because I was at the first Fly Casting World Championships with the 5WT line event (however in the finals Sakari and I made our lines too slick and we couldn’t hold them, the wind turned and my sunglasses flew off my face - none of this has to do with rod rings of course, but it’s an exciting story),
I’m a big fan of “lined” rings. This goes way back to my reservoir days when we fished sandy/dirty shorelines. Eventually Snakes wear out and groove when you cast gritty fly lines, whereas lined rings are more durable. The Torzites are without a doubt the finest of these rings available. They’re bloody expensive and rather difficult to obtain - and unfortunately they are the heavier option - but for slickness you will not find better.
The weight of rings makes a huge difference to the action of the rod. While there are HT rods out there with Torzites in 4WT and 6WT, it’s best to fit them to HT7 and above. On the HT10 we fit them as standard. Personally I love these sings for their shootability, however Gary in Florida tells me that for Tarpon you want oversized Snake Rings for those moments when you have a bird’s nest travelling up through the rings at the speed of a running Tarpon (turn the rod upside-down - even I know that!).
So those are really your choices. On HT6, HT4, HT3 I recommend Recoils for fishing. For the Instructor 6 go with Recoils if you are casting solely over water. If you are casting over grass then the H&H Single Legs are probably better. If you are throwing Shooting Heads around then have Snakes fitted.
When it comes to HT7 and heavier you have the choice of Torzites. I’m more and more inclined to use them for all my future rods of this weight and above. I personally have Recoils on my HT7 and HT8. When it comes to the HT10 I would recommend Torzites 100%. On the HT12 you have the choice of Torzites or oversized Snakes.
When it comes to the cork grip we can fit anything you want. Usually on the HT6 and below we fit cigar shaped grips and Full Wells on the 7 and above. But we have HT4s out there with Full Wells - not a problem. There are also options for removable fighting butts - we charge a little extra for this. Spaces for the reel fittings can be wood, although 99% of HTs are fitted with anodised aluminium. We have two sizes of Full Wells grips, one is oversized for Giants. There are several HT rods fitted with the Maniform Grip and Lee has regularly shaped non-standard grips according to handwritten diagrams.
Normally we don’t fit fly keeper rings but we have and if you request it then we will! We can fit your name decal (we order these from the USA and they take about a week to arrive - so plan for that - however once you are in the system we always keep additional name decals for you so that you never have to wait again). We have fitted flags, skull and crossbones, fish decals, measuring dots for the length of your fish, alignment dots, luminous thread, threads of all colours, we have three types of socks - camo, black and pink camo (don’t ask!)… basically we want do something that is exactly as you want, and will give you decades of service.
I do spend a lot of my time discussing these and other options so please do feel free to contact me and we can discuss what is best for you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Ok that’s it from me for this week. I’m heading into the jungle with the Asli lads. The plan is to fish and hike for five days up Sungai Tiang and then build bamboo rafts and raft (and probably swim) out. Bad weather might throw a spanner in the works, we shall have to see what the Gourami God of Storms has in mind for us. This time of year can be a bit hit and miss with the weather, but hopefully we will get a good window - otherwise it’s fly casting, fly tying, fishing poppers for Jungle Perch, fly fishing theory and some track maintenance.
For more about this project have a look at our gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/sungai-tiang-mahseer-fly-fishing-project
Have a great week!