The Les Young Special

W R Taylor 8′ 2 piece 3 weight hollow hex (Les Young Special)

One of the rods that has been the best received of my offerings is the 8′ 2 piece hollow built hexagonal rod for a 3 weight line that I call the Les Young Special. I have made quite a few of these rods and many folks have asked for the taper. I will not be sharing that today, but rather how I arrived at the taper.

The idea for this rod started when I was given a size 13 ferrule made from titanium from Russ Gooding at Goldenwitch. When I felt this ferrule it was immediately noticeable that the weight was greatly reduced from a normal nickel silver model of the same dimensions. I contemplated what would be the best use for this ferrule. I contemplated a 8′ rod, but most progressive taper rods in that length with a size 13 ferrule would carry a 5 weight or at best 4 weight line. As it was approaching late summer I wanted a light line rod that would be ideal for casting the smaller flies and terrestrials that entice trout in the low water cycle of late summer and early fall. At the time I was fishing the Letort Spring run quite a bit and an 8′ 3 weight was something that I thought would be ideal for fishing those hallowed waters. I then started thinking about how parabolic rods and the slower butt tapers that they have would lead to a middle section with a larger ferrule size and still cast lighter weight lines. It was critical that this rod have some backbone with a crisp tip. Any rods that I had cast prior in a longer length for lighter lines in the past were often “noodle” to me.

I started playing with numbers and taper curves until I arrived at a satisfactory taper with a parabolic design that still had what should be an authoritative tip. I flamed a culm of cane, split, bevelled, heat treated, planed, and glued up the blank. Then I ferruled and completed the rod.

A friend of mine named Les Young would often travel to the Boiling Springs area and bring with him a stack of bamboo fly rods and even more importantly a bunch of fly reels with a variety of lines. He and I would cast different models that he was carrying and he would consult with me on my new tapers in development. He was particularly excited about this model and provided some feedback for taper tweaks and so I christened the taper the Les Young Special. This rod was almost perfect to me in its prototype and I fished that rod extensively for about 8 or 9 years. I never keep a rod that long usually only a season or two before I am on to the next model. This one I swore I would keep until I was late delivering one for a client and instead of disappointing him on missing a delivery date I gave him the opportunity to have mine.

If you like fishing spring creeks or the low waters fall with small flies to finicky trout this is likely the rod you have been looking for.

Bill

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