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Recently I sold off 4 fly rods in order to fund the build of a different rod I have had my eye on for some time. It took a lot of time and research for me to come down to which blank I wanted to build on next. Originally I had decided on another Steffen Brothers blank but one thing stood in my way, I didn't want to wait several months for the maker to roll me one. I decided to go with another company that I'd also been hearing a lot of good things about. From what I could find, the Epic blank may be a better fit for my fishing needs and the fact that they had them in stock was a big plus.

My impatience was certainly a factor in choosing to go with Epic, as it meant I didn’t have to wait several months for Mark to build me a blank. One thing that I didn’t know when making that impatient decision was that I was going to really need something to occupy my time… Enter the James Henry Special. I always try to name my rods, whether they get inscribed with that name or not… It just gives them a little something extra to help me remember the outings they accompany me on and the memories they help me make.

So why the “James Henry Special”? Because this rod was built during the most difficult days of my life and I hope will help me to carry the memory of my son forward for many years. You see, my wife and I were expecting our 4th child, a boy (our 3rd), due to arrive on November 18th. However, in the Lord’s wisdom and kind providence, He chose not to sustain the life of our child past his 22nd week gestation. We arrived at the doctor’s office on Friday morning, the 17th, for a routine check up and ultra sound, only to find out that his precious little heart had stopped. I won’t relay all the details of the difficult day that followed, but suffice it to say, my wife and I were walking with eyes wide open into the valley of the shadow of death, and it sucked. A lot. If you want to read more about our experience, feel free to go to my wife’s website and read an article she wrote about our Son. http://www.thispilgrimlife.com/god-moves-in-a-mysterious-way-the-life-of-our-son-james-henry/

When we got home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon, I was shocked to see a triangular package sitting on the kitchen table. My blank had shipped from New Zealand on Tuesday the 14th, so I had no expectation of it arriving so soon. In fact, the last thing the tracking info said was “held for clearance”. I’ve had cross country items take longer than that, and I have no doubt that the Lord knew I was going to need something to keep me occupied for a little while. I’m pretty sure I might have driven myself insane if I didn’t have something to set my hands about doing… And so, I set to work on the build. The only thing it’s lacking right now is a signature line. I’m waiting on that because it’s the one thing I just can’t seem to get right (all my signatures on various rods look blurry and/ or smudged once the epoxy goes on, so I decided to wait and not rush that part.

Build specs:
Blank: Epic 686 Nude
Guides: Snake Brand Universals
Stripping Guide: 12mm American Tackle TiCH Chrome frame w/ Blue Zirconia ring
Thread: Pro Wrap Nylon size A in “Blue Suede” and “Guacamole”
Reel Seat: Lemke LC4 anodized blue
Cork and fighting butt: Turned by me (with all the blemishes to prove it!)
Epoxy: Flex Coat Lite

















Thanks for looking!
 

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Thank you for sharing your story and introducing us to James Henry. The tenderness of your wife's story was very touching. A special reunion awaits your family in heaven. May you all be comforted by the love of God which nothing can separate us from. (Romans 8:37-39). That is going to be a very special fly rod that I'm sure will be handed down in your family. Blessings to you all!
 

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Sorry for your loss.

The 686 is by far and away my favorite fly rod that I own. You wont be able to put it down. The dudes at Swift got it all right. Customer service is top notch too.

Great looking rod, but more importantly a great fishing rod.
 

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Oh man, I really didn't need to see this. Looks like the perfect kayak/small river rod.

8 1/2' six weight is such a useful rod. It's hard to understand why they are so hard to find and then usually only in 2-piece.
 
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