Chris Wright with his spey rod sportin' a bright yellow RodWrap.
Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a couple of great day's on the water with the owner of the McKenzie Feed Store and Fly Shop http://mckenziefeed.com/, Chris Wright. His shop is conveniently located on Hwy. 126 in Walterville. The first day Chris brought along a friend of his named Steve Brown. Turns out Steve is a Bass Pro and owner of Better Way Products over in Bend, Oregon. Steve's company produces a really cool product called "RodWrap". http://rodwrap.com/
It's a type of tape that you can wrap on any type of rod to protect the cork, improve your grip and allow you a quick and easy way to color code your rods should you have a large number of similar looking rods that your using that day. Bass tournament angling comes to mind for this advantage. The RodWrap has a feel similar to a tennis racket or golf club. Its kind of soft and squishy with a good "tacky" feel. For me, the improved grip and comfort these wraps afforded intrigued me.
At the end of the day Steve and I exchanged cards and he promised a package containing some samples of his products would arrive at my door step in the coming weeks. True to his words the package arrived as promised and contained not only a dozen RodWraps for spey rods, but it also inlcuded a container of grip wax.
I grabbed a couple of my favorite twigs, actually read the directions (really, I did!) and got busy wrappin' some spey grips. I found the process ridiculously easy and it took less than 20 minutes per rod.
Start off by removing the RodWrap from the package. For Spey rods there are of course, two wraps. One short one for the bottom grip, one long one for the top. Start out by removing the clear plastic protective tape from the grip. It's easily accomplished by finding the little yellow sticker that says "remove".
Peel the plastic off.
The RodWrap has a tapered end. The outside (grip) portion of the tape has the RodWrap logo embossed it. Begin to wrap the RodWrap at the bottom of the grip with the tapered end that places the logo in the right position (not upside down). Begin to wrap the RodWrap up the grip allowing about an 1/8" overlap as you proceed up the grip. In the case of my rods, I chose to begin and end on the grip that left decorative "end cork" to remain uncovered. No real reason, just thought it would look good.
Continue to wrap to a point where you want the RodWrap to end on the grip.
You'll need a sharp pair of scissors to trim the tape in the same tapered fashion that the tape began with. This will be the way you end with a nice finish. It took me a few minutes the first time to get the angle and the taper right. After that, its a breeze to trim the tape and get a nice finish.
The RodWrap packaging comes with two "finishing" tapes that are narrow, black strips of tape with the RodWrap logo imprinted on them. These are used to finish the end of the wrap and keep it secure. The directions warn about NOT stretching this black finishing tape when its applied. I don't know why, I just read and followed the directions...I swear!
Bottom grip is finished, now for the top.
Repeat the process in the same manner you did the first (bottom) grip. Peel the protective plastic covering, locate the tapered end and begin wrapping the tape with the logo on the outside and in the proper position. Be sure to over-lap each rap by about 1/8".
Finish the wrap where you want, use scissors to cut the proper finishing taper in the end of the tape and wrap with the black finishing tape.
A couple of rods ready to do battle next week with the beginning of my south coast fall chinook fly fishing season opener!
RodWrap's are available at Bi-Mart Stores, Chris's Shop in Walterville, the RodWrap website listed above and our local Cabela's store. I'm not sure what the price is for the spey rod grips, but I'm sure its very reasonable. The single hand fly rod grips cost around $3.00. The "GripWax" is another product from Steve's company. I have a container of the cold weather formula that I'll try out next week. GripWax cost's about $7.00. They come in a variety of colors and there are rodwraps for conventional rods as well.
Check'em out if you get a chance and let me know what you think. I think as the winter steelhead season gets underway, the RodWraps are going to make a difference in comfort and improve my grip on those cold, wet winter days. I'll let you know what I think in the coming weeks and months.