A couple of months ago, Stu Hastie, a kiwi photographer of great talent, issued on his facebook a story I thought was far too good to pass. I just had to share it with you. I got his permission back in December, but life happened as it usually does and I never got the time to put the thing up here. But now’s the time, so come here, take a glass of your favorite poison, and let Stu take us with him to the other side of the planet. His story is about some of the finest things in life: a father and a son, fly fishing, generosity and building rods. An Epic fiberglass rod, for that matter…


I suppose that most of you have never built a fly rod. It’s a project I feel ever fly fisherman should give some serious thoughts. Just like tying your own flies, it modifies in some way the whole experience. It makes the connection with your fishing deeper, more personal.

Here’s how Stu tells the story himself.

A few months back, at the end of the last Trout Season, I took “Thing 1”, my oldest of 3 sons, out for a final fish before our winter hibernation.
He was struggling a bit with his graphite rod, so toward the end of the day I lent him my Epic glass rod. I don’t know what it was about it, but dang he could cast that thing! We were quite unfortunate in that we’d arrived at the river soon after another angler, and so the fish were super spooky and we didn’t manage to prick anything all day. Eventually the other dude departed and we came to some untouched water.
We spotted a good fish in a deep hole sitting up in the water, moving around freely and eating well. Slowly the fish was moving upstream and whenever I asked him to cast an extra couple of meters, he just belted it out there! It was pretty to watch, and filled me with pride like I can’t describe. With each pass, I willed that fish to eat that fly, and eventually it did. Thing 1 did the business, and despite some sloppy net work by myself, the fish was finally netted. It turned out to be his biggest fish to date and since then, he’s been pestering me to get him an Epic. I told him he could have one for his 15th
birthday, and he was happy with that, although wishing away the next 3 years!

Tonight I had the pleasure of telling him he can have his Epic now! Carl from Swift Fly Fishing picked up on Thing 1’s 3 year wait and has very generously gifted a rod to him. So tonight we jumped online and he designed his own rod, custom picking his own colour and component combo. I haven’t told him yet, but he’s going to have to build it himself too, under my watchful eye of course. In this throw away world we live in, it’ll be good for him to take some pride in his own rod, and it’s a great excuse to grab some father/son bonding time!

Thing 1 has caught a few good Rainbows over the last couple of seasons, but has yet to catch his own Brown. He’s pretty keen to get one in the bag, so by the time he’s built his rod and the new season opens on October 1, he’s going to be well and truly fizzing at the bung!

This is Thing 1’s Epic Brown Trout quest…

If you look at the pictures below, you’ll see every moments that count in the rod building process, from early dreams on the computer; through the excitement when you open the box, the quiet labour of the build, excitement again when you test-cast it on the lawn (if you’ve got any child left within and you don’t literaly live by the river, there’s no way you’ll way to be on the water); to the pride of releasing a fish you caught on your rod… And when the boy’s face is so bright, and the photographer so talented, the visual story that results is simply amazing.

Build your rods!