How to find a FLY ROD SPINE the easy way

Finding a fly rod spine is easy, so don’t let this slow down building your fly rod. There is actually a debate about if it’s even necessary to “SPINE” your fly rod.  I can say I do roll the blank and find the rod spine, but it’s more of a habit then a necessity.

marking spine on fly rod

marking spine on fly rod

Before you dig into spining let’s assembly all the goodies need to build your fly rod. One of the reasons I like the Ready to wrap kits from Swift Fly Fishing.  Most everything you need is in the kit.  The remaining items can usually be found around the house.

items needed to build a fly

items needed to build a fly

List of fly rod supplies you’ll need:

  • Masking Tape – You’re going to love this stuff by the time you’re done.
  • Razor or craft knife – SHARP
  • Acetone or Paint Thinner
  • Rag and paper towel
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Fine Steel Wool or Fine 400 or higher Sand Paper
  • A Long Table
  • Good Lighting
  • I also recommend ordering a Rod Drying Motor NOW – I really like the America Tackle Company Rod – Check it out at Amazon  American Tackle Rod Dryer – ARD with Support Stand – 110V
  • Plus if your ordering from Amazon a Flex Coat Hand Rod Wrapper is a great investment and will speed things up considerably
Fly Rod Tools Page

Fly Rod Tools Page

With your tools assembled let’s get into finding a fly rod spine.

Step 1 – Place a two bands of tape around the blank approximately 3-4 inches from each end.

Step 2 – if this is your first time doing this and you’re building a four piece rod. Select one of the middle sections of the rod blank. Rest one end of the rod blank on the table and grab the other end and lift it up to roughly make a 45 degree angle.  As shown below.

find spine on fly rod

find spine on fly rod

Step 3 – With your free hand, gently press down on the blank and while simultaneously rolling the blank on the table.

Step 4 – While rolling the blank you should feel one to two “Wobbles”. The blank will lift or rise slightly as you roll. Hone in on the lift.  When you’ve found the highest point of the lift STOP. BAM that’s the spine.  Mark it your tape on both ends.

Step 5 – OPTIONAL Sometimes I’ll “blindly” verify the spine by only marking one end then closing my eyes and doing the above procedure again. If I find the same spot again, I’m feeling confident.

I really want to say this again, don’t let this set slow you down building your fly rod. Most of the big production fly rod companies skip this step and align the guides with the blank positioning dots.  Here’s what SAGE says about finding the spine. The white dots on each section indicate the straightest axis of the blank; we recommend aligning each section, dot to dot then place the guides on the dotted line.

To understand how the spine of the rod is made, check out my old post on Locating the spline or spine.

As usual you get to see my ugly mug in a video.   So check out how I find a fly rod spine.  I’m trying to add some humor – plus I promise to shave in the next video!

With the spine marked it’s really time to kick this fly rod build into gear. Next up will be ATTACHING THE REEL SEAT, HANDLE and FIGHTING BUTT.