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Pentalux Rods

Pentalux Rods

Pentalux Rods

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Having just entered the New Year I wanted to start it out right! So I am proud to announce the addition of Rob Smith and his new line of ingenious Pentalux Rods to West Slope Classic Fly Tackle.

Rob has the passion and knowledge in rod design that doesn't come around to often. Rob is willing to push the boundaries with his new design incorporating two different configurations in one rod. One comes to mind from my home state right here in California, retired rod builder Michael Montagne but to compare the two rods actions is like day and night! The point is both builders thinking outside the box. Rob has a sense old school that I quickly picked up on and is inline with the traditional characteristics I hold near to my heart. It's the best of both worlds as I see it. Rob's using the Penta, Hex and Quadrate configurations to work together that achieves one goal evolving into casting perfection! Robs years at the bench working out complex tapers have now paid off. I think you will feel the same way as I do about his rods!

About Pentalux Rods

Having entered the world of fly fishing when the entire industry was searching for faster and faster rods Pentalux rods seem to have been swimming somewhat against the current from the very beginning. Pentalux rods started building efforts with IM6 graphite then searching for specific fiberglass... always on a constant search for improved action, line control and overall fishing pleasure. Bamboo was apparently but a matter of time - As a material it allows for infinite variations in taper, something no other material currently available can claim. Graphite and fiberglass rods are built on a mandrel and essentially have strait line tapers - Variations in pitch and volume in the final bamboo rod sections are endless with natural Tonkin bamboo. Having a tensile strength very similar to 44,000 modulus graphite - it is the perfect material for the fly rod

As i have been building rods for a relatively short time, particularly relative to the rod makers i respect and aspire to - the finest rod makers, people like bob summers, walt carpenter, tom dorsey, etc, men who have probably forgotten more about rod building than i may ever come to know -i do not for a moment pretend to compare myself to or try and place myself in the company of any of these great makers.

I started with the craft because i couldn't seem to find what i was looking for in a fly rod (in my budget anyway) thus beginning what has become a genuine obsession for building bamboo fly rods. It was the mid 90's when the quest began. Initially i studied the various tapers of many of the past makers and starting building with their numbers but after making direct comparisons with a number of these original rods, it was quickly noted that the action of a fly rod is derived from much more than just the measurements of the cane - much more.

Of all the talented rod makers and designers who have come to pass I have always been particularly impressed with and I am most influenced by the action of many paul young, jim payne and (all) sam carlson rods but seeing the futility in emulating or copying them, i do not for a moment deny the fact that their rods are a paramount influence with regard to feel and performance but, in 1998 i decided to start from scratch and build my own tapers that worked for the way i like to fish on the waters i visit most.

Beginning with a relatively random set of numbers - using. 067 (as I was born in 1967) for the tips starting point - and listening to the cane throughout the process, I finally finishing my first successful rod(T4 tapers) in 2001, I have continued working almost exclusively with my own tapers ever since.

The publishing efforts of Tom Kirkman have also been a tremendous influence and aid as well as the machine and brilliant mind of Tom Morgan who helped me get to 2 1/5 inch centers - this has been critical in following out some of my building designs and concepts - validated since owning and micing a Sam Calson rod...s

I also feel very fortunate to have a detailed letter written by Michael Montagne some time in the mid 80's that explains much of his building technique and philosophy. I took the banded flaming concept from him. At some point I hope to emulate his hollow ribbing too but honestly have not felt the need weight wise as of yet and basically think that the solid section is still slightly superior as a casting instrument. Montagne is an undeniably brilliant man and was way ahead of his time as a rodmaker - Although I respect his concept for an irregular rod shape I find his irregular quad design more for the classic overhead caster with the Pentalux being more forgiving along all casting planes. It was however this concept of joining different shaped strips that led me to the Pentalux design.

In 2007 I developed the Pentalux. It is currently Trademarked and Patent Pending. This original rod design takes advantage of each of the three commonly known rod shapes - the hex, penta and quad. A most unique and highly applicable rod shape is made by placing the guides on a quad strip braced by two hex strips with two penta strips on top. The rod essentially tracks like a quad with the reserve power of a penta yet very light in the hand and extremely enjoyable to fish with. One of its most pleasant attributes is the general feel and accuracy of the rod as the deeper angled hex strips further aid in focusing the cast.

To fully optimize this new design shape original and exceptionally modern tapers have been developed that translate into a most efficient fly rod. Without getting too technical, the tapers are cut so that each of the inside measurements of the different strip shapes will be identical along the entire taper even though their exterior widths will vary greatly from each other - quad strip wider than the penta which is wider than the hex strips. The combined flexing characteristics and rates of change in each of the strip shapes when married in the Pentalux produces a fly rod action that cannot be emulated with a standard quad, hex or even penta rod as the rates of change although consistent along their interior flats are each quite different widths on the exterior of the rod. This produces a faster and wider primary strip - the flat on which the guides will be mounted. The quad strip is able to be cut with a much faster taper than a standard quad would need to be in order to handle the same line weight thus producing a lighter more responsive rod. Essentially though it is this ability to build lighter and yet stronger rods without hollowing that I am most proud of as I continue to prefer the characteristics of the solid rod to any other. This is not to say that I do not see the value in the application and as noted earlier do intend to produce a few hollow ribbed models. Simply have not yet felt the need to with the current set of rods being offered.

Continually developing various models with a strong regard for the custom request.
Models now available::

Available Models

Q2 - 6' 3/4 wt - Initial taper was developed as a quad. Fine rod that casts right from the hand. This is a very fun rod excellent for panfish and light trout - a midge rod. The finished weight is less than 2 1/4 oz's.

T4 - Technical 4 wt. This is a relatively sophisticated taper that is not for everyone. Recommended for those who understand casting dynamics - consistently use the roll-pickup, fish relatively small streams and enjoy maximum sport. Full flexing7' 2" 4wt. Weighs 2 34 oz's.

S4 - Standard 4 wt. This rod loads well at all ranges - a progressive taper that can handle a range of flies and water conditions. 7' 4" DT4 - finished weight approximately 3 oz's.

S5 - Standard 5 wt. A do everything trout rod with exceptional power and accuracy. Capable of very long casts. Designed for medium sized trout waters. This taper was influenced by several original Paul Young built Martha Marie rods. 7 12 ft 5wt - finished weight just under 3 12 oz's.

C5 - This rod is in response to a Sam Carlson built penta rod. This is an exceptionally sophisticated taper. The action is very smooth and powerful - a most capable rod. 7' 5/6 finished weight 3 1/4 oz's.

Currently developing:

G5 - 8' 5/6wt. - The tapers for this rod originated from an 8ft Gillum trout rod.

TS5 - Three piece 7 12 ft 5/6 weight - A very strong taper when a compact size is critical.

All rods are currently offered with several finish options. I use Nat Uslan's technique for an "impregnated" type finish as well as a standard traditional spar type varnish finished either as a gloss or my preference of a low sheen. Reel seat inserts are also the option of the buyer with black walnut and cedar being the standards - black walnut generally used with blued hardware and the cedar on rods with bright nickel silver. Some of the many options available that have been used thus far are tiger maple, birds eye maple, mesquite (similar to amboyna burl but even more intense) and cypress, other woods seasonally available too - please inquire.

Thread tipping is also the option of the buyer. Ferrule wraps and guide wraps are standardized and will not be modified beyond subtle shade variations commensurate with the cane that it wraps over but the ferrule and handle tipping colors are the choice of the buyer with standards for each model for those who do not wish to choose. Currently the S series is tipped red, the C4 uses antique gold, Q series uses blue, the T4 yellow. Most of my rods use a medium dark amber agate stripping guide as well but this along with the cork handle shapes are also the option of the buyer.

The final option for the Pentalux rod is the case. The standard offering is a black powder coated tube with logo stamped brass cap. The upgraded option is for the wooden Pentalux case. This is a five sided Pentalux type shaped case that opens along the seam and thus makes for a most superb field AND presentation case for viewing and enjoying the rod. Generally the same wood selected for the reel seat is matched to the rod case and the interior ultrasuede leather interior generally matches the rod tipping.

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