Some years back, Roger Baert packed in his rod repair activities, and handed the baton to Wolf Kittel in Pietermaritzburg. Wolff did a great job, and repaired a broken 3 weight of mine beautifully. We were all deeply saddened by Wolf’s untimely death in 2020. Roger Baert, acting out of compassion for Wolff’s surviving partner Linda, sought to find someone to step in and buy the business and keep it going.
Now I have never met Andrew in person, but just recently I responded to an itch that was telling me to convert that same 3 weight which Wolff had repaired, into a 4 piece. The rod had been on ice, simply because it didn’t fit neatly in my fishing bag. It was getting left behind, and neglected, and I was missing it. So I arranged to have it sent to Andrew.
I was concerned because the new ferrule would need to be close to the repair, and Andrew was worried that the action would change when he put extra ferrules into the taper. I said “Just go for it…I am not fishing it as a 2 piece, so I would rather you just blunder ahead and make it into a 4 piece and we will see what we get”.
Well, I should have known: Andrew Strachan doesn’t blunder!
I got the rod back just a few days back, and I tested it on new year’s day on a favourite small stream. I am delighted. Andrew has acquired some new equipment with which he does the ferrules, and they are sublime. He also re-sanded the grip for me. The overall workmanship is superb, and to be honest, I can’t remember exactly what the action was like before, but I think it is as unaffected as my five weight was when Roger made that into a 4 piece years ago.
I fished it with a Rio Creek line, which is quite heavy upfront, and I do think it might do better with a lighter front taper. But in the pre-storm wind, and on that narrow grass-hemmed stream, the rod delivered casts into tight slots with the Creek line.
The other thing is that Andrew sorted out the rod bag, and cut down the tube for me to accommodate the shorter package. Ironically the rod tube in question was the original tube for the 5 weight of the same make and model which Roger had cut down for me. So I used a permanent marker on the rod cap to change the weight and lengths annotated there.
I also painted little gold alignment dots on the rod, as I had done on the 5 weight when that came back.
So the old rod is happily back in service. A rod with a history: Once gifted by Peter Brigg to John Hone, Then bought by me, and since broken by an energetic Ridgeback named Ben, belonging to the late Dave Mann at Knowhere. Repaired by Wolf, made into a 4 piece by Andrew. Lost and found. Re-Christened on 1/1/2023, catching small browns on dry flies….…this rod now has soul.