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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2012, 21:13 • # 1 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
Last Friday, I attended the memorial for Yoshio "Dick" Fujita at the American Casting Association (ACA) National tournament. For those who didn't know, Dick was one of the most accomplished tournament casters in history -- casting in his first tournament in 1939 and in 1940 becoming National Champion at the age of 14, beating such legendary figures as Tony Accetta, Sib Liotta, Al Foss, and others. Interred in a relocation camp, when he turned 18 he joined the U.S. Army and after the war moved to Cleveland, where he would spend the remainder of his life, winning countless medals and casting competitions.

The memorial was lovely and I was able to attend with Dick's good friend and co-author of a number of articles G. Buckley Juhasz. Buck and Dick were responsible for the Sceptre rods, some of the coolest and best glass casting rods I've fished with.

Buck was co-owner of Anglersmail, a prominent Cleveland fly shop that Dick frequented often. Buck wrote recently of his work designing bamboo rods for Constable and Sharpe's, but he and Fujita (the finest fly caster I ever saw) designed the Sceptre rods in the early 1970s. The blanks were built to order by Hardy, who used their new Fibatube technique, and finished out by Cliff Constable per Buck's specifications. One thing Buck and Dick were sticklers for (and wrote an article for Fly Fisherman about) was guide spacing, and these rods reflect that. This ad is from the back cover the May 1974 Fly Fisherman magazine.

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I was fortunate enough to pick up from Buck three Sceptre rods. One was a custom built 6 1/2 footer (Buck sold many Sceptre blanks, including over 100 to Fujita himself). One was an 8 1/2 foot bass rod.

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The third was unique, as far as I know, in glass rod history -- the Sceptre "Dual" rod. It comes with two butts (6' 9" and 7' 6") and one tip.

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Buck and myself took the Dual Sceptre out on the Mad River near Urbana, Ohio, and I discovered it is a lovely casting tool. Buck says it will handle a 4-6 weights equally well.

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Here it is in action.

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It was 91 degrees and the fish were hiding out, so it wasn't great angling. There were a few Browns like this one ...

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If you get a chance to pick up a Sceptre, I think you'll really like it. I'd never cast a Fibatube blank before but it really has a nice feel I can only describe as "warm."

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2012, 21:44 • # 2 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
Just read through the epic thread on the many Fibatube blanks that have been nicely built out by board members ... I can say first hand that anyone casting one of these blanks, either original or finished by one of our master rodmakers here on the board, has a beautiful casting tool on their hand. And I will tell Buck (co-owned Anglersmail with George for 30 years and wrote the copy for their charming catalogs) about them -- he will be very, very happy to see these rods get the respect they deserve as he feels they were as good as anything around at the time.

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2012, 22:25 • # 3 
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Joined: 02/19/08
Posts: 1785
Location: Western Colorado
Dr. Todd, what a wonderful post! From the historical background to the personal connections you have had with people to photos of your own great collection with streamside reports, your entry has it all. The only thing missing is a Sceptre in my hand! :)

Curious, do you know what line wts. the various lengths were rated for?


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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2012, 22:44 • # 4 
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Joined: 04/20/07
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Location: US-ME
Doc, the line weights are listed in the ad above. I've seen other line weight ranges listed for the Sceptres, and always the multi-line versatility noted.

I never use 7' rods and rarely 7 1/2' or I'd have to have those. I've had a 9' since the late 1970's and an 8 1/2--a powerhouse 6 or 7 weight--for a few years. Unfortunately, the 8' seems the hardest to come by these days. I didn't get one back in the day and wish I had instead of a couple graphite 5s. I would probably trade my back-up Fisher 5-weight, a close relative, for one.

Surprised you don't have one, Doc. You owe it to yourself to try one. Then you will have one.

I had forgotten that ad but probably read it and might well have found it in my magazine stash in the attic.

Thanks for posting it Dr. Todd, and for adding to the contemporary Sceptre lore.


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PostPosted: 08 Aug 2012, 23:27 • # 5 
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Joined: 02/19/08
Posts: 1785
Location: Western Colorado
Doh, the line wts were right under my nose, whirlpool; Thanks for pointing them out!

I was always a little confused about the Sceptre rod history and whether they had an association with Hardy or not. And Dr. Todd has done an excellent job of clarifying it for me. Yeah, maybe one of these years a factory Sceptre will find me. And that Dual rod is way neat!


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 07:05 • # 6 
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Joined: 03/16/08
Posts: 3140
Location: Upstate-NY
There was a 7' "factory" Sceptre for sale at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum Summerfest/Hardy Cup this past weekend. Didnt make note of which vendor it was, though.

(I have a 7' blank in store to build out myself, so I wasnt interesred in the rod)

Gearboy, JAStrout, Spruce Creek, and I all handled it and concluded that there is no way in hell that rod is a reasonable #3/4 wt, unless you enjoy a *very* fast action. More like a #5/6.


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 07:22 • # 7 
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Joined: 10/09/09
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Location: US-NM
I got to cast a 7' with a 5wt. line and can't see a 3/4 on it. ... aurelio


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 08:28 • # 8 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
I used a 5wt on the 7' 6" Sceptre and it I would definitely go up to a 6wt but I don't think I would fish a 4wt with it. The 6' 9" I will try with a 4wt but think that, too, will probably fish best with a 5wt.

I'll see if I can find an eight foot Sceptre. Of interest is Buck liked (and still does) fishing the long rods, 9' 6" and bigger. He fished a 10' on the Mad.

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 09:07 • # 9 
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I think there are a few who frequent this group and have the 8' model either as a build or as delivered by one of the vendors they were assembled for. If they are smart, they will go into hiding for a while so as not to be talked out of it. I'm not much of a factory rod guy, but a blank or two would get me going.


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 12:10 • # 10 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/27/09
Posts: 470
Location: US-SD
I bought and built out a 2 piece blank from Angler's Mail in the 1970's, and as I recall it was called a Sceptre. Mine is a little short rod though at about 6'3". It fishes nicely on small creeks with about a 4 weight line and is a faster action with that line. My rod is brown in color- I wonder if it is from the same general source as the other blanks mentioned above. I wish I had bought more of the Sceptre blanks at the time! That 8 1/2 footer sounds like one I would have liked to build up; maybe one will turn up someday.


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 12:38 • # 11 
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@Golfswithwolves: the 8'6" blanks sold from a NOS lot on eBay a few years back. I would post a WTB in the forum, and see if there are any members out there who bought one or more, but have not gotten around to building it, and may be inclined to sell one? Certainly worth a shot ...


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 19:06 • # 12 
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Location: SW Oklahoma
Dr. Todd,
Excellent information, thanks for posting!

Doug


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 21:23 • # 13 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
Thanks for the nice words. I have been hard at work on my fiberglass rod book but it is growing bigger and I may chop it into two volumes (sigh -- I keep doing that).

To round out this discussion, here are a couple of photos of Dick Fujita casting at the 2007 ACA National Casting Championships at the age of 81. He could cast loops around me and I was half his age, but you should have seen him with a fly rod in his hand. Amazing.

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By the way, there was some discussion on guide spacing re: the early Sceptres in that epic thread. I would suggest taking a look at the article "Guidelines for Guide Placement" written by Dick Fujita and Buck Juhasz (designers of the Sceptre) and published in the April 1979 issue of Fly Fisherman magazine for their thoughts behind the guide placement on the Anglersmail rods (Sceptre, Constable, Sharpe's).

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 21:41 • # 14 
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Dr. Todd, thanks for this wonderful information and history! Do you know where I can find a copy of the article you mentioned?


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PostPosted: 09 Aug 2012, 23:12 • # 15 
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Joined: 07/05/10
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Location: Mid Hudson Valley of New York
I'd be interested in that article too.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 06:14 • # 16 
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Joined: 11/28/11
Posts: 244
Location: US-MI
corlay wrote:
@Golfswithwolves: the 8'6" blanks sold from a NOS lot on eBay a few years back. I would post a WTB in the forum, and see if there are any members out there who bought one or more, but have not gotten around to building it, and may be inclined to sell one? Certainly worth a shot ...

I gave an 8 1/2' blank to Bob Summers a couple of years ago. Give him a call. He might sell it or build it up for you if he still has it. His work can't be beat.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 09:49 • # 17 
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Joined: 04/26/06
Posts: 3360
Hello
Dr todd the information and history you have added to the sceptre discussion here is priceless.

The "epic" thread you refer to represents a huge body of work by a number talented folks that grew over considerable time as did the excitement & passion to do justice to some fine fiberglass fly rod blanks some may say the finest certainly the most versatile blanks ever, designed and manufactured some 40 odd years ago.

There was allot of confusion about the origin of the blanks, also over what line weight was best suited for the rods partly because the recommendations changed depending on what portion of the advertisements you read from back when these blanks were introduced.
In the add above they rate the 7' sceptre a 3 or 4 weight in the catalog they recommend 3 31/2 or 4 line but when you read on they mention that the rod is also well suited for a #5 or #6 line.

In my hand the 7' sceptre is best suited for a double taper # 5 line that's where I find my sweet spot.

Before I dove into the sizable under taking of putting up what has to date now been 45 of the 7' sceptre blanks I did considerable research including speaking with "buck" among quite a few others, I wish I had the opportunity to pick mr fujita's brain.
Non the less when I worked on selection of guide size and placement I naturally considered the original guide placement and used it as a starting point.

When I performed static deflection test and test cast with the mocked up prototype for my work the guide placement and size changed depending on the size line I was sampling.

So I decide to go with the best guide size and placement suited for the size fly line that worked best with the rod that would perform exceptionally well with the full range of lines suited for the rod rather than what was best suited for a 3 or 4 wt line, after considerable deliberation and samplings I came up with my guide set choice and placement of 8 guides rather than the original 9.

Funny you should mention the article I have used as my basis for guide placement since I first read it back in 1979 during my early days as a rod tinker.

Since then I have tried on many occasions to help my fellow rod makers whom often use the same placements from charts to follow rather than the classic concepts laid out in this little article found in the back of an old fly fisherman magazine with little success I might add with all those folks whom still insist that size and placement don't matter.

Your collection of sceptre rods is outstanding the little 2 butt sectioned rod is super I made a couple of non traditional rods with the 7' 8. 5' and 9' blanks I had in house.
My favorite was the"bushwhacker" as I dubbed it, I used the tip section from a 8. 5' and made two butt sections with one the rod was a 6' and the other a 6'9" the rod was just a super little 5 weight.

The last time I spoke with buck he told me a great story about fishing one of the sceptre mock up rods during their guide placement trials with lefty they had a fish on and many of the taped on guides came flying off but they managed to land the fish anyhow.

Buck is a really nice man that has a treasure trove of fiberglass history and some amazing fish stories as well.

Over the last few years working with my sceptre projects I learned allot, met some really interesting people, had allot of fun, experienced considerable satisfaction in the body of work I was able to produce during the process.

I'm nearly finished with my sceptre projects I only have one of the 7' blanks left and just 2 of the 9' blanks to finish out.

In summation of my small contribution to the sceptre saga I will say that they truly are some of the most amazing fly rods ever made and it was an honor to work with blanks designed by such talented rod designers as richard fujita & george buckley "buck" juhasz.
Buck did tell me there were some others involved in the sceptre design however next time you guys are chatting you might ask him.

I hope your book will include at least one chapter about bucks exploits certainly the anglersmail days.

The article from fly fisherman volume 10 number four season opener 1979 is posted below

Tight lines and progressive versatile sceptre loops
Andy M

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Sorry I had to edit several times to get the article in it's entirety enjoy the read!


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 10:01 • # 18 
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Joined: 10/30/09
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Andy, thanks so much for your input and for including the article.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 10:52 • # 19 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
Andy,

Thanks so much for your information! You are certainly an incredibly talented rodmaker with a great eye. I thank you very much for posting this article as I think it will help a whole lot of people who don't think guide placement matters (it most certainly does!).

I also think its tremendous you were able to put Sceptres into the hands of people who likely would never have had the opportunity to fish them. I saw the one you sold recently at auction and it was beautiful.

And yes, there will definitely be a chapter on the Sceptre saga in the book!

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 10:55 • # 20 
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Joined: 03/16/08
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Location: Upstate-NY
One interesting recommendation from the article is for 1st guide from the top to be 2.75" - 4.00".

I've experimented with guide spacing a lot over the years,
and, especially on short/light rods, typically end up with a 1st guide spacing of 3.50"-4.00".
In test-casting, this closer 1st guide always seems to help with (aerialized) line control and accuracy, for me.
Any larger spacing make the tip feel "loose" in my hands.

I've always wondered if anyone ever thought this close spacing to be ideal.
Normally, you never see a rod built with a 1st guide any closer than 4.00" today,
with 4.50"-5.00" being the norm.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 11:40 • # 21 
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Joined: 09/03/07
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Location: Convict Hill, Texas
I've managed to acquire all of the two piece Sceptres between 7 and 9 feet, they made four-piece rods as well, but the slope has been slippery enough with the two piece rods. (OK, I'm open to four-piecer's as well if anyone wants to part with one.) Andy's 7 foot series started me out and I was so impressed that I have obtained the others as circumstances permitted. All but the 7.5 came as blanks and I've not built my 9, but have the parts and need to find the commitment :\. Shorter Sceptres are out there but having had 6 and 6.5 foot rods I find I just don't fish them even when they are really good rods.

The Sceptres are all rods well worth fishing and you'll usually find me fishing one when I'm using a 5 weight and above. They are all progressive and powerful with a fair bit of sensitivity. I really don't have a favorite among them. I fish streamers quite a bit with Teeny-130 and 200's. When using more conventional lines, the 7=6 wt, 7.5=4.5/5 wt, 8=6 wt, 8.5=the purest 7 wt I have. Caveat: I love the feel of glass and a slower action, so most of my rods get fished at the higher end of their line ratings. I've cast and fished them all with line weights above and below those listed and they've done well, those are my happy spots.

It's good to know who designed the tapers, I owe the gentlemen a debt of gratitude for many days fine fishing. My guide spacing has been pretty much as discussed in other threads, but I have typically used guides a size larger than might be expected on my builds and totally agree with having the first guide from the tiptop within four inches, usually within 3.5 inches.

Hayden


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 13:23 • # 22 
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It is so fun to revisit this with yet another layer of details. Andy, thanks for posting and including the article. It saved me rummaging in the attic in case I had that issue. Having seen the cover above, a recognize it and know I have the issue without having to go up there. That was great you had such a good store of Sceptres to build.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 13:40 • # 23 
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Andy, thanks for posting.

I have to say that I have one of Andy's custom built 8.5' Sceptres and IMO this rod is everything it's cracked up to be, and more.

Now I don't want to derail this thread, but got to say I found the article very interesting, especially because for a not-so-experienced rod building enthhusiast, guide placement can be downright confounding.

If I remember, Clemens advocates similar placement of 1st guide below tip of flyrod. and the spacing seems close when compared to 'modern' charts. The newer charts I have seen call for 4+" placement below tip. Is that because they are more geared to graphite? or what? The other thing I learned is the 3/8" rule. I have a 7' lami with guides taped on, now, before I wrap it I'm gonna retest based on what I learned from this article.

Thanks again for posting.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 13:47 • # 24 
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Thanks for posting that great info, Andy - all very interesting.

Dr. Todd, I look forward to your book(s) on the fiberglass fly rod. Please keep us updated on your progress.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2012, 15:57 • # 25 
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Andy,
Thanks for getting the article one the site! Your effort is appreciated, even if I am one of those guys that thinks fewer is better :)

Jeesh, I have a 7'6" factory Sceptre I haven't even CAST yet. Bad Keith.


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