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PostPosted: 18 Oct 2012, 20:21 • # 1 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
Recently, I've been obsessed with Sceptre rods, partly because my friend Buckley Juhasz was instrumental in their design and construction when he was co-owner of Anglersmail in the 1960s and 1970s. I own Sceptres in four sizes, but I have never had the opportunity to fish a nine foot Sceptre. Until now.

Fortunately, Andy Manchester Jr. -- noted rod maker and no stranger to the Sceptre rods -- still had a nine foot blank. I just had to have him build me out a Sceptre ala Manchester. The only instruction I gave him was to be true to the original.

Last week, the rod arrived -- and it was as beautiful as I'd hoped it would be. I took it out and lawn casted it with a 5 Weight line (the only handy reel I had was spooled with this) and despite being dramatically underlined, it cast like a dream.

But would it stand up to Buckley's rigid analysis?

I found out this past Wednesday, when Buckley and myself hit the local river for some brown trout action. But first, lunch, in the form of hamburgers cooked in three inches of grease. No joke. The place is called Crabill's and it is located in Urbana, Ohio, and if you are within 100 miles of it the trip will be worth your while.

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The Mad River was in its final fall stages, filled with huge leaves which choked the water and made it incredibly difficult to cast. But after finding a likely hole, we hit the water (I was wet wading which Buck found insane). Despite a 30 mph wind and lots of detritus we saw rises everywhere. Lo and behold, there was also a caddis hatch. Here's the view from the 9' Sceptre's perspective.

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Fish everywhere, we fished nymphs (with a dropper) and a Letort Beetle for topwater action.

I matched up the 9' Sceptre with a Medalist 1495 and a 100-foot Rio 7 weight line. It was a great combo and I think this is the only reel I'll use for this rod in 7-8-9 weight. I love that interchangeable spools are so readily available for these old Medalists.

As it turns out, the fishing was tough. We got lots of hits on the nymphs but not many fish to hand. Nymph fishing in fast moving water with literally tons of underwater leaves makes for very challenging fishing conditions. We did get some fish, though, and here Buckley brings a 10-inch brown in.

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So…what was Buckley's thoughts on the rod. "It's fantastic," was his appraisal, "my compliments to Andy." He used it for over an hour and, as he noted, he was constantly reminded about what great rods these Hardy Fibatube blanks make when in the hands of a master rod builder. As he is a lover of long rods (his go-to rod is a ten footer) he thinks this is the best length for a Sceptre rod.

Just how good did the rod perform? We were fishing a narrow stretch with lots of overhanging trees (I know this because I hooked them a half dozen times during the day). I was standing behind Buck and to his right when he said to me, "Want to see me spool your Medalist with the Sceptre?"

I laughed. "No way you can do that, with all the floating leaves and overhang and a 30 mile per hour crosswind."

Buckley laughed a bit and then prepared.

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HIs first attempt caught a leaf on the line spooled at his foot. On his second attempt…well, don't believe me. Let's go to the video replay:



100 feet of line effortlessly floating out, under very trying conditions. "This is what happens when a quality blank meets a quality builder. This is a rod that can fish a 6 through 9 weight equally well."

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Buck went on to say that Andy built a rod that could be used for fishing redfish on the Florida flats, steelhead in Lake Erie, brown trout in the Mad, bass in the Little Miami, and delicate brookies on dry flies wherever they may be found. "It's as close to the most versatile rod you're going to find," he said. "It's exactly what we hoped for when we designed the Sceptres."

I think of that at the end of the day. 5 1/2 hours of wet wading and my extremities are blue, but I take extra care to make sure I put up the Sceptre safely. This is a rod I will use on a regular basis.

Andy Manchester Jr. is a terrific rod maker and this 9' Sceptre combines the best of vintage glass with a modern build. How can you possibly go wrong with that?

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 18 Oct 2012, 20:40 • # 2 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 07/05/10
Posts: 4353
Location: Mid Hudson Valley of New York
Here are few shots of the 8.5' Sceptre Andy built for me. I could not agree more as to the versatility -- this rod can do it all. I like mine with a 6wt but it will cast a 7, 8, even 9wt.

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Andy did a great job and he was a pleasure to work with during the entire build.


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PostPosted: 18 Oct 2012, 21:00 • # 3 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 1798
Location: Orygun
fantastic report!


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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 07:43 • # 4 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 6003
Location: US-ME
Andy did a lot to bring the best out of the Sceptres.

Dr. Todd, that video is great.

You may remember that Sceptre blanks were also sold by T & T; I have had a 9' that I got from them since 1978. I don't remember why I got it from them rather than the primary importer. Probably as simple as I went by the T&T shop a few times while traveling through New England. I had a great letter from Len Codella in response to an inquiry about the blanks; he described casting an entire 8-weight line with the 9-footer, as well as its multi line-weight capability. Wish I still had the letter; I saw it just before moving a few years ago, but that was the last time. A tremendously versatile rod as you described.

I'd love to see more photos of Andy's build.

A man could do worse than have the full range of Sceptre models, and never want for an exceptional 'glass rod again. Introduced relatively late in the 'glass era, even the best 'glass was eclipsed by graphite, but the revival as old stashes became available has been great to witness.

Dr. Todd, or maybe some of our European members, do you know if there have been comparable revivals and availabilty of European versions of the same blanks produced by the Hardy manufacturing facility developed by J Kennedy Fisher? I know some of the names (e.g. Constable), but not their numbers or current interest.

And what became of or is the current status of the production facility?


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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 14:56 • # 5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 10/31/06
Posts: 1264
Location: Mid- coast Maine
Quite a few of us here bought those blanks. I'm still amazed at the versatility of them. I've fished with a DT6,7 and 8 with mine. Caught all the eastern trout varieties, LL salmon, bones, permit ,cuda, snook, specks and reds. I built mine as a four piece so it travels well and wouldn't fly without it. Never tried a Hero Cast with it but it will easily cast a #7 60 or 70 feet and match any fish I've hooked so far, though one permit had me wondering ... And not so over powering that a 12" brookie wouldn't put a good wiggle on the rod. Wish I had got in on the shorter versions of them.
Andy's ability to match the original whatever rod is simply wonderful.He even seems to be able to match the seats.
Enjoyed the video, thanks
RFMcD


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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 15:14 • # 6 
New Member
Joined: 01/21/12
Posts: 1
Location: US-OH
Dr Todd

I trust your cholesterol levels have normalized again after your trip to Crabills. Thanks for the report and pictures.

It is always nice to see my home waters get a little love. The leaves are making fishing the Mad a challenge right now.

Mark


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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2012, 16:15 • # 7 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/15/08
Posts: 904
Location: Salisbury, England
whrlpool wrote:
or maybe some of our European members, do you know if there have been comparable revivals and availabilty of European versions of the same blanks produced by the Hardy manufacturing facility developed by J Kennedy Fisher?
... And what became of or is the current status of the production facility?

1. Nope but the light line shorties have a following

2. Hardy have a limited UK production facility - top end cane and I think sintrix or at least wrapping the top end sintrix. The rest including the new glass range are made in Korea

Kudos Andy for a great looking rod


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PostPosted: 20 Oct 2012, 14:36 • # 8 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 04/26/06
Posts: 3351
Hello
Thank you dr todd!
it's very gratifying as a maker when your work is fully appreciated by someone as notable as yourself! even more so when the work is also endorsed by the person whom was responsible for the original design.
The video of buckley spooling the reel is a true testament to the amazing performance of the man and his design of the most versatile fly rod blanks ever made in my opinion!

Got to ask did you guys grease that line with the special juices from "crabills"?

Seriously I'm very glad to see the rod passed muster and caught some fish as well.

Thanks again to both you dr todd and buckley!

Tight lines and 9' sceptre loops
Andy M
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PostPosted: 21 Oct 2012, 21:21 • # 9 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
Thanks go out to you, Andy. It's a marvelous rod.

Mark, drop me a PM -- maybe we can hook up on the Mad.

I love these Sceptres and I'll have them all at the International Glass Rod Expo for anyone who wants to try one out themselves.

-- Dr. Todd


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PostPosted: 02 Dec 2012, 10:03 • # 10 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/27/07
Posts: 526
Location: Missouri
Thats quite a versatile rod!


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2014, 21:11 • # 11 
New Member
Joined: 03/29/14
Posts: 4
Location: US-NY
I know this is an older thread, but I have to say that Andy built me a 9' Scepter and its unbelievable. I like it with a 9wt double taper for flies and I also use it with a Cortland running line for Salmon. I don't sling a ton of lead, usually just a small split shot. This rod handles the salmon beautifully.

I wish I could find more of these blanks. Andy built me 3 rods and they are all fantastic but the scepter is the best rod I ever owned!

Johnny


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2014, 21:31 • # 12 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/29/06
Posts: 4426
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
welcome to the forum, Johnny - you have good taste. I've fortune to have a big Sceptre and then a 7' from a series Andy made. It's more than a marvelous rod. It is spectacular.

Paul


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2014, 22:51 • # 13 
New Member
Joined: 03/29/14
Posts: 4
Location: US-NY
Wow, that's exactly right!

I'm thankful every time I see that rod. Its amazing how versatile it is. I went in my yard last fall and put on a reel from another rod that had 7# Rio smallmouth taper WF line just to play around and it cast great.

I also have a 8' smallmouth rod (the abovementioned reel) and a 7' 4-6wt that Andy built me on Reed blanks. Great rods as well but I don't think anything can compare to the scepter. Andy is the man.

Johnny


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PostPosted: 30 Mar 2014, 10:48 • # 14 
Guide
Joined: 08/28/08
Posts: 177
Location: US-OH
As time goes on and people realize how great these sceptre blanks are, I think these rods are going to move from "cult" status to "legendary" status. As I've bought rods from just about every maker in the course of writing my book, I have a good knowledge of the properties of most glass fly rods. I keep reaching for the sceptres, especially that 9', whenever the weather gets nice. .. even over other rods that have much greater brand recognition.

-- Dr. Todd


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