H. L. Jennings 8' #5 3-piece 2-top fly rod.
Rod № 772. Completed 20th June 2015. In exceptional near-mint condition.
I have an interest to declare. Homer Jennings is a dear friend of mine and it was with him that I spent the fortnight of my one and only visit to America. I am a great admirer of his work and it is an honour to present this magnificent rod.
With his one time collaborator the late Tom Moran, Homer was responsible for the renaissance of really high quality split cane fly rods in the UK. Homer lived here for many years and during that time he combined his day job with rod making. His skills are properly honed and developed over decades. He began his rod making career before many of today’s rod builders were born. He is also a superb sportsman and knows how a rod should perform.
He is featured in Dick Spurr’s Classic Bamboo Rod Makers -Past & Present and Ed Engle’s Splitting Cane -Conversations with Bamboo Rodmakers.
Homer is one of the very few makers who has successfully made his living from hand-planed split bamboo. It is testament to his work ethic and uncompromising standards that this rod, built when I’m pretty sure he was seventy, is such a superb instrument.
I’ve spent time casting this rod on the stream behind our workshop and I must say that it performs so well that I’ve started to covet it to a shameful extent. Its casting stoke is absolutely fluid and smooth. There is no tip bounce whatsoever and it places the fly with unerring accuracy. It roll casts effortlessly too.
I don’t see how one could have a better fly rod of this length and line rating, regardless of what it’s made from. That’s a bold claim but if you make an appointment to view and cast with this rod, you’ll soon agree.
This rod represents a rare opportunity to enjoy superb craftsmanship combined with flawless performance, created by one of our greatest living rod makers. If you’re only going to have one split cane rod, it’d better be a very good one. This is that rod.
The hand-planed oven tempered Tonkin bamboo blank is exceptionally precise and cleanly made. The tips are mirrored and the butt has a subtle and effective swell. The sections are perfectly straight.
The guides are classic black nickel plated Snake Brand, with matching tip-tops and an agate lined butt ring. The rod is whipped with transparent Pearsall’s Gossamer silk tipped dark tan.
The truncated Super-Z nickel sliver ferrules retain an exemplary firm, smooth fit and have Homer’s distinctive split cane stoppers. A very nice touch.
The varnish is flawlessly applied and blemish-free, highlighting the clean lines of the bamboo and silks.
The handle is a remarkably comfortable Garrison-style cigar made from some of the best Flor grade cork I’ve ever seen. Homer put me onto the man who supplied this cork. His name was Christ. I’m not making this up.
There is a hexagonal collar at the top of the handle.
The reel seat is a black nickel coated nickel silver down locking design and in common with everything else about this rod, it works exceptionally well. The spacer is highly figured spalted hardwood.
In Homer’s enviably attractive hand, the swell above the handle is inscribed –№ 772 ~ H. L. Jennings ~ 8 ft. # 5
On the next flat is the completion date 20.06.15
Homer, a stickler for these things, sews his own rod bags. Quite something -a rod in its tailor made bag also by the maker. He was slightly disapproving of my use of a seamstress when we last spoke about this.
The rod has a fitted black aluminium case with Leonard-style brass end caps.