Great Outdoors: Turning Flags Into Fishing Rods

By John Campbell, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa -- Rick Bowers loves to wet a line as much as the next guy. He has begun tying some of his lures, but for years he has been making his own rods.

"They work good with small spinners and jigs," he said.

What does he make the rods from?

Bicycle flags.

Rick was inspired by a Michigan man who originated them in the '60s to catch steel head trout on the Great Lakes.

Bowers gave KCRG a quick tutorial. It began with carving, then sanding, the flag pole to get the taper.

"I usually do it in an hour and a half, I have it down to where I want it," he said.

Then there is the matter of determining the spline of the rod.

"You turn it left and right as you look down it," he said. "And when you have it where you think the center is, you mark it."

The next step is attaching the guides to the pole.

"Straighten your guide up a little bit and start rolling it very slowly. Get an eighth of an inch beyond it. Now you want to stop. Just cut the thread off real easy, and you have your guides tied on."

Rick will coat those areas with polyurethane, add a handle from a broken rod, and presto change-o: The bicycle flag is a fishing rod. Rick said he can turn out one rod in about two nights' work.
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