I think anyone who enjoys angling has their favorite rod they enjoy fishing with. Whether it be an expensive rod designed to perform, or a simple model that has a long history behind it, there is always something that makes that rod special to the angler. My favorite rod comes with an interesting story indeed, my first wreck – I rearended my high school biology teacher with my truck. She drove a Honda Accord. I crashed through her rear bumper and popped her trunk open, my vehicle was fine. I was scared and upset, but knew damage was minimal. That was until I realized she was on her way to the regional science fair, and I had managed to do collateral damage to all of my peers’ poster board presentations. They all thanked me later. I lost my license for a month, but luckily got no ticket. With a month of no wheels, what is a 16 year old to do? I took that month’s gas money and bought an Ugly Stick ultralight and an Abu Garcia Cardinal 101. It has been a bulletproof rod/reel combo and I feel as if I grew up with that rod in my hand.
The Phillipson before the restoration process. Very nice rod, indeed!
As someone who restores rods, I can appreciate the sentimental value behind each and every rod I work on. In most cases, it is up to me to bring that rod back to life to be enjoyed further by the proud owner. About 6 weeks ago, I was sent an email by a gentleman I’ll refer to as Mr. Martin. Mr. Martin is an Iraqi War veteran and wanted me to take a look at his Phillipson Master fiberglass rod in order to refurbish it and make it fresh again. I asked him a few questions about the rod, and gave him a bid on the work. As we continued to discuss the rod, I came to find it had a very unique history.
Mr. Martin was given this precious Phillipson Master in 1982 by his father. As a budding fly angler, he learned to fish on this rod. Mr. Martin loves to talk about his 26 brook trout he caught with the Jassid he tied from the fly tying kit his girlfriend gave him, as well as the 8 lb. bass he once caught and released while fishing with his father the first time he ever used the rod.
While most of the time it is the fishing experiences with a rod that make it special, this particular rod has survived many trials through its long life. In 1985, one early morning while at work, Mr. Martin received a phone call from his employer. His apartment had caught fire and he was to rush home immediately. Once he arrived, he found that the 2nd floor fire had moved to his apartment on the 3rd floor and the building had fallen in on top of itself. He was given permission from the firemen to search the remains of the building for any personal possessions and found none except an old beaten down aluminum tube. It was his Phillipson, but he knew the fiberglass would have melted in the inferno. He opened the tube to miraculously find the rod in good shape. To this day, the smoke smell has been obvious in the cork handle.
The original thread wraps were in good shape, but had been faded and in need of repair.
This rod means the world to Mr. Martin because it is the only remaining thing he owns from his father, who passed away at the age of 55. I considered it an honor and a privilege to work on this Phillipson.
After the apartment fire and being stationed in different parts of the world through the military, Mr. Martin asked his friend to keep the rod while he was away. Being tucked away for 27 years, he had no idea what shape the rod may have been in when he received it only a few years ago after his tour in Iraq. To his surprise, it arrived in great shape with only minor changes since it was last cast. He was excited to rejuvenate his life through fly fishing since he suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
2.5” were missing from the tip and the thread wraps were in all black. Didn’t quite match the beautiful green/black thread wraps originally on the Masters.
After being in contact with Mr. Martin over the past few weeks, I knew this restoration would be a very important undertaking personally as much as it would be professionally. I am a huge supporter of our military veterans as well as a supporter of Project Healing Waters. Any chance I get to serve those who have served me through the military, I do. That is why I took this restoration so personally and did all work at no charge for Mr. Martin.
A very nice, restored Phillipson Master!
Perfectly matched thread wraps will make this beauty come back to life!
With a fresh coat of varnish, new thread wraps and a clean handle the Phillipson Master is ready for its new life. I feel as if I am just as excited as Mr. Martin for his new rod. I know this will provide him an outlet to let loose from the pressures of protecting our great nation.
Please visit www.projecthealingwaters.org for more information on Project Healing Waters, a nonprofit organization that promotes fly-fishing to our wounded veterans, so that they may have a peace of mind after serving our great nation.
Also, feel free to check out Bennett’s Rod Restoration at www.bennettsrodrestoration.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bennettsrodrestoration. More pictures from this amazing build can be found on our Facebook page!