The 2018 National Fly Rod Building Competition is revving up! The purpose of the program and competition is to expand the therapeutic experience for PHWFF disabled veteran participants by giving them the experience of building their own fly rods to further their physical and mental rehabilitation through the sport of fly fishing.  The rod building program also has a fun competition component which gives participants the chance to win prizes for their rod building abilities.  These prizes may include the opportunity to further their rod building experience by attending a Bamboo Bend, a week long bamboo rod building school in Michigan, or to attend a National Destination trip to Arkansas’s famed Little Red River.

Last year, thanks to a generous grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we were able to provide this great program to a record-setting number of PHWFF participants.  In 2017 alone, 98 PHWFF Programs, spread across all of our 21 geographic regions, participated!  That represents over 800 disabled veterans and the largest number ever to be enrolled in this annual program and we’re looking forward to bringing this core-programmatic activity to even more participants in 2018.  If history is any measure, we are in for something very special in 2018 — enthusiasm is running high amongst the Programs and veterans participating. (Related:  Announcing the Winners of the 2017 National Fly Rod Building Competition  |  “Best Overall Program Rods” : The 2017 National Fly Rod Building Competition)

This years competition will begin on January 8, 2018 and close on April 13, 2018.  The Hook and Hackle Company will once again provide the standard fly rod kits to be used in the competition. They will also assemble a panel of judges for the competition comprised of a professional rod builder, Hook & Hackle employees, PHWFF participant, and PHWFF volunteer.

There are a few changes from last year’s competition, most notably the creation of three separate categories for judging:

  1. Category 1 (Beginners): This category is for PHWFF participants new to fly rod building who have not built a fly rod before. Those in this category must use one of the standard Hook & Hackle rod kits.  However, they are allowed to use different thread than what is provided in the kit and build a custom grip. They can also be as creative as they want with inlays and other decorative techniques.
  2. Category 2 (Intermediate): This category is for PHWFF participants who are building their 2nd or 3rd fly rod ever. Those in this category must use one of the standard Hook & Hackle rod kits. However, they are allowed to use different thread than what is provided in the kit and build a custom grip. They can also be as creative as they want with inlays and other decorative techniques.
  3. Category 3 (Advanced): This category is for PHWFF participants who are building their 4th fly rod ever or who have built more than four fly rods. Participants in this category can use the standard Hook & Hackle fly rod building contest kits or any other manufactures kits. Participants in this category can use whatever blanks, components, thread and inlay techniques they want for this category. Whatever they can dream up and build is permissible in this category.

(The top three winners in each category are eligible for the competition awards)

Interested participants should contact their Program Lead for additional information and instruction about this years competition.  Good luck and happy building!  We will be doing periodic updates throughout the duration of the contest, so stay tuned!  We look forward to seeing all the submissions from our participants across the country.   Our thanks and appreciation to The Hook and Hackle Company for hosting the competition again this year.

Related: Rod Building Program Brings Life Full-Circle