UPDATE: All proceeds from this sale will be donated to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum.
This 6' Baby Catskill rod is from the bench of Alex Vardanis. It was fished once by the maker and shows some soiling of the grip. It was made in 2007-2008. Alex is known for his nodeless rod construction similar to the method used by Bernard Ramanauskas of Eden Cane and Scott Rods. The maker states: "I have made four of these (two different tapers). This one is the second one I made. The first was done with the specifics of an original Baby Catskill (no winding check or hook keeper, a regular snake for a stripping guide and a short grip and reel seat). I was very pleased with the way it turned out especially since, in contrast to the original (nodes in) rod, it could handle a breeze. I fished that first rod extensively for a couple of seasons and I decided to make another and dress it up a little, with a lightweight black aluminum cap and ring on a fancy spacer, a nice agate stripper and a winding check and hook keeper. It came in at 1.87 oz. only 0.11 oz. heavier that the first one. The grip is made up from 1/4" rings and the ferrule is an 8/64" stepdown CSE, true to the original rod.
The ferrules are witness marked and double wrapped in the area that is prone to varnish cracks (at the end of the ferrule tabs). It comes in a Landmark brass capped tube.
Alex states this rod can handle fish up to 15" and it is one of his favorite rods for the small 9-12 browns in Ontario's Grand River. The chopsticks (split internodes) are spliced maintaining the geometry of the original culm and the splices are staggered in the splines very much like a 3-3-3 pattern of node staggering. The splices are cut left-to-right and right-to-left and the two types are alternated on adjoining splines. The wraps are color preserved and tipped. Snake guides and tip tops are "Snake Brand", and the ferrules are stepdowns from CSE. The rod will carry a lifetime warranty by the maker.
One of Alex's rods came in first in the accuracy category and second overall in the rod challenge at the 2012 Catskill Rodmakers' Gathering.