Speycasting and Fiddle Tunes

Midcurrent pointed us toward an interesting article today about Alexander Grant, one of the pioneers of  Speycasting.

Wouldn’t you know it, the man was a musician! And not just a musician he played the Fiddle! Yet another dot connecting the Fiddle and the Creel. Pertinent quotes below…

Born in 1856 at his family’s croft at Battangorm near Carrbridge in the Highlands of Scotland, Grant began his illustrious fishing career in the silvery waters of the River Spey system. As a young boy he was also exposed to his other great passion in life – playing the fiddle. So much was his early interest in the acoustic properties of these instruments that he once refused to attend fiddle lessons from the local school teacher because he disliked the tone of his tutor’s fiddle. This early appreciation of tone and vibration was something he used in later life to outstanding effect in the design of his famous ‘Grant’s Vibration’ range of fly rods.

Later in the article it gets to the heart of an issue I’ve been wanting to explore in more detail, the relationship between building acoustic instruments and building rods. I knew there was a connection, now I have PROOF! Well, if nothing else then at least it’s proof that someone else in human history was just as savagely deranged as I.

The real secret to success of the greenheart rod however, was the rod’s specific taper, which was worked out acoustically, rod by rod. As a talented musician, Grant also handcrafted his own fiddles and in doing so began experimenting with the principles of vibration frequencies. The information he learned was applied with great effect to his rod making room. He realised that as a natural product, the density of wood varied. This meant that two rods made to the same length, diameter and specifications different actions. Grant tuned each individual rod section as such that he could produce a rod that flexed in total unison. This meant that instead of each section ‘springing’ slower or quicker than the others, the rod’s action was totally married, resulting in a very powerful through-action.

Unbelievable! The connection between music and fly fishing is unmistakable!