Back in June of last year, I was browsing around on Instagram and stumbled onto AriZona's page. I'm a huge fan of their lemon iced tea, and they are a bit of a nostalgic brand for me; I remember drinking them in the heat of summer as a child. As I browsed their posts, I noticed their 99 Projects work; they were bringing 99 project ideas to life, no matter how large or small. I decided to send them a quick 30-second pitch about the rods I make and tossed out the idea of an AriZona themed rod, not expecting much from such a recognized brand.
Fast forward a couple of months and I received an email back showing interest in my idea. I responded with probably way too much information, but broke down some of my thoughts on how to bring an AriZona rod to life. After some exchanges, the project was moving forward! Once we were ready to make the rod, I knew I had to get creative. My rods are truly unique, but I needed to bring some fresh ideas to the table to pull this off.
I started with color matching my favorite flavor, the lemon iced tea. The iconic teal, fuchsia, and sun yellow immediately came to mind. I immediately knew I needed to snatch up a Blue Halo 5wt in Jade for the rod blank. I've wrapped a ton of Blue Halo blanks and I am a huge fan of glass rods, so this was a natural choice. While shopping there, I also snagged a reel seat in Sundrop yellow to match the color choices.
The reel was the next part of bringing this project to life. I am a huge fan of Taylor Fly Fishing reels and they offer a customization option as well. After getting in touch with their staff, I landed on a custom Revolt reel with the Trout Candy anodization. Not only are Taylor reels bulletproof, this one turned out spectacularly.
With most of the needed supplies in hand, I began to think about the handle. I've made some really cool handles and most often use cork, epoxy resin, and foam to pull off a well-done job. I came up with a combination of all these materials and got to work. The eye-catching part was the tea label rolled and cast in resin. I used the foam as accents towards the ends of the handle which contrasted against the black cork I used. This handle was a bit difficult to pull off, but I'm thrilled with the end result.
The rod was coming together great, but I needed some indicative logos and patterns on this rod too. I combined color matched thread with transparent prints I had made and got to work with the tedious process of wrapping the rod.
I used a combination of nylon and silk thread to pull this off, alongside my signature wrapped ferrules. Instead of spiral wraps, I added the transparent prints and a few extra details that really put the AriZona onto this rod. After the testy process of wrapping accents and guides, I put the rod on my dryer and epoxied it up.
This rod is without a doubt my hardest and most creative work. I learned new techniques along the way and really pushed the element with what's considered a 'fly rod'. It was an absolute blast to work with AriZona too; they were super supportive and quick to help me accomplish this. Thanks AriZona!
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Fish on friends!