Gillum by Tufts & Batson 7'3" 3/2 #4/5

A tribute to a legendary maker by Amelia & Gabe.

Gillum by Tufts & Batson 7'3" 3/2 #4/5

May 2018

After last year's season ended, Tufts & Batson and I began discussion a tribute rod to one of the greatest US rod makers of all time. The choice was easy, and we ended up with Master Rod Builder Harold S. "Pinky" Gillum.

Amelia & Gabe (T&B) spent countless hours discussing back and forth with Hoagy Carmichael, a leading Gillum expert; Mark Canfield and other collectors and restorers to find the correct materials and solutions as they entered "the world of Gillum". The taper they ended up with was adapted from a softer action rod Pinky made for Elsie Darbee.

So far, I have spent the better part of a day with this rod up on a mountain lake, paired it up with a Phoenix Silk DT4 line. This rod was amazing to cast, amazing to fish and it was, like I was told by T&B, very easy to use. It responds very quickly to everything I threw at it. The recovery is great, the relaxed rhythm of the rod can hold much line in the air as well as shoot short to long distance. The presentation of the fly is also very gentle. The lesser speed of the line helps in this but all in all this is an outstanding dry fly taper with the finest of tips.

Also, the rod is a very good snake roller as well as water casts. I am impressed with how it handled the wind that picked up later in the day. Keep in mind that I only tried it with a DT4. With a DT4 line you have a medium flexing rod, pair it up with a DT5 and you have yourself a full flex rod.

As for the fishing, the rod performed excellent when I hooked up with a big trout of 1.5kg. Responding to every move the trout had, counter every twist, turn, jump and pull. The feeling was total satisfaction.

  • Black and white silk Hoagy Carmichael got from Pinky's shop.
  • Original guides and size 15/64 ferrule, if not directly from Pinky's shop (one can't be sure), they are from the era.
  • The tip ferrule is an exact repro taken from the originals.
  • Replica reel seat by Bellinger.
  • Figured Honduran Mahogany filler.
  • Grip shape, rod bag, outer-tube bag, label all inspired by Pinky.
  • Main silk color suggested by a leading Gillum expert; Mark Canfield. He said this was a close match for a color Winnie Gillum like to use occasionally.
  • A special tube matching an original was provided by Cascade Designs.

All Gillums are different from one another, so no two are alike. A true replica would capture the spirit of Gillum.

- Mark Canfield

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Gillum by Tufts & Batson
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'They say you forget your troubles on a trout stream, but that's not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they're just not such a big deal anymore.'

- John Gierach

'The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a good fish back, and who knows if the fish that you caught isn't someone else's gift to you?'

- Lee Wulff

'It is impossible to grow weary of a sport that is never the same on any two days of the year.'

- Theodore Gordon