It’s been a while since we have done a rod collab give-away with New Zealand rod gurus Epic Fly Rods, but every time we do, it results in something really special. There was the Rasta-inspired ‘Da Riddim Stick’ which, last we heard, was doing duty somewhere on South Island; The Motivational Carrot, which landed up going on a cross-country native trout tour of the USA and then there was The Black Mamba, which is now owned by Kruger Park legend Danie Pienaar, one of few people to survive an adult black mamba bite. That rod proved so popular, Epic added it to their range.

Maybe it’s because they are All Black supporters but, for this rod in issue 33, the Epic team turned to the Dark Side and developed the incredible Epic Sith Lightsaber. We spoke to Trevor Bourne, Epic’s rod builder extraordinaire, about the rod, the Force and evil in general.

The Mission (TM): On a level of Padawan to Sith Lord – how much of a Stars Wars fan are you?

Trevor Bourne (TB): Yoda I would be, a deep love for Star Wars I have.

TM: How did the idea for this rod come about? Were you and Carl McNeil, (founder/director of Epic) playing your usual 11am game of ‘lightsaber, lightsaber’ with Fastglass blanks around the Epic offices when inspiration struck?

TB: Close… Actually, we were in the warehouse playing Ghostbusters. I had a vacuum cleaner strapped to my back with a green Epic 686 gaffer taped to the end of the hose, while Carl went with a backpack weed sprayer and an Epic Bandit. We had wrapped Molly the shop dog in a green trash bag and were attempting to guide her over the tissue box I had slid across the floor. I told Carl not to cross the streams… ‘Cos you know what happens when you cross the streams? Total Protonic reversal…

We are all big Star Wars Fans at Epic and Carl had always talked about doing a lightsaber rod. So we took off our grey overalls and put the vacuum cleaner back in the cupboard and started on the plans for our next tea break… in a warehouse, far, far away…

TM: Tell us about the challenges involved in making this unique rod?

TB: As a creative type, I thrive on making stuff with what I have available to me. My wife says I’m on the cusp of being a hoarder. I like having a stock of potentially useful items. There’s almost always something that can be repurposed.

“It’s not ‘junk’ Karla, it’s my stuff!”

I wanted it to feel real. I didn’t want to use plastic or carve wood. Rummaging through my workshop I found the spark, the first piece of the puzzle. An old torch…

epic fly rod

I love it (and this happens quite a lot), when I find random parts or materials that just happen to be just the perfect size for the job, like they were meant to be together. Over a couple of weeks it slowly came into being. The most challenging part was learning to write in Sith runes.

TM: Form vs Force vs Function – does the former impact the latter much? Is the structural integrity of the blank impacted by the line running through it as opposed to through guides? 

TB: Function was not my primary objective on this project. I mostly just wanted to make it look badass. As it turns out, it casts a fine loop! If you use a little Force and make swooshing light sabre noises with your mouth, it shoots line quite nicely.

The glass blanks are pretty tough. Even with a substantial line-in hole on the prototype, I couldn’t break it. On the final Lightsaber I fitted it with a handcrafted brass guide at the in and out points. We went guideless because light sabres don’t have guides.

TM: How does it feel to cast (or fight a fish) with a rod without guides? Does one just… feel the Force?

TB: One must of course use the Force.  That really should go without saying. It is reassuringly weighty, in the same way a Rolex Submariner is weighty, but even so it still feels great in the hand.

TM: On that note, what weight is the rod and (other than prodding Ewoks on Endor or catching Spetan channelfish on Ahch-To) what sort of application do you see it having on Earth?

TB: It’s based on our Salsa Epic 888 for its larger internal diameter. A 6-weight line fits nicely through the rod. The 888 being made from our Zentron glass means it’s quite happy throwing a lighter line. Here on earth I would love to see it used for evil – being red this is a Sith weapon after all. Maybe casting a worm fly at a New Zealand brown trout, bread flies for carp or possibly something diabolical like egg flies under a bobber float… Mwahahaaa.

Any last words for Skywalker lovin’ haters / purists?

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate… and we all know where that path leads… Yup, to the Dark Side!

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epic fly rod