Highlands & Islands

Angler and space shuttle engineer claim world first for graphene fishing rod

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Media captionScott Mackenzie said their rod took "the art of salmon fishing to a whole new level"

A world champion angler and an engineer who worked on heat shields for Nasa space shuttles say they have made the first fishing rod using graphene.

A form of carbon, graphene is many times stronger than steel.

It was discovered in 2004 by Sir Andre Geim and Sir Konstantin Novoselov - who were awarded the 2010 Nobel prize in physics for their work on the material.

Inverness-based angler Scott Mackenzie has worked with Oxfordshire-based Gary Savage on the rod.

Mr Mackenzie is a former world Spey casting champion and a professional ghillie for 20 years, working on the River Ness in the Highlands and the Deveron in Aberdeenshire.

Mr Savage is a professor of engineering who has worked with Nasa and also with carmakers Honda and McLaren on designs for Formula One racing cars.

He said: "We have taken the best of everything we have learned in Formula One to create the best fly rod ever made."

'Game changer'

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Mr Mackenzie says the rod handles differently because of the graphene

Mr Mackenzie said: "We had an incredibly exciting opportunity to take the art of salmon fishing to a whole new level by harnessing graphene in the right way before anyone else.

"The rod is a game changer for expert and less-experienced anglers.

"It not only flexes deeply at the beginning of a cast but it straightens again powerfully, which gives you distance, and critically it also retains the vital 'feel' that salmon fishers need to adjust their technique and accuracy."

The rods cost almost £1,000 to buy.

Graphene is a form of carbon that exists as a sheet, one atom thick and arranged into a two-dimensional honeycomb structure.

Geim and Novoselov isolated graphene at the University of Manchester.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Graphene is a form of carbon