The Bamboo Fly Rod And The American Pursuit Of Perfection

All About The Fly Flyshop A new fly fishing shop in downtown Monroe, WA that offers rod building classes. Once the rod is wrapped, you straighten out any twists, and then roll it under a board, a roller, or both, to straighten it (photo below). Regardless of whether you don’t know the difference between a fly rod and a cane pole, or whether you not only know the differences but you’ve made your spouse learn about them, there’s a place on your book shelf for Casting A Spell. Bamboo Fishing Rods: The natural material of Bamboo is established for the superb line and loop control, with incredible touch and feel. I just want to say one of the highlights of the season is receiving and using your rod.

A fast rod typically requires more line to load it; casting in close is an attribute of bamboo rods that most graphite rods simply cannot match. Scott Nilsson is a true bamboo craftsman, a warm knowledgeable tutor, a lifelong mentor and always a friend. Custom or factory: A custom rod builder assists you in selecting the best blank and components to fit your needs. The bamboo comes from an area in China about the size of Newaygo County, he said.

I myself am a maker of bamboo rods, so I may be somewhat prejudiced, but Casting a Spell cast a spell over me. Black has caught the spirit of our craft in his telling of the story of the development of the fine bamboo fly rod and the people involved in making them from the late 19th century until the present. Other well known craftsman type makers were Paul Young, The Edwards Family, F.E, Thomas, LL Dickerson, H.W. Hawes and Bill Phillipson. The thread feeds from above, is tucked under the drive string at the rod, and spirals around the rod as it moves.

The configuration has been around for hundreds of years and there is some variation on it. But it’s the six-sided hexagon that took hold in bamboo rods. Are all rod builders equal: No, Same as any trade, some are better and some specialize in specific aspects of the trade. Each design can be seen as a reflection of who the rod maker is and what that builder knows and likes about fly rods and the fly fishing way of life.

In close, where most fish happen to be swimming, a bamboo rod loads and casts sweeter than anything else. The forests in China give us the material and Luke’s master skills makes it a perfect and unique fishing rod. We carefully select our bamboo for straightness, strong power fibers, density, and lack of cosmetic blemishes. It means embarking on a time-consuming process of building, fishing, changing tapers when I’m developing a rod, but it also results in a rod that performs better.

This growth is reflected in the number of rod maker ‘Gatherings’ that are held each year across North America. Watching that trout take the dry fly and then feeling the tug on the rod is truly amazing on a bamboo fly rod, something that I love to share with anyone. As a final personal touch, the owner’s name can be inscribed, another inscription if wanted, or nothing on the rod. The problem, of course, is finding an oven that will hold a strip of bamboo that is still somewhere between four and five feet long. I just realized I had not given you any feedback on my new bamboo rod, I LOVE IT!!!


Our signature series we call The Sweetgrass Rod With higher end hardware and an extra tip, the Sweetgrass Rod exemplifies the marriage of beauty and performance. Yes still check the rod and see if it nicked the edge or scraped the varnish but the rod will not crack and cause a failure in the next 5 or 10 casts. Yet the emergence of graphite in the early 1970’s had brought major challenges to all of the venerable old rod shops, Leonard among them. In the beginning of our rod-making business, we didn’t think it would be practical to build bamboo rods since we would have to make a power-milling machine, a daunting task.

I have also had the pleasure of restoring some truly unique early Lancewood and Greenheart rods that predate the bamboo era. Progressive tapers perfected through decades of flyfishing experience and rod building expertise: these are reasons to consider a Sweetgrass bamboo rod. He meets regularly with a growing group of amateur and professional rod builders from around the state who share tips and techniques.

Many of the people I talk to at trade shows learned how to cast on their grandfathers bamboo fly rod that now sits on the mantel piece as a family heirloom. TONY VALEANT – MAKER, EVENING HATCH FLY SHOP – PA. MODEL 704, 7′ 2PC 2 TIP 4 WT. Serial #322, Fast dry fly action. We purchase bamboo rod components from manufacturers known for supplying products of select quality. CHARLES W. JENKINS – MAKER, CO. MODEL GA-70-24, 7′ 2PC 2 TIP 4 WT, Medium fast dry fly action.

If you would like to order a rod please contact me at rodmaker@ Orders are honored on a first received, first filled basis and require the receipt of a non-refundable $100.00 deposit. A number of my bamboo friends have also used it and it has garnered rave reviews on all occasions. But because of the fine calibration involved, machinist tools have to be zeroed out.

Second I would say is the sensitivity; you can feel so much more through the rod and land much larger fish on lighter tippets. The female ferrules have a specially designed nickel silver and cork plug that matches our rod tube cap and collar. We continually refined the rod tapers and production methods to improve the quality necessary for great rods.

Practicing the skills he teaches you will bring you to the master craftsmanship level making split cane fly rods that Scott has attained, and maybe beyond. The Thomas Rod Co. is also a dealer of fine accessories from the House of Hardy, and Cortland Line Co. We also sell quality vintage tackle. This core group of rod makers served as the wellspring of all bamboo rod making in the United States.

Setting the forms to the proper taper requires two tools from the machinist’s trade — the dial caliper and a depth indicator with a pointed tip (above). I liked the class so much that I went back the next year and built an 8 ft 6wt rod that has become my go to” all around trout rod. Even though the bulk of our rods were made from composite materials during my tenure at Winston, we continued making fine bamboo rods. Upon reaching the river, the bamboo is scrubbed by hand using sand from the riverbank.

Custom built South Bend 59 – 7 1/2′; 3/2 6 wt ; A gorgeous dark toned custom built South Bend 59-7 1/2′, 3/2, 6 wt. bamboo fly rod from the bench ff Mr. Edwin Beck. We ask for a $1000 deposit with the balance to be paid when we start the final assembly of your rod. Once I’ve started the wrap, I run the thread through the middle of a book to create some drag, and turn the rod to wrap the guide. Classic Trout A great non profit organization about fly fishing and conservation.