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"Boo's"? That makes me cringe. (Unless you mean "booze".) What is difficult in typing "cane", "splitcane", or "bamboo"? I don't notice anyone writing "grafs" or "ites".
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This year I tried to get away from cane rods, hoping that vintage fiberglass rods would allow me to do more casting as they are lighter (my heart is pretty well shot and I tire easily). After buying three fiberglass rods, I gave up and returned to the cane. The cane rods are just easier for me. However, I have cast one fiberglass rod that had me drooling - a 7'6" Heddon Black Beauty; hard to find, though.
I have no graphite rods; I can't afford them. I would be wary of buying a used graphite rod; a deep scratch might go unnoticed until in cracked. OTOH, used cane rods are quite robust. I have used some from the 1890's that were still good casting machines. And I can afford used cane - I bought a delightful Leonard 9'6" 3/1 4wt this year for $75.00 (Calcutta cane, pre-1922) and an F. E. Thomas 9' 3/1 5wt for $23.00.
So, I use cane rods because they are durable, inexpensive, feel great, smell good (the orange smell of some varnishes is intoxicating), are fun to ogle on a winter night by the fire, and, with the slower actions, the rod does some of the work (it's true).
I have fished with one and its supurb. There is just something about it thats so nice. Im working with one of the guys at the local shop to build me a blank, then I'll finish it off. Looking at doing a short 2 piece 2wt.
Fishing with Bamboo Rods brings back memories,no doubt many of The Guys of my Vintage will well remember Bamboo or Split Cane Rods,as that's all that was available.
I think Fibreglass came on the market in The Late 50s,my first Fibreglass Rod was a Heavy 9ft 6'' Slazenger 27B which I bought in either 1960 or 1961.
I've been in the process of sourcing a Hardy's Rod which a friend of my Fathers brought back after Holidaying in England.
After he passed on his wife gave it to a Mate of mine & I lost contact with it although I still have some Reels to Match it.
The Hardy's Rods are a Dream to Cast,they would be even better with The Modern Lines.
Hardy's made Rods for all applications,Old Jack had them all & used them all as well,he even periodically sent them to have Straightened & if needed Re-Furbished.
These days I like most others use Graphite Rods,they hardly need any maintainence & they are very affordable.
From between about 1969 and 1984 I fished with nothing but bamboo from 3 to 6 wt. for trout, smallmouths, landlock salmon. I liked how they cast better than Fenwick glass rods.
The actions vary widely and casting a 5wt Leonard Duracane against a comparable Orvis was a no-contest for me and I bought the former.
The best of the older bamboo rods, in my opinion, were built in the late 50's and through the 60's. One of my favorites is a no-name 7' Abercrombie & Fitch that the owner thought was built by Gene Edwards in the early 60's which I picked up for $200. It has a much faster action that the Duracane. I figured I could always get my money back if I didn't like it. It became my go-to rod for river fishing in Maine.
Just thinking about it made me string it up and go outside to play with it just now. It still feels just sooo nice, even though I've not cast it for years. It is also much easier to cast controlled curves, slack presentation and tuck casts for me than with fast action graphite rods.
Nowadays, it is difficult to buy bamboo because few shops carry enough to try different ones out. As with all rods, "try before you buy" is the axiom.
Nearly all my fishing now is salt and I use graphite for that. If I were fishing for trout and smallmouths up north, I'd go back to my bamboo rods without a moment's hesitation.
For me, once I got a bamboo rod in my hands that I liked, nothing else would do for the fishing I was doing. I did buy an 8 1/2" Sage RPL in the mid eighties, but only used it as a spare, since I much preferred bamboo to it.
Number one on my bucket list is to someday try out a Young Parabolic, and second is a Pinky competition, but I don't know anyone who owns either one and not likely to ever meet anyone down here that has either one.
So you could go wrong with a bamboo rod (I still have an FE Thomas that I don't really like), but you could also go so very, very right that you could be spoiled forever. And it might just all be in the genes, I don't know.
When I'm really out groveling in Mother Nature, all alone on a beautiful stream...looking for beautiful fish...there's something about a bamboo rod which makes me feel more in tune with things - more connected. It requires a more contemplative pace. Nonsense, probably, but there it is. Graphite (God bless it) seems more of a tool - snappy and powerful.
For somebody shopping for a first bamboo rod, I'd say give Orvis a good look. They are particularly affordable in the used marketplace, perhaps because there are a lot of them around. Being impregnated, they are as indestructable as cane can be. Take care, however, since cane rods are like the proverbial potato chip....you can't eat just one.
I have a good friend that specializes in bamboo, both new and vintage. His name is Robert Selb and he runs a little shop North of Philidelphia called "The Classic Fly Fisherman". He's a great guy, honest, and can give you some good advice and probably has some economical solutions for you. You can find him online by googling "The Classic Fly Fisherman", (classicflyfisherman.com) or by calling 1-866-930-3667. Tell him Homer and Jim sent you.
I'd love to see a Pinky competition! Gillums are so rare (due to the glues he used) that they sell for rediculous ammounts (saw one sell at over 14K) and there are only a few tapers listed in the different libraries. I'm currently building a Payne Para 79 and just going by the stress curve graphs and reading the measurements I can see its a bloody rocket launcher, I just hope I do the original justice!
Oh and alot of the glass and cane crowd call graphite rods plastic.