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Bamboo Developments
Published by dougm
03-04-2009
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Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair
Product Updates
"Bamboo Developments”©

Doug Macnair


Not so long ago I reported on the efforts of one man to return the magic of bamboo to us – the fly fishers w/o wealth. I must say he has done an outstanding job. I think you might agree with me that success in marketing a new product requires quality, value, consistency and one helluva lot of work. It’s my opinion that John Kuehn has more than met that test. Given his success in market penetration, I thought most of you folks would be interested in an update.

His company, Angler’s Roost, now has over twenty (20) master builders using blanks from his Presidential series of Great Pretenders. And why not? According to the builders I’ve spoken to, they cannot build a better rod, especially when it comes to re-creating a famous taper from yesteryear.

To quote John: “The Blanks themselves are hand-made by an employee, a marvelous craftsman overseas. Only the finest kiln-dried Tonkin Cane is used on these Blanks. They are straight as an arrow. These blanks are hand-made hand split, hand planed, hand glued, hand wrapped, and hand finished. Finally, they are hardened and straightened by being heat-treated in a specially constructed annealing oven. Just think, now you can build your own Leonard Baby Catskill at a fraction of the $3,000.00 it would cost you today to buy an original.”

John’s blanks are made according to the specifications documented in Gould’s, Tips and Tapers. Of course, if you are as clumsy as I am you might prefer to buy a blank and have it finished by a custom builder of your choice or by one of the builders using John’s blanks such as Jim Mills of Cherokee, N.C. (Telephone: 828-497-5576; email: flyrodmaker@verizon.net.)

I think it is remarkable that a blank from the Great Pretender series costs a measly $125.00 at eBay’s Buy It Now Price. Even more remarkable is the fact that all blanks in this series come with two-tips and a cloth sock (except in the case of a one-piece blank). And now, John has added flamed blanks for only slightly more. In researching this update, I’ve had builders tell me that the flamed blanks are the finest they’ve ever seen, regardless of where they are manufactured. Folks that’s one helluva tribute! Those who have had the opportunity to compare a copy with an original have nothing but accolades for what John has been able to do in such a short time.

What follows is a list of famous tapers available at the time this article was written.
· Gould: Spey Rod, Model R-R-155-11 An 11-ft., 3/2, 7-wgt.
· Anderson: Model, "Dainty" A 6-ft., 1 piece, 2-wgt.
· Hardy: Model, "CC DeFrance" A 9-ft., 3/2, 5/6-wgt.
· Hardy: Model, "Marvel" A 7-ft., 4-in., 3/2, 4-wgt.
· Heddon: Model, "Black Beauty" A 9-ft., 3/2, 5/6-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, #36/37 H A 6-ft., 2/2, 3-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, #38 ACM A 7-ft., 2/2, 4-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, "Catskill" An 8-ft., 2-in., 3/2, 2-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, "Baby Catskill" A 7-ft., 2/2, 2/3-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, #51 HW A 9-ft., 3/2, 5/6-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, #804 An 8-ft., 2/2, 4-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, “Tournament” A 9-ft., 6-in., 3/2, 7/8-wgt.
· Leonard: Model, #4099 1/2 An 8-ft., 6-in., 3/2, 8/9-wgt.
· Orvis: Model, "Flea" A 6-ft., 1-piece, 2-wgt.
· Orvis: Model, #663 A 6-ft., 6-in., 3/2, 5-wgt.
· Orvis: Model, "Superfine" A 6-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 5/6-wgt.
· Orvis: Model, "Battenkill" A 7-ft., 4-in., 3/2, 4-wgt.
· Orvis: Model, "Midge" A 7-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 3/4-wgt.
· Orvis: Model, "Wes Jordan" A 7-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 6-wgt.
· Payne: Model, #96 A 6-ft., 2/2, 3/4-wgt.
· Payne: Model, #97 A 6-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 3-wgt.
· Payne: Model, #98 A 7-ft., 2/2, 4-wgt.
· Payne: Model, #100 A 7-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 4-wgt.
· Payne: Model, #200 An 8-ft., 3/2, 4-wgt.
· Payne: Model, #400 A 9-ft., 3/2, 5/6-wgt.
· Phillipson: Model, "Pacemaker" An 8-ft., 3/2, 5-wgt.
· F. E. Thomas: Model, No Name A 7-ft., 6-in., 3/2, 4-wgt.
· Thomas & Thomas: Model, "The Caenis" A 7-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 3-wgt.
· Winston: Model, No Name A 7-ft., 2/2, 5-wgt.
· Winston: Model, No Name A 6-ft., 2/2, 3-wgt.
· P.H. Young: Model, “The "Perfectionist" 7-ft., 6-in., 2/2, 4-wgt.

I think this line-up constitutes an amazing array of products for John and his overseas group to bring forth in such a short time -- especially given the favorable reviews. However, very little John does comes as a surprise to me; for example, some months ago he mentioned he had approved the prototype for his own series of ferrules to match the quality of his fly rod blanks. Made of premium nickel silver, John’s ferrules arrived right on schedule and are now in stock. Thanks to his ability to communicate with his employees abroad, the ferrules are a thing of beauty. I’m told that in the trade, John’s ferrules are referred to as “18’s” whereas the usual quality ferrule is rated a “16.” The higher rating refers to the silver content. Not bad.

[i]By the way, the role of the two-part ferrule is to join one section of the fly rod to another thus extending the rod to the length determined by its maker. Most folks know this; however, what many beginning their experience with bamboo do not realize is how critical tender loving care is to maintaining a “tight” ferrule. RULE: (1) Lube the male section before joining; (2) Insert straight – no twisting; (3) separate with a straight pull – no twisting. If you hear a “click” when casting, the odds are a ferrule is loose. I suggest you hurry to a qualified builder for repair before it breaks your rod.

If you allow me to repeat myself, you can call me a romantic when it comes to bamboo fly rods. To me, a fine bamboo rod is a piece of art that carries with it forever the craftsmanship and love of its maker. It is not just a fishing rod to be casually tossed into the rear of a pick-up and when broken, replaced at the nearest Wal-Mart for $19.95. Rather, it is an object to be cherished and loved like a fine piece of crystal or a fine painting. It is, I suppose, a matter of value systems… To me, a fine bamboo rod casts like no other. Now that doesn’t mean it casts better than fiberglass or graphite; to the contrary, it simply means that the way it casts is different -- sometimes it’s like magic. I also believe that the Ancient Fish Gods respect the fly fisher so-equipped. It follows that if we like fish that taste good, fish like fly fishers with good taste … Even today, in my mind’ eye I can see Lee Wulff throwing 80-feet to his favorite adversary, the Atlantic salmon. His weapon of choice? A slender 6½-foot bamboo rod! My friends, this is the stuff that Legends are made of.

Please keep in mind that Anglers Roost is not stocking hundreds of these blanks. In truth, John receives about one shipment a month; consequently, he sells them on a first come first served basis. Depending on your needs, I would suggest contacting John Kuehn directly and/or Jim Mills.

On eBay, John Kuehn’s seller ID is bobo00700. His eBay store, Anglers Roost, also sells directly at what John calls a “sell now” retail price. Email John at anglersroostent@cs.com or call (716) 565-9838. His address is A.R.E., 5820 Main Street, Suite 502, Williamsville, NY 14221. Jim Mills can be reached at (828) 497-5576 in Cherokee, NC 28719 or email him at flyrodmaker@verizon.net.


-30-

© Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2009.

[i] My appreciation goes to Jim Mills for his courtesy in allowing me to use his pictures to illustrate the text with finished blanks from the Great Pretender series.
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  #1 (permalink)  
By mojo on 03-05-2009, 07:37 PM
Default Re: Bamboo Developments

Blanks built by Zhu's Rod Company in China, correct?
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  #2 (permalink)  
By dougm on 03-06-2009, 08:44 PM
Default Re: Bamboo Developments

As I am sure you are aware, the business affairs of Angler's Roost is well beyond the scope of a product evaluation. Matters or questions such as this are best left to direct communication between you and the vender.

In the future, I would appreciate knowing your identity if you expect a response to your questions.
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  #3 (permalink)  
By dorian.ducker on 03-06-2009, 09:23 PM
Default Re: Bamboo Developments

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougm View Post
As I am sure you are aware, the business affairs of Angler's Roost is well beyond the scope of a product evaluation. Matters or questions such as this are best left to direct communication between you and the vender.

In the future, I would appreciate knowing your identity if you expect a response to your questions.
??....ok???
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  #4 (permalink)  
By Joni on 03-06-2009, 09:35 PM
Default Re: Bamboo Developments

All I know is Angler's Roost VOM HOFFE replica reel is NOT a good deal to be VERY polite about it. The reel is very cheaply made and the reel foot is very limited to what rods it will work with. Very disappointed.
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  #5 (permalink)  
By mojo on 03-06-2009, 09:42 PM
Default Re: Bamboo Developments

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougm View Post
As I am sure you are aware, the business affairs of Angler's Roost is well beyond the scope of a product evaluation. Matters or questions such as this are best left to direct communication between you and the vender.

In the future, I would appreciate knowing your identity if you expect a response to your questions.
Excuse me Mr.McNair -I asked a simple question. I expected a simple civil answer. Is that to much to ask? All you had to do is say "I don't know".
Simple, isn't it.
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