The North American Fly Fishing Forum


Go Back   The North American Fly Fishing Forum > General Fly Fishing Discussion > General Discussion

General Discussion General discussions regarding fly fishing as a whole. Ask questions. Get answers...

Like Tree2Likes
  • 2 Post By gfirob

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 08-24-2013, 02:23 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Baltimore, Md
Posts: 222
gfirob is a jewel in the roughgfirob is a jewel in the roughgfirob is a jewel in the roughgfirob is a jewel in the rough
Default Bamboo rods

After being away from fly fishing for many years, last year I picked it up again, dug out my old fly rod, started tying flies and fishing again. I also did a lot of reading and I noticed how much attention bamboo fly rods seem to get. A lot of it bordered on the mystical and the cost of the rods suggested that this was probably something not for the ordinary mortal, but I was intrigued. Suspicious, but intrigued. I bought a couple of Montigue rods in the $50 range, and tried them out but found them to be heavy and graceless, and kind of ugly. So I bought a 6. 5’ Chinese Zhu bamboo 3 wt for about $125 and I liked the feel of it but it was so short it really couldn’t handle any distance or weighted flies. But I kept at it and kind of liked it.

Then I picked up an 8.5’ Phillipson Pacemaker (with both tips) from the late ‘40’s in great shape on Ebay for about $150 The pawnshop that was selling it misspelled the name and had the length wrong and failed to use the word “bamboo” in the listing—so it had didn’t have much competition in the bidding.

So I took it out on a pond with my carbon fiber 5 wt and alternated between the two rods. The first thing I noticed was that the bamboo rod was massively heavier than the modern rod, and much slower, and the only reel I could balance on it was a 1927 Hardy Perfect at 7 ounces, so at first it put me off. It seemed like a real handful.

But once I got past the weight, and got used to a slower rhythm, I noticed that the bamboo rod was communicating with me in a way that the modern rod would not. You could completely feel when the back cast loaded, you could feel when the cast was good and you could feel when the cast was bad. And once I got the rhythm of it, it actually seemed to take less effort to cast. I have fished it now for about a week and this sensitivity really makes it a pleasure to fish. You really feel the fish on it as well. And of course, it is quite lovely to look at and to handle, heavy though it is. I was concerned that the guides would be a problem, since they are so much smaller than modern guides, but they had no issue with the modern line at all. And I have grown to like the old Hardy Perfect too, massive thought it is. Its pretty smooth, what with all those ball bearings...

I am acutely aware that bamboo fly rods could be a dangerously expensive taste to acquire, but I have learned a lot through this process and I have learned that you can find a pretty good production bamboo rod by the better builders (if you shop carefully) for $200-$500. Of course you can spend a lot more for a rod by one of the masters, but you can spend a lot for a graphite rod too. Phillipson’s are a good starting rod because Bill Phillipson was foreman and operations manager of the Granger shop starting in the mid 1930s and opened his own shop when Granger turned down his offer to buy it, taking Wright-McGill’s offer instead. So the Philipson tapers are very similar to Granger tapers, but the construction is more economical. Phillipson himself was very accomplished fly fisherman (in the west), and the rods reflect his personal investment in the casting process.

So that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it…

Rob
fredaevans and williamhj like this.
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 08-24-2013, 02:32 PM
williamhj's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Denver CO
Posts: 2,653
williamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond reputewilliamhj has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: Bamboo rods

Sounds like you're becoming a bit of a mystic yourself

I agree, there is something about it that is different and good. The heaviness is really only a problem if it is really unbalanced - if the reel is too light leaving the tip heavy such that your hand gets sore trying to keep the tip up all day long. Heavier reel on the heavier rod can be just right.
__________________
- William Jensen
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2013, 04:50 PM
Business Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 552
CutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to beholdCutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to beholdCutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to beholdCutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to beholdCutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to beholdCutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to beholdCutThroat Leaders is a splendid one to behold
Default Re: Bamboo rods

I just got into fishing bamboo this year so I am still a novice. (I have been fly fishing for 20 years) I can say that bamboo will be a big part of my fly fishing arsenal. Once I figured out how to slow my casting down, the feeling (connected to the fly and fish much more deeply) I get from my boo is amazing. I am thinking it has to do with the fact that bamboo flexes deeper into the rod. Meaning you get to feel the weight of the fish much more throughout the rod not just the tip. I still throw graphite but I have been packing my bamboo more and more.

I am well aware that the bamboo game can get expensive very quickly. But as mentioned, you can find great casting rods from great rod builders here in the states if you do some digging. If time and cash allow, make the jump into the bamboo game. Side note, furled leaders are amazing on Bamboo.
__________________

Mike
Hand Woven Furled Leaders
Site: http://www.cutthroatfurledleaders.com/
email. mike@cutthroatleader.com
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 08-25-2013, 05:09 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Baltimore, Md
Posts: 222
gfirob is a jewel in the roughgfirob is a jewel in the roughgfirob is a jewel in the roughgfirob is a jewel in the rough
Default Re: Bamboo rods

I just got a furled leader from Cutthroat for this new bamboo rod and it is the ritz, no doubt about it.

I can't say that I actually see god when I use this rod, and the earth doesn't move or anything, but I am liking it quite a bit so far. As in many things, once the evil nexus of collectors and dealers pulls old things into their orbit, sometimes the nicest specimens just go out of reach for the ordinary guy. But I think you are right that with a little digging and learning, you can make bamboo part of your rod set for no more or even less than a good carbon fiber rod. I think I'll keep looking.
Rob
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
30 pieces of vintage bamboo fly rods for repair of your current rods Ebay USA Vintage fly rods 0 03-30-2013 05:30 PM
Vintage split bamboo fly rods / big lot of project rods for parts restoration Ebay USA Vintage fly rods 0 10-28-2012 09:20 PM
Bamboo fly rods / vintage fly rod / two rods / edwards bristol signed Ebay USA Vintage fly rods 0 05-23-2012 10:20 PM
HANDCRAFTING BAMBOO FLY RODS-Wayne Cattanach-Fly Fishing-Bamboo Fly Rods Book Ebay USA Fishing Books for sale 0 04-29-2012 10:40 PM
VINTAGE BAMBOO FLY RODS & CASTING ROD LOT(Lot includes 3 rods) as parts/restore Ebay USA Vintage fly rods 0 11-29-2011 10:20 PM













All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
2005-2014 The North American Fly Fishing Forum. All rights reserved.