View Full Version : Bamboo Rods

08-07-2007, 04:46 PM
I am thinking of purchasing a bamboo rod around a 5wt. Can anyone give me suggestions on what companies to check into. I like winstons, hardys and thomas and thomas. However I have no experience with cane rods. Any information would be quite helpfull.

08-07-2007, 06:16 PM
I'll start a small war with this comment, but graphite is better in every way. If you are buying bamboo, it is for reasons other than price or performance. I'm not saying that bamboo rods are bad; I'm just saying that most of their sales are driven by image and marketing. It would be trivial to make a graphite rod act like bamboo (just dampen the action, slow it down, add some weight, reduce its resiliency, and charge 300-500% more), but impossible to make bamboo act like graphite (violates physics). Or go with fiberglass, which is cheap and already acts a lot like bamboo. Just my .02! I can understand the appeal, since bamboo is classical. I consider them more like artwork than a real fishing tool that you can abuse. I'm sure someone will attempt to set me straight on the fine virtues of bamboo. I can understand it from a purist standpoint, but again, I know no one uses silk for leaders and catgut for lines.

If you are sure you want one (I used to!), I would say to stick with the big companies, or at least with a small company with a great bamboo reputation (there are a lot of guys making these in their basements, some good, some not so good). And don't buy one until you try it alongside a good graphite rod!

08-07-2007, 07:31 PM
No reason to start a war or even a skirmish.It is kind of like cars,some like Fords others might like Honda etc.Just remember it is the fisherman using the rod that makes it all work. To consider the abuse of your equipment as part of fishing is a little strange. By the way silk is still used by many for lines. dave

08-07-2007, 08:50 PM
Good points canerod. Yes, I certainly consider abuse as part of it. Over the years, I have lost 5 rods to car and house doors (only once was it me!). I lost one to a generator in the back of my friend's pickup. My dad stepped on 3 while in a boat. I lost 2 to fish. I've lost 3 to jerking on it trying to get a fly or lure out of a tree. I've lost 2 more catching my fall in a creek. Dad lost one of my rods in a lake (while casting, he simply opened his hands and off it sailed!) Father-in-law lost my rod while flipping his canoe. Lets see... that's 18 rods, in about 25 years. For several years I fished about a 50-100 days a year, so some of that stuff is bound to happen anyway.

I treat my equipment better now than in the past. Part of the problem was that I didn't think ahead enough, so that part is fixed. Part was that I'm cheap and used to buy cheap rods. Part is that I don't fish nearly as much as I used to. I've had a good streak the last 10 years, only losing 4 rods (wife+door, falling in a creek, father-in-law, and one snapped for no reason while setting the hook on a tiny fish).

I can't imagine being able to fish some slick creek like Abrams if I had 2,000 dollars of rod in my hand. If I started to fall, I'd probably break my arm or crack my skull before I let the rod take any of it. I can't imagine that bamboo folks ever let themselves be caught fishing in less than ideal conditions, because with a rod like that in your hands, you just can't risk it.

And silk! All I can say is that there is ALWAYS someone willing to take it further than the last guy. There is probably someone out there proclaiming the superiority of catgut, and someone else the superiority of using handwoven thread on wraps, and someone else eschewing flies with foam on them. I am happy to let all these folks fish the way that they think is best. But I draw the line when someone tries to convince me that these old materials are better, because, well, that's the way the old folks used to do it.

Anyway, good luck to all of you, however you fish! Reading my posts, it may seem like I care about this subject more than I actually do. It is really just a backlash against all the marketing material that gets sent my way, telling me all about their "loving craftsmanship" and why the classic feel of bamboo is just what I need to be a real fly fisherman. I rarely encounter a real person who would try hard to convince me that bamboo is better. Real people are usually better than the companies they work for.

08-07-2007, 09:32 PM
I had tried to edit my first post but it did not work. Flyred06 you can buy very good used cane rods for the same or less than many graphite rods. dave

08-07-2007, 09:42 PM
Wow! thats alot of broken rods, I've broke 2 this year myself due to accidents and just plain bad materials. My fancy overtouted Sage rod had a weak spot in the high modulus graphite. It snapped in half on a backcast. I no longer believe graphite is better than a good cane or high quality fiberglass rod. I haven't found my way to cane yet, but a good quality glass rod seems to fit my casting style. I just like the feel of a slow action rod. I still own a few graphites but they aren't what I reach for these days. Good glass is not "cheap" by quality of craftsmanship or price. Examples are: T&T Heirloom $630, Scott Fibertouch $495, Steffen Brothers $300+, Mcfarland $525, Diamondglass $305. You won't find these rods hanging in walmart or in most fly shops. Like cane, it has its own subculture of enthusiast.
Glad were all able to voice our opinions without being flamed like so many other forums!
Flyred06, There is usually a cane conclave yearly in the south. They had one this year in townsend. Good place to gather info and meet builders and to test cast rods.

08-07-2007, 10:11 PM
Canerod and Troutman, you both make good points. I'll back off and just let my comments stand. I will say that if I did want that type of action, and who knows, maybe someday I will, it seems to me that if I could get either premium glass or used cane for $300, then I would go with whichever had the best (transferable) warranty. I think most folks buying glass are wanting that cane feel anyway, and the manufacturers probably design them with that in mind.

Troutman said, "Glad we're all able to voice our opinions without being flamed like so many other forums!" Well the post is young, and who knows who will come out and verbally beat me for my insolence! :smile: I imagine most of the people on this forum are wiser than me, and will keep their mouths closed.

appalachian angler
08-08-2007, 09:11 AM

There is another bama boy selling just what you may be looking for on another fly fishing forum. I can vouch for this gentleman> here is the link:



08-08-2007, 12:50 PM
The bama boy attempting to sell his rod is a little disheartening! Looking at the pictures and seeing the stream in the background leaves me to believe he doesn't like the rod! Unless the Ms's was standing over him, frustrated because the home loan was due and the Mr had just spent big money on a new toy!

As far as cane rods start by looking at this web site! Rodbuildingforum.com Head to the section on cane building! There you will find some of the absolute best ROD builders more specifically BOO builders in the world. There are several builders in the states accompanied by several out of country! Some of these guys are the best of the best! I would be asking specific questions to a builder that you like! One I would definately start with would be taper specific! It's all going to depend on where when and how you'll be fishing with your rod! Boo tapers will slow/speed and generally change the action of the boo! There's also several different types of boo rods! IE; Quad Rods! There absolutely awesome and I would imagine this would make for a stiffer/faster taper rod great for tailwaters! There's several things to things to think about! But before you jump into a "300 to 400%" markup I would know what I'm buying and exactly why! I think as long as you know what you getting you self into you won't be dissapointed by whay you recieve! Most of these rod builders will offer the same, if not better warranty that any major rod company would! I think the problem with any major rod company is the lack of personalization! They make the same rod with the same taper and action attempting to please a wide variety of people! In addition there just isn't the market for boo, not to mention it wouldn't be good for the sport, as not many individuals wish to pay a 300 to 400% markup over graphite! Byron will back me on this, most of the time that wish not to make a small investment (in our eyes) on a graphite rod!

After all, if you wan't a 100% personalized rod there's no other way to go! The beauty definately rides within the boo! Spend some time looking "Shop around!" before you dive into your wallet!

2 cent's as always!

08-08-2007, 08:30 PM
The bama boy attempting to sell his rod is a little disheartening! Looking at the pictures and seeing the stream in the background leaves me to believe he doesn't like the rod! Unless the Ms's was standing over him, frustrated because the home loan was due and the Mr had just spent big money on a new toy!

LOL http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/include/templates/openchat/images/icons/smileys/SM032.gif (http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/insert_icon.php?PHPSESSID=c5046f1f6168a4f720cfe11c ac2bede9#) . What ever gave you that idea? This happens to be one of the best set ups I've ever owned (versatile). It just happens that I already have enough rods in the lower trout wts. and only fish for trout a few times out of the year anymore. I know that if I do sell it, I'll miss it but my collection is ever growing and ever changing........ Actually, I've got my eye on a Winston Spey rod and figured if I sell this trout rod I could feel a little better about adding yet another rod to the arsenal......so no the Mrs. (she's a saint) ain't mad and the note's not due...http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/include/templates/openchat/images/icons/smileys/SM090.gif (http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/insert_icon.php?PHPSESSID=c5046f1f6168a4f720cfe11c ac2bede9#)

Flyred 06 - If your' looking at getting into bamboo, I'd suggest you cast as many as you can get your' hands on until you find the ones that suits you. Not everyone can cast it (bamboo) and I'm afraid if the graphite companies keep going the way of making small telephone poles in a few generations, no one will.:smile: I'm not knocking fast actions or graphite I fish both as well as bamboo. I just don't care for them with most of my trout fishing situations but.......that's subjective and everyone's different. For me, there is nothing like the feel of a fish on a good bamboo rod. There's a lot of bamboo out there though I wouldn't stake my tomatoes up on so be carefull when seeking to purchase. Most of the people I've met that said they didn't like it actually have never had the pleasure of fishing with a good bamboo rod and the tomato stake they did cast turned them off for good.

Again though, it's not for everybody. I have buddies that don't really care for bamboo who are excellent fishermen in every respect.

There is one factor in all of this that is not opinion: Silk Fly line (Phoenix anyway) casts better over a wider range of conditions than plastic and given the proper care it will out last a plastic line four times over. Silk doesn't displace as much water on the surface as does plastic, thus roll casting becomes nothing short of beautifull. I don't think anyone who has ever cast a brand new phoenix on the right rod can deny that. There are drawbacks though such as maintenance. I can only get about 5-6 hours of good fishing in before it starts to absorb water and has to be hung on a limb to dry for about an hour. You then have to re apply the dressing so it will float.

Here's a good link about silk. http://vfish.net/silkrecon2.htm

Here's a few good links into the world of Bamboo. http://www.bamboorods.it/link.htm

Sure, there is the reverance to a more than 150 year old American craft and I don't feel like "Mr. it " when I'm fishing it but to say that bamboo falls short on performance is clearly a perspective from someone who has not spent much time casting it on the water. I'm in no hurry to sell the rod. I'll order that new Winston 13' 8/9 two handed whether or not I sell that Battenkill and probably be happier in the long run if no one wants it. To be honest, I didn't even anticipate someone just wanting to get into bamboo would even glance at it. This sickness doesn't happen over night, it develops and grows like a cancer. :biggrin:

BTW, Hey er'body, I'm muddy.http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/include/templates/openchat/images/icons/smileys/SM005.gif (http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/insert_icon.php?PHPSESSID=c5046f1f6168a4f720cfe11c ac2bede9#) (not flaming anyone, just trying to help a fella' out) :smile:

08-08-2007, 09:31 PM
If you are just getting into boo you should check this link
This is a great bunch of guys and gals that can answer all your questions and give you some guidance in the world of boo.

08-08-2007, 10:42 PM
Well said Muddy! Everyone here is pretty cool, and everyone seems to stay that way even while disagreeing. I'll reiterate that I disagree, and claim that that bamboo feel could easily be made by detuning graphite or fiberglass if there was sufficient market for it. You can always engineer a stronger material into a weaker one. I believe that if that is the feel you want, then bamboo certainly meets it, although at a price much higher than it has to be.

I see the situation like this: 1950 Chevy Coupe vs 2007 Chevy Impala. The Impala is better in every way, from quality to safety to handling to comfort. But some people are enthusiastic about the 1950 Chevy Coupes anyway. The difference is that most people won't claim that the coupe would outperform an Impala.

I do mean to say, in the nicest, most non-confrontational kind of way, that graphite, as a rod building material, is better in every way. I'm sure that all the engineering data like tensile strength, elasticity, and strength-weight ratio would support this statement. YOU COULD ARGUE, however, that few or no manufacturers attempt to make graphite models that simulate the slow, graceful, spongy feel of bamboo (Why would they? To do so would only cut their high margins on their bamboo models!). If that is the feel you like, and the manufacturers are not serving your market, then perhaps it is a valid criticism that you cannot find what you want in graphite. I don't know enough about fiberglass, but perhaps the manufacturers of it DO target the bamboo market more.

I would dearly love a couple of the engineers on this list to weigh in.

I get ideas for academic studies all the time, but which take money, and will never happen. It would be really neat for someone to do a double blind study with real fly fishermen rating rods of different materials, and with different actions. I bet the bamboo guys would rate the fiberglass-or-graphite-but-attempting-to-mimic-bamboo rods equal to bamboo, but that neither fiberglass nor bamboo could successfully imitate graphite. Of course, all the big names would hate such a study, as it would destroy some of the value of their highest margin items.

Hrm... Maybe this is a good business idea... to develop THE graphite rod that you bamboo folks claim doesn't exist. And put together a study showing how even expert bamboo folks can't tell the difference! "The warm, comfortable feeling of bamboo you've come to love, but at a graphite price!" Heck, I could even paint the things to look like bamboo! :smile:

08-09-2007, 12:34 AM
Snaildarter - That in and of itself is refreshing to know that there are adults here that can carry on a rational discussion of differing views. Thank you.

This is one of those topics that always comes up and will never go away. LOL

I'm no engineer and far from having absolute knowledge on anything, but this is my take- I can see where your' coming from with the chevy comparison.As far as performance goes though, both materials have their advantages and disadvantages and it's really up to the user to decide which weighs out to his/her own fishing environs.

YOU COULD ARGUE, however, that few or no manufacturers attempt to make graphite models that simulate the slow, graceful, spongy feel of bamboo (Why would they? To do so would only cut their high margins on their bamboo models!).

Someone made a comment to the effect that they don't like to feel like victims of the status quo when it comes to companies marketing gear towards the mass public. Well, essentially, that's what happens in the graphite world when they try to sell you on the thought that distance is all that matters in this game. You need the newest, fastest,stiffest 4 wt. we have. Just look at how much line you can punch out........never thought it could be possible with a 4 wt. did ya'? Is that what you really need?

Fortunately the big companies are coming around a little as of late. Sage replaced their heavier stiff XP with the lighter more lively Z axis and I've heard tell they plan on doing something different with that soon. Flipside - Winston (known for their slower action) is coming out with a super fast BIImx
to fill that niche (personally, I don't know how they'll top that BIIx series myself ;) ).

High margins on bamboo models- There are no high margins on bamboo models. That is exactly the reason Glenn Brackett left Winston. There is no room left anymore in this high profit graphite game for craftsmanship.

It takes the average maker between 40-60 hours of labor to create one of those masterpieces and even at the price of $2500 deduct material,overhead,everything else and say he can pump out 40 in a year it's a minuscule figure at best to the company's overall profit.

It would be a dream come true to be able to quit my job and start making them myself, fulltime but it's just not feasible. I think you have to take a vow of poverty or something to that effect. hehehe (not that I haven't already done so, I'm a fireman).

Here's a quick video on Gary Lacey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDZsfRUN_34

Bamboo is not some fragile material like porcelain. It's incredibly durable, especially the impregnated ones.

I'm not scared to fish anywhere with a finely made bamboo rod, in fact, I would consider it an honor in the highest form if I could meet a wild brown somewhere that could turn my finest bamboo rod into a heap of splinters....even if no one was around to see it.http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/include/templates/openchat/images/icons/smileys/SM050.gif (http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/insert_icon.php?PHPSESSID=c5046f1f6168a4f720cfe11c ac2bede9#) Slamming it in a car door? You got me there.....that's a horse of a different color. http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/include/templates/openchat/images/icons/smileys/smiley11.gif (http://www.southeastflyfishingforum.com/phpopenchat/insert_icon.php?PHPSESSID=c5046f1f6168a4f720cfe11c ac2bede9#)

“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”

08-09-2007, 02:13 AM
Along the same lines, but totally off topic: As I was typing the last post, I pulled these of the drying wheel:


........not much to look at but personally, when I hang one of these off in the mouth of one of these reservoir stripe down here, I'll have a much greater sense of personal acomplishment than if I were to have just bought them from a catalog, made by some distant sweat shop worker in Thailand.

They probably build a better machine in Thailand,,,,,,,, I wouldn't know. :confused:

But in all reality, they'll be caught on a graphite/boron rod made by a distant worker in Twin Bridges, Montana. LOL;)

I guess I'd be lying if I said a small bit of nostalgia wasn't involved here, so in some ways we are in agreeance.

P.S. Flyred 06, I apologize for seriously highjacking your' thread.:redface:

08-09-2007, 06:55 AM
First I would like to say Mr. snaildarter and Mr.Muddy2u....thank you for being gentlemen.....I have been working on this question for some time....It seems to me that you have to consider 3 things to answer this question of wood vs plastic....
1) engineering
2) economics
3) philosophy
After many hours of calculating tensile strength...yield strength...compression in terms of T...ultimate strength....and the most important moments of inertia...adding in the cost of purchase....and replacement....it was close...so I called Bill gave him the data....and left the philosophy to him...because he does not fish.....His answer to the question was the best I have ever got....."J. the answer to plastic....vs...wood is I like to eat icecream with either one....and thats all I got to say about that"
flyred....If you are ever in the Cullman...Blount area....and would like to cast a bamboo....I have one you can try...(but its not for sale)

08-09-2007, 07:55 AM
OK I retract the previous statement to add that the bama boy is attempting a divorce from a horrible woman so please buy his rod to help a brother out. He's more than likely sold the wifes car and is a few dollars short of a stellar set up! I kidd!! Welcome muddy! It brings to mind a few things when you see a picture like that! I'm always trying to figure out motives behind things and didn't know you were a member. I always look at board member pictures of items there attempting to sell and wonder why they are ridding themselves of such nice items. Is it because there moving and the rod wt's won't stack up where there moving? It's easier to judge when you know the person or if you see one person selling his entire arsenal accompanied by O.B.O. or W.W.K.M. (that's short for "Wife will kill me!") both scream that the purchase was without her knowledge! So in looking at your blondie with the glistening stream in the background I got to wondering!

Good luck in the sale of your rod, I wish I had the dough and that it was multipurpose! IE; it cleaned carpets! So that I'd have some valid reason for the wife to let me spring for it! LMAO! I make her sound worse then she really is! I'm creating a false sense of security in my head making it seem like I wear the pants!!

Glad to have you aboard Muddy! Flyred looks like you've got some fishing of a different kind in front of you! Good luck on the search and I'll second the comment about casting alot of rods before siezing the boo for yourself!

08-09-2007, 05:00 PM
Muddy said, "P.S. Flyred 06, I apologize for seriously highjacking your' thread." Well, again, I disagree! I think we have given him one of the best answers he could hope for! We've come at it from several angles, and he should hopefully have a good idea not only of where to find bamboo rods (his original question), but also why some of us don't think they are all that great. Kudos to us! :biggrin:

Hytyer said that his engineering buddy claimed the materials are near equivalent (at least, that is the way that I interpret what he wrote). That is hard for me to believe, but if it is true, then OK. There is still the matter of $500 vs $2000.

As for 60 hours of labor, well, that can still be done pretty cheaply with developing world laborers. I suspect, even if some manufacturers have high labor costs because they use Americans (Winston), that the other big names are making them overseas, keeping those margins good and fat, and destroying the ability of small shops to make profit.

Muddy said earlier, "I'm not scared to fish anywhere with a finely made bamboo rod, in fact, I would consider it an honor in the highest form if I could meet a wild brown somewhere that could turn my finest bamboo rod into a heap of splinters....even if no one was around to see it. Slamming it in a car door? You got me there.....that's a horse of a different color."

I got 2 things to say to that: 1) I used to break a lot of rods. Those numbers I gave above are true. I'm better than I used to be, but the only differences between now and then are that I just baby my equipment more now, and I don't get to fish nearly as much as I used to. 2) $2500 is a lot of money to most people. It is easy to forget that in a fly fishing forum like this, where most of us are professionals with large disposable incomes. The average American makes a lot less than the average income in this forum. I can't imagine an average guy spending 10% of his annual take home income on a fishing pole, when he has a wife, kids, house, cars, health care, and everything else to worry about. For that same $2500, he could be set for decades with a vest, flies, waders, lines, reels, and about 5-10 of those awesome TFO Professional rods from the fine folks here at LRO. If the average Joe splintered his $2500 rod on a fish, he might just decide to dynamite the hole.

I think this has been a good conversation. I have definitely learned some things, even if I haven't changed my mind. Thank you for all who have participated! Everyone has been cool-headed and polite.

I hope Flyred06 appreciates all the hours that have gone into this! :smile: BTW, is Flyred06 still here? Did you get your question answered?

08-09-2007, 05:28 PM
:eek: Large disposable incomes!:eek: Some will know why I posted that! I'm still laughing!! I've spent well over 10% of my income on ff goods this year and that "ain't" saying much! I'm a poor fellow whom has a overly ridiculous obsession/passion for ff! It's really an inexpensive sport, all things considered! Your taking the boat out of the equasion! Not to mention several rods all specifically designed for different purposes! After you initial investment you're only looking at a few dollars for flies every now and again! I owned a cheep orvis rod for about 4 years and just upgraded to a Z-Axis and probably won't ever need another rod as long as I live! As new technologies arise I'm sure I'll be persuaded into the purchase of another new rod!

Yes, I second the apologies for the hijacking of the thread! Flyred06 Sorry!

08-09-2007, 07:41 PM
Gentlemen, I think I learned more in the last 20 minutes reading all of your posts, than I had the entire week preceding it!

As everyone has so eloquently and congenially discussed, it really comes down to how you intend to use it, how it feels and how much you want to spend. I think bamboo rods are almost an art form and while I would also love an Orvis Zero Gravity 3wt, I decided on a TFO Professional, because I don't think I wind up casting more than about 20' in the park (and half of that is a leader!).

I suppose a comparison to golf would work as well...the clubs don't make you a better player. You may enjoy playing a bit more, but in the end it what's between your ears that makes the most difference...

Of course, if I were fishing somewhere grand out West, and chucking 80'+ of silk line on a boo rod, I might be completely transported into some zen form of flyfishing nirvana that would cause me to never touch a graphite rod again...

BTW, 1950 Chevy Coupe vs 2007 Chevy Impala?...I drive a 92 Ford Explorer because it does about 97% of what I need and doesn't cost anywhere near what a new or restored classic car would cost...

I guess really I wanted to jump in and commend everyone for having such an enlightened and respectful conversation on a subject, that to some, borders on a religious pursuit.

08-09-2007, 10:47 PM
As a builder of bamboo rods for more than 35 yrs. there are some things that have been posted that I could agree with and others I would not. First the origional post had nothing to do with a comparison of bamboo with graphite or glass.I think he was looking for companies that made bamboo rods or where he might purchase one.The one idea I will repeat is that the notion that bamboo rods cost so much is false.As I said before very good bamboo rods can be purchased for no more than quality graphite.The Classic Flyrod forum that was mentioned earlier is a good place to learn somethings about cane.There is also a for sale section and if you are patient good deals do come up.If you have some knowledge of cane rods there are still some good deals to be had on e bay and yes you can also have some bad experiences. dave

Gerry Romer
08-09-2007, 10:49 PM
Been following this thread with amused interest. I've often thought about saving up for a bamboo rod but it generally ends up pretty far down on my own personal priority list.

I came across an enlightening article on the web today that gets right to the heart of the issue. It'll take y'all a little bit of work to get to the article but it's worth it.

Bill Hall showed me Andy Kim's website the other day. For those who don't know, Andy Kim is a guide on the San Juan River in New Mexico. His website is pretty basic... meat and potatoes, but worth the little bit of time it takes to poke around the whole thing. In particular, y'all need to take a look at the article in the "Learn fly fishing" link. It's titled:

Tips for frugal fly-fishers,

and beginners who wish to become fully-equipped without having to pawn anything.

I'd love to post the whole article here but I'd probably be violating all kinds of copyright laws. So, for now, click on the link below, go to the "Learn fly fishing" link and be humbled. There's a pretty rainbow there, also.;)

Enjoy!! http://yongspecial.com

Gerry Romer

08-10-2007, 08:10 AM
the answer to plastic....vs...wood is I like to eat icecream with either one....and thats all I got to say about that"

HEHEHE. :smile: Mr. Joel, I like his way of thinking. How ya' doin, Mr. J?

Hey, thanks for the welcome guys. One thing I'd like to clarify though. I hope I didn't come across as meaning you can't find good bamboo for less than an arm and a leg, you can. The point I'd like to make is, you won't know what good is until you put that rod in your' hand and use it. One of the sweetest rods I've personally cast was a production rod. I sent it to a builder to get refinished, that was two years ago and I haven't heard from him since........such is life.

Even among the bamboo community, opinions are as variegated as any other. Some people actually detest Orvis cane. There's a saying " Orvis rods are built to last, not to cast". ......so what's good for one is not always good for another.

Thanks again for the warm welcome everyone.

Muddy :smile:

08-10-2007, 09:27 AM

Don't overlook individual rod makers. They make some very incredible rods and sometimes at a price lower than the big companies. As for the big companies, I've generally only heard good things about the Orvis bamboo rods and the Winstons are highly sought after.

The bamboo rod I have was made by Walter Babb. It is absolutely beautiful.

Just like with graphite rods, bamboo rods have different sizes and actions from very slow to moderately fast. Also they come in different darknesses of the bamboo depending on the maker. They can vary from a vary like "blonde" or more natural color to a dark "flamed" rod.

Also just like with graphite rods, take the time to try some rods before you decide. You'll be amazed at the great variety out there. Be careful about Ebay though. Unless you know exactly what you are getting. Just because a rod is made out of bamboo doesn't necessarily mean that it is worth a fortune or anything at all.

I would definitely recommend trying to get a bamboo rod from one of the makers here in the Southeast. I've seen rods from quite a few and they are gorgeous. I also like the idea of having a rod that I know was crafted by hand by someone who cares and who I have met.


08-10-2007, 12:21 PM
Would hightly recommend that you talk with some of the individual rod makers out there and check out the classic fly rod forum on line. Wealth of information there. I hear that Walter Babb makes an excellent rod though I do not have one of his rods personally. I do know that AJ Thramer (can find his site on line) makes an outstanding rod at a very reasonable price and is a joy to deal with. He probably is the most prolific builder out there right now and has been doing it for about 25 years.

08-10-2007, 02:06 PM
Man this is great stuff. I imagine this is the kind of forum that LRO wanted when it was set up. I appreciate all the imput. And anytime I have a post and can get this kind of response hijack the **** out of it.

Many thanks

Gerry Romer
08-10-2007, 05:43 PM
So I'm flippin' thru a May/June copy of Fly Fish America ( a freebie magazine put out by Angling Publications of Conway, NH ), when I come across an article on bamboo rods written by Bill Battles... and there's a slight ( :rolleyes: ) bias on the part of the writer. Nothing unusual there. What was unusual was the little sidebar box accompanying the article. It wasn't so little! It's page after page of bamboo rods sorted by manufacturer and price point.

So if anyone were, say, looking for a complete price list of bamboo rods by manufacturer, model, length, # of pieces, line weight, and msrp... well, they wouldn't have to go much further than this freebie mag!

If you can't find a copy at your local outfitter, let me know and I'll post their contact info here!

Oh, yeah. The article ain't too bad either!

Gerry Romer

08-10-2007, 06:06 PM
For all who are interested, here is a link to that June issue of FFA:

linky pdf (http://www.flyfishamerica.com/images/FlyFishAmerica(07-5).pdf)

08-13-2007, 08:02 PM
I used bamboo rods in the early 70's.You could buy a bad one for 15.00.I used the bad one's.Soon,I made the leap to fiberglass.They were good.Then came graphite.They are great artificial,plastic rods,they cast real good....super smooth...I own a few,some are made in Montana,others in colorado.I don't use them much any more...because, when and if you ever get your hands on a good cane rod ,,you will realize,that graphite is,like kissing your sister....

08-13-2007, 09:41 PM
Up until the 1830's, fly rods were made of wood, and we used horse hair for leaders. Let me tell you, once you've had one of those beauties in your hand, using bamboo or anything else is like kissing your dog.

During the time of Isaac Walton in the 17th century, they didn't really use reels, so they tied their horse hair to the end of the pole. Let me tell ya, once you've had the exquisite pleasure of flipping a fly out 12 feet in front of you (always downwind mind you), anything else is like kissing a grizzly bear.

And quite a while before that, that Native Americans were using hooks carved from bone. Let me tell you......


08-14-2007, 06:09 AM
I own a really super bamboo rod made by Walter Babb-It is a 5 wt 7'9" with 2 tips,one for nymphs and one for dry flies...you can't go wrong with one of Walter's rods,but don't be in too big a hurry because it may take a few months to get your rod--Wayne Meca makes a a good rod-he is in Montana--

08-15-2007, 05:14 PM
Does anyone know anything about Mike Clark rods?

08-16-2007, 08:46 AM
That's Gierach's buddy, right?


08-16-2007, 11:37 AM
Yes that is correct. I got his book on fishing with bamboo and it has several rod makers listed. Mike Clark is one rod maker he seems to write about alot.