View Full Version : Favorite Bamboo Rods?

06-01-2008, 11:48 PM
I grew up fly fishing Smokies' streams and have always fished with graphite rods and fish with a helios now. However, I am beginning to realize I am somewhat of a purist. It's not really a bad thing, just somewhere along the lines it happened maybe just to much Gierach. So I have been lurking in Ebay and around the net at some bamboo fly rods and kinda drooling over them. I am eventually going to take the plunge but I just want to hear some ideas on what you guys think are some good rods. I would rather have one from a respected maker and am considering either buying a new one or turning back the clock and putting together an older reel, hardy bros. or something like that, and an older rod and would be interested to hear any suggestions or favorites. Thanks for any responses.

06-02-2008, 07:43 AM
Bamboo is the way to go in my book. As for as what to buy...well...that depends on what feels comfortable to you. You can find bamboo rods that will flex all the way down into the handle or have the action of a medium fast graphite. I would suggest trying a few out before you make a hard and fast purchase. There are tons of boo's on ebay but if you are not careful you can wind up with either a rod that has problems or a rod that fishes like a broom handle. A warning...the boo bug will change the way you fish forever...at least it did for me.


06-02-2008, 10:11 AM
If you can, go to a bamboo rod makers gathering and cast all that you can. There are a lot of different rods out there, all with there own personality. For the smokies, I would go with a shorter rod 7' or less and something that will roll cast as well as throw tight loops. I started building rods about a year ago and don't have a lot of experience but I built a 7' 4wt that is an amazing small stream rod. I think most builders, big and small, would be willing to work with you on what ever you wanted and would be willing to let you cast some there rods before purchasing. Harry Boyd is a good maker from Louisiana and I beleive he will send you a rod or two to cast to try them out. If you want to look into bamboo more, visit http://clarksclassicflyrodforum.yuku.com/. You will find more than you wanted to know. Oh yeah, and once you catch a fish on bamboo, you will be the one hooked.

06-03-2008, 07:47 AM
A few rod i've enjoyed fishing are Edwards Quad, Paul Young Perfectionist & a Southbend 290. There's one Garrison, can't remember the taper now:confused: & i know where a brand new Winston is, it's a lil to rich for my blood though:frown:


06-03-2008, 11:03 AM
I had a 'boo rod...some no name stick that fit the bill for my mountain fishing pursuits....funny thing is I gave it to some guy to refinish many moons ago - and haven't seen it since!
I'm just messn' with ya Marc ;) Give me a shout - we gotta do some fitchin'...

06-10-2008, 03:33 PM
Well all of this is just my opinion, but here it goes;)

The #2 ferrule Heddons are hard to go wrong with. They make a good all around trout rod , and most models can still be found for a very reasonable price. The #35 models and the # 50 models can be a little pricey , but still less $$ than high end graphite. :eek: Plus if they are taken care of I'm sure your grand children will enjoy them one day:biggrin: A # 2 ferrule 8 & 1/2 foot 3 piece Heddon is my favorite 5 weight bamboo taper. i have one in a model # 50 , and it's my " always take it with me rod ":smile:

The # 2 & 1/2 ferrule Heddons are great too. i personally think they get a bum wrap as being to heavy of a line weight. , but thats OK it just keeps the price of them down for folks like me:biggrin: I throw a 6 weight with most of mine. You can throw a weighted Booger 70 feet in a light wind, or you can lay down a #18 Parachute Adams off the end of a 12 foot leader.:smile:

Also you might wanna look into the Wright McGill era Grangers. The Specials and the Aristocrats are still reasonable $$ wise, and are among my favorite rods.

Both Heddon and Granger cranked out some high end production rods, and are classic Boos. These are a good way to get your feet wet without dropping Big $$ on a contemporary maker, or winding up with lower end heavy, rough casting older classic rod.

After you have gotten your foot in the door and decide whether or not cane is for you then your future can go as far as your wallet can take you;) They are lots of contemporary makers out there making very high quality rods.

Like I stated from the beginning It is just my opinion, but I think think that going with one of the higher end production rod makers from the neo-classic , or the post-classic era is the best way to get your feet wet in the Boo game:smile:


06-11-2008, 08:03 AM
I am holding Waterborns rod ransom...the only way he can get it is by picking it up in the High Country of North Carolina in a couple of months.

Trust me...anything Tentwing tells you is going to be spot on. He is my bamboo mentor (which is kinda scary), and will not steer you wrong. If a man is as good as his word...he's a good 'un!

06-11-2008, 11:45 AM
Gee ,... Thank ya there Varmit That was nice of you to say........Ya know, :rolleyes: .. I think your nose might be getting longer ;) :biggrin: Hmmmmm...... Uh, Oh,.. any way that was really nice of ya :smile:

Thanks ,.........Tentwing

06-11-2008, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the tips!!

milligan trout degree
06-13-2008, 10:31 PM
I drool over hardy bamboo rods. I have a classic hardy reel my granddad gave to me, would love to have about a three weight hardy boo to match it.

06-18-2008, 05:11 AM
There is a pretty good maker in Marysville, Stan Smart who use to teach bamboo rod making and would be a good source to contact about casting some rods and seeing what you like. They guys at Little river may know how to get hold of him.
Like another poster said, Harry Boyd is an excellent rod maker and very helpful in rod choices.
I am a bamboo hobbyist rod maker and yes, fishing bamboo is delightful for me. Some things you may want to consider:
1-Bamboo is a different rod to cast, slow your cast down, wait and see what a flick of the wrist can do vs a punch with your arm.
2-Get together with some boo fishermen and test cast as many rods as you can. There are gatherings around where you can meet and cast a host of tapers to see what fits you.
3-Understand that the action of bamboo has huge variations depending on what the maker wants. A bamboo can be fairly quick or very slow, each is ok it is what fits you, your casting and fishing needs. One of the fun things about bamboo is you can really find rods that work for you.
4-length, most people prefer rods under 8ft long. After that the rod starts to become heavy and often slow.
5-The most popular rod weights are 5 and 6 so don't be surprised when you find lots of them in different lengths.
6-Great tapers, things like payne98 (7ft 5wt)copies are about the easiest to transition from graphite to bamboo. I like Paul young tapers (personal choice) the para 14 (7ft 9 inch 5wt) fished the smokies like a dream for me. Garrison tapers are smooth and delightful. There are some interesting South bends again in the 8ft or less. I would avoid inexpensive Japaneses manufactured rods. These can fish ok but often are of such poor make they fail or require lots of work. I just reworked on for a fella, it was a strip down and rebuild. They normally can be picked up for 50 to 75 bucks, this guy paid more than that for my work but that is what he wanted.
When buying a used rod, check the ferrules, are they cracked, do they go together smoothly and have a nice pop when you take them apart. Is there a clicking sound when you flex the rod (indicates a loose ferrule)
What do the wraps and feet look like, redone with dental floss ?
Is the rod straight or bent. You will find rods that have been poorly stored and have a bend in them called a set. This can be straighted out with a bit of gentle heat and a gentle bend in the opposite direction.
What is the finish like, checked, cracked, crazzed or smooth and new looking?
Expect the handle to show wear, after all it is a used rod.
Again, the best test of a rod is to cast it and see if you like it, if so it is a good taper for you.
Have fun..boo is great

06-29-2008, 07:43 PM
So far nothing inaccurate has been posted. You will note that the majority of folks that know what they are talking about continually recommend that you attend a gathering or elsewise some method of casting LOTS of rods. Pay attention to that advice... or you could make some horrendous errors.

The following is for the GSMNP type fishing:

Rod Length... 7 - 8 ft
Line Weight .. 4 - 6 wt
Action ...... That's Your Problem
2 or 3 piece .. 3 is much easier to tote.

Recommended Source.... cast rods, DO NOT order a rod, when you find a rod that feels right, buy THAT rod. Not the promise of one that will feel just like it... buy THAT rod. In the old days you could go into a store and they would have nothing but bamboo rods. You could pick up 5 rods by the same manufacturer, reputedly the same taper, and the same size... and each one of those rods would FEEL different.

Bamboo rods are made of a natural material, by human beings, and each one is subtly different. Sometimes the difference isn't so subtle. Believe it or not you can find fantastic rods for under $500... you just have to 1) know what you're looking for, and 2) have patience. (No. 2 is the most difficult). Sometimes you can run into a young guy that is just starting out making rods, and you can buy one of his for a bargain... if it feels good what does it matter that no one has heard of the guy??

If you're close to Knoxville, check with Rich Margiotta... he's honest and he'll help if he has the time.