View Full Version : bamboo for smoky mountains

09-06-2012, 03:44 PM
Does anyone have any advise on a bamboo taper for smoky mountain streams???? Anything from bradley's fork to the little river....high or low elevation.....any length...any maker.....any price......mainly interested in the taper.....please chime in........:smile:

09-09-2012, 02:39 PM
Yonder, I am currently writing an article for Southern Trout Magazine on this very subject. Should be sending it in to the editor this week and it will hopefully be in the next issue. If I am fishing in the GSMNP you can be certain that I will be fishing a bamboo rod. I build my own and have built smokies rods for others in everything from an 8' 6wt to a 6ft 2 wt for the park. If you want to get more info, feel free to contact me at


Let me know what you have in mind and I can hopefully provide some direction for you.


09-09-2012, 08:44 PM

Did you get my email reference W. Babb and the above question?


11-15-2012, 09:51 PM
I fish bamboo in the smokies some myself. Walter Babb built mine about 5 years ago and did an awesome job. there is something very romantic and magical about cane and the mountains. I would recommend a 4 or 5 wt in a canerod. They are great for dryfly fishing in the mountains.

11-15-2012, 09:58 PM

I pick mine up shortly. I pass his house on the way to Lenoir City where I work and get to visit with Walter often. I never take seeing him for granted. Did you know he grew up as a kid in Lenoir City?

I'd love to see your rod as you pass by. He was installing my ferules and starting to polish. Maybe one more week till finished.

Let me know.


11-15-2012, 10:02 PM
what taper did you go with? leonard, payne ? I got him to build mine off the dry fly special rods he has but made it in a six weight. flamed the cane and went with the agate ferruls

11-15-2012, 10:17 PM
Leonard, 4 wt.. 8 months in the waiting. Like waiting for 9 months on a child!!! Well worth the wait though. I've been able to watch it grow from split stage through finish!! Amazing Craftsmanship!! I am proud to keep it American , Local and I walk the same paths he has fished before me.


11-15-2012, 10:21 PM
amen. and he is an awesome fly tier also. of course i know you have seen his tying room

11-15-2012, 10:31 PM
You should put down a deposit ASAP for the new rod. Has 8 in front and working.

My rod will be fished as my goto rod above all others. Not on the shelf but to a blue line every time I fish!!


11-16-2012, 06:37 PM
Hopefully mine is next he said it should be ready around first of year. I went and spent a couple of hours casting his rods. Hardest part was deciding which one. They all cast great. I finally decided on 7'3" 5 weight. Can't wait to get my hands on it. If Walter Babb ever gives you advice take it. The day I spent with him I told him I was headed backpacking the next weekend. He told me where he thought would be good and I went and had the best day of my life. If I had the money I would have had him make 2 rods.

02-18-2013, 10:30 PM
I know it is late but.....
I recently finished up a rod based off Paul Young's "Perfectionist". I absolutely love it. I have done everything with it that a smokies angler would need to do and it has performed fantastic. Dries and even double nymph rigs (just for the test of course). It is a true joy to fish with....
And it will hold up to those mysteriouse big fish that hide up there as well.....
Check it out if you get a chance. 7.5' 4 wt. Could probably be fished as a 5 as well.

02-19-2013, 11:07 PM
I had Walter babb put me down for a 7 ft 9 inch Payne parabolic in a 5 wt. It is got a soft slow tip with a great power butt section. Slot of people don't like the parabolics but I do. It's going to be a great dry fly rod to add to my collection.

04-04-2013, 10:12 PM
Paul Young Driggs taper, not for recent plastic users as this is a parabolic taper... but would be the one "do anything" bamboo for the Smokies. Actually, you need a couple/three rods to handle the park... a 6ft rod for the tight little streams, a 7ft 4wt for the larger more common streams and then the Driggs for everything up to the Little River or the Holston.