Small Stream Bamboo Fly Rods

need some education

I see "small stream" bamboo rods offered for sale....rebuilt from old mass market bamboo rods. They are usually built from the mid and tip sections into a 6 ft rod. Most look good with new finish and hardware but wondering how they would cast. Has anyone had experience with this or an opinion.
I am also wondering about what weight line they would cast? For example a 3 ' mid and 3' tip section from a 6 wt rod.
Thanks .


Joe Streamer
Tread carefully. Supposedly, the performance of those rods varies wildly. I often buy rods sight unseen, but I'd only buy one of those if I were offered the opportunity to test cast it. If a seller is willing to do that, you'd likely only be out the shipping. But even then, shipping a rod both ways could run you $50 or more. You might be better off choosing a rod made from the ground up, such as one based on a Paul Young (PHY) "Midge" taper.
I have a "banty" that I made quite a few years ago. It started out as a SouthBend 9' 3/2 8 wt that was a real brute for my style of fishing. The banty came out pretty well, if you are around Redmond you are welcome to give it a try to see for yourself how it compares to a nice Cattanach 7' 4wt taper.

I have made several short mid/tip bamboo rods from HI's, Monty's and So. Bends. The wet fly softer (whippier) actions make a better short rod in my opinion. I cut the butt section off long enough to put the reel seat and grip on, then pin the ferrule. The rods I have are 6'8" and are fun to fish with. But if you start with a 9' 5wt rod and shorten it, now you have a 6'8" 5wt rod. It will cast a 4 okay, but I don't mind calling it what it is, some try to sell them as light line bamboo because they're shorter and smaller in diameter. Just my .02


Active Member
I don’t see anything wrong with these types of rods, but I do have a comment. Mike hints at it in his post. The action will probably be ok (depending on the taper) but it is unlikely that it will be as nice as a rod that was designed for that length.


Active Member
I like reading these described as "short rods". I am sorry, a top two section of a three piece rod is not a Banty.
Banty's are built on a who taper. I can't help but think you are loosing a very important feature of a rod by not including the Butt section.
"Banty" is a term that I have ran across many times describing a rod that has been shortened to reduce it's length substancially. For example using the mid and tip section for a three piece 9'er to end up with something about 6' with a lighter line rating.

These are however not nearly as nice as a taper that has been developed from the reel seat to the tip top carefully calculated for a specific action, slow, para, med fast, fast etc.

There is no comparison to a nicely designed taper for a short rod, or any length for that matter the taper is what makes a great rod feel the way it does.

By shotening a 9' "club" of a bamboo rod to 6' you may end up with something that you will fish and enjoy occasionally, at least until you cast a nicely designed rod taper then all bets are off.



Active Member
A Banty is a short rod, but not a "shorten" nine footer. Banty was MADE short from butt section to tip top.
Kind of like fishing a fly with a spinning outfit and claiming to fly fish. No big deal, just not true.
I just think people are trying to pass off old dime a dozen Sears and Roebuck bamboo rods for something they are not.
Just my feelings.
My apoligies Blue, I did not realize that the term "Banty" was atually used for a "designed taper" of a short rod, I'm going to have to research it a bit and get up to speed and see what tapers were developed under this label.

You are right about people making some questionable claims as to the "action" of a "shortened" rod. My "shortened 9'er" is OK at best, do I fish the rod?, no, I'd rather fish other "proper" tapers that I have made or other makers have made. Let the buyer beware and if possible be sure to cast the rod first or have a three day inspection and test casting window to finalize the purchase.

I am an amateur builder. I have built two bamboo rods now. My latest was a 5'6" Bogart Chile Pepper Taper. Rod DNA had the taper and the description said it was a great caster. It is my new favorite rod. I can cast 30+ feet with it and it fits under all the high trees of the mountain steams I like to fish. I have cast a "refinished" tip and mid section 6' rod and It felt bulky and inaccurate, especially compared to my reel seat to tip taper rod. The other key is many of those mass produced rods are not made from tonkin cane. There is a big difference in the feel of the two canes. I just moved here to Washington so this is my first post. Glad to see there are many bamboo casters out there. Great forums! --Dan
I don’t see anything wrong with these types of rods, but I do have a comment. Mike hints at it in his post. The action will probably be ok (depending on the taper) but it is unlikely that it will be as nice as a rod that was designed for that length.
Troutcreek, some of the rods I used to make a shorty with were heavy nasty clubs. They must've had arms like Popeye in the old days. Trust me, in their full length they are not nice to cast or to fish with for any period of time.
I don’t think I disagreed with you. Some of the older rods may have a better auction when they are shorter.
When I design a taper; I start within certain known variables. For example, with a 4 wt. I use .068 as the standard tip diameter. .066 could be used for more delicacy or, .070 if you wanted a stronger tip. On that same 4 wt I use .013 increases every 5” station. This over simplifies the design process but if you used these numbers you will get in the ball park for a rod that will cast a 4 wt DT line.
When you cut down a longer rod, the tip is usually larger and the slope is established for a different line wt.
Will it work? Probably
Is it optimum? Probably not.
Best regards,