Bamboo Yesteryear Days

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by William Wallace, May 17, 2008.

  1. William Wallace Active Member

    Posts: 607
    Chesterton IN
    Ratings: +200 / 0
    Who all remmbers the days of the old bamboo fly rods and only the purest fished them. The days when you took the section over a steam kettle to straighten. So your ferrel(s) would not get stuck you rub then along side your nose to get the oils. After the strike you always held the rod more towards them so you would not over stress the bamboo. It is now the days of high modulus graphite. Not in my book. I still love using the wood. The fight is so much different. Appreciation of the true sport of fly fishing. I guess what I am getting at is how many of you still use a bamboo fly rod? Here is a pic of one of mine that I still use today. It was bought at Eddie Bauers when it was in Seattle. I mowed a lot of lawns to get this. The overall weight is outstanding but I love how the bamboo feels. Maybe this is the reason I had to get surgery on my casting arm :rofl:

    William "BRAVEHEART" Wallace Jr.
  2. Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

    Posts: 1,954
    Mill Creek, WA
    Ratings: +284 / 0
    Nice pix. Gave me a case of Hardy envy...:thumb:
  3. Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

    Posts: 1,742
    Yelm, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    I have a couple of old South Bend 359's that still cast very nicely and my wife has two Montague Sunbeams that still work very well. In addition, we each have a 7'6" 2/2 for 4 weight made by John Channer from Colorado and I have an 8'6" Quadrate for 6 wgt made by William Taylor from PA.

    We have our share of graphite and glass rods too, but nothing fishes like the lovely reed.
  4. Nick Riggs I've been known to fish from time to time...

    Posts: 482
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Bamboo kicks ass, but a nice graphite rod - $400 bucks, a 'boo rod - $1500.
  5. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,571
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,699 / 0

    I fish bamboo for trout, but not any longer for steelhead. In fact I have a few too many bamboo rods, but thankfully they don't take up much space. Maybe I'll pick up a nice 4 wt someday, as my lightest line weights are 5s.

    Nice looking rod in your photo. Is that a British made Sharpes that EB used to carry? I saw a couple Powell rods in the downtown store many years ago.

    BTW, steam isn't hot enough to straighten bamboo. The easiest way to get it hot enough to become thermo-elastic is to turn an electric stove burner on high and hold the bamboo section over the heat until it's ready to straighten.

    Although bamboo has a feel not duplicated by other rod making materials, I haven't found fishing with bamboo to be any "truer" sport than with other rods. I think it's a little more about the feel and using a hand-crafted piece of art to cast and fish with.

  6. Canedawg Member

    Posts: 203
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    You do not have to pay $1500

    for a quality bamboo rod. You can buy older production models for far less then that. The shorter the rod the more it will cost, which works out well for people in the west who fish bigger streams.

    These older rods such as Heddon, W.M. Granger, or Phillipson in the 8'6" to 9' can be had in good condition for around $350, and sometime quite abit less. This means the tips may have been scarffed,and they will not be pristine, but they are good solid rods for less then the price of new graphite.

    I fish bamboo quite often along with fiberglass, and a sweet Hexagraph. I find the older rod material to be more to my taste. In fact, I am waiting on a custom built medium fast Mcfarland Fiberglass rod right now.

    For those of you who have just recently gotten into flyfishing, or for those who have not ventured into the older rod building technology, I would suggest giving some of the older rods a try. I suspect you may find yourself asking " why the hell did I spend all that money on a new graphite rod, when I could have been fishing these rods for hafe the price."
  7. jeff bandy Make my day

    Posts: 2,405
    Edmonds, Wa.
    Ratings: +400 / 1
    You do not have to pay $1500

    Scarffed? Is that when the tip has been broken off and then repaired?
    If so, doesn't that change the action of the rod quite a bit?
  8. Broke my old monty last year. It wasn't a great rod but I did like the way it casted. Caught a bunch of searuns with that rod. Would like to get a nicer one some day. Also want to get one of those McFarland presentation rods maybe a 7.5 foot 4 wt. Some time this summer I'll order one up.
    Question, how about some of those up and coming bamboo rod makers you see on eBay. Usually those rods are being sold in the 500-700 $ range. Would any of those be a good buy?
  9. ericfreeman New Member

    Posts: 25
    Point Roberts, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I don't own anything other than bamboo. Several pristine Wright&McGill Victorys, Granger Specials, one Heddon Black Beauty and one homebuilt by someone else. All 9 footers. Nothing like casting a real silk fly line with a bamboo rod! And, yes, I have two silk lines, a 5wt and a 6wt. Makes fishing more enjoyable for an old duffer like me to use vintage tackle.

  10. Canedawg Member

    Posts: 203
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Scarfed does mean

    having a section's tip being repaired. Any section of the rod can be scarfed. If it is done right, it will not change the action.
  11. Rob Zelk I swing, therefore i am.

    Posts: 606
    Steelhead Central
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hey Salmo, why don't you fish bamboo for steelhead anymore?
  12. Dustin Bise Active Member

    Posts: 3,088
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    where is the classic fly box to go with it?
  13. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,571
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,699 / 0

    When the choice was bamboo or fiberglass, the weight difference between the two is negligible. However, I have a 9 and 9.5' bamboo that weigh nearly 8 oz, while my 9.5' 8 wt graphite weighs just a shade over 4 oz. The heavy tip wt and heavier line wt is very noticeable after a long day's fishing.

    I have thought about getting a bamboo Spey rod from Bob Clay tho . . . and then I come to my senses.

  14. ShuksanRodCo. New Member

    Posts: 14
    Bellingham, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  15. Greg Armstrong Active Member

    Posts: 1,056
    Ratings: +359 / 0
    This bamboo addiction has become a bad disease for me. Here goes;

    1 Winston
    1 Orvis
    1 US Net and Twine (my oldest; made in the 1890's by Edwards and Thomas)
    1 Leonard
    1 South Bend with "comficient" grip (this was my Grandfathers)
    2 Thomas rods (one a "Dirigo" and one a "Special")
    2 Heddons (Great Uncles rods)
    2 A.J. Thramers' (current Oregon bamboo rodmaker)

    Then there's the antique fly reel collection; Youngs with red agate line guards, Allcocks, Hardys, Pfluegers, etc.

    I just like the tradition of our sport and the "feel" and "soul" of the old stuff! Greg
  16. Dan Member

    Posts: 621
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Hey Robert,

    If you mention specific companies that you see on eBay, you might get some feedback. Certainly, you can pick up a new bamboo in the $700 range. Check out AJ Thramer's rods for a replacement for the Monty.
  17. herl Member

    Posts: 877
    the other washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    You do not have to pay $1500

    Not if it is done by a professional - you can't see or feel the difference.
  18. Michael&Tanner Sir Real

    Posts: 63
    Seattle , Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I had an old Dickerson steelhead rod a few years back, but sold it to make the trip to Seattle.

    I still love a quality old bamboo rod.. and might have actually drooled when I read GregA had an actual Leonard. That's always been a rod I've dreamed of owning. And casting.

    For a housewarming gift, I bought a friend a Montague earlier this year, with both tips complete, and in perfect shape. Mailing that rod was *NOT* an easy thing to do.

    There are still some fine Tonkin cane rods being made, and I had the honor of actually casting one of Bob Summers' rods, WITH Bob himself. His shop was amazing, with pictures of him casting with Robert Traver, and fishing with John Gierach.

    There's a great book on the history of bamboo rods, called "Casting a Spell". Fun read to trace the lineage.

    I use all graphite rods, and I appreciate each moment on a stream with them. But there is certainly something magical about bamboo rods, and I can't help but feeling a sense of kinship, a sense of the past, and a sense of roots of some type, when I cast with one.

    Gore-Tex is a great fabric. The jackets made of it are light, breathable, and waterproof. But I still head out in my waxed canvas. For me, it just feels better.

    The slow cast of a fine cane rod and the look of the wood against the water, somehow feels like time is trapped beneath those layers of varnish. I'll take bamboo over graphite anyday. If only someone ELSE would pay for the damn thing.