Fishing Bamboo

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Gatorator, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Gatorator Member

    Posts: 277
    Pend Oreille Valley, Idaho
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Anyone fish Bamboo? I have ended up with a couple of rods that appear to be in good shape.

    Is the danger in casting or in fighting a fish? Any particular line design that you should use?
  2. Ethan G. I do science.. on fish..

    Posts: 987
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Bamboo rocks. There are people much more versed in the ways of bamboo than I, but I like the slower action. What is the 'danger' your talking about? The danger of breaking it? Bamboo is a lot more durable than graphite in many respects. As for lines I usually go double taper on bamboo because I like bamboo for soft presentations and roll casting on small streams.

    Out of curiosity, what rods did you acquire? Older classics? Newer modern builds? Make and model? I love the lore of bamboo and their makers. Every rod seems to have a different story behind it.
    -Ethan
  3. Dan Member

    Posts: 621
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    For spring creek trout, I fish a 7 1/2 foot 5 weight made by Homer Jennings, a Colorado builder. I use a Cortland 444 Classic in a double taper. I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions about lines. I went with the Cortland because that's what the rod builder recommended.
  4. Michael Thompson the flavor of BADFISH

    Posts: 536
    camano island wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    i have had several over the years, mainly from ebay or garage sales so nothing spendy and a few of them were in questionable shape to begin with, but i have only had one break on me. i think the main thing to keep in mind is that they can take a beating but they arent able to severely bend and recover like a regular graphite... for instance if you happen to catch a 3 pound rainbow, dont try to crane it up to your net when your on high bank.
    i have been down right mean to some of my bamboos and am usually shocked as to what they can handle... but that really depends more on the craftsman that built them.

    also a lot of times on a older refinished rod, just because they have a line weight listed doesnt mean the line they used back in the day will match the modern equal, so you might find a old five weight that cast better with 6 weight line or vice versa.
    enjoy and by the way you will probably be ruined for all other fly rods, bamboo gets its hooks in you.
  5. Gatorator Member

    Posts: 277
    Pend Oreille Valley, Idaho
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    A Hardy Palakona DeLuxe. 9 foot. Supposedly made in 1922.

    A refinished rod of indeterminate past.

    I will post pictures later.
  6. Tom Bowden Active Member

    Posts: 446
    Black Diamond, WA
    Ratings: +72 / 3
    You need to try different lines to determine what works best. Bamboo is a natural material, so every rod is a little bit different - just like the people who cast with them. Many rods were designed for double taper lines, but many cast even better with a weight forward. Also, don't be afraid to try heavier lines. The rod I use for most of my lake fishing casts best with a WF6, but bends more than my partner's 4-weight graphite rods when playing a fish.

    Bamboo rods will "take a set" if bent for too long a period. Don't use them for trolling, don't store them in the PVC tubes on the side of a drift boat, and try to rotate the rod while landing a big fish. It's also important to store them in a dry place. Other than that, bamboo rods are very durable. Many graphite rods have very thin walls and will break easily if the finish is scratched. It's almost impossible to break a well-made bamboo rod section, and even if you do, a rodmaker can usually glue it back together.

    Let us know the markings on your rods. They may be real collectors items!

    Tom
    Kent, WA
  7. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,158
    out of state now
    Ratings: +211 / 0
    As I read your posts I laugh with a memory of my father. He owned an Orvis "bamboo" rod and eventually pasted it on to me. The laugh is from how "strong" he corrected me when I referred to his rod as "bamboo". The word would result in a "strong" look and the correction was always "It is a Tonkin Cane rod...". Anyway, I no longer have that rod but I do have one I purchased for him in 1966. My avatars are cutts I caught with it after it sat unused for many many years. I went to the Orvis store in Bellevue and they helped me fit it with a new reel and line after casting in their parking lot. Some good folks there. They suggested I not use it but save it as a collector's item. Not my style. Anyway, I'm enjoying the post.
  8. Joseph Freeman dUMB aRKiE

    Posts: 95
    Burnett Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hey Gatorator, I restore Bamboo rod, and as soon as I get finished with the one I have on my plane I will consider myself a maker. American rods are prefered over British, But A Hardy is considered one of the better Brit Rods, and a Palonka is one of there better rods.
    I would doubt the 1922 date that you were told as I doubt that the Palonka was made that long ago, but I am not an expert on dates. The biggest danger is not taking care of the Rod properly. Dry it well after use, put it in the cloth bag, Slide (dont drop it) in the tube, belive it or not that can cause cracks along the blank, I leave my tubes open a couple of days after I use a rod to let all moisture escape. then I close it and put it in a dark out of the way place. More rods are damaged by improper handling and care than fishing them. I have one very old rod (80+ years) that I landed a thirty inch brown on.
    As to lines, I would try a #6 on it, for the reasons mentioned in previous posts, because the old alpha system of rating Lines was different than the AFTMA, try both a 5 and 6 see which the rod responds to better, Cortland makes a "Sylk" line that has the diameter of the old silk lines, I would get a double taper also. If I can help you in any way P.M. me.
  9. Gatorator Member

    Posts: 277
    Pend Oreille Valley, Idaho
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I need to correct the Hardy part. It is a DeLuxe but made from Palakona Cane. Thus it is a Hardy "Palakona" DeLuxe. The DeLuxe was made from around 1913-1927. +/-

    I would appreciate an expert opinion on the fishability of the rod as I think everything ought to be used at least once. Even if it is dangling it in the Cedar.
  10. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Pm Kent Lufkin, he knows a lot about boo.
  11. Dale Dennis Formally Double-D

    Posts: 527
    Arlington, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    I have a passion for fishing bamboo and have rebuilt several over the years and use them primarily for the dry fly any more. If not cared for properly you may find one of the first signs of stress will be at the ferrell junction where it is slipped over the cane. From my own unfortunate experience if its going to break it could happen on the cast or with a fish on the other end. The first sign of stress will be in the form of cracks or separations of the joints just below or above the ferrell.
  12. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,225 / 0
    Hardy Palakonas were (and still are) highly prized fishing tools. I'm not sure why you're waiting for someone else to tell you it's OK to fish it. You've already got some terrific advice here. Read through this thread again, then string the rod up and go wet a line with it.

    K
  13. Gatorator Member

    Posts: 277
    Pend Oreille Valley, Idaho
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Kent

    I guess I am nervous over breaking something that has lasted in other hands for almost 90years. :eek: Particularly with my ignorance and lack of skill. :hmmm:

    I am no expert when it comes to the condition a Bamboo rod may be in as opposed to one in great condition.
  14. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,225 / 0
    There are many guys who regularly fish rods that old with no adverse effects. Just respect it's age by not horsing with it, avoiding trolling and wiping it down and letting it dry thoroughly after fishing.

    Since cane rods are much more durable than the graphite 'soda straws' everyone fishes with now, it's unlikely you'll do any damage on your outing. And who knows? You might enjoy its more relaxed fishing style so much you end up fishing bamboo full time!

    K
  15. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    kent, how close is glass to bamboo with respect to action? Say in a 5 wt.? Not trying to hijack, this thread seems over.
    thanks.
  16. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,136
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,225 / 0
    Good question. Complicated answer.

    Traditional fiberglass rod actions are usually more similar to cane than they are to graphite. However some newer fiberglass makers are changing that. But to understand the difficulty of doing so, it helps to understand the way fiberglass and graphite rods are made compared with bamboo.

    While both fiberglass and graphite blanks are tubular, made by wrapping material around a mandrel and then impregnated and baked, bamboo is made of solid strips of wood glued together, each strip hand-planed to a specific taper by the maker.

    A blank's taper is a major factor in how that rod will cast. The huge advantage that bamboo has is that the taper can is determined by the maker: he (or she) can use a proven taper from another maker or create his own taper, either from scratch or by using an existing one as a starting point. By comparison, graphite and fiberglass makers must first develop the taper then machine a mandrel around which the blank is built. Only then can they determine how suitable the taper is for their desired purpose.

    The process of machining the mandrel and then building the composite blank is sufficiently complex and requires such expensive equipment that it serves as an effective barrier to entry for prospective makers. If say, you and I were to start our own rod company, we'd have to either buy that technology and learn how to use it or hire someone who already has it and pay them to develop the taper and blank for us.

    I mention this because the bamboo maker has no such constraints to deal with. Once he hones his skills, he can quite literally build a different-action rod every time - all without the need for CNC milling machines, mandrels or walk-in ovens.

    Last fall I had the opportunity to fish a bamboo rod that was quite unlike the others I'd previously experienced. It felt much more like a graphite action (a slow graphite!) than any cane I'd cast. The action was a direct result of the fast taper that the maker had chosen for that rod.

    A fiberglass rod maker would have a much more difficult time in building a rod with a similar action due to the complexity and expense of the process by which those rods are built.

    All this is a very long-winded way of saying that fiberglass and bamboo can be quite similar in action. Except when they're not!

    I'd love to hear from someone like Lugan who's very familar with modern fiberglass rods and I hope will chime in here.

    K
  17. rainbow My name is Mark Oberg

    Posts: 1,232
    Renton wa
    Ratings: +78 / 0
    DT5w or 6wt peach, have fun. Don't worry there tougher then graphite.
  18. Buck "Ride'n Dirty."

    Posts: 1,475
    Seattle, Wa.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Well, thanks for the info Kent, very informative. The reason I would like to get a fiberglass rod is. 1. I hear the action is more relaxed and 2. they are cheaper than bamboo. The people that I have talked to about this say glass rods are actually increasing in demand and price. Bummer.