Headwaters bamboo rods

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Jeff Peacock, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Jeff Peacock

    Jeff Peacock Member

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    I recently received a nice promotional piece from Headwaters Bamboo Rod Co., offering their "Favorite" series rod for what looks to be a nice price, ($200).
    Can anyone offer their experience with this rod? If I do it I'd go for the 5 wt 7'-6" Metoulius version. They've also got a 4 wt 7'0" version. The Metoulius is shorter than I'm used to fishing with, but at $200 it seems like a nice way to get a bamboo rod that I'm not affraid to fish with, (I've got one that dates to the '30's, but shes not coming out of the sock anytime soon).
    Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Jeff,

    My 1st bamboo rod purchase a few years ago was an "imported" clone of a classic American rod taper. I was lured in by the seemingly decent quality at what I perceived to be a really low price for a new bamboo rod. I wish I'd not made the purchase, as the rod broke at the ferrule for absolutely no apparent reason and there was no recourse offered from the seller to "make it right". Headwaters is a different outfit though, so you may have a better exoerience than I.
    There are many really nice, used, American made bamboo rods out there that were well made with quality components and great tapers. Look for Grangers (getting a little pricier - but a nice 9' for a 6 Wt. (9050) can still be had for around $300.), Phillipsons, some of the Montagues, Heddons, South Bends and even the Orvis 1 tip Madisons are really good, fishable relatively inexpensive rods. All of these makers made great rods that are excellent casting and fishing tools and they're the real deal.
    Traditional rods and reels catch fish every bit as well as the modern high tech' stuff. They're not nearly as fragile as people think either. I now fish with this gear almost exclusively and it's added a great deal of enjoyment to my fishing. Don't be afraid to fish the rod you already have. Just check that the ferrules are not loose and don't make the mistake of "twisting" the rod parts together or when taking it apart.

    Here's a forum devoted to fishing bamboo and other classic fly gear. It's been a valuable resource of knowledgeable experts that have really helped me learn a lot;
    http://clarksclassicflyrodforum.yuku.com/directory Have fun!, Greg
     
  3. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    What Greg said. If it seems too good to be true, then it almost always is.

    This time of year is always a buyers market and so a great time to look for a 'real' cane rod. Besides a wide variety of vintage rods from the likes of Granger, South Bend, Orvis and others, there are some great rods to be had from both established and up-and-coming modern makers.

    For instance, a good friend decided to start making cane rods last year. His first 5 rods easily rival those from guys with 4 or 5 years' experience under their belts. (I've got his #2, based on a Cattanach 7042 taper. It's simply a gorgeous 7 foot rocket launcher that has become the favorite in my bamboo arsenal.)

    For just over double what the Headwaters rods cost, you could have a rod custom built to your specs, instead of settling for one knocked out by a Chinese factory.

    K
     
  4. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    I reviewed a Headwaters rod in the winter issue of F&TJ. I fished the rod extensively for sea-run cutthroat (and a couple of unexpected coho) this fall and was impressed with its quality and performance. The model I tried was the 8' Deluxe Deschutes, built to the Dickerson 8014 taper, and I would say it represents an excellent value.
     
  5. flybill

    flybill Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!

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    One of those "blue lines" in the WA, MT,
    I bought the Santium 4/5 7' rod this summer and fished it a bit on the Snoqualmie Forks, tribs of the Yak and on the Sky for Sea Run Cutts. I already had a 5wt DT Ultra 4 line and it works very well on this rod. They were offering a large discount that I found out about on Moldy Chum. It is a Garrison 201e taper and the rods are made down in OR.

    It was a bit of a risk, but for $200 it is a great rod in my opinion. It did not come w/ a case and only has one tip. You can order a second tip if you want too. I have cast a few other bamboo rods, but this is my first and I am very happy with the action and have caught a few fish on it. They were a pleasure to play and the rod casts very well!!

    Components are very nice and I am very happy with the rod. It is a very good addition to the quiver of rods that I have and people that I have shown it too and the few that I have let cast it like it a lot!

    I don't know if you can find something similiar in this action. I am surprised how fast and responsive it is, especially compared to some of the other bamboo rods that I have cast.

    I look forward to getting it out to MT, OR and ID next year. I made it out to ID, but didn't have the rod yet.

    I would say go for it if you're interested in trying out a boo rod. If you live in the Seattle area and want to check it out sometime let me know. I live up in Woodinville.

    Good luck!
    Bill
     
  6. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Here's an excerpt discussing Headwaters Bamboo from an article on bamboo rods;

    Offshore Opportunities
    The third category, the Far Eastern imports, is driving a lot of the recent growth in the bamboo market. Companies such as Headwaters Bamboo and Tea Stick Rods are now importing copies of traditional American tapers. Because of lower labor costs, these rods are bargain priced in the $400 to $600 range, but pay attention, because quality can vary from rod to rod. That said, there's some great stuff in this market. "There's no reason a high-quality bamboo rod can't come from the Far East, because quality can be maintained wherever a rod is built," Russ Gooding of Golden Witch (a manufacturer of fine rod components) explains. "The trick is, you need to take time to build a quality rod, and when the maker is in a rush, mistakes happen."


    Here's the link to the entire article for those interested;

    http://www.midcurrent.com/articles/gear/matthews_bamboo.aspx
     
  7. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Jeff,

    I sent you a PM.
     
  8. Tom Bowden

    Tom Bowden Active Member

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    To put it in perspective, I spend about $150 per rod for materials and components, and it takes 40 hours to make a quality rod. No matter where it's built, a lot of time and quality has been sacrificed on a bamboo rod that sells for only $200.

    I think today's inexpensive Chinese rods are comparable to the low-end models made in the past by companies like Montague, Horrocks-Ibbotson, and Union Hardware. Most of these had inconsistent tapers, seams in the glue lines, low quality components, and are worth virtually nothing (from a financial perspective) today. Higher priced rods like Grangers and South Bends were much better, and 50 year-old used rods sell for $100-400 today. But just think about all the people who had a great time fishing with their Montagues and H-I's over the years, and the great memories they have.

    BTW, the Dickerson 8014 taper that Preston refers to is a good one for the PNW.

    Tom
     
  9. veilside180sx

    veilside180sx Member

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    David is a good guy and makes a great product for the money.
     
  10. Nick Clayton

    Nick Clayton Active Member

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    I know nothing about bamboo rods beyond what I've read in Geirach's books, but I've always wanted to try one. From my point of view a 200 dollar investment to see if I'll really like bamboo is much more reasonable than dropping twice that or way more on something I don't know if I'll like anyway.
     
  11. Jeff Peacock

    Jeff Peacock Member

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    Thank you all for your comments and insight, (and the PM'S :thumb:)
    I'm not a frequent poster but I sure appreciate the expertise and adivice you all offer to others with a shared passion for the fly.
    Good fishing to you all.
     
  12. John Wallace

    John Wallace Active Member

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    I have the 7'6" 5wt and love it. It is a awsome rod and for that price I would get it!
     

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