Silk on Bamboo

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Jim Riggins, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. I'm meeting up with Jason, his son and a few fishy friends of mine on Merrill Lake this weekend. I've had this old bamboo rod refurbished, not an expensive one but a pretty nice one sitting in the rod cabinet. I have decided to pack it along with the old Echo 5wt, I was told that the bamboo rod is around a 5-6wt as well. I know that silk lines are recommended for bamboo, what would happen if I threw on my airflow 5wt floater on it and gave it a whirl? :hmmm:
  2. It will probably work great Jim. It's a rare bamboo rod guy that fishes silk and I fish plastic on mine all the time. You may find that the guides, particularly the stripper, is a little small as silk lines are generally smaller in diameter, but no big deal. Go for it!
  3. Jim,

    I fish older bamboo rods almost exclusively and use modern lines on them all the time. Take it out and give it a try. Like any rod, you may find that certain lines will just "feel" better with it than others, but that's part of the fun. Some of the guides on these older rods are a smaller diameter than the modern rods but the newer lines will probably still work on them. Cortland makes a "contemporary" silk line (they call it "sylk") that has a smaller diameter that you may find helpful if necessary.
    Slow down your casting stroke a bit and enjoy the rod!.
    What make/length rod is it?
  4. Jim, I've got a couple of bamboo rods. One in particular, made by Lew C. Parks, a 7'3" 4wt will cast a WF 4 line a long long long way! Enjoy.
  5. Hey Jim, I've got an old Montegue bamboo rod. Dad got it for me about 1947-50 era new at the time. My first fly rod, Every year for many years we would fish near Tioga pass in the Sierras, just inside Yosemite N.P. At some point about then I used it on the Eel River in No. Calif. and over near Burney Falls. I've needed to have it repaired for many years but not had it done. The tip has had one divission split away and missing and a couple of guides too. I don't know if it can be made fishable again. I've gotten a set of guides for it and could put them on and wrap it again but I know nothing about repairing the split. Ineed to take it to some one who can tell me what to do or can do it for me. Let me know how yours worked and who you used to do the work when we get togeher. Thanks
  6. I cast a SA Ultra 4 DT on my 4/5 wt 7' Headwaters bamboo rod! Casts great, and is a nice thin diameter. I originally bought the line for another rod, which is long gone, but love the combo.

    I talked to a few about the Sylk line by Cortland and haven't had anyone recommend it, quite the opposite. It is also rather pricey, however I'm sure that's due to how few are produced or at least that is part of the problem. There are other options for silk lines out there, but they were as much if not more than I paid for the whole rod. I have recently acquired a great older Orvis Clearwater reel (Made in England) for it and love how it matches the rod perfectly!

    Have fun with the rod on Merrill! I'm about to start wrapping a bamboo blank a friend gave me and looking forward to putting it together.

  7. Bob, I have some friends who can take a look at it for you. Bring to the day on the river in Fall City sometime and let Cliff take a look, he is one of them. He and a few others we know would be a good place to start.

  8. For the Bamboo rods I build I recommend the SA Mastery XPS DT, very supple and lays out nicely for a good presentation. Very nice for small stream fishing that is natural for Bamboo rods.
    It seems that every Bamboo rod has its favorite line, you should try several on yours until you find the one best suited.
  9. I have a few different 5wt lines, I'll lawn cast them before we go. thanks guys
  10. I fish bamboo rods exclusively and use modern lines, no problem what so ever. Have fun and be careful, split cane rods are an unhealthy (and expensive) addiction...
  11. Hey Bob, What size Montegue?
  12. Greg, actually I have 2 bamboo rods, both have 2 tips and are pristine shape. Both are not very expensive and I was told were the every day bamboo rods of the day. Both were made in the 40's one is a 9' around 6wt Montague Rapidan with the original sock and tube, the other one is an old South Bend Custom Built 8 1/2' 5-6wt that I had refurbished it has the sock but no tube. For some reason I'm leaning towards the South Bend, it's a little lighter and I know that was an issue with the cheaper rods back then. I bought an old reel in Scotland, I can't remember the name and I'm to lazy to go out in the shop and look right now, but it was from and old estate sale and was told that it was seldom used and it looks practically brand new as well. Both rods come from an estate sale in Minnesota where I was told this guys grandfather worked for Montague and he built the Rapidan for himself, it does have the jade guide on it( not sure of the stone). I am taking the SB fishing this weekend, it does feel more whippy than the modern rods but I can't wait to see how it handles a two foot triploid. I went to Wholesale sports here in Vancouver and asked about the silk lines and was told the same thing as I was informed here to go ahead and use the Airflow line I have, I'll put it on my old reel and give it a fling, I might bring both of them and let Jason(orangeradish) use the other one. Should be fun, I'm sure people fish like this still today, ie: Bob, sounds like we have the same rod, could we use these on cutty's up in Puget Sound or are they to small?
  13. For me, there's nothing like the feel bamboo gives you. It also slows life down just a little. Enjoy fishing your vintage rods!
  14. Hey thanks Bill I'll do that in the next few weeks.
  15. I don't find any other markings on it but a small decal That says Montegue Clear Lake and I would think that it is a cheaper line because it also has only 5 guides and the tip top. The guides are all snake guides and at least two are missing.
  16. Bummer, I picked up a bunch of old Montegues on the cheap a while ago. I don't think I have any Clear Lake tips in the pile tho. :(
  17. Thanks for the checking anyway I've gone long enough with out doing any thing about it. I'll try to get it at least looking good soon it sure doesn't now,. missing guides and broken threads.
  18. Here's a link to some information on Montague rods:

    Looks like the Clear Lake was a longer rod, and thus heavier than the ideal bamboo 'trout rod' length of 7-1/2 feet. Sadly, most folks making the transition from lightweight graphite rods to heavier bamboo ones have the mistaken impression that longer is better. If your Clear Lake is a 9 or 9-1/2 foot model, it's gonna be a really tiring rod to cast all day which is why they're valued at less than the shorter 8-1/2 foot models.

    It's unfortunate that your first impression of a bamboo rod will be colored by the experience of casting what will seem to be a heavy, slow-action rod that's nothing like what you're used to if you've been a longtime graphite fisher. If you ever have the chance to cast several different cane rods side by side, you'll immediately appreciate how different they are from one to another and the wide variation in their feel and action. Unlike graphite rods, bamboo rods have much more 'personality' so it's more likely that you'll be able to find one that's a match for your casting style and the type of fishing you like to do.


  19. Kent. No Joke, They're crazy heavy. I love the 9 footers for tube or toon fishing tho.

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