Bamboo guys...What do you think?

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Jeff Hale, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Northlake27

    Northlake27 Member

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    If you check out their website you will note they make no mention about the actual origin of their rods. As a Bamboo rodmaker I am glad to point out the methods and materials I use. Most makers I have heard of are the same.
    I spoke to someone who tried three of the Chinese blanks, all alledgedly the same taper, he said two would be fine tomato stakes but the third was actually OK. Which tells me they are inconsistant at best.
    When you are buying a bamboo rod you are buying much more than a fishing tool, I like to think a cane rod comes with its own Karma, a 1940's Granger has its own history and a rod from a modern builder has a bit of his personality. Given the the amount of hours it takes to build a cane rod, especially a hand planed rod, the rod can't help but be a reflection of the builder.
    I feel these chinese rods are simply an attempt to take advantage of the recent interest in bamboo rods, they can pay someone 15 cents a hour to crank these out without even understanding what they are building. No Karma at all. At a price no western builder could do it for.
     
  2. Jeff Hale

    Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

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    Cliff, Kent, Herl, and everyone else, thankyou very much for all your help and generousity with your knowledge. I owned a 9 foot 5 weight Wright & McGill, Stream and Lake, circa 1945-ish, and it was REALLY heavy for me. I picked it up for $300, put $100 into it, and sold it for $300. I actualy lost money on that rod. I avoided fishing it because of the weight and it was too slow for my liking. I have casted a few bamboo rods that were clearly superior, lighter, and faster. I would want a rod that could handle a little more than the traditional 'dry fly only' type taper. I would like something I could fish dries from #20's to #10's. Cast an indicator and nymph rig, and maybe even throw a lightly weighted bugger. I don't expect to get 80 foot casts; that's not why I like bamboo. It just keeps calling me back. I think they are beautiful works of art that just happen to also be great fishing tools, too. I like the pretty wraps, the agate stripper guides, the reel inserts, and the hand-written names of the rods/tapers/designers. The history is intriguing, and I like the fact that a bamboo rod is a labor intensive thing to make. Do you think an 8'6" Granger would fit my expectations? My Stream and Lake felt like I was casting a 9 weight graphite rod. I see myself using this rod on streams only, for trout only. I don't think an 8'6" rod would be a necessity. I can see myself getting by just fine with a light, quick 7 and a half footer. Could I find a Granger rod or Orvis that would fit my price range of $600-$700 or so, and also cast a 4 or 5 weight line? Also, I notice that when looking at descriptions of different rods and how they cast, they are described as how well they cast a #4 DT or a #6 DT. Do all bamboo rods cast better with Double taper lines? Is that more a traditional exercise, or is there good reason for it? I actually don't get to do a whole lot of dry fly fishing, but am more often nymphing for trout. However, if I see rises, I am quick to change. I would like to buy a rod that is a fine fishing tool and will also at least hold it's value. My casting stroke is less frantic nowadays and I think I may be ready to appreciate a more traditional feel when I trout fish. Thanks again. Jeff
     
  3. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Jeff, I've got an absolutely beautiful W&M Granger Special 9050 9' 3/2. Sadly, it's really heavy and lacks the kind of quick response I had enjoyed in other, shorter Grangers. I picked up a 7-1/2' T&T Special Trouter last summer and it's everything the Granger isn't: light, precise, delicate. I think the key here is to stay with the shorter lengths and avoid the 9-foot mentality we've all come to believe is 'normal' for fly rods.

    I suggested the 7-1/2' Orvis Battenkill earlier because they're an excellent casting rod and also because Orvis made a buttload of 'em over the years (including the different-named versions of the same taper that Tim mentioned above) so they're quite common on the secondary market. You can occasionally find one for $500 or so. Spending a couple hundred more should land you a real beauty as long as you're not in a hurry. Almost all Orvis cane rods are impregnated so maintenance shouldn't be a big issue.

    K
     
  4. Cliff

    Cliff Member

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    Jeff, in my opinion the Stream & Lake is a completely different animal from the more common Granger models, such as the Special, Victory, etc. I believe the S&L was an impregnated rod, too (or maybe I'm thinking of the W&M Waterseal?). I once lawn cast a S&L and I didn't care for it. To answer your question, the 8'6" Granger Special I have does it all for me. I fish it all the time on the Yakima and Montana rivers. I used to feel that an 8ft bamboo rod was the longest rod I would want to fish, but the 8'6" Granger feels right. All of my other rods (except the Orvis Shooting Star) are 7-1/2ft to 8ft. I've found that I prefer to fish 7-1/2ft rod on smaller streams, only. I had a beautiful little 7-1/2ft Granger Special that I foolishly sold, which was a real sweetheart. I feel an 8ft rod is a great choice for an all-around bamboo rod. Yes, you can find a good Granger 8ft to 8-1/2ft rod in the price range of $500-$700, maybe even an excellent rod. Some of the mint Grangers are selling for really high (rediculous) prices, IMO. And for an Orvis in the same range you would have no problems finding a good rod. In the 7-1/2ft Grangers the prices are getting pretty silly, but that's the nature of collecting boo. You could still find a good one for $700, but you'll see them that price and higher.

    As this thread evolves and I see more input from you I see that you have a stronger attraction to bamboo than simply a graphite guy who wants to give bamboo a whirl. If you see them as works of art that are beautiful with a rich history, then you should probably avoid the Elkhorn rod. I happen to think that a rod such as the Elkhorn - if it is a good casting rod with acceptable construction and cosmetics, may be a good rod for someone who doesn't want to do a swan dive into bamboo, or for financial reasons cannot afford the extra $200-$300 hundred dollars for an american made rod, either production or hand-built. We talk of vast amounts of money like it's no big deal, but many of us are working stiffs putting kids through college who struggle like hell just to save a couple hundred bucks. Having said this I totally agree with Kent and Northlake on their comments about these types of rods vs. american rods. But there are fishermen out there who could give a fig about that, which is why the goofy Hexagraph "fake" fly rod was popular for a while.

    I'll let the builders (Northlake) respond about the type of lines bamboo rods are designed for, but every hand-planed rod I have ever owned was made for a DT line, according to the makers I bought them from. I pretty much fish DT's on all of my bamboo rods, but I have cast WF lines and they worked just fine. If you REALLY want to have fun try casting a silk line!

    Cliff
     
  5. Cliff

    Cliff Member

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    TIM, thanks for the info. I really wanted to go the Metolius gathering but I just couldn't get a way. I used to rent the USFS Greenridge lookout overlooking the Metolius every year an had a ball fishing there. Glad you got to cast one of Robert's rods. They are incredible.

    TOM, thanks for the info on the Sir-D taper. I remember reading something about it on the rodmakers listserver, I think. It sounds very interesting.

    JEFF - I hope I didn't hijack this thread. We can both learn a lot from these guys.

    Cliff
     
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    iagree Well put Cliff.

    K
     
  7. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

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    Back to the Elkhorns. I actually bought one at the Bellevue show last year, I think. Paid $350 or so for rod and reel. Make sure you cast the rod and buy the one you cast. Not all are created equal.

    Fished it several times and just sold it for a couple hundred so I can pay off a John Channer 7'6" 4 wgt boo rod.

    REE
     
  8. Jeff Hale

    Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

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  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Granger used the same blank in various lengths for each of their different models. Thus the 8642 blank was the very same spec whether it was for a Victory, a Special or an Aristocrat. The differeneces between models were the cosmetics.

    The rod you're looking at is an 8642 blank, meaning it's 8'6" long and weighs 4.2 ounces with ferrules but WITHOUT the grip, reel seat, guides, tiptop, wraps and varnish. If you thought the 9' Granger (a 9050 blank) was heavy, this one will be nearly as much so.

    Was me, I'd hold out for a shorter - and lighter - rod.

    K
     
  10. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Double post.

    K
     
  11. Jeff Hale

    Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

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    Awesome. I learned something new. Thanks for the enlightenment on what the rod blank numbers mean. Last night I read a story by Sparse he wrote about Hiram Leonard. I was amazed at the genius this man was. He did far more than just build fly rods. I didn't realize he was a professional hunter, gunsmith, and machine shop supervisor at age 16. In the hunting portion of the story, they say for 7 miles he carried out a quarter of a moose that weighed well over 100 pounds all by himself. Quite a stud. Funny thing was, he hunted to sell venison and other wild game to markets, but he was actually a vegetarian. Jeff
     
  12. Alex Rodriguez

    Alex Rodriguez New Member

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    Saw the SweetGrass Bamboo show on Verses a few day's ago, Any one ever tried one of their robs? Thinking of getting one but would like to hear a few reviews first. Real interesting show, sounds like they know what their doing.
     
  13. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    A few guys on Clark's have seen and tested prototypes of the Boo Boys' new rods and they've gotten glowing reviews. If you're thinking of ordering one, I'd do it soon before the waiting list gets too long. You can always bail before they get to your rod, but in another year, I wouldn't be surprised if the wait time is over a year. Some of the better makers right now have lead times approaching 5 years.

    K
     
  14. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    I think you can rest assured that the SweetGrass rods are excellent. The real question is, are they right for you.
    The wait time is now 8-12 months. Pretty typical. Their goal is to get it down to 6 months when their new shop is fully functional. Right now they have a lot on their plates and must divide their time as best they can without letting anything critical fall through the cracks.

    http://www.sweetgrassrods.com

    TC