Headwaters Bamboo Rod Company

LD

Active Member
#16
.02 cents from a newbie. First if you know someone who has a bamboo rod take advantage and cast a few.
I recently purchased my first bamboo rod. It is from a current rod maker. He does nice work and is someone who people will recognize. I bought the rod like new for slightly less than it sold for new. (Right now the bamboo market is very soft, so good time to buy). It is a very nice rod, casts great and looks great.

As far as Headwaters I have not cast them. If they are build on a blank made in China I would not touch them or any like them. There is one listed on another bamboo board now, sold for $550 and is selling for $150 (less than a third). I spoke to a Bamboo rod maker from Oregon and we discussed the Chinese blanks. He was approached about making a value line on them. He looked them over and thought about it but declined. One of his points was (he visited China) that the majority of the fishing there is to put a fish on the table. They used bamboo, but a whole clum with a line tied on the end and swing em to the bank. There is very little fly fishing with split cane bamboo. So you are lacking the craftsman with any actual experience with the product they are making. It is just another widget they are mass producing. A reel expert noted that for years there were attempts from Asia to copy Hardy or JW Young reels. They never really did a great job. The reel itself they were fair at, but he would install hardy click and pawls and the reels were vastly improved.

I did a lot of research when looking for my rod. I have had a hard time with some of the vintage rods. The price differences make little sense (I am not knowledgeable enough yet). So focused more on current makers. It is nice to know a little about them and talk to them and possible meet them. They can also make a replacement piece or repair the rod if needed. I was able to talk to Jim Downes (maker of my rod). He shared with me that my rod is based of a Hedden Bill Stanley Favorite taper. Has a swelled butt. He has done some improvement to the taper, especially to reduce failures at the ferules. (Heddon's from what I can gather are great under appreciated tapers, but have a weak spot at the ferrules and can break). He also built ti on cane that George Mauer (his mentor) hand picked on a trip to China in the late 70's early 80's.

Part of bamboo, at least for me is the workmanship, attention to detail, pride, modifications. You can get a number of well made graphite rods from overseas.

Watch Clark's Forum. There are a lot rods listed there. After a while you will recognize makers and get some sense of value. There is good info for first time buyers and a list of dealers.You also get a three day inspection with return privilege. Be careful of ebay. You usually do not get a return privilege. Also many rods listed are from people who do not know anything about the rod (bought them at a garage sale or an auction, inherited, etc.) One exception is there are a couple of makers that sell rods there and they are good values.

One Clark's currently there is a Orvis midge 7.5' rod for $600 and an AJ Thramer (Oregon builder) 7.5' rod for $550 (new about $1000). Much better rods, hand crafted and will hold there value. Coldwater colletables also has an un named rod in the bargin section for $195.
Good Luck
 

LD

Active Member
#17
One last thought -
AJ Thramer, Bob Nunley, Sweetgrass, among others all have value (introductory rods) for not much more than the Headwater rods. The Thramer and Nunley rods have hand made guides and ferrules.
 

Lugan

Joe Streamer
#19
...an AJ Thramer (Oregon builder) 7.5' rod for $550 (new about $1000)
Good lord, that's a great deal. I've owned two of AJs rods and have never cast better (including one that was 2.5x the price). Depends on the taper though. Cane rod tapers vary enormously compared with graphite tapers. And AJ makes pretty much every taper worth making. Best to do some homework on a taper before buying, as others have suggested.

+1 on Bob Nunley; he's got a great reputation. Other US rod makers with stellar reputations and offerings under $1k for a new one: JD Wagner (Patriot series...impregnated rods), Mike Brooks (Oregon guy with a very cool and patented impregnation process), Bob/R.W. Lancaster (see codella.com)...others I can't remember right now. And those are NEW prices. Wait for a used one and it'll cost even less with less financial risk to you, as I've already mentioned.

Some great advice in this pinned thread for first-time cane buyers: http://clarksclassicflyrodforum.yuku.com/topic/24377
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#21
. . . Same for almost any cane (or graphite, or glass) rod short of stratospherically-priced Brandin, Wojnicki, Kusse, etc. that retain their value.
As I may have mentioned one warm afternoon on the SF last August, my first two cane rods were a pair that I bought from Mike Brooks for $1,500 (for both). When I decided to try my first used classic American rod the following year, a late 1960s Orvis Superfine 7-1/2' 2/2 that I won on eBay for $750, I decided to sell the two Brooks rods to help out with cash flow. It took me half a year to finally get them both sold (individually, not as a pair) and then they only brought $550 together. That's a $950 loss on the two rods.

I eventually sold the Orvis to finance another cane rod (a T&T Special Trouter, I believe). It went within an hour after posting it on Clark's for full asking price of $950 plus shipping, a $200 profit for a rod I fished for over 3 years.

What's the difference between the two experiences? At the time, while Mike Brooks enjoyed a modest but good reputation as a regional builder, nobody on the east coast had heard of him, so the resale market for his rods was pretty thin. OTOH, everybody knew about Orvis Superfines.

I still regret selling the Orvis. By comparison, I rarely even think about the two Brooks rods.

K
 

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
#22
One last thought -
AJ Thramer, Bob Nunley, Sweetgrass, among others all have value (introductory rods) for not much more than the Headwater rods. The Thramer and Nunley rods have hand made guides and ferrules.
OK, I took a look at their websites, and from the looks of their prices, the "not much more" works out to be more than double these cheap Chinese rods.

Tim, your advice is sound, and I should heed it especially given what the rest of you are saying. Bottom line is, I'm basically trying to make the proverbial silk purse here. So...I'll get one of these cheap things to play with, and later this spring, pick up a really nice custom from one of the "Oh My!!!" rod makers like Bob Oyster. Once the infamous duck club down in the Butte Sink sells, I owe it to myself to place those memories somewhere special.
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#23
If a presentation rod is what you are after I think that Bill Oyster is at the top of the heap. The combination of his outstanding design sensibilities and his impecable and versitile craftsmanship put him there. I can't think of anyone else who truly does it all himself as well as Bill. There are others who make great looking presentation rods but many of them have some of the bling done by others. I'm thinking of the engraving here and in some cases other of the hardware components.

Some people are put off by the very idea of such rods but I am not one of them. I just can't afford one.

TC
 

Alex MacDonald

that's His Lordship, to you.....
#24
He certainly did a fantastic on Carter's rod, eh? Since this would be a "memory" rod for me, I'll probably have celtic knotwork around bottom reel seat, and my initials on the butt cap. Other than that, probably nothing else. I also want to save up to have Doug Turnbull restore my little 28ga. hammergun!
 

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
#27
I have a Lew Parks 4wt. It is a Cattanach taper and holy smokes does it impress. Lew was great to deal with and when I'm able I will add more of his handiwork to my collection. I have used that little 4wt and cast an 85' floating fly line to the backing knot...with Bitterroot as my witness...on a trip down the St. Joe. I do not know if the Lew C Parks rods fits into your or anyone else's budget but they should merit consideration.
 

Cliff

Active Member
#28
Just thought I'd say that I bought one of the Zhu rods off ebay a year ago and I've had great fun with it. I fished it a lot this past spring and summer and have had no problems at all with ferrules, wraps, finish, etc. I believe both Tim & Kent tried it out at Calligan and were favorably impressed considering the cost of the rod. I don't know if these are the same that Headwaters is using, though.

Cliff
 

bitterroot

Love vintage graphite!
#29
I have a Lew Parks 4wt. It is a Cattanach taper and holy smokes does it impress. Lew was great to deal with and when I'm able I will add more of his handiwork to my collection. I have used that little 4wt and cast an 85' floating fly line to the backing knot...with Bitterroot as my witness...on a trip down the St. Joe. I do not know if the Lew C Parks rods fits into your or anyone else's budget but they should merit consideration.
I didn't see a thing......:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#30
Just thought I'd say that I bought one of the Zhu rods off ebay a year ago and I've had great fun with it. I fished it a lot this past spring and summer and have had no problems at all with ferrules, wraps, finish, etc. I believe both Tim & Kent tried it out at Calligan and were favorably impressed considering the cost of the rod. I don't know if these are the same that Headwaters is using, though.

Cliff

I do remember that rod. What I remember most was that you had a nearly new silk line on it that was not yet broken in making casting difficult.
In spite of that I did get the sense that the rod was doing its job well enough.

I have no outstanding issues with Mr. Zhu's rods as long as they are structurally sound.


TC