Small Stream Bamboo Fly Rods

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by fixj, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Thanks, guys; I'll have to give this some serious thought! A Sweetgrass would be really nice, and i studiously avoided them at the Ellensburg conclave last month because I probably would have walked out with one! I have two Headwaters rods now, the 4 wt Santiam-their "cheapie", and it's a very nice-casting rod; their 5 wt Rogue, with which I'm less impressed. The 5 seems a little heavy and a little clunky.

    To be frank, I never thought about getting this far along in life; just put my head down and one foot in front of the other. Blue, I very much appreciate your thoughts about that-never considered it that way!
     
  2. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    Well, My SG is for my 60th....I know I'm worth it....LOL
     
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  3. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I neglected to mention above that my collection also includes a gorgeous 7' 2/1 cane rod by Mike Monsos adapted from a Wayne Cattenach taper. If it was possible for someone to cast it without knowing it was bamboo, the action is so crisp and firm I'm convinced most folks would think it was a medium action plastic rod instead.

    K
     
  4. John Wallace

    John Wallace Active Member

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    I was able to get a 7'2' 2wt and a Quad 7' 4wt bamboo off this site. Love both rods for small streams. Short enough to get thru the bushes and long enough to get the line over rocks. Both rods were build that length, not a mid and tip.
     
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  5. Mike Monsos

    Mike Monsos AKA flyman219

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    Thanks Kent, the rod in your quiver (rod #002) is the "Sir D Favorite" taper named after Darryl Hayashida by Wayne Cattanach himself. This was the first taper (rod #001) that I made when I started on my rod making adventure. The taper is one of the most popular taper's in the 7' range. Most every rod maker has made at least one of these. For a short 4 wt. rod it will not only deliver a dry fly with finesse but also reach out with a 50' cast if necessary to a fresh rise on a lake.

    Mike
     
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  6. Tom Bowden

    Tom Bowden Active Member

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    The Sir-D taper is a great choice for someone just getting into bamboo. At 7', it's long enough to be useful in a lot of fishing situations, and has a fast action similar to graphite rods. It's a good rod to learn fly casting with, even if you plan to use graphite rods in longer lengths. Wayne designed the taper for roll casting, with a sharp change in taper about 12" down from the ferrule on a 2-piece rod. Once you figure out how to use this feature, the Sir-D is great for roll casting.

    Tom
     
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  7. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Alex,
    You might consider looking in the "used" market. There are a lot of really good rods available at, or below your price threshold if you take your time and research what's available.
    My personal preference are rods built anytime prior to WWII, as I have found that I just enjoy using and catching fish with them - something about the tradition and unknown history of these old rods (if only they could talk and tell us where they've been - and the fish they've caught).
    Here's a photo I took to show off the Stevens net, but the rod is a full length F.E. Thomas 7-1/2' 3 piece rod I bought for myself complete with original bag and tube for just over your $ limit for my 60th birthday. It was made in the 20's and the only thing not original is the cork grip and a new coat of varnish. My kids can sell it for what I paid for it when I'm gone;
    Stevens Net 2.JPG

    It casts as beautiful as it looks and causes me to grin while I'm fishing.

    Other builders like Granger (and later Wright & McGill), Heddon, early South Bends etc. all made some really excellent small stream rods that can still be found that come complete with the good mojo of the early part of the last century, and are a real blast to fish.

    BTW; I agree that tapers were painstakingly designed for specific length rods and line weights beginning long ago. It's tough making a purse out of a pigs ear - ie; don't go cutting down a longer rod to try and make a great fishing shorter one. It usually isn't going to work very well.
    I'd leave your Granger 9050 as is - it's a great 6wt. rod that is a super taper for streamer work or float tube fishing just as it is!
     
  8. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Greg makes a good argument for buying a gently used cane rod instead of new (sorry Mike!) The market for collectible cane rods has been fairly soft the past 5-6 years, offering some respectable values for the patient shopper.

    Was me looking for a first cane rod, I'd search out an Orvis Battenkill 7-1/2' 2/2 4oz from the 1960s or 1970s. They've been affectionately referred to as the Chevy 283 of bamboo rods. Although not specifically designed for small streams, the 7-1/2 foot length works well in tight quarters. The 6wt action makes roll casting a breeze (unlike lighter line weight rods), yet it has enough grunt to punch out 50-60 foot casts with ease, even in the wind. Plus, they're impregnated, making them much lower maintenance than varnished rods. An all-purpose starter rod for a new convert to bamboo.

    A 7-1/2' Battenkill in good or better condition with no damage and the original tube and sock will fetch about $500.00 these days - $150.00 to $200.00 more in excellent condition, a bit less with a single tip or repaired. Orvis made a buttload of Battenkills, so there's no need to pay a higher price asked by some inexperienced sellers. Longer (and heavier) versions are less desirable and thus have a lower price.

    But my main attraction to used rods is the mojo that earlier (and most likely deceased) owners added to the rod. Soiled cork, a scratched reel seat and a dinged up tube are badges of honor in my book. Except for my two Monsos rods, all my cane rods were used. I'd love to be able to sit around the campfire with their original owners and hear about the places they've been and the fish they caught. To me that's priceless.

    K
     
  9. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    I agree with Kent that the Orvis rods are a really good value. It's been said that they would sell for more if they hadn't made so many of them over the years. There's a lot of them out there.

    I've decided that I enjoy the older rods so much that I'm going to be selling a really sweet small stream rod I've had for a few years. It's a 7'-0" 2 piece, 4wt. rod made by AJ Thramer from Oregon. It's a really well made, nice casting rod made in the 2 piece configuration.

    $375 is what I want for it and I will post photos in the classifieds here first for those that may be interested in it.
     
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  10. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Orvis did indeed make a lot of bamboo rods. I believe I read once that Orvis made more cane rods between 1960 and 1980 than all other American makers combined. That's saying a lot because back then a Battenkill cost 2 or 3 times more than the typical Montague, Heddon, Granger, Phillipson, South Bend, or other 'value' makers. Sure, there were other higher-end makers like Leonard and Thomas & Thomas, but it wouldn't surprise me a bit to learn that Orvis made more rods in a month than those two did in a year together.

    K
     
  11. Tom Bowden

    Tom Bowden Active Member

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    Another old production rod to keep an eye out for is the 7-1/2' South Bend 290. I had one for several years, and it's a really nice fast action dry-fly rod.

    Tom
     
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