Fixing a lousy taper on a bamboo rod

I picked up a bamboo rod, second hand and sight-unseen, that came from a reasonably well known maker. Turns out that it's really poorly balanced, being very tip-heavy. Paid very little for it, so at least I haven't lost much. I spoke to the maker, and he said it was an experimental taper that, for obvious reasons, he didn't repeat. I never fish it, but would like to fix the problem. Putting on a very heavy reel partly corrects the problem, but makes it a chore to fish. I have considered simply shortening the bottom half until the thing balances, but I think that might make the action really strange. I've built quite a few graphite and fiberglass rods, but have never worked with bamboo. So here are my questions 1) What would you do to fix the rod, or should I just hang it on the wall? It is a pretty rod. 2) If I shorten it, do I simply heat up the cork, as I would to remove it from a graphite rod, cut the rod to shorten it, and then glue the cork and real seat back on?
Hey Steve, Steve here. Any pictures of the rod? What length and line weight? Not sure about heating the cork to save can stick the reelseat in boiling water to remove it. Are the ferrules pinned? I've shortened each section on some bamboo rods.....used the mid and tip to make shorty bamboo rods, some options. Using a heavy reel makes things too heavy! My .02
It's a 3-piece 4/5 weight, 8 ft. I can post up some pics in a bit. Boiling water is what I meant by heating the cork. but I wasn't sure if that would ruin the bamboo. Of course, that's the section I would be cutting off anyway. But taking a foot off the bottom would mean moving the stripping guide, which would probably mean redoing all the rest of the guides, etc. I'll post up some pics when I get a chance. Thanks.
Looks like a pretty nice rod, how many different reels/lines have you tried? What size tip top is it? The tip section looks thick in the pictures. Is the action stiff or whippy? Lots of questions, I know....
The tip is fairly whippy, but the mid section seems pretty stiff. In fact, I'm going to weigh each section tomorrow because the middle section seems pretty heavy relative to the butt section. I don't think the issue is with the tiptop. It seems like the problem is more with the middle section, or that the rod is simply too long for the taper. It may have been better as a two-piece, which would have removed one of the ferrules.

I've tried a bunch of reels, including a fairly heavy one that I normally use on my 7 wt. It improves the balance, but not enough. I suppose I could always use the lead-core line backing trick to add even more heft, but that would just make the whole outfit too heavy. Ill get back to you with the weights of the sections. I appreciate the input!
So what type of fishing would you use this rod for? Since the ferrules aren't pinned, they will come off easier. Then you could shorten the sections and make a 7'+- rod... I have several Frankenrods that were longer three pc that I shortened, they make a great stiff chrionomid cannon for lake fishing. I also used the mid/tip and 12" of the butt section to make a little longer shorty. The short butt section is long enough for the reelseat and grip and epoxy and pin the ferrule.
Interesting ideas. Thanks for the suggestions. I can adjust the cuts so that I don't have to re-wrap all of the guides, which would be nice since the original builder did a great job on the wraps.

I actually bought this to see if I liked the feel of bamboo, in general. I fish fairly slow rods on small streams (think Winston WT, Orvis Superfine), so it was probably a slippery slope into cane. But this rod is so out-of-whack that I haven't spent any time with it on the water. Just lawn cast it a few times, and put it away. But now I want to try to rescue it from oblivion. If I ruin it, at least I tried to fix it, and will have learned something.

Also, I did weigh the sections this morning. I don't know if there's any sort of standard ratio between sections, but for what it's worth: Tip-11.7 grams, Middle - 32.5 grams, Butt - 89.3 grams. I'm going to do some estimates for new center of mass at different lengths, and figure out how to make the cuts. I'll try to get this done in the next few weeks, and post the results.

A couple more questions. I take it that boiling water is the way to loosen the epoxy on the ferrules. I assume that I need to dry the rod for some period/temperature before reconnecting the ferrule? Also, the blank under the ferrule will be thinner after the cut. Do I need to build it up with something (tape?) like I might to make a reel seat fit? Can I just fill the extra diameter with epoxy?

Thanks again,



In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey
So, it was an experimental taper. Do we know that it isn't a parabolic taper or something else that needs a different casting stroke? I've never cast a parabolic, so I don't have first hand info, but this jumped to mind.

Have you reached out to the maker?
Yep, I did speak to him. I didn't ask specifically about whether it was a parabolic taper. But he said that it was one that didn't work out. Not sure why he let it out into the wild, I probably would have trashed it (although it's a really nice build). No matter the taper, it's really uncomfortable after a few minutes. The center of gravity is so far forward that you have to consciously work to keep the tip off the ground, and it soon wears on your wrist. Not a good setup for a day of fishing.

But, as I said above, I paid almost nothing for it, so there's little cost in playing around with it. As it sits, it will never see a river, so might as well give it a shot.
Question Steve, you mentioned that you wanted to try out bamboo so you bought this rod. Have you had a chance to cast other bamboo rods yet. They are quite a bit different than plastic rods to begin with even with a "great" taper. At first cast they can feel "heavy" compared to the plastic rods we have become accustomed to.
I noticed that the maker used single foot guides on this rod (?) and only 7 of those plus a tip top and stripper guide. By todays standards most makers fit in at least one or two more guides and use Snake type. The guide placement and count can also compromise the casting performance of the rod.

I think that you would have a hard time heating off the cork grip but I think you could save the reel seat and hardware. If you try to shorten each section and refit the original ferrules there is a good chance they will be too small or large on the bamboo bore ends after you make your cuts. Mic the areas before you cut.

Another approach to changing the action is to CAREFULLY sand down the area of the section that you think is too thick. You are basically altering the taper. You should have a caliper and map the taper before you start to sand. You will need to sand all six flats equally to accomplish this. A few thousandths can make a big difference. I would only try this if you figure the rod is a total loss anyway.

The boiling water should remove the reelseat....your thumbnail will remove the cork. A lighter or fire starter is what I use to heat/soften the glue on the ferrules. Then a wood block female ferrule puller, and oven glove to pull the male or both.
If you fish small streams, maybe a mid/tip rod would work for this rod. Check out "one piece shorty" in rod building and "short bamboo rod challenge" in the bamboo, fiberglass & classic reel section. I can walk you through it.....

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