Orvis excited about stimulus package!

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Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
I've cast a few very nice boo rods, one or two from Kent's collection, a beautiful Sweetwater rod, a Winston and a few Bob Clay's! I now see the attraction to bamboo and really like the like for Oyster Bay rods, since you not only get a good price but get to learn the process. If I didn't do something like that, I would probably go for a Bob Clay two hander or a Sweetgrass stick! (If you're ever in Twin Bridges, MT check out those guys!)

As far as the Helios, they are great but I haven't spent that much on a spey rod yet, and have plenty of options. It's too bad this started as an Orvis bashing, since the guys and gal in the Bellevue store are GREAT!! They throw nice events and know their stuff!



"Ride'n Dirty."
Bitterroot, is fishing glass like fishing bamboo? What are the characteristics? You got me going now.....hell I just bought a fly rod, a couple of days ago. :)


Love vintage graphite!
Glass is about as close to bamboo as you can get in a plastic rod. One of the huge attractions to bamboo is its inherent beauty and hand craftsmanship. A good quality bamboo rod, especially from one of the modern makers, is truly a work of art. Both are very soft and "noodly". Both will take some getting used to but once you get in the grove of the soft rod you will probably love it! Neither are hard to cast, it just takes a little different stroke. Remember, bamboo is what everybody used to fish with, it's all there was until glass came along. Then graphite was introduced and the trend by the manufacturers has been to stiffer, faster rods ever since. Boron? What's next? What new space age material can I make a rod out of that will allow it to cast even further and be even stiffer? Let's face it. Casting distance should not be the benchmark of a rod, but it tends to be that way. If you NEED that kind of distance, go for a spey. I highly recommend you go to Tom Morgan's website and read his articles about fly rod design and get a sense of his philosophy. You will be amazed how it differs from the current way of thinking.
I thyink we've totally highjacked this thread. Maybe we neede to start a new one...

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
Bitterroot's description of bamboo and fiberglass casting characteristics are pretty accurate by me. Likewise his analysis of the trend in contemporary rod design towards ever-faster actions is also right on.

(As an aside, I believe I read once that the nature of composite materials like graphite is that they're inherently stiff. If true, that strongly suggests that it's easier for rod companies to make faster actions that slower ones using the same materials.)

I was first attracted to bamboo about 5 or 6 years and shortly after I bought a couple of contemporary rods from Oregon maker Mike Brooks. Besides the exponentially higher level of craftsmanship in a cane rod than a grahpite one, what attracted me was their much slower, more relaxed casting action.

Rather than the split-second stroke timing a fast graphite rod required, cane rods seemed more in keeping with the relaxed nature of fishing itself, instead of the hectic, hurried pace of life I try to leave behind when I go fishing.

Soon after I bought a mid-1970s Orvis Superfine and eventually added over a dozen vintage rods, most from the late 1960 to the early 1970s. But there was still a certain 'sameness' to them all, so much so that I continued to fish slower graphite rods. Favoring hike-and-fish outings to mountain lakes, the 5-piece Sage SPs were much more portable than the long tubes of my 2-piece cane rods.

An epiphany came last October when fellow WFFer flyman216 and I fished a lake on the Hancock Tree Farm, bringing only bamboo rods. While I caught numerous fish on one of my seldom-fished old Orvis rods (a Seven-Three from 1972), flyman216 brought a 7 foot rod he'd built himself, based on a Cattenach Sir-D taper.

We agreed to swap rods and from the very first cast, his Sir-D was easily one of the best cane rods I'd yet cast. Unlike my almost ponderously slow Seven Three, the Sir-D's action was much more like the softer graphites I'd been fishing - so much so that after a half dozen or so warm up casts, I was banging out 40 and 50 foot casts with ease, all from a 7 foot rod and sitting in a float tube no less!

My bamboo odessey can be summarized easily: Bamboo rods come in a much wider range of sizes and actions than graphite, so it's much more likely you'll find a cane to suit your individual casting style than have to adapt your style to a one-size-fits-all superfast graphite. Faster is not better. And neither is longer.

As a result of my epiphany last October, flyman216 has nearly finished a duplicate Sir-D blank for me. He's turned the ferrules himself out of nickel silver bar stock and turned the grip and reel seat as well. The only thing he will have purchased by the time I take delivery are the snake guides and the tip top. If it performs even 75% as well as the original I cast last fall, I'm gonna be one happy fisher.



Love vintage graphite!
You nailed it in every aspect. To each his own, but, I think that many of the younger generation of flyfishers who have never had the opportunity to cast bamboo (or even glass) have no idea what they are missing. And, as I pointed out to Buck, if you come to love the slower action rods, you can have a whole quiver of glass rods for the price of one high end graphite. That may be something to consider in these economic times.
By the way, I've always wanted to tell you how much I love your avatar. I laugh every time I see it!


Love vintage graphite!
I dont think I could handle breaking a cane rod..
Don't be misled by the myth that bamboo is fragile. There is a story of Glen Bracket swatting one of his rods down on the counter then dropping it on the floor and walking on it, then saying to the customer, "let's see you do that to a graphite rod".

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
Yes but a mass produced chunk of graphite (other than my ds2 4 wt) doesn't have the artistic sentimental value to me. I see the graphite rods more like a hammer or a chisel than a sculpture.

Not in any way saying bamboo isn't strong.

Ethan G.

I do science.. on fish..
Oh man ya gotta try casting bamboo! My serious fishing started out using graphite and I fished that way for many years. Once I discovered bamboo I sold every graphite rod I had. (I'm not a complete bamboo snob...I also love fiberglass). Now, all graphite rods seem way too stiff, even the softest of them like the Winston WT. With bamboo (and a lot of fiberglass) you can feel the rod load clear down into the grip, it's a more relaxed casting action. I think rod manufacturers are driving folks away from this type of action in a rod by hyping faster, faster, faster rods. Personally, I hate 'em, but it is definitely personal preference. I can't cast as far with glass or bamboo but don't let anyone tell you that the rod is not up to the task. There is a video on Bill Oysters site where he casts over 100 feet with his standard 6wt single handed rod. The reality is, for me, I rarely need to make a cast of more than 40'. I could go on and on...It's personal taste, but you really should give glass and bamboo another look, you might likie what you see.
As a side note, glass rods are incredibly cheap. Check out the vintage glass market or price out a Lamiglas fiberglass blank. Where you may spend 300+ for a graphite blank you can get a glass blank for about $65. Think of all the rods you could have!!!
iagree I just finished up a restoration of a Horrocks-Ibbotson Governor, which by most standards is worthless. I like it, though, because it's crazy slow. A LOT more relaxed than the faster more "technical" rods out there. I think rods should be way slower from 5 wt. down. I've been toying with the idea of a nice Lamiglass 2wt. for some time. That said, I did just spend 300+ for a graphite blank. :D


Love vintage graphite!
I consider myself a bamboo fanatic, but, I just hung up the phone from ordering 2 lamiglas blanks, a 7'6" 2pc 4wt and an 8' 2pc 5wt. The price has skyrocketed up! They were a whopping $77 each!:thumb:


Ignored Member
I thyink we've totally highjacked this thread. Maybe we neede to start a new one...

I don't..........this thread took a decided turn for the better when the discussion turned to bamboo. And it became far more informative to those of us learning or wanting to know what bamboo is about. Although I must confess I don't particularly care for the slowness of bamboo rods preferring the faster graphites. I still like to learn about the artistry and history of the weed rods. Thanks bitterroot and your too Mr. Lufkin for you insights into the world of boo.

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
There are a number of misconceptions that have been stated throughout this thread. To clear up a few of those here are my thoughts.

Bamboo rods are not inherently slow or noodly. Not by any stretch of the imagination or folk lore. Both bamboo and graphite are only the base material. It is the hand and mind of the designer and builder that determine the action regardless of the material. They must juggle a host of variables to arrive at a successful end result. The gamut of rod actions is equally variable in either material.
Just as there are slow graphite rods, there are fast bamboo rods. Yes, a fast graphite is faster than a fast bamboo but that is a moot point as it does not directly translate into a rod that is able to do much of anything better in fresh water fishing. Salt water and its special demands may well be better served by graphite or fiberglass rods.

Bamboo rods do not inherently flex down into the handle. Indeed, traditional “dry fly” (read tip action) rods have a swelled butt that effectively stops the action before it enters the grip. Many bamboo fans strongly dislike the feeling of flex under the handle. Fortunately for them swelled butt rods are common. They are in fact the traditional norm for classic dry fly rods.

“Bamboo rods are fragile”. Utter hogswallop. They are far more resilient and resistant to fatal damage than graphite.

“Bamboo rods are objects of art and should be treated as such”. Just how much ‘art’ do you think went into the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of mass produced Shakespeare, Heddon, South Bend, Horrocks Ibbotson, Phillipson, Montague, Wright & McGill, etc. These rods and many others were and are the bulk of the existing bamboo rods. Just as with graphite many are junk, most are good, some are great. Also, just like graphite many of these rods fish as well or better than ‘high end’ rods. Having said that, there are many makers today, like Bill Oyster, whose finish work is exquisite. If I had one of those I would definitely be more careful with it.

In the end they are all just fishin rods.



Love vintage graphite!
Hi tim,
I'm going to have to disagree with you on a couple of points. While rod actions are variable in either material they are not without limitations. The action of any rod is determined by its taper but it is also subject to the attributes of the material it is made of. You can cast a fly line with a broom handle but it won't make a nice fishing rod. Can you make a stiff bamboo rod? Of course you can. But comparing apples to apples in terms of length, line weight, etc. I believe bamboo will always be a softer action than graphite. The maker can only vary the taper so much before he loses the qualities of the rod and it's castability of a given line.

As you stated, not all bamboo rods flex all the way into the grip, i.e. swelled but rods, but I would say that the vast majority do flex farther into the butt than any graphite rod I've ever cast.

I strongly agree that bamboo rods are not fragile and I also agree that, although I described them as works of art (and they are), they are works of art to fish with. If I got my hands on a $10,000 collector rod made by Garrison, I'd fish it!! That's what Everett Garrison wanted it to do and that's why he made it. Buy a rod and hang it on the wall? NEVER! When I was fishing with Bill Oyster down in Georgia he was using one of his highest end rods and he treated it like any other fly rod. Granted, Bill can always make another, but is was refreshing to see. Like you said, In the end they are all just fishing rods.
Best regards...


Active Member
Dang, with Jacks math ($60/month for beer) I can have that new Z Axis switch next year, just in time for the nates!

Nah.... I like my beer, I'll keep fishing my Redington's!:rofl:

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Simple as that.
iagree Throw in TFO . Fishing w/o beer? :beer1:
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