Bamboo Use

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#1
My wife bought me a used 1961, Orvis Bamboo fly rod a couple years ago for my B-day. Sadly, it has only been out for lawn casts right after I got it. I brought it with me on a couple of eastern WA lake trips, but never pulled it out of the tube. I meant to take it with me to MT this past July when my brother and I were there, but did not. I'm hesitant to use it in inclement weather or in a guide boat and looking for the "right" opportunity...am I being overly cautious? When and where do you use your bamboo rods?
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#2
Because a rod blank is made from bamboo changes nothing in regards to when and were to use it. It is a fishing rod made to be fished in all the same weather that you fish your other rods. Before graphite and before fiberglass, did fisherman only fish in nice weather?

Your Orvis rod may have an impregnated finish. Do you know if it does or is it varnished? Either way it will not be unduly effected by rain. Just dry it off when you return from fishing and if possible lay it out on a flat surface out of harms way for a few days. Don't store it damp for long periods of time.

All rods are at greater risk in a boat. Graphite rods in general are less impact resistant then bamboo.

TC
 
#3
I sold all my plastic and all I fish now are the bamboo rods that I have made, no matter what the weather or how tough the hike may be up the creek or river. I treat them no different that the plastic rods other than to lay them on top of the rod sack after a days fishing overnight to "air out" and dry a bit like Tin suggested.

String that rod up and enjoy it for what it is (a great fishing stick). Take some time and learn what the rod likes for a line taper, weight and casting stroke. Bamboo rods are very similar to kids, they all have a different personality that sometimes takes time to learn to appreciate.

Mike
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#4
Overcautious? I'd say so.

Pretty much every Orvis rod made since WWII is impregnated, not varnished. The process forces a liquid similar to bakelite into the bamboo fibers under high pressure. Once cured, the rod is then virtually impervious to water meaning that Orvis rods don't usually need to be dried or coddled after each use.

Since bamboo rods are made from long, thin strips of solid bamboo, they're much less prone to damage than today's tubular graphite rods. You can test this for yourself by sitting in a chair in your garage. Then lay your 1961 Orvis rod and a new Sage One on the floor directly in front of you. Now carefully place one foot at the midpoint on each rod and then stand up. Which one do you think will be more likely to support your weight?!

Seriously, the worst thing you can do to your Orvis is to not fish it. Unless it was a museum piece (which it probably isn't), it's likely got a ton of fishing mojo in it from previous owners. Just slow your casting stroke down and be prepared to be amazed.

If you'll post the model name, serial number, length and line weight written on the flats just above the grip and perhaps on the label on the tube as well, I'll be happy to consult a database that can tell when your rod was made and by who.

K
 

Troutcreek

Active Member
#6
All good comments and I’m in full agreement. There is a feeling from bamboo that cannot be matched by any other material. When the material is combined with a complimentary taper it can be magic.
Bamboo really shines in some areas. IMHO there is nothing better for small stream light line work, and they can really shine in spring creeks where you need to protect fine tippet and still be able to turn a fast moving trout.
Your Orvis rod is a good stick.
I’d fish the rod it’s much stronger and more resilient than you think.
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#7
Pretty much every Orvis rod made since WWII is impregnated, not varnished. The process forces a liquid similar to bakelite into the bamboo fibers under high pressure. Once cured, the rod is then virtually impervious to water meaning that Orvis rods don't usually need to be dried or coddled after each use.
K
Whoa! Steady there pardner.
Most of if not the entire time that impregnated rods were offered by Orvis they continued to offer some models with a varnished finish.

Only the blank is impregnated. Whether the blank is impregnated or not the wraps lay on top of the blank and are protected by varnish which is resistant to but not impervious to water vapor. You should still dry your rod after fishing. Your rod will thank you for it.

TC
 
#9
Freestoneangler -

I used to be a bit of a bamboo skeptic, but after fishing with Tim, Mike, and Kent over the past several years, and seeing them fling flies in all conditions using bamboo, I'm a convert. I now am a proud owner of a Mike Monsos rod and wouldn't think of leaving home without it.

I don't know if it means that one day I will have a closet full of 'em, like those guys do, and I still encounter situations where I like to fish graphite or glass, but I think it has expanded my appreciation for many facets of fly fishing by owning and fishing a bamboo rod.

Dick
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#10
Most of if not the entire time that impregnated rods were offered by Orvis they continued to offer some models with a varnished finish.
Tim, although I could certainly be wrong, I don't believe that Orvis has offered a production rod with a full varnish finish in well over a half century. If you have a citation otherwise, I'd love to see it.

Yes, all Orvis impregnated cane rods have *some* varnish on them, specifically over the wraps and the writing on the flats. Otherwise, there's no practical need when the blanks are impregnated while doing so only adds an unnecessary additional step and cost.

From http://www.orvis.com/intro.aspx?subject=499 : "A better fly rod was born. For his rigorous research and inventive experiments, Wes Jordan had Patent Application No. 2,532,814, Serial No. 662,086, dated April 13, 1946, named after him. The patent itself, dated December 15, 1950, was assigned to the Orvis Company. By 1954 all Orvis rods were impregnated." [My emphasis]

As to your assertion that my rods will thank me for letting them dry out, yes they have, even my impregnated ones, although they certainly don't need it. I do so just to keep them from making my non-impregnated rods feel inferior!

K
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#11
I don't know if it means that one day I will have a closet full of 'em, like those guys do, . . . but I think it has expanded my appreciation for many facets of fly fishing by owning and fishing a bamboo rod.
It's easy for the uninitiated to dismiss bamboo rods out of hand as an elitist fetish; antique tools preferred by snooty collector-types in tweeds, smoking pipes, and fishing wet flies with bookmatched feather wings.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Most folks take up fishing cane because bamboo rods provide much more 'feel' and response, especially when fishing for trout. A 12" fish on a cane rod feels like a 15" one on graphite.

But the primary benefit I got from fishing bamboo isn't one that most folks set out to attain: Since cane rods in general have a much slower action than their graphite contemporaries, learning how to cast them effectively has improved my casting overall, regardless of what kind of rod happens to be in my hand.

K
 
#12
I agree with Kent and others. I started with fiberglass, went to graphite. But even with graphite, I like the IM6, cause it is slower and that works for my casting stroke. Right now all my rods are fiberglass and bamboo.
 
#13
I fish bamboo 100% in freshwater and about 50% in the salt, reserving the plastic rods for my yearly Tropical Pacific holiday. As have been mentioned above, most people don't realize that a bamboo rod is really tough, hit it hard with a heavy clouser in the wind and at most you get a hook dig and/or some varnish loss (and if you use an impregnated Orvis rod like I do, you don't even have to worry about varnish). Do the same with graphite and you almost end up with a shattered tip section. Break a bamboo rod? Almost always fixable. Do the same with graphite, good luck finding a replacement section, especially on older models.

But all that is the practical stuff. I don't really fish bamboo because it's practical, although I do believe that it's the best material for short rods, fine tippet and tiny flies. Rather, with apologies to Ms. Barrett Browning and to those of you who have already seen the below in another forum, I'd like to say:

How do I love cane? Let me count the ways.
I love cane to the depth and length
My cast can reach, when feeling for trout
And her lady grayling, ever in doubt.
I love cane for its subtle lays
with dry-fly settling ever so light.
I love cane freely, for its presentation so Right;
I love cane purely, with its beauty beyond Praise.
I love cane with a passion put to use
with my Orvis CFO, and with my childish faith.
I love cane with a love I'll never lose
even when my flies tangle in the bush,
for my Granger is life! --- and, if God choose,
every fish will be a better than a 20-incher.

Exit left,
Kenneth
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#14
Thanks for all the replies. My Orvis rod is indeed the "impregnated" series and it sounds like I need not worry about its ability to stand up to the normal rigors of our craft. Specifically, it is a Battenkill, 8', 2 pc, HCH line test, s/n 29896. It came with two tips, original rod sock and case.

I suppose because it was a gift from my wife for my 50th and that it is old, I am just being a bit more careful than usual (I'm fussy about keeping all my equipment is great shape). It also sounds like many of you completely transitioned to "natural fiber rods"...that says a lot. I'm not sure I'll ever make that switch...but certainly need to start fishing the Orvis to know for sure. I had purchased a like new (old) Medalist 1495 years ago at a garage sale and it looks and feels like a natural fit. I'm thinking the St. Joe this fall would be a great place to start.