Fishing the Metolius River with a new Bamboo Rod.

Occasionally, I find the time to build a new rod for myself.  I recently completed an 8′  0″  5 wt medium progressive action rod for me, and Mary Ann and I got out on the Metolius River for 2 hours for some casting…and possibly catching!  I took my new rod, and she took our her new 7′  9″  4 wt that she just finished building. Her rod was a mate to mine, just a little shorter and lighter.
Winter fishing on the Metolius River can be slow sometimes, and although there were a few mayflies coming off, we only managed a couple of smaller rainbows. But the rods were amazing to cast, perfect actions for the Metolius River and small dry flies.  Here are a few photos:

Getting ready to hit the Metolius River with our new rods.

A nice tight loop for Mary Ann.

A colorful little 9″ rainbow that took my #18 Purple Comparadun dry fly.

Bamboo Fly Fishing Net

Mary Ann challenged me this winter to see if I could build her a bamboo fly fishing net.  I hadn’t built a net before but I had a pretty good idea what I needed to do…but I wasn’t sure if it was even possible.  Nothing on a culm of bamboo is straight, and I didn’t know if I could bend the bamboo around the hoop section of the net without breaking it.  Well, I took on the challenge and dove into my “Net Building” effort.

The first step was to get some straight strips of bamboo from a culm.  Splitting didn’t work because none of the strips came out straight.  I pulled together a jig for my band saw that allowed me to saw the strips instead of splitting…worked pretty well.

My jig for sawing bamboo strips.


The next step was to sand down the sawn strips for the Hoop and Handle sections of the net.  The hoop strips were sanded down to 0.080″ thick, and the handle strips were sanded down to 0.200″ thick.

Sawn strips for the Hoop and Handle sections.

Time to glue up the strips for the Handle section and sand that down.

Gluing up the Handle.

Handle sanded to thickness, still some shaping to do.

After the handle section was shaped, it was time to glue up everthing into the overall net.

Gluing everything up.

After the glue-up, it was time to shape/finish everything.  This was done with a hand plane and lots of hand sanding.

Planing things down.

The finished sanded net. Time to put on the oil finish and attach the bag.

After 10 coats of a hand rubbed oil finish.

The finished net.

This was a fun winter project, and I certainly discovered the challenges of working with bamboo instead of wood in making a net.  Time to try it out on the water!  And, it’s also time to get back to rod building.





Trying Out a New Bamboo Rod on the Crooked River

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been out fishing….been real busy in the shop with rod building.  Mary Ann just finished building her second bamboo rod, a beautiful 7′  9″  4 wt Progressive Medium-Action rod.  What a great taper…casts dries like a dream.  She cast dry flies hard for a few hours while I took out my 9′  0″  3 wt Czech Nymphing rod with #20 zebra nymphs and Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs.  I picked up several fish on nymphs, but there was nothing hatching and she was fishless on dries.  But, she eventually went over to small nymphs, and her new rod handled them great.  And….she got several fish to the net.  As her first fish on her new rod she picked up a nice 13” whitefish.  After that, several feisty rainbows. Here are a few photos from our day.

Here we are on the Crooked River this past week.

A nice little rainbow that took my #20 black Zebra Midge.

Mary Ann putting a bend on her new 7′ 9″ 4 wt rod.

Mary Ann with her first fish on her new rod.


My New Student

Mary Ann has started building her second bamboo fly rod, so I now have two students in the shop working with me….keeps me pretty busy.  She is building a very nice progressive 7′  9″  4 wt rod, perfect for dry flies on spring creeks.  Here are a couple of photos from this past week.

Running strips through the Bellinger Beveller.

Checking the dimensions.

New Bamboo Rod Building Class

I just started another Bamboo Fly Rod Building Class this past week.  Charlotte, who is local to my area, wants to build her second bamboo fly rod….and this one will be for her husband, Dan….what a lucky guy!  Charlotte built her first rod with me last year so it’s great she is launching into rod #2.  This rod will be a fast action 8′  0″  6 wt rod, which will be great for Dan as he does a lot of lake fishing.  Here area a few photos of Charlotte’s rod building process.

Getting started on splitting

Keeping the split going straight

Knocking out the nodal dams

That’s a lot of strips

Day #2 – Sophie came along for the day

Charlotte and Sophie

Running strips through the beveller.

Busy Planing Strips