I recently completed one of my bamboo fly rod building classes with a local Bend resident, Joe. He chose to build a very nice 7′ 6″ medium progressive action 5 wt rod. Joe was quite meticulous in his building efforts, and his new rod came out great. He paired his new rod with a Hardy-built Orvis CFO reel…pretty sweet.
Joe got the chance to take out his new bamboo rod a few days ago on the Middle Deschutes River. Here are his great comments about his experience: “And there I was, catching a nice 14 inch rainbow at Steelhead Falls on a bamboo rod that I made, with great tutoring, and a fly that I tied. Great fun. Man, that rod flexes down to the cork. VERY COOL. Thanks a bunch, Dave! That’s about as good as it gets.”
It’s been a very busy last couple of months in my shop. In addition to attending The Fly Fishing Show in Denver 2 weeks ago, I just completed two new bamboo trout nets and a new 8′ 0″ 5 wt Spring Creek Series Bamboo Fly Rod that will all go into my inventory. I always try to keep a handful of rods/nets available for immediate purchase. I’ll have these items on display at my booth at the upcoming Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton, California in 2 weeks. Hope to see you there.
Mary Ann and I were in Denver this past weekend for The Fly Fishing Show and we had the opportunity to spend some time with Jeff Hatton (also known as The Gnome) and his Traveling Bamboo Fly Rod Show. What a fantastic historical display of classic bamboo fly rods from the past. Here are a few photos:
A fellow came over to my workshop a couple of months ago to show me “an old Leonard Fly Rod” he had to get my opinion of it. Although I’m not a big collector of old bamboo rods, I always love to see what comes out of an old rod tube. At first glance, here is what I saw on the rod sock:
This doesn’t look good!
Well, that didn’t get my hopes up….a Wright & McGill fiberglass spinning rod!!! But, things changed when I pulled out a VERY OLD Leonard Bamboo Fly Rod that really got my blood pumping…what a gem! This rod is from the Leonard Rod Shop when it was in Bangor, Maine from 1876 to 1878! Overall, the rod is in reasonable condition given that it is 140 years old. It is 10 1/2 ft. long, and has the most impressive morticed butt section, beautiful rattan grip, and spigot ferrules. And, the reel seat hardware is in beautiful condition. Unfortunately, all the guides had been replaced on the rod, both tip sections are about 1″ short, and there are two repairs that were done many years ago. Check it out:
Old Leonard Fly Rod
Beautiful Rattan Grip.
Morticed Butt Section.
Patent Date on the Ferrule.
Cool Spigot Ferrules and the H.L.L. Leonard, Maker, Bangor, Me. Stamp on the reel seat.
I’ve assembled the rod and “wiggled” it a little to see the action. It has a very slow action, and at 10 1/2 ft. in length, it would be hard to fish with. I’m not sure yet what fly line would work best on this rod…I haven’t cast it yet.
Of note, an identical rod is pictured in Jeff Hatton’s book, Rod Crafting, on page 30. After conversing with couple of collector friends so mine, I’ve discovered that these very old rods generally do not have a significant collector value but they have an important historical value. The gentleman who brought this rod in doesn’t fly fish and was interested in selling the rod. So, after little conversation about the value of the rod, it has now become mine. My only problem….so do I keep it in it’s current condition or have a complete restoration done on the rod? Hmmmmm…….
Mary Ann and I just got back from a week in Utah where we attended the Wasatch Intermountain Fly Fishing Show, and fortunately, we were able to get a little fishing in also. We spent a day on the Green River with Brett Renard of Western Rivers Flyfisher Guides. Brett is a great guide, extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and upbeat about our fly fishing day. And, to top that off, we caught some very nice browns that were rising to the BWO hatch. I fished an 8′ 0″ 6 wt Signature Series Bamboo Rod and Mary Ann fished her 8′ 0″ 6 wt FreeStone Series Bamboo Rod that she built last year. I had only heard about the Green River, but what a beautiful sight. Crystal clear water flowing through beautiful deep canyon cliffs. Here are a couple of photos from our day.