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

 

Should I use a DT or a WF line on my bamboo fly rod?

I get this question a lot.  And, there are a lot of misperceptions/beliefs about the differences between the two types of lines.  I often hear “A DT line casts better on a bamboo fly rod”, or “I use a DT 4 or a WF 5 on my bamboo fly rods”, or “I just don’t like DT lines so I always use WF lines.  So, let’s look at line construction for a bit.  Below are the line profiles for the popular Corland 444 Peach fly line taken from the Cortland WEB site:

Cortland 444 Peach Line Profiles

You’ll notice that the Level Tip and the Front Taper are the same on both kinds of lines.  It’s only until you get to the end of the body on the WF line that things change and you get into the back taper and running line.  So, if you’re casting either line and do not have more than 34 ft. of line (the length of the Level Tip + the Front Taper + the Body on the WF line) past the rod tip, the two lines will cast the same.  In this instance, both lines have the same profile and weigh the same…so they’ll cast the same.  If you have more than 34 ft. of line past the rod tip, then the WF line will start to have problems because the small diameter running line will not transmit energy through the fly line effectively.  The DT line will continue to cast well.  That said, with any longer casts, the WF line will shoot easier because the smaller diameter will move through the guides on your rod better.

I’ve looked at a lot of similar profiles of lines from a number of different line manufactures.  Those manufactures that make specific lines in both WF and DT, the front profiles are the same.  However, we’re now seeing some manufactures coming out with special DT lines (not available in WF) with front head profiles specifically designed for delicate presentations, and these lines might be desirable for bamboo fly rods.  And, DT lines have the added advantage of being able to turn around on your reel and use both ends, allowing you to get longer life out of your fly line.

Most of us don’t have good enough casting strokes to carry a huge amount of line past the rod tip at still get great presentations…I certainly don’t.  And, I find that most of my fishing is done from 10 ft. to 30 ft. in front of me.  If you consider 34 ft. of fly line + a 9 ft. leader + the length of your fly rod, that covers most fishing conditions where we actually fish.  Bottom line…use the line that you like on your bamboo fly rods.  There aren’t huge differences between DT and WF lines for most fishing conditions.

If you want to know more, noted casting expert, Bruce Richards, has written some great articles on the subject of fly lines.  Check out this article at:   http://www.sexyloops.com/articles/wfvsdt.shtml.