I’ve had a very busy holiday season with several rods and nets heading out the door, as well as participating in multiple virtual rod building/fly fishing events. So, I haven’t posted for a few months. But, I’m back in the normal swing of things in the workshop now. I normally try to keep a handful of completed rods and nets in my inventory for those folks who call me up looking for something but can’t wait for a few months for me to get a new custom rod/net built for them. The holiday rush put a noticeable dent in my inventory so today I started on a new rod and a net…it’s always a fun time to get started and “split some bamboo”. Newly split strips for a 7′ 9″ 4 wt. Spring Creek Series rod and a new 27″ bamboo trout net are now on my workbench…starting to make progress.
I’m pleased to announce that I am now offering Hand-Crafted Bamboo Trout Nets for purchase. My wife challenged me 2 years ago to build her a bamboo net from the same raw culms of bamboo I use for my bamboo fly rods. It was quite a effort to figure out how to accomplish this with a piece of raw bamboo that is 12 ft. long and about 2 1/2″ in diameter….no straight surfaces or edges anywhere. But, after several starts-and-stops with my design efforts, I finally figured things out and am now building and selling these great nets that are a fantastic compliment to your bamboo fly rod. I build all my nets one-at-a-time on an order basis. The nets have a hand rubbed oil finish, a clear rubber net, and a custom lanyard that I make myself. I’m offering nets in two lengths, 27″ and 32″ long. The prices for all nets are $400. Here are a few photos:
I’ve been getting out on the beautiful Metolius River over the past couple of weeks before the closure at the end of October. The Kokanee have come up from Lake Billy Chinook to spawn in the river and are very numerous in the shallower areas of the river. While the Kokanee will occasionally take nymphs, we don’t target these fish and let them do their “spawning thing”. Here is a quick video of the Kokanee doing their thing:
With all the fishy activity in the river, the rainbows also get active. Earlier this week, I got out on the upper portion of the river with my good friend and local Sisters resident, John, for a few hours of afternoon fishing.
The river is pretty small in these upper stretches, and the fish tend to be a little smaller than in the lower sections of the river. But, I took out my 7′ 0″ 4 wt bamboo rod, which worked great to high-stick some nymphs through the shallow riffles. The resident native rainbows were very happy to take my #10 October Caddis Pupa and my #20 Rainbow Warrior. Here is a nice little fish from our day.
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:
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:
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…….
I just got back from 3 days of fly fishing on the Upper Williamson River in Southern Oregon with my good friend and fishing buddy Bill. We stayed a great place, Yamsi Ranch, which has 8 miles of spring creek water flowing through the ranch. Ranch guests are the only ones who have access to the river so there is plenty of water to get out and fish. John, Gerry, Dayton, and Sally are fantastic hosts at the ranch, which has been around for over 100 years. Fishing is for native brookies and rainbows on miles of beautiful spring creek water. Fishing in the river was non-stop action for Bill and I…small bead head leaches in the mornings, mahogany dun dries mid-day, and hoppers in the afternoons. Bill and I lost track of how many fish we caught. I fished most of the time with my 8′ 0″ 5 wt Signature Series medium action bamboo fly rod, but went to my 8′ 0″ 6 wt medium fast action Freestone Series rod for the afternoon hopper sessions. We also got the chance to fish for a few hours in Hyde Lake on the ranch. It was loaded with huge rainbows…nothing was under 21″. Again, leaches worked great for these big rainbows, as well as callibaetis nymphs stripped slowly along the weed beds. What a great trip we had. Here are a few photos: