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Bamboo Fly Rods

Denver Dave Cane Rod

I love fly rods made from bamboo. 
They combine beauty, functionality, and traditional craftsmanship in a way that is truly rare in the modern world.  A "bespoke" bamboo fly rod is made to your specifications by a single person, working mostly by hand, with primitive tools.  He works for anywhere from 30 to 100 hours making the rod, and when he is finished, he writes his name on it, declaring to all the world that this is his work and he is the person responsible for making it.  
There are very few instances of this sort of craftsmanship left in today's world of mass-produced, cheap, throw-away crap.  The traditionally made bamboo fly rod is almost unique in this respect.  However, it isn't the old-fashioned production methods or values that make a good bamboo rod truly sublime.  The casting action of a good bamboo rod is unlike any modern graphite rod. 
When I first started fly fishing, I read fly fishing catalogs and advertising copy touting the latest high-modulus graphite and the world's fastest action rods.  My fly rods were a progression of the fastest, stiffest, lightest, and most expensive graphite (and later, boron) rods known to mankind.  
These fast graphite rods were all I fished for many years.  Then, I bought a cheap graphite rod for one of my children.  It was a slower, heavier, lower modulus graphite rod with a much softer action.  While working with my son, casting this rod, I found that I enjoyed fishing with it more than I did my more expensive super-fast boron rod.  This revelation that faster and lighter might not always be better was what prompted me to try out bamboo. 
I purchased my first bamboo rod from Len Codella, a well known purveyer of used and new bamboo rods.  It was a 4 weight rod made by the late George Maurer.  Practice casting my new rod on my back lawn was a revelation.  It was slower, but had more casting feel to it.  I had more of a connection to what the fly line was doing, particularly on the back cast.  My first fishing trip with this rod was a paradigm shift for me.  I really felt the rod working for me as I fished.  The deep flex and gentle application of power improved my casting and enjoyment immediately.  After fishing with my new bamboo rod, I was hooked.  I was a bamboo rod convert (my wife would say cultist) from that day onward.        


So, I jumped into the world of bamboo rods with both feet.  I read all the books I could find on the subject, and began researching modern rod makers.  After a fair amount of information gathering, I narrowed my list down to nine makers, and decided to commission one rod from each of these makers.  It was an arbitrary number, but I already had my Maurer rod, and nine more would make ten, a good round number and probably at the upper limits of the number of rods I could actually expect to fish on a regular basis. 
I chose my rod makers for their diversity:  There are traditionalists, who follow time-tested forms, and more cutting edge makers who incorporate unusual design elements in their rods.  Some specialize in six sided rods, and some focus on the less comon four sided "quad" rods.  Furthermore, in most cases, each rod was commissioned with a particular piece of water in mind.  I tried to envision the perfect rod for one of my favorite fishing spots, and then have a rod made to match this water. 
The web pages on this site describe the various rods I've received and liked enough to keep. 

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