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Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2009/10/5 18:50
From Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 203
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So here I am again to discuss more about rods. I'm looking to make my own bamboo rod(7' to 7'6" 4/5 weight) for it would be cheaper than buying one and completely custom. Ive found almost every thing I need from ebay, a blank that costs $75 and the rest of the little stuff for decent prices. I have a fascination about bamboo, its what I would call romantic, more natural then any thing, it makes me feel like i should be fishing wetflies. Ive never built a whole rod before but i have definitely messed around with it and recently put a handle on rod.

Recently I decided on a 9' 5 weight, i found a Sage launch on ebay within my price range but now that its close to selling people ended up bidding on it out of my price range. Since Ive heard some say that the launch or more of a introductory rod I'm kinda glad I didn't get it. I hear good things about Albright's rods and I'm considering one of those but I also got to thinking maybe I could just build a 9ft 5 weight out of the same bamboo blanks I found on ebay.

I guess I was wondering what rod builders think?
What do the guys who fish bamboo regularly think?

~Jon

Posted on: 2009/11/3 16:41


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2008/1/21 13:28
From South Central PA
Posts: 823
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I don't fish bamboo but it seems to me the longer they get the more the additional weight would be a negative factor. I bet that as the length increases, the bamboo users find themselves switching over to glass and then graphite, especially at 9 ft.

Posted on: 2009/11/3 16:49


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2008/9/12 12:41
Posts: 726
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Bamboo rod building is an art. You will be extremely disappointed with a cheap bamboo rod, especially a kit rod. Those kit blanks are mass produced using inferior bamboo cane and you will be disappointed. Also, there are so many different tapers you don't know what you are getting. Quality boo rods have hand planed strips and are measured to exact tolerances and tapers. In cane rods it's all about the taper and getting it right. You probably won't get that in a kit rod and you will not enjoy the rod.

If you are looking for a good bamboo rod that you can enojy fishing expect to drop about $750. You can get a decent used bamboo rods for around $450. Check out www.codella.com.

You are much better buying a plastic rod for $100 than a bamboo rod kit.

Posted on: 2009/11/3 16:54


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2009/10/12 9:22
From Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 22
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Jon, I say follow your bliss. There is plenty of info out there on rod wrapping and building. I'm sure Youtube has a bunch of videos also. Everyone has their own preferences.
You can find minty, original, factory-made boo, ala Montague or South Bend for relatively cheap, especially in longer lengths. With Glass(what I enjoy) and bamboo, the shorter, trout length and weight rods generally command higher prices, but if you don't mind swinging your wets on a nine foot 6 or 7 wt, the world is your oyster. Bamboo is a caveat of fly fishing that can draw some fanaticism, IMHO. Its not a bad thing, it just is what it is. Just as there are those that wouldn't fish a Montague, there are those that wouldn't fish an impregnated Orvis, or ...(insert threshold here). That's the great thing about fly fishing, IMHO. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like. You can catch fish with a $15 Wal-mart rod if you know how to present the proper fly. Fish what you enjoy, but make sure you're enjoying it. Once you can cast well, you can cast a line with a broom handle; however, you'd probably enjoy yourself more casting that line on a ...(insert your price and poison.)
-Dave

Posted on: 2009/11/3 17:21
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Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2009/5/29 6:40
From harlansburg
Posts: 4423
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check out clarks classic forum, those guys bleed bamboo. you got good advice here, a cheap blank will be dissapointing. you'd be much better off getting a decent south bend, montague, orvis, granger, heddon, etc. maybe get one that needs some easy repair, new guides, cork, reelseat, etc. it won't cost ya much, it won't be a museum piece, so you can have fun and build it up how ya want, and you won't be afraid to fish it. a 9 ft bamboo will be kinda heavy, probably better suited to bass or steelhead. most trout rods are 7-8 ft in length. also don't be afraid to give glass a try, slower action like bamboo, light weight like graphite. relatively cheap to either buy or build.
good luck and keep us posted on what you end up with!

Posted on: 2009/11/3 17:54


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2179
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Dear Jon,

I'll chime in with an opinion that a $ 75.00 bamboo blank probably won't be a good deal, especially if you don't know who built it or what you are actually supposed to be getting?

You can get a South Bend 290 which is a 7 1/2 foot 5 weight rod for anywhere between free to $ 250.00 to $ 300.00 depending on condition. I own one and if you get a chance look me up and I'll let you try it out. I have yet to put it in the hands of anyone who didn't comment favorably on how it felt and cast. It is one of, if not the best, reasonably priced bamboo rod out there and there are literally tons of them still out in the world.

If you can find one somewhere with good bamboo and two tips you might want to consider buying it and rebuilding it to your preference as far as grip and wraps and things like that. Look around, you can probably find one that needs a restoration for $ 100.00 or less. I'll put my internet bird dog, Rolf, out to search for one for you!

Edited to add - I fish bamboo rods from 6' 9" to 9'. Yes, the longer rods are heavier than a comparable length graphite rod but they are far from useless. With a reel that balances the rod you can fish all day with a 9 footer and I promise you that your arm will not fall off. Fifty or sixty years ago that's all people fished with, even fiberglass was new back then!

I will also add that I have a bamboo rod that is a 9 foot two tip Horrocks & Ibbotson rod, a Spinner if I recall correctly? The bamboo is still in fine shape but the grip has a chunk out of it and one of the ferrules needs to be reset. If you want it it's yours to do with as you please but you need to make arrangements to pick it up as I don't want to ship it.

Regards,
Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2009/11/3 18:24
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Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2006/9/16 15:52
From Bucks County
Posts: 618
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Jon I have a few bamboo rods and fish them on a fairly regular basis. The last thing I am is an expert on them let alone building them. That said, lots of folks buy blanks and finish them to their tastes. As you probably know, the real work/art to building a bamboo rod is the making of the blank. This is where the time and technique come in. Splitting, planning, gluing, wrapping, straightening, baking, re-straightening, this is what takes the time, often 40 plus hours. Other than the varnish, the wrapping, seat, grip and hardware should not be too much different than a graphite rod. I’ll assume you probably already know about determining the spline of the rod and can determine the correct guide spacing. If not, you may want to read up on that.

Where I have a serious concern about your project is your blank selection. Other than a length and taking someone’s word on the line weight, you really have no way of telling what you may end up with. Tapers on bamboo rods differ greatly. Think about how much they vary for a graphite rod, and compound this with a wide variation in the actual bamboo itself. Bottom line is you may go to all this trouble and finish off what may be a great taper to some folks, and end up with something you hate. I would really encourage you to try a few rods first. I give this advice to anyone with an interest in bamboo rods and it sounds like you may be too. This isn’t as hard to do as you may think. There are always the shows, cane gatherings, shops, builders in your area or just other fisherman who use bamboo. Once you have an idea about what taper you like, then buy the blank. I can also tell you a decent blank runs $200.00 and up from a reputable builder/dealer. I haven’t checked but I’ll bet you a beer the blank you are looking at is probably imported, may not have the same attention given to gluing, (read de-lamination), straightness, (read straightening a set), and attention to taper, (read “close”).

If you want to practice your skills on finishing a rod, take Tim Murphy up on his offer. If you are seriously looking into fishing bamboo, at least cast some first. After that, once you have a feel for what you may like, (bamboo can be everything from slow to fast), then decide whether or not you still want to finish off a blank. As has been mentioned, you can pick up a very nice used rod for $200.00. A new one with a single tip can be had for under $400.00 to $600.00 from some pretty decent makers. Also, price does not equate to quality or mean you'll like the rod. While I don't own one, I've cast some $4000.00 dogs.

I live in Bucks County or about 1-1/2 hours from you. If you wish, we can meet somewhere and I’ll be happy to let you cast the few rods I have so you at least get some kind of idea what you may or may not like. There are also others here who fish the lovely reed and I’m sure they would be happy to help out as well. In the interim, as has been mentioned, Clark’s is a great resource, http://clarksclassicflyrodforum.yuku.com/
Good Luck and let us know how you make out.

Rolf

Posted on: 2009/11/3 20:07


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2007/10/24 20:03
From Plymouth Meeting
Posts: 254
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All great advice. For the most part i use bamboo exclusively while fishing for trout.

Currently working on redoing a South Bend 290, adding more guides & agate stripper. Really makes the modern lines shoot smoothly.

Only thing i would add is that it's getting harder and harder to find good rods in lengths under 9' at decent prices. People are grabbing them as quick as they can find them and the secret is out.

There is a nice south bend on Codella's handyman's page. Please buy it so it doesn't end up at my door, making me eat PB&J for a month or two.

http://www.codella.com/handyman.htm

Posted on: 2009/11/3 20:30


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2006/9/16 15:52
From Bucks County
Posts: 618
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There is a nice south bend on Codella's handyman's page. Please buy it so it doesn't end up at my door, making me eat PB&J for a month or two.

http://www.codella.com/handyman.htm


Hold out for a 323. :)

Posted on: 2009/11/3 21:16


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2179
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Quote:

Rolf wrote:
There is a nice south bend on Codella's handyman's page. Please buy it so it doesn't end up at my door, making me eat PB&J for a month or two.

http://www.codella.com/handyman.htm


Hold out for a 323. :)


Dear tobewan,

Or better yet, a 359. I have both in 8 1/2 foot versions and the 359 gets the nod from me as an all around 5 weight, the 323 is more of a 6 weight.

Regards,
Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2009/11/3 22:23
_________________
"Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel, and they tortured the timber and stripped all the land. Well they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken, then they wrote it all down as the progress of man."


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2009/4/1 21:52
From Johnstown, PA
Posts: 4460
Offline
Go for it, ya gotta start somewhere , maybe build a few graphite or even glass first to get the thing down , building rods is not difficult , if you can tie a decent fly you can build a rod.

Posted on: 2009/11/4 6:56


Re: Bamboo, Rods.
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 8856
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Building a boo rod as your first project for your first rod may not be a good idea. My advice to you is to try a bunch of different rods in your price range and buy the one that feels / casts best for you. After you FF for while, your casting and fishing style will develop. You will naturally gravitate towards certain types of rods: fast, slow, medium, graphite, glass, bamboo, etc.

Don't sweat the equipment and fly patterns too much, focus your efforts and learning to cast and presenting a fly properly and you will be way ahead of the game.

Posted on: 2009/11/4 7:28


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2006/11/13 7:18
Posts: 200
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Jon

Please listen to what the guys have said. If you want to fish Bamboo try some rods and look for the best deal on a rod as mentioned above. If you have your heart set on building a rod take Tim up on his offer.. Good luck and if this Bamboo Bug bites you will end up with many more rods...
Bill A

Posted on: 2009/11/4 7:51


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2007/10/24 20:03
From Plymouth Meeting
Posts: 254
Offline
thanks for the heads up on models. I see A LOT of 359s but they're always 9'ers. I might have to break down and get one anyway 'cause i have a granger CS 8'6" that fits that size slot. Are there many 323/359s in 8'? I'm not even sure if they made them in 8', maybe they did but i never see them.

Also a dark horse are the Tonka Queen & Princess by H&I. Well worth what they usually go for.

Posted on: 2009/11/4 7:53


Re: Bamboo, Rods.

Joined:
2008/9/12 12:41
Posts: 726
Offline
Another thing, boo rods are completely different animals from graphite rods. If you’ve got a fast and hard casting stroke that won’t work with a boo rod. You’ve really got to slow things down and let the rod do the work. Once you get used to the timing you will love a boo rod. Boo rods have a feel that graphite doesn’t and boo rods DEFINITELY protect light tippets better than graphite.

The only concern I would have with getting a handyman special is make sure you get one that is straight, as heating and applying pressure to straighten it could require some custom equipment.

As for tapers, you will see a million different tapers each with its own unique name. For the most part a taper/name is associated with a specific length rod. The most popular all purpose taper/rod for trout fishing and the one most people get for their first boo rod is the 7.5 foot, 4/5 weight Paul Young “Perfectionist Taper.” Paul Young was a Michigan rod builder from way back when and he developed this taper for his 7.5 foot 4/5 weight rods. Today many boutique builders build their rods based off of classic tapers so you will see many different makers offering a Perfectionist taper rod.

If you have questions calls Len Codella. He’s a great guy who will gladly answer your questions whether by email or phone and will provide sound advice and point you in the right direction and get you the best rod for you budget. As Len told me, with boo rods you get what you pay for and you are better off saving and getting something that is good so you can enjoy a true boo experience than buying something cheap that really is nothing more than a rod made of bamboo rather than a “bamboo rod.”

Posted on: 2009/11/4 8:21



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