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EricdJuly 29th, 2009, 7:39 pm
Mpls, MN

Posts: 113
Hi folks.

I just watched the film Trout Grass.
I predominantly use a 7 1/2 5wt bamboo, but am so new to the life that I couldn't articulate the difference between bamboo and graphite. I can say that my 5wt bamboo feels like a 4wt graphite and that it took me several trips to get my fly as far with the bamboo as it does with my graphite rods. Actually, I accidentally got a handful of floatant onto my hand and the spool of my bamboo and after a couple casts my line shot out like a bullet. Maybe that's another topic...
I received this rod as a gift from my father who had two identical rods built for us, while I was in High School, from one of my Grandfather's friends right here in the Twin Cities.
I prefer it because casting it is more fun, it's lighter and obviously much more appealing than graphite. Also, my shortest graphite is 9" and I really enjoy the length of the 7 1/2" for the streams that I frequent.

I know ya'll have something to share on this.
I talked with one fly shop worker that tried his best to talk me out of using my bamboo and instead buy his best graphite to compare.

eric
FalsiflyJuly 30th, 2009, 8:55 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
Hi Eric,
Over the years I have acquired numerous bamboo, fiberglass and graphite rods. (Unfortunately, none of the bamboo rods match my last name.) I can see how people get wrapped up in comparing this rod to that, but I never did. Each rod is unique in the casting stroke required to benefit from a rods maximum performance. Fortunate for me I find it easy to adapt my casting stroke to the rod in hand, but this may be difficult for others. I think a lot of people try to match their rod to their casting stroke instead of learning to match their casting stroke to the rod. Once this is mastered it opens up a whole new world. Yes, there are rods that are better suited to different conditions, and I have preferences, but within reason any rod will do. Bamboo! Well, what could possibly compare to bamboo? To many, it has a lofty almost mystic air about it, a distinctness, so well established in the fly fishing fraternity as to escape the bounds of time. Fish it or hang it on the wall, either way I find an eminence of pleasure radiating from its presence.

I accidentally got a handful of floatant onto my hand and the spool of my bamboo and after a couple casts my line shot out like a bullet.


Oh! What a difference a freshly cleaned and treated line came make huh?


Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
SlateDrake9August 1st, 2009, 11:58 am
Potter County, PA

Posts: 144
I love fishing bamboo rods and do so about 90% of the time I'm on the water when it's not cold enough outside to form ice on the line/guides. I fear breaking a tip by not paying attention to it being frozen up.

I've gotten to the point that I got rid of almost all of my graphite rods, keeping only my Orvis Superfine 1 weight, an Orvis Trident slow action 8'4" 3 weight, an Orvis Trout (8' 6 weight-nice and slow-pre-superfine model), an Orvis Performer (9' 6 weight-medium-slow), a 9' 8 weight fast action and an 11' 6 weight medium fast rod (last 2 for steelhead/salmon/bass/walleye and sometimes salt).

I've fished a lot of graphite and glass rods and have not found many that compare to an equal length/line weight bamboo one in feel when casting or playing a fish. Yeah, bamboo is heavier in the hand, but IMHO, unless you're a real wimp the extra ounce or two compared to a like sized graphite rod is not a problem, even after a full day on the water. Luckily a lot of people disagee with this and therefore the longer bamboo rods (9 footers) are fairly cheap, especially compared to the 8' and under ones of equal quality.

Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.
-- Slate Drake
TroutBumsOctober 9th, 2014, 2:10 pm
Cincinnati, OH

Posts: 13
I had a beautiful bamboo rod made and it is a work of art. Plus, it gives me a totally different feel when using it compared to graphite. Both physically and mentally. Bamboo is a little more stiff, but in streams it matters little. It is a 8ft rod made by a guy in northern TN. Little collapsing when needing distance, but seldom is that the case. As to the weight, it is marginal and all worth the extra ozs...Keep up with the bamboo if you enjoy it...after all, that is what fly fishing is all about
Ted Holcomb
http://TroutBumOutfitters.com
Contact@TroutBumOutfitters.com
CatskilljonOctober 14th, 2014, 11:31 pm
Upstate NY

Posts: 160
Cane is really nice. Its attributes I have a hard time explaining but it has life and soul, feels warm and friendly. Just the beauty of the bamboo and ferrules, the way the light hits it...it goes so perfectly with trout that have such sheer, wild beauty themselves.

I chuckle when I hear people explaining bamboo action, as if they have some standard feel to them that distinguishes them from other materials. I have cast cane rods in all sizes and configurations that range from delicate and soft to stiff and powerful, its all in the taper man! Even the age old stigma of them being "heavy" is going away, what with hollowing and carbon ferrules. I admit the old hardware store "rods in a barrel" fly rods were anything but comfortable to use, but bamboo rods have come a long way.

I would never suggest selling all your plastic and using bamboo exclusively as everything has its place, but when your appreciation for bamboo finally hits, I think the enjoyment of fishing goes up a little more. CJ
WbranchOctober 16th, 2014, 4:06 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2569
Bamboo is esthetically appealing and there is a lot of fly fishing lore associated with it. However if during your pursuit of fly fishing you get to the point where you really like big fish, big water, and enjoy throwing 50' - 70' then you are going to embrace graphite and relegate the cane to those smaller 20' - 30' wide creeks and somewhat smaller trout.

I have owned many fine bamboo rods; a couple of Leonard 38H's, Thomas, Carpenter, Edwards, and of course many Orvis impregnated rods. They are all gone now except for one 7' 6" #5 Carpenter that I use a few times each spring on the Yellow Breeches during the Hendrickson season.

The slowness of cane is annoying as I like to false cast just once or twice and put the fly onto the water as quickly as possible. Then there is the weight of cane compared to a graphite rod of the same length. Can you imagine casting a 9' #5 cane rod all day long? It is tiring compared to a modern graphite rod. Then there is the matter of "fishing sets" where the tips get all bent out of shape from catching larger trout.

Each to his own but for the price of a really fine bamboo rod, meaning $1500 - $2000 I can two to three of the best custom graphite rods available.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CrepuscularOctober 16th, 2014, 7:55 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Let me preface this by saying that I am enamoured by bamboo rods right now so like you said Matt to each his own, I'm certainly not trying to pick a fight or start an argument here...

The slowness of cane is annoying as I like to false cast just once or twice and put the fly onto the water as quickly as possible.

Each to his own but for the price of a really fine bamboo rod, meaning $1500 - $2000 I can two to three of the best custom graphite rods available.


I chuckle when I hear people explaining bamboo action, as if they have some standard feel to them that distinguishes them from other materials. I have cast cane rods in all sizes and configurations that range from delicate and soft to stiff and powerful, its all in the taper man!



Exactly CJ! It's like saying all graphite rods feel the same. And as far as the cost goes yes you can spend a lot of money on a bamboo rod, but there are many, many makers today who have at their disposal new glues and impregnatation processes that made today's bamboo rods more durable and less apt to develop a set that cost equal to (or even less than) a top of the line graphite rod. I'm new to the bamboo rod scene but Ive done a considerable amount of research on the tapers and the current makers. Threre are compromises with bamboo but not as many as one might think. As John pointed out the weight issue has largely been negated buy hollowbuilding and new ferrule mateials or no ferrules at all just a spliced joint which comes pretty close to the action of a one-piece rod. What I really love the fact that there seems to be a resurgence in quality rod building, both bamboo and fiberglass along with people out there making hand crafted reels today. Maybe it's not a resurgence but the interweb has made it more available to everyone. Much of the work is beautiful from an asthetic point of view, but these fishing tools (that's what they should be in my opinion) are functioning at a level of quality and durability of any mass-produced reel on the market.

Here is a Mike Brooks made Payne 97 that I have absolutlely no problem throwing 60' of line with (it's a 7' 4wt). The reel seat is made from a piece of walnut from Marinaro's Meadow, and the rod cost $50.00 more than a new Winston BIIIX.
OldredbarnOctober 28th, 2014, 7:23 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
http://www.aldercreekrods.com/

Check out Ron Barch's site Eric...He spoke at one of our summer meetings and has a couple rods that may confront the notion of the "slowness of cane".

It is, "an each to their own" type thing with the tools we are attracted to when we fish. A good friend says simply, "I want to approach the fish on my own terms and to hell with everyone else." Some guys love dries or classic wets and small trout streams while others want to fight bruising fights just with the "big boys".

There are a great many "new" to the sport who wouldn't get your "Marinaro Meadow" reference...There is a great spectrum to our sport from competitive fly fishing teams, to fore-arm length articulated streamers, to whats left of us old "match-the-hatchers"...I think it is a sport in flux and who knows where it may end up...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
RogueratOctober 28th, 2014, 7:37 pm
Posts: 445
I've got a 6' 3 wt cane rod, pretty nondescript as to heritage- allegedly my wife's great-grandfather's- but its my go-to for small streams now. I don't need to boom a cast waaay out there when a stream is maybe 30 feet across, tops...and the cane's action is just right for this type of fishing.

Bigger water, my graphite St Croix's get the call.

Spence, isn't a flux some sort of gastrointestinal disorder!?

Roguerat
CrepuscularOctober 29th, 2014, 9:07 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
http://www.aldercreekrods.com/

Check out Ron Barch's site Eric...He spoke at one of our summer meetings and has a couple rods that may confront the notion of the "slowness of cane".


There a quite a few bamboo tapers out there that are far from slow. That rod in the photo above is faster than some of the graphite rods I own.


There are a great many "new" to the sport who wouldn't get your "Marinaro Meadow" reference...


Yeah I know but to me its so friggin' cool.

I think it's your job to set them straight there Mr. Lore...
OldredbarnOctober 30th, 2014, 11:00 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
I think it's your job to set them straight there Mr. Lore...


You are an anomaly there Eric...The boys of your generation and younger, for the most part, don't care about classic tackle, or lore for that matter. I had a conversation with a guy who attends auctions and such for classic gear...He feels that soon there will be a glut on the market of such equipment. Only us gray beards have a warm spot in our hearts for cane & old Hardy's. The guys that own it now are about to bit us adieu and the younger generation don't want the "old" stuff...Can't toss the articulated monster flies with them.

You were lucky enough, young man, to have been born near enough to some of the more important locations where some of the greatest innovators of our pastime lovingly worked out the complexities of our interactions with trout. IMHO, you are blessed because you realize this. Their glow still emanates. There will never be another Vincent Marinaro, or good old Charlie Fox, or Mr. Lively. It was nice that those "Pennsylvania Boys" thought enough of what they were doing to write it all down.

I will never forget your guiding this gray beard on some of the old hallowed streams. You and I paid our humble respects.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
OldredbarnOctober 31st, 2014, 12:03 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
http://www.frankenfly.com/category/pat-barnes/

Here's a link to some "lore" on Pat Barnes of West Yellowstone fame and the "Sofa Pillow".

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
CrepuscularOctober 31st, 2014, 12:03 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
You are an anomaly there Eric...The boys of your generation and younger, for the most part, don't care about classic tackle, or lore for that matter.

An anomaly huh? I dont know nothin about that, but while your vintage tackle hunting friend may be correct, I suspect that it may have more to do with the price tag of the "name" makers of yesteryear. Now, when you think about it, would you like a brand new rod that performs just like that Leonard 50DF you've always wanted but has been crafted using modern glues and you know has not been abused over the years for the same or less money than that Leonard? Or do you spend what to me and many "young" fishermen is a lot of money on a rod that you have no idea how it was treated over it's 40 year lifespan? If you are a fisherman and not a collector, I think you might go for the new rod from a current maker who you can go back to if anything does happen to the rod. Most modern makers will do their best to help you with repairs, As far as I know Jim Payne isn't able to repair your $4000.00 40 year old rod from the grave. Now when these young guys get old and have a little money put away, then maybe they will buy that original Leonard.
While I agree that the trucker hat articulated meat throwers are getting their posts "liked" on social media, and their photos in the magazines and on the internet sites, a 20" plus fish taken on a dry fly gets still more respect from most.
Kschaefer3October 31st, 2014, 1:18 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
I thought I might toss my two cents in, being one of the new generation of fly angler.

Spence - I see where you are coming from, but I think you are unfair in your assessment of some points. I agree that the DFO angler is less likely to exist. That doesn't mean tradition is forgotten. Now, lots of anglers fish all different methods and love them all the same. Anglers still hold onto tradition by fishing small flies to picky fish and attractors to "less educated" fish with a 7' 3wt fiberglass or bamboo on a small stream. Later that day they may break tradition and throw 6-8" articulated stuff on a pool cue loaded with sinking line.

There will never be another Vincent Marinaro, or good old Charlie Fox, or Mr. Lively. It was nice that those "Pennsylvania Boys" thought enough of what they were doing to write it all down.


Correct, there will never be another of those guys. And after I die, there will never be another me. They have passed (I presume) or are in the later stages of life. It is unfair to try to compare anyone fishing today to those gentlemen. It is a different time, with years more knowledge and advancement in the sport. That doesn't mean there aren't folks innovating all the same. All the streamer guys nowadays are innovating. As are a lot of the hardcore night anglers. There might not be as much room for growth and innovation in the bug realm, but even there, people are using new materials, and applying old techniques in new ways.

IMHO there are a lot of people who are interested in tradition and appreciate where the sport came from, but also want to continue to push the boundaries of what fly fishing is. At one point, someone was likely saying that Marinaro, Fox and Lively were not holding on to the tradition of the sport. In 30-40 years, my generation will be grey beards wondering what in the hell the new generation is doing and why they aren't following the lead of my generation. The cycle of life, I suppose.

I think it is a sport in flux and who knows where it may end up...

This sport, as with everything in life, is in a constant state of flux. Nothing ever stays the same, it would be boring if it did. Being in flux, progressing, changing, innovating or what have you does not mean that the past is forgotten. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold". :)

Eric - You make some great points, in particular about money. I work a full-time job, but have nowhere near the money to drop $4000 on a rod with no warranty. I would love to have a great collection of classic rods, but at this point I'd rather spend my money on tools I can use more often.

Also, I agree, big dry fly fish trump. Even among trucker hat articulated meat throwers, the dry fly tends to be king. I love throwing meat. Love it! I also love throwing dries. Love it! I'll take the 16-19" browns I was catching on dries in MT over streamer fish any day, unless that streamer fish is 24"+. :)

Not trying to make anyone angry, or say you're wrong. I just wanted to offer my side. It's all a matter of opinion anyhow, so here's mine.
CrepuscularOctober 31st, 2014, 1:52 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
http://www.frankenfly.com/category/pat-barnes/

Here's a link to some "lore" on Pat Barnes of West Yellowstone fame and the "Sofa Pillow".

Spence


Nice. Thanks. Keep em coming.
OldredbarnOctober 31st, 2014, 7:04 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2599
Not trying to make anyone angry, or say you're wrong. I just wanted to offer my side. It's all a matter of opinion anyhow, so here's mine.


Kyle,

You are always a thoughtful fellow...No one's angry. You are right though that folks did think the old PA Boys around the Letort were pushing the envelope back in the day...Each generation has to make their own mark...The future belongs to them anyway.

I have one general question though...The old boys pushed for "flies only" regulations and the better trout streams here in Michigan have these regs now. The argument was probably against treble hooks etc. But the newer "flies" are looking more and more like the lures of old...Not flies.

Whats to differentiate fly fishing from hardware tossers? I have said here before that the Wooly Bugger imitation I used to tie, The Michigan Big Ugly, was basically a glorified jig. Should it have been "legal" in a flies only stretch?

Just asking...


Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WbranchOctober 31st, 2014, 9:24 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2569
Well back in the olden days when I bought my first Leonard "Baby Catskill" 7' #4 38H it cost me $200 brand new and I was even able to visit the factory in Highland Falls and meet "Hap" Mills and Ted Simroe who owned the operation at that time. To tell you the truth while $200 was a lot of money back in 1968 it was nothing like the $1500 - $2000 for a new bamboo rod today made by the new era of rod builders.

I was able to "save up" the $200 as I was single and had nothing else to spend my money on but buy classic cane and Hardy reels. I fished my 38H's almost every day on my annual Montana trips from June 01 - the end of August. One day I'd use the blond 38H and the next day the flamed 38H. Then I'd switch tips so each tip got it's share of 16" - 19" wild browns, cuts, and rainbows from the Livingston spring creeks. Some days when I took a break from the technical water and went over to the Madison or the Yellowstone I'd bring one of my 7 1/2' Battenkills or a 8' Thomas Special.

This was long before graphite and my only other rods were the brown Fenwicks from 7 1/2' - 9' which were my go to rods for big dries, nymphs, and streamers. As much as I loved those years and all the awesome fishing I had I don't miss those rods one iota. To me a rod is a tool to allow me to cast in a certain preferred manner to put a fly onto a fish and entice that fish to eat the fly.

I know I would not be happy with even the finest bamboo rod because I'd always be worried about breaking it on a big fish or putting a horrendous set into it. I do like how my finer graphite rods feel and how light and alive they feel in my hands but while the mechanics of casting are pleasurable the most important goal for me is catching big fish and I know I can do that better with a modern graphite rod.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CrepuscularNovember 1st, 2014, 9:04 am
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Well back in the olden days when I bought my first Leonard "Baby Catskill" 7' #4 38H it cost me $200 brand new and I was even able to visit the factory in Highland Falls and meet "Hap" Mills and Ted Simroe who owned the operation at that time. To tell you the truth while $200 was a lot of money back in 1968 it was nothing like the $1500 - $2000 for a new bamboo rod today made by the new era of rod builders.

I was able to "save up" the $200 as I was single and had nothing else to spend my money on but buy classic cane and Hardy reels. I fished my 38H's almost every day on my annual Montana trips from June 01 - the end of August. One day I'd use the blond 38H and the next day the flamed 38H. Then I'd switch tips so each tip got it's share of 16" - 19" wild browns, cuts, and rainbows from the Livingston spring creeks. Some days when I took a break from the technical water and went over to the Madison or the Yellowstone I'd bring one of my 7 1/2' Battenkills or a 8' Thomas Special

Well Matt, that sounds like a very special time! I wish I had taken the time to do something like that!

I do like how my finer graphite rods feel and how light and alive they feel in my hands but while the mechanics of casting are pleasurable the most important goal for me is catching big fish and I know I can do that better with a modern graphite rod.


That's exactly how it should be! And no one can argue that the modern day graphite rods are amazing fishing tools. They will do things that no fiberglass or bamboo rod will ever be able to do performance wise.
WbranchNovember 1st, 2014, 8:14 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2569
Amen brother.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Kschaefer3November 4th, 2014, 11:01 am
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Not trying to make anyone angry, or say you're wrong. I just wanted to offer my side. It's all a matter of opinion anyhow, so here's mine.


Kyle,

You are always a thoughtful fellow...No one's angry. You are right though that folks did think the old PA Boys around the Letort were pushing the envelope back in the day...Each generation has to make their own mark...The future belongs to them anyway.

I have one general question though...The old boys pushed for "flies only" regulations and the better trout streams here in Michigan have these regs now. The argument was probably against treble hooks etc. But the newer "flies" are looking more and more like the lures of old...Not flies.

Whats to differentiate fly fishing from hardware tossers? I have said here before that the Wooly Bugger imitation I used to tie, The Michigan Big Ugly, was basically a glorified jig. Should it have been "legal" in a flies only stretch?

Just asking...


Spence


Valid question, but I'm not the right person to ask. I am opposed to fly only water in the first place. However, that is a different topic of conversation and I will try to answer as best I can.

From my experience, I gill hook far more fish with dries and nymphs than I do streamers. I believe this is because fishing streamers is an active presentation. You're much less likely to deep hook a fish with an active presentation than you are a passive one. On top of that trout tend to attack the head of a fish they are going to eat. Most of my streamer fish are corner hooked, or hooked through the bottom/top of the mouth (depending on hook orientation). That is not to say a #4 hook wouldn't ultimately kill more fish. It may, it may not. I believe the answer to that ultimately lies in three different numbers. 1. The proportion of deep hooked fish that die for each given presentation. 2. The proportion of deep hooked fish to hooked fish for each presentation. 3. The avg number of fish hooked per day fishing with each presentation. These are all highly variable and could only reasonably be measured for an individual angler, and even still, would be highly variable over different creeks/rivers/lakes, different times of the year, weather conditions, etc.

A question back to you, Spence. Do you differentiate the classic trout streamers from the Michigan Big Ugly you would tie? Is there even a question as to whether that would qualify as a fly?

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