Monday, February 22, 2010

The Practicality of Bamboo Fly Rods

Fly rod crafted by Mike Hoffman of Tualatin, Oregon

In the utilitarian sense there really isn't anything practical about a bamboo fly rod. They are fragile, though not as fragile as one might think and they require some care and maintenance that graphite does not require. The action of a bamboo rod is too slow for many that are used to the faster graphite rods and that might make them impractical.
I do not not catch more fish with my bamboo rods nor do I cast better with them. They are two piece which makes transporting them from one hole to another a bit unwieldy.
I have a special affection for bamboo because I caught my very first steelhead on a fly using a 8 foot for an 8 weight Orvis Battenkill rod so many years ago...what a memory.
A good friend recently stated that they just does not get the whole bamboo thing citing the very reasons posted above.
I simply put it this way. Anything that is good for the soul is not impractical. I just feel good fishing a bamboo fly rod and isn't that what we desire in this impractical style of angling?
The great Mike Kennedy did not think bamboo was impractical either. He fished bamboo his entire angling life and even had his favorite rod cremated with him and his ashes sprinkled into the North Umpqua from Mott bridge. I think that is amazing and even thinking about it makes me shiver with a nostalgic emotion that I am sure other bamboo aficionados must surely feel.
Casting a dry fly with the "lovely reed" makes me think of the pristine beginnings of fly angling and how things were pretty simple back then. Fish were not used as political pawns like they are today and there were enough trout available to maybe even eat one once in awhile. Roderick Haig Brown
killed some of the trout he caught and so, no doubt, did Mike Kennedy.
I do not kill any wild trout but wouldn't it be nice to have trout populations so abundant that if an angler wanted to have one for his stream side dinner he could and not feel guilty about it.
So as I lovingly take my "cane" rods out and tweak them for straightness while I wax them for the upcoming trout season I think from now on when someone asks me why I fish bamboo fly rods for trout I will just say "Because I can"


  1. Indeed, each cane rod has a little individual soul.

  2. good statement

    myself i love also fishing with bamboo. also myself are not catching more (and also not less) than with carbon, but bamboo is an true art in tackle. they are made from start til the end from "real" rodmakers. nothing against a rodbuilder, but rodmakers are the true artisans.

    i love bamboo also cause they are forgiving more "false casts", the are quicker a part of my casting than carbon rods. carbon can`t forgive, bamboo as natural material can. and any drilling of fish is more intensive with reed than with carbon, cause it`s made from plain material, not hollow one.



  3. A simple definition a bamboo fly rod is a fly fishing rod that is made out from bamboo which many people also refers to as a cane. This type of fishing rod is the most preferred by anglers because it carries within it a combined strength and versatility due to its high density fiber content.
    For more information about Bamboo Fly Rod feel free to click the link