A well built bamboo rod is one of the finest rods available. A classic bamboo fly rod is not a simple bamboo pole.
The rod is made from split sections of bamboo, planed into tapered sections that are then glued together to form a hollow, tapered rod.
The type of bamboo used for a bamboo fly rod is called Tonkin cane (Pseudosasa amabilis). This bamboo has very straight canes with high quality wood.
There are a number of books available on building the rod. The tools needed are probably more difficult to make than the actual rod.
Luckily, Yagers Flies sells bamboo rods. The bamboo fly rod is experiencing something of a revival as people look for a classic, handmade fly rod.
Each bamboo fly rod is a handmade artifact. In the early days rod builders were extremely secretive about how they built their rods.
There were no books available and information was very difficult to come by. The men who built these rods had to go through an apprenticeship and were naturally reluctant to see the knowledge of rod building become generally available.
With time this changed and today there is a lot of information on building, restoring, and collecting bamboo fly rods.
Up until the 1830's fly rods were made of wood. These were very long, over 10 feet. They were fairly easy to make but had problems with warping and breaking, especially near the tip. They were also heavy.
Some builders tried laminated wood for the tips and later, laminated bamboo strips. They used a type of cane from India called "Calcutta Cane".
This was an improvement and with time the entire rod came to be built with laminated bamboo. At first just two strips were used but eventually the six strips we see in today’s rods were used and by 1870 this was the accepted form used in most fly rods.
About the Author:
Mick Hunt is a retired school teacher and an avid fisherman. After retirement he spends time on the river doing what he likes best…fishing. He also has created a rather significant income online to support his “habit.”