A question for the Bamboo Builders

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Olive bugger, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Since I began to fish with a fly rod, I have always had a slight interest in bamboo fly rods.
    I must admit that I have not paid a lot of attention to them, but I have been interested
    in their construction and a bit of their history. One can admire a piece of art for it's beauty
    and not have a need to possess it.

    Well today I saw something that I could not believe, and perhaps my eyes deceive me.
    I saw a square bamboo rod. Could this be true. Did somebody decide to use a 45 degree
    angle on the plaining board, rather than the customary 60 degrees?

    If true, does anyone know how the taper works with a fly line? I just have a hard time
    accepting the change. Perhaps I am just a traditionalist.
  2. It gets worse (or better, depending on your sensibilities)--there are also pentas (five siders) out there, each configuration having it's own unique characteristics. I'm not qualified to speak on those specifics.
  3. Greg Holt is correct.
    There are "pentas" (5-sided rods), and there are "quads", which is the 4-strip rod you came across. Some folks apparently like the casting characteristics of each of these better than the much more common "hex'" six sided rods. I've never had the opportunity to cast either a quad or a penta, so can't comment on either.
    BTW "quads" have a deep seated tradition. E.W. Edwards worked under the tutelage of Leonard (the original bamboo fly rod innovator) way back in the 1800's before striking out on his own just before the turn of the century. He was succeded two sons that went on to become famous makers in their own right - one of whom (can't remember if it was Bill or Gene) developed the "quad" configuration in the 1930's I believe.... So, they are "traditional" in a real sense.
  4. Sorry, poor posting technique--see next posting by Greg Holt.
  5. Wow! That was a mind blowing lesson in bamboo rod tapers, and how precisely they can be achieved.
    And most here are of the opinion that advances in machine made graphite, boron and titanium are as high tech' as it gets.
    I'm just happy that the fish could really care less what we use, because I'll be sticking with my traditionally crafted old bamboo rods just because I like them.
    Thanks for sharing that article/interview.
  6. That man is "scary" smart all right, but I'd give a left N_T to own one of his best creations, even if was so visually bizzare that I had to cast it blindfolded! Too bad he's retired from rod building--either his results were difficult to replicate on a mass scale, or just too expensive compared to modern materials. I don't recall reading about his reasons for retirement from the craft. Who knows what he could have achieved?

    One of my very favorite grass rods is an old 7-1/2' 6 wt. South Bend 290 designed by Wes Jordan in his pre-Orvis days. Just a splendid casting instrument, and strikingly fast for it's time.

    I like the interviewee's thoughts on compression vs tension, and always wondered when/if modern graphite rods would incorporate his concepts. The new Sage One is a step in that direction, albeit a baby one.
  7. Boy, do I feel like a bewildered child. Maybe it is the late hour or my addled brain but I will have to re read this in the light of day and after a good night's rest. Thanks for posting it Mr. Holt. So I must have been living under a rock for the last forty years, because I never suspected that there was any bamboo rods design, other than those of a hexagon shape. I must discuss this with my fishing partner. I am sure he has no idea also.
  8. Fortunately advanced taper design is alive and well but limited to a handful of makers. The vast majority of builders just copy existing tapers using traditional techniques or slightly modified versions of those established tapers and techniques. Nothing wrong with that as it puts lots of good rods in the hands of anyone looking for something other than mass produced composite (graphite, boron, etc) rods.

    Within that handful of makers that continue the research and development of rod design there are some great thinkerers and tinkerers producing outstanding rods.
    One such advanced maker is a friend from northern California. I have a couple of his hollow built eight sided rods where both the inside and the outside of the rod are differentially tapered to further realise the design intent. One is named the Sinusoidal and can be found on the link below and the other is simply named the X-1 as it was a one off experimental rod specifically designed from my verbal description of my favorite method of fishing for larger trout from a float tube. Basically what I described was casting to cruisers in basin lakes where you want to pick up a lot of line and accurately fire it back out in the path of a cruising fish with minimal false casting.

    Read through the design philosophy discussion first then explore the rest of the web site.

    http://skunkworksflyrods.com/Site/Design Philosophy.html

  9. Tim,
    I'm melting (with a combination of envy and curiousity)!

    For starters, I'm adding the word "thinkerer" to my vocabulary--thanks.

    Must be something in the air (pot smoke?) down Northern Ca. way that gets the creative juices flowing around rod design...

    Secondly, I too am addicted to cruiser casting in desert lakes, so I share some thinking as to what makes a great rod for such a quest.

    I'm off to read the materials you linked--thanks.

    PS: If you ever want to do a desert-lake bamboo mini-clave, I have several entrants. Just let me know.

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