Bamboo Wizard Sighting

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by wadin' boot, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Paddled a ways this AM, figuring I'd explore some beaches I'd never fished that sure looked promising, spied a lonely figure far off casting to a predator's rip. As I paddled closer I saw the Wizard land a nice cutt so figured I'd anchor out of casting range and hit the flow some 70 yards downtide...Asked his permission, got his assent, yet flailed there. The sort of micro-noobed effort that betrays unfamiliarity of time, tide and location. Too deep, wrong angles, a wind like a tickled dervish. The kind of flailing that betrays an initiate.

    The stranger waves me over, suggests I take his spot, he was moving on, or so he said. So I drag the Yak up the beach and start talking, but even before the conversation gets going I realize this wizard is firing casts with a mint bamboo rod...

    This thing - the rod, not Tom,was a light blond. A kind of dun that suggested fresh 'boo unsullied by lacquers and the crusty nicotinic yellowing I had erroneously assumed meant an ancient fragile tool of great preciousness and limited practicality. Stout, precisely dressed, minimal, like fresh sanded maple almost, and capable of punching a beach cast into oncoming wind, capable of handling pinks, coho, chum. This was no mere rod, this was a wand. I introduced myself to the wizard. His name was Tom, Tom Bowden, and he gave me some pointers, which I will keep to myself, and walked South into the tides and other bay waters, a place of sands, weeds and slow currents.

    I knew I'd heard that name before...nagged me all day it did...

    Anyways, third cast, fish on, sixth cast another, a few more strikes then the wind changed and the bite was gone. It's a legend indeed who walks from a fine spot where the spring bite is still on, to let someone else fish... Kudos Tom, I promise I will pay your kindness forward!

    That's how I like meeting cool folks from this board, chance, happenstance, a little mystery to it all....
  2. Kudos to you both! The encounter which you described is what puts "icing on the cake" of an enjoyable fly fishing experience plus you were successful in landing some sea-run cutthroat. Well described story as usual but this one was non-fiction!

    wadin' boot likes this.
  3. It was nice to meet you, Wadin' Boot. Thanks for the kind words.

    There weren't any real Wizards around yesterday, but the magic of a big ebb tide and a pod of Sea-runs was real!

  4. Great post, Boot!
    I didn't know anyone else used bamboo for searun cutthroats around here.
    Here's an impregnated bamboo 1950's Orvis Battenkill and a Pflueger "Sal-Trout" combination I like to use in the salt;

    Copy of P1030454.JPG

    Tom; curious to know what you are using in the salt?
    Patrick Gould and wadin' boot like this.
  5. Greg, as usual, beautiful...there's no way I would have said that rod is from the 1950's....
  6. Greg & all,

    The rod I use most of the time for sea-runs is an 8'9" I made, based on rod maker Tom Fulk's "Tru-Arc" taper design. The rod is hollow-built with .070" wall thickness, and has a graphite ferrule. Most graphite rod users would find the rod heavy and slow, but for bamboo it's relatively light and stiff. It will punch out a long cast with a WF7 clear intermediate line, yet bends nicely when you hook a fish.

    Bamboo rods can be used in the saltwater if you give all the metal parts a good rinse after use. The ferrules used on most bamboo rods are made of nickel-silver, which is a form of brass that is very rust/tarnish resistant.


    89 TruArc.jpg
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  7. Very nice looking rod, Tom. I wish I had the patience and skill to build from scratch something like that.

    Wadin' boot; Your observation on the age of my rod is correct - I checked my records and it's not from the 1950's as I mistakenly announced, but was finished on Sept.' 5th., 1967 according to Patty Harmon at Orvis headquarters. I have other bamboo rods dating back to the 1890's, but this is the oldest Orvis rod I have.

    I use "Boeshield" (made by Boeing to protect airplane running gear) to protect my reels from salt damage. It has worked exceedingly well, even on the old Pflueger Sal-Trout in the above photo.
  8. Greg- I wasn't calling you out there, It's just your rod looks so well cared for I would never have thought it was from the 50's or the 60's, or even the 90's. I want you on the Antiques Roadshow fly fishing appraisal team though. Mind you when my remaining relatives schlub all my fishing gear in for an evaluation to Antiques Roadshow there will be about 20 seoconds of Tom and Ray car talk style belly laughs interspersed with "Seriously, he fished with this? This stuff is junk"

    On the other hand I do have holdout hopes for a J-shaped valuation for one rod I possess, a piece of rebar with a foam handle and plastic reel seat labelled as the Eagle Claw Night Shadow 8wt...that thing could have a Ford Pinto like quality to it, derided/unknown in its time, lauded as a collectors piece now. Mind You I will need to work on the early 90's backstory. Starting with the original, unphotoshopped Nirvana cover shot, which you can see below (note the quality appointments on the rod). Next step, Curt Cobain holding The Rod, Dave Grohl using the butt end as a drumstick, Courtney Hole chasing everyone in the band with the rod held high, threatening a beating

  9. 'Boot,

    No worries! I was calling myself out though.
    I stated the rod was from the '50's, mistakenly - reviewing my notes on it I realized that it was a child of the 60's. I agree with you that it seems to have survived those tumultuous times in rather fine form, however. After all, it is a grass rod - I'm surprised someone didn't smoke it...
  10. Greg,

    Just out of curiosity, what is the length & model# of your Battenkill?


  11. Tom,

    It's an 8'-0, 4-1/2 oz., 3/1 (made that way according to Orvis records). HDH or HCF. I use a 6 WF with it. Serial # 47092


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