Bamboo Bonzai

Common Sense about Choosing a Bamboo Fly Rod

By Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker

I would like to thank Fly Anglers OnLine for allowing me to share my heart in this article, and in future articles to come.

I have come to the conclusion that the best bamboo fly rod is the one you fish.

If you think that this is too easy, well you're right, it is. Let me share with you. With all of the books, videos and articles out there, there's one thing we forget.

Why do we buy bamboo fly rods? Some buy to fish, some to collect, and others just enjoy owning one. The best way for you to fully understand bamboo fly rods is to experience the feel of casting a cane rod, true grace at it's best. How do you find the best bamboo fly rod ever?

Here is a true story of how I came to know the way some people think before they pick up a cane rod. About 6 years ago, when I started to hand-plane bamboo fly rods, I wanted to see what other fly fishermen liked or disliked about my rods. I went down to our local fly shop and asked the owner if I could demo my cane rods outside of his fly shop. With his permission, I sent out flyers to let as many people as possible know about my up and coming demo days. I put my flyers in shopping centers, laundromats and in all the fly shops within 15 miles of where I was going to demo my rods.

Much to my surprise the weekend was full of fly fishermen. The turnout was good, but with so many fly fishermen there at one time, the focus turned to technical details. One person would just love the action of the rod, another liked the reel seat, yet another loved the wrapping. The one who loved the action did not like the wrappings, the person who liked the wrappings did not like the action, and the one who liked the reel seat also loved the action.

With so many things for me to think about I was brain dead. By this time I forgot why I ever made bamboo fly rods! That weekend did finally come to an end and I went home, a bit overwhelmed. I wasn't sure what happened, but somehow I knew that in time I would understand.

As the years passed, I had a chance to listen to fishermen from all walks of life talk of the perfect cane rod; Here's what I learned, a "word for the wise"; don't get "wrapped up" in the details, the price, the looks or the specs. There are many things to think about before you choose a cane rod. The most important thing is to use common sense.

Take your time, cast a line, and then decide. Remember, the best bamboo fly rod is, simply, the one you fish.

Good days on the river! Yes, you can email me. ~ Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker


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