Product Reviews

Lee Wulff Classic Bamboo Fly Rod
by Deanna Birkholm

Many years ago I owned a 6 ft, 3 wt., one piece cane rod. It was a lovely rod, perfect for small streams and later when we moved from Michigan to Montana, also very nice for fishing spring creeks with small flies.

I mention the prior rod because the feel of a one-piece rod is entirely different from any rod made with ferrules. The tapers of such rods need to be strong enough to cast certainly, but also have a sensitive tip to feel the fly and the fish. A short rod, (6 ft. really is short,) also does not cast the same way as a 8 or 9 foot rod. There is a difference in the timing, and it may take a few casts to get the "feel" of the rod. It is easier to stop a short rod, so a little adjustment in your casting may be in order to get the most from any short rod. (The tendency is to overpower the cast - relax and let the rod do the work.)

My husband, JC, and I were delighted to hear Royal Wulff Products were going to offer a duplicate of Lee Wulff's personal favorite rod - his 6 ft, 5 wt. When we fished with Lee and Joan on the Upper Yellowstone many years ago, this was the rod Lee used and were impressed with it then.

It is even more impressive in person. Well, it really isn't a person, but fly rods do have their own personality. I've had the pleasure of fishing the Lee Wulff Classic Bamboo Fly Rod on two occasions. I fished it on the Selway River at the Idaho Fish-In this year, and just a couple of weeks ago on Rocky Ford Creek in Washington.

Wiggling a rod can give a person an idea of the taper or action, but there is no substitute for fishing a rod. The Lee Wulff Classic is superb. It handles any of three lines we tried, a 4 wt, a 5 wt, and a 6 wt. I fished it with a WF5F Scientific Anglers Mastery 'Trout' Line.

It casts a small dry fly with authority - or as delicately as one could desire. I fished short, medium and long - however, with a large October Caddis, (size 12) I did have to adjust to a long pull on the double haul to open the loop to deliver the fly - at least in a good wind.

The cosmetics require a bit of background. At the time Lee Wulff had the original rod made to his specifications in England, the state of the art was a small cigar grip of premium Portuguese cork, nickel silver butt cap and sliding ring. The wraps then, and now were a solid color - in this case a medium blue. In other words, the rod now is produced as the rod was when Lee designed it. I found no flaws in the rod, or cosmetics. This is an impregnated rod, which means no cracking varnish down the line.

Now, the downside. The one-piece, 6 ft. rod comes in a very nice tube with case - however, it is not going to fit in all trunks or all cars. I have some suspicions it would have to be shipped as baggage, not carry-on for airlines. If you can live with that, and are interested in not just a piece of tradition, but a very fine casting rod - then you should definitely get your hands on this rod. Keep in mind, a one-piece rod is the very best of all options for a vibration-free smooth rod.

My recommendation? You will probably never find a nicer one-piece rod, and certainly not at this price. The rod retails at $900. To find a dealer near you, check this Dealer List. ~ LF

Royal Wulff Products
7 Main Street, Box 948
Livingston Manor, NY 12758
Toll Free Order Line: 800-328-3638
Tel: 845-439-4060
Fax: 845-439-8055
Email Royal Wulff:

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