• Bamboo rod and some small streams

    I had never thought I would have a bamboo rod in my life. They are heavy, cast too slow for windy days, and canít be broken down to 4 pieces. On top of that, they are ridiculously expensive. At least thatís what I thought.

    A few years ago, however, I suddenly became a bamboo rod owner. Not one, but two! The rods are gifts from two generous friends. One rod was a secondhand rod, 7.9 ft 3wt, with the name of a friend on it. Along with this beautiful rod, he gave me a Hardy Flyweight reel. A perfect combination. According to his advice, I bought a #3 silk fly line from a Chinese shop through e-bay, and took care of it for 6 months before beginning to use it. Now the rod is my first choice when I go amago fishing around here. I already posted fishing with this rod before.

    This time Iíd like to talk about the other rod. This two piece rod came to me as a blank with an extra tip section, with a reel seat, guides, and silk thread for wrapping. The ferrules and tops were already put and fixed, so all I had to do was to finish the rod. But it had been more than 20 years since I built my old graphite rod by myself. I started to study how to finish a bamboo rod. After looking at several web pages on the internet, I came to the conclusion that I needed a rod wrapper/dryer. Since the commercial tools were too expensive, I decided to make one by myself. Fortunately, I have a friend who is also a fly fisher and a son of a carpenter, and has some woodworking tools. With his help, I made my rod wrapper.

    The right side photo shows the opposite view of the motor.

    I bought the slow, synchronous motor in Tokyo when I went there for a business trip. First, I sanded and re-polished the outside of the male ferrule just very very slightly, because it seemed a little too tight. Then, I varnished the blank with a urethane varnish and a brush. It was unexpectedly difficult to varnish the blank with a brush evenly. I didnít understand the tips of varnishing until I finished the second coating, and the varnish appeared very patchy. Besides, my calligraphy on the rod was also terrible. I scraped them all with sandpaper, and did it from the very first. I coated more than 6 times until finally finish the varnish.

    Next, I fit the reel seat, which went without a problem. But before that, I sanded the wood to remove the original varnish, and coated it with urethane 3 times. Then, I polished it with sandpaper and a fine car polish to put a luster on the surface.

    Subsequently, I wrapped the guides, which was the final step. For the guide spacing, I followed the suggestion of the friend who sent the rod to me. Again, I didnít grasp the keys for how to wrap guides neatly until I finish the last one, so I untied them and did it all over again. Epoxy coat of the guide wrapping was the most difficult part in the whole process. I bought FLEX COAT. Though they say itís thin, it was already thick from the moment of mixing. If I waited for bubbles to disappear, it became too thick. Besides, I was too slow at first, and couldnít finish even one blank piece with a mixture of Flex Coat. I used a thinner which was actually prohibited in the instruction. Though it seemed OK when I just finished all the guides, the epoxy never hardened fully. So, I had to scrape all the guides and their wrapping with razor blade, and did it all over. With all these failures, my skill had improved a lot, and somehow I finally finished the rod, just before the start of the last season. This was a short rod: 6 ft 3 in. There was no specification for the line weight with this rod. I tested it with #3-5 lines and decided to use it with a #4 line.
    With this new weapon in hand, there were two places I wanted to try. One of them is actually the nearest amago stream. Itís just 40 minute drive from my house, but I hadnít fished it for several years, since it hadnít been fishing well for years. I thought I gave it a try anyway, because the size of the stream is just for this rod and the other stream around my area were in terrible conditions thanks to the two very strong typhoons that had directly hit this area the year before.

    I wanted to take photos of the rod in a stream. If you donít look too close, it looks nice, doesnít it? As you see, I didn't darken the ferrules.

    To my surprise, the stream fished well, meaning that I caught several amago with the largest fish being just less than 8 inches.

    The rod was rather easy to cast for me. Since itís very short, its action is fast like a graphite rod. A perfect rod for a small stream.

    This stream is truly a gem, if only it fishes fair.

    The other place is a short stretch of a small river located near ReRise, which is my regular inn in the central mountain area. The stream is mostly open, but in that particular area, itís covered by thick trees and difficult to cast with a regular fly rod. In early June last year, I fished the stretch with the new rod with very good results.

    I could cast easily through the tunnel of branches, which was almost impossible with my 8ft graphite rod.

    I went to the first stream already in this season and it fished even better. This was partly because the timing was perfect: A warm rain in the previous day after a long winter drought, and numerous mayfly hatches throughout the stream in addition to the exceptionally warm and overcast day in the middle of March.

    Within 5 hours fishing, I caught 16 amago with two of them being 8 inches. (This is what I call ďexcellentĒ fishing in this area.)
    So, this is the story of my new rod.

    Now, Iím making a new landing net. Actually, the son-of-a-carpenter friend made the frame for me, and Iím finishing it. I hope I can show you the net with a nice trout in it, in the next occasion.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: bamboo rod and some small streams started by Satoshi View original post