Wednesday 3 July 2024

Why Bamboo? because its its a joy, thats why! and they are effective....

 After pretty much a lifetime of fishing and being a fly fisherman for 54 years now I have learned a bit about fly fishing ,  mainly I have learned that I really don’t know that much at all.  Technically there is so much to learn , Casting , line control, fly choice , the list goes on. Fly fishing is so satisfying because of that very fact . It is something that you will never be able to say "So that`s it I have learned what there is to learn." , when you do have a good day and you foolishly think to yourself that you are getting the hang of it . The next time you go to the river and you get your arse kicked soundly by a creature with a brain the size of a pea you realise that you are not quite the angler that you foolishly allowed yourself to believe, There are many many angling books a lot say pretty much the same thing , there have been a few published lately that are just a bit different , I have read a couple of them , both of them contained much original thought ,  Although it was the type of original thought that sort of hits you like the form teacher used to do at my boarding school. Which in his case was a good smack around the back of the head for not grasping what should be obvious, but as in life sometimes the obvious is there but it needs someone more able to actually point it out to you .  

The first book was "fly fishing Emerging heresies " by Peter Hayes . A challenging read that jumped about the field of fly fishing and made me think about things differently ,  not least about the downstream dry fly and which way the wind blows , if you want to know what I am on about then read the book .  The book brought to mind the first time I read " in the ring of the rise by Vincent Marinaro, It was the same sort of left field thought provoking stuff that in the ring of the rise inspired me years ago  .

 The other book " Long rods - Light lines: Some thoughts on Fly fishing by Dave Southall.  Now I am already an admirer of  Daves approach and thoughts ,  I have the good fortune  to enjoy his company and fish with him from time to time .  It is always a pleasure and usually a learning experience as well.  its a book that is eminently readable and one that can be dipped in and out of .  Dave is another original thinker and it is largely his influence that is behind the range of flies in my fly box gradually decreasing and also the size of the things diminishing too.

Anyway back to Bamboo.  my fly fishing started 50 odd  years ago with an ABU farflyte fibreglass and  over the decades I have had a clutch of self built carbon rods then as finances improved I  have worked my way through various high end brands , Sage , Winston , Scott and Orvis have all come and gone .  As my fly fishing has been almost exclusively river based and very largely small streams ,  I have increasingly become focussed on full action slower rods . Where short casts and delicacy of touch are the priority I have for many years enjoyed rods like Winston. Scott G and a particular favourite the Orvis Superfine touch all of which I do still possess. Now I frequently got roasted for this choice but for me on small streams for many years they were my only pick . 

Until, that is a good few years ago when I treated myself to a cane 6ft Chapmans built cane rod ,  built by friend Chas Burns in York .  Following that I have slowly built up a modest collection of Bamboo each new addition increased my appreciation of the material.  I have come to realise that in my opinion there really is nothing better than a bamboo rod for smaller streams. Rods up to about 7ft 6 inches perhaps 8ft and in the range 3 to 5 weight are perfection. For me the sweet spot is around 7ft and 3/4 weight  They really are an absolute pleasure to use .  In terms of real casting and fishing efficiency as well as the increased degree of feedback and delicacy that bamboo as a material gives the user . Especially when combined with a non stretch silk line.

This is not just some romantic notion but I would suggest that as fly anglers we all progress in different ways ,  Myself , during my lifetime I have been through all the usual phases .  Must catch more fish ,  then must catch more bigger fish ,  Must catch more fish of a certain species .  the progression goes on ,  I am at the phase now where I am lucky to fish some stunning wild streams . I have caught some decent sized fish and am no longer chasing targets,  I am of course happy when specimens come along , but for me now,  it is how do I  extract the maximum pleasure from the places I fish and the fish I catch there. 

Personally there is not greater pleasure than catching on a bamboo rod paired with a traditional reel and a treated silk line .People say to me " aren`t silk lines  a load of hassle and very expensive ?, Well hassle I would say only a little bit of care , outweighed by better casting in the wind , delicate presentation and superior for roll casting . Also they last almost indefinitely and actually improve with age.  Cost wise they are surprisingly economical , Look at the Moxon fly lines from barbless flies, they are excellent , If you are really worried about the care aspect take a look at the Terenzio revolution , I have one and use it regularly they are very good. 

I was chatting to a local Secretary /river keeper a few months back. He is on a river I don`t fish any more , We were having a chat and my bamboo rods came up , He was puzzled why I wasn`t embracing the latest ultra light hi tec carbons and extolled the virtues of high modulus this and Sintrix that , but not a mention of feel , delicacy or enjoyment I guess there are many folk the same they just don`t get it .  . Incidentally one of my offspring was struggling to time their casts and feel the rod load.  Half an hour borrowing and casting with my bamboo worked wonders , so much more feedback of what is going on .  Cost wise the rod in the second picture is a Hardy Hollolight  Hollokona 8ft 5 wt of the internet for about £300 the rod has two tips.  It was dead straight and in great condition ,  Very good bamboo rods can be obtained at reasonable costs if you know what you are looking at ,  

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Why Bamboo? because its its a joy, thats why! and they are effective....

 After pretty much a lifetime of fishing and being a fly fisherman for 54 years now I have learned a bit about fly fishing ,  mainly I have ...