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  • Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    Arundinaria Amabilis (aka: Pseudosasa amabilis)

    Should'a Heard Us 40 Years Ago
    what goes around comes around
    .. The resurgence of Bamboo in the last 15 years has brought a resurgence of 'mystic' to the fly fishing world - as if it needed it.
    .. The "now-mainstream-again" rod material is drawing attention from news sources, bloggers, and of course fisher folks. It has all the elements to make it desirable.
    .. It's exotic, it's beautiful, it's elegant, it's full of mystery, it's functional, it's rare, it's expensive, it's diverse, it's - - - well, it's heavenly.
    .. TC over at The Trout Underground is busy extolling the virtues of his Phillipson rods, and is currently in mid series, (#1, #2, #?) The Times Herald Record recently had a couple of articles on the tea stick wands: Nothing Compares To Bamboo Rods, and All About Fly-Fishing's Bamboo Guys. And, of course, Business Week has been pushing the rods as perfect executive gifts.
    .. Forty years ago, many were eschewing the grass for glass. Fenwick was in, Leonard was out. Ahhh, how times change. Now, again, it's glass and grass: rightly so. Not, we dare say, for all fishing - but certainly for trout.
    .. We have some nice old double and triple built deep sea rods but more modern materials are a bit more substantial when hauling in a giant Black Marlin. How did "Papa" and "Zane" do it?
    .. Look carefully at the prices of all kinds of fly rods. Machine made and hand wrapped for $1,000, (with a klutz-proof lifetime guarantee,) OR the same for a pre-loved classic with a lifetime of love - no contest!
    .. From the beginning the split cane rod is American - what a blessing. From the shop of a master gunsmith came the first rent bamboo rod. It has been a desirable object ever since.
    .. We have far too many of the damn things and have watched the monetary aspect of them fluctuate wildly in the last 50 or so years.
    .. But, it's not the money; it's the memory. Each is personal, and has it's own story. A gift, a find, a trade, a treasure sought, etc. From the early Calcutta to the recent Tonkin all are mysterious and fine tools. They fish with us as friends, and their maker's ghosts are happy about it.
    .. Over the years we've gathered up reels and rods that "go together." Some exotic and fancy, others mundane and pedestrian; they give us a bit of nostalgic pleasure as we fish. We could only wish that each fly fisher would gather up a period piece or two, and fish it. The blue-collar rods of the past are still around; the same for the reels. Seek and ye shall find. It's not expensive, it's enlightening.
    .. The various actions - from terrible to superb - will enlighten you. The length and noodle like qualities of some, will astound you. Fish an early Calcutta rod for a day. Adjust to it's idiosyncrasies. Become friends with it. And in the process you will discover more about the sport. You will adapt, you will cuss, you will long for something better, and you will be hooked. Then get something better.
    .. The curious thing about these things is their individuality. No cookie cutters here. Sort of like the fly fishers we've met. The arguments about "best" are interesting. Craftsmanship can be objectified: -- feel, and personal fit -- well to each his own.
    .. We've not met a fisher on the streams that wasn't curious about our outfits. We, certainly, try to be obliging. However there is no knowledge like first hand knowledge. Go get one and try it.
    .. Use you mouse to visit the Bamboo Broker, click over to see about the way bamboo grows, it's even come full circle and the Hexagraph is a modern mimic - now there's a compliment!
    .. Buy one, borrow one, or whatever - no guarantees - but the trip will be worth the price of admission.
    .. We can't wish to be buried with our old rods, like TC can: we couldn't afford all the other caskets.