There are some very nice bamboo fly rods being made today, by craftspeople every bit as talented and innovative as famous rod builders of the past, but one of the things that attracts many anglers to old, used, bamboo fly rods is that they are old and have been used. The workmanship of the builder ensures their durability, and many rods made as far back as the early 1900s, or even earlier, still see service today. Part of the fascination they hold is the thought that they have stories to tell. How could a rod that has been fished for 50 or 75 or even 100 years not have stories to tell?
Those old rods were once brand new and, like the anglers who cast them, they acquired their patina over time, little by little, cast by cast. Every outing adds another page to the story and this is one page near the beginning of one rod’s story.
The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Rods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.
My time with the Fall River Rods “South Fork” is over. I’ve written my journal entry and sent the whole shebang on its way to the next lucky angler on the list. It’s a great rod to fish with and a lot of fun to cast but, as I discovered, some of the best qualities of bamboo shine brightest away from the water.