Why Fish Bamboo
There is a saying in fly fishing “a graphite rod will make an angler what he’s not; a bamboo rod will show him what he’s not”. Fishing with bamboo is a completely different experience than graphite or fiberglass. The main difference being that bamboo is a natural fiber, bamboo is alive in your hand, meaning that you can feel every aspect of fishing bamboo, from the tailing loop of your cast to the weight of a set trout from the tip of your rod all the way through your casting arm.
A major complaint about bamboo fly rods in the fly fishing industry is about the weight of rods, which is true. Bamboo fly rods are heavier than their counterpart options on the market. This however can be seen as one of their best qualities as well. Bamboo fly rods force an angler to slow down their cast and focus on their form and presentation of the fly. A well-executed cast on a bamboo rod can not be duplicated with a rod made from artificial materials. Perfecting your cast on a bamboo fly rod will improve your presentation on every rod that you fish. It will also improve your casting strength and muscle memory.
Critics of bamboo often think of an old aged yellow, beat up rod that they remember fishing with in their childhood or possibly have come across in a thrift store. While “those” poor quality bamboo rods are still out there, they are a far cry from the beautiful pieces of functional art that modern day bamboo rod builders are making today or the highly collectable vintage bamboo fly rods built by the original master builders. Between the level of craftsmanship, quality components on the market, and resources available for bamboo rod builders to perfect their craft, the quality of handcrafted bamboo has increased exponentially in the last century. You can even take a class and learn how to build your own bamboo fly rod.
There is a resurgence of the concept of functional art in the fine art world right now. This is being provoked by growing environmental concerns along with the importance of individuality in an increasingly mass produced world. Bamboo fly rods compliment this movement beautifully; being function to fly fish with, intrinsically beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, and built from bamboo. Bamboo is an amazing grass that is actively helping our environment while being versatile enough to make endless products from. Did you know that Tonkin bamboo, which is used in the making of premium split cane bamboo rods, can be harvested every four years verses the decades it takes to grow and harvest a hardwood? Additionally, since bamboo is a grass rather than a tree it continues to grow after being harvested. Meaning that a grove of bamboo continues to release 35% more oxygen than trees even while being actively harvested.
While there will always be critics of bamboo rods, the reasons to try fishing with bamboo far outweigh what some may call the drawbacks of bamboo fly rods. If you are interested in a complimentary demo of one of our PJ’s Fine Bamboo Rods on the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, Colorado or in taking a class that focuses on building your own bamboo fly rod, landing net, or learning to tie your own flies, please give us a call or check out our website for more details.