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Design A Bamboo Fly Rod

Don Andersen

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A couple of years ago I asked you folks to help me design a fly rod. Here is your chance for another.


For near 25 years I’ve donated a bamboo fly rod towards the activities of Trout Unlimited. First to the Red Deer Chapter, then to Calgary TU and for the past 5 years to the Lloyd Shea Fund run by the Edmonton TU group. Presently the Edmonton TU guys are using the monies for Grayling Research.

Over the years I’ve selected what I thought would do the best as a fund raiser and then it occurred to me that the folks who buy tickets or wish a bamboo rods might like to design the rod themselves.

So here are the design parameters.

1] The rod has to be between 6’>8’ long and carry a 2>6 weight line.

2] The rod has to be of two pieces.

3] The rod will carry a downlocking reel seat or either my design or Bellingers. In the case of my own design, I have a large selection of hardwoods available.

4] The handle must be no less than 5.5” long or great then 6.5” long and will not include weird rings of compressed or coloured cork.

5] The handle shape can be of any design and your choice should be described in a picture or good drawing. Dimensions are important with the typical handle approx. 1” OD @ the widest point.

6] The thread warps colours are your choice providing they pass a “good taste test”. The wraps can be accented with trim wraps of 2>5 turns of thread. Below is a typical thread wrap

7] The hookkeeper can be of several designs including strap and ring, loop or Hopkins and Holloway folder.

8] The stripped will be a Midrum carboly and chrome plated snakes. You can spec. Perfection, Pac Bay or Hopkins and Holloway.

9] The rod can be of either my tapers or from taper archives of rod companies. I have a relatively large collection of historic tapers.


The rod will be constructed of Tonkin Bamboo and is provided with two tips, a cloth bag and an aluminum case.


The rod designed above will be available for the 2017 fund raiser. The rod for the 2016 raffle is already complete and tickets will be available through the Edmonton TU/Northern Lites Fly Tying Club. The 2016 rod is a 7’9” 5 wt. rod with the first taper constructed about 1988. I’ve probably made near 50 of them.


Any questions? Please ask them on this site.


If you wish to view my work, head to http://bamboorods.ca/new4a.xhtml


For an education on building bamboo fly rods, try these:


* http://classicflyrodforum.com/forum/

* http://www.bamboorodmaking.com/index.html






Don Andersen

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Hi Don, I went through your site again. So many choices!!!

Since we have a 5 weight this year (which I am planning to win), I'll need a 3 weight next year.


Here's my dream rod:

1] 7'9" 3 wt

2] Two pieces.

3] Downlocking reel seat - Don's design, maple burl hardwood

4] Traditional handle 6.5”, traditional cork

5] Cigar handle, this one looks great.

6] Claret wraps, trim wrap of metallic gold.

7] Simple fixed hook keeper.

8] The stripper will be a Midrum carboly and Hopkins and Holloway chrome plated snakes.

9] Modified Garrison taper.

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Hi ya Don


I agree with Ken's thoughts with one exception....it is my plan to win this years 5 weight rod. I have the pleasure of fishing one of Don's bamboo rods in a 7'9" 2 piece in a 3 weight TU Taper and I love it......makes my day on the stream a truly awesome day. A dream rod to cast....man, I just got to win this years rod.


I think that Ken's description for the 2017 rod would be a hit and I got to say that the claret wraps would really make for a beautiful rod.



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Thanks for the opportunity Don,

I would like your "Original" in a 3pce., 3 or 5wt. to be placed in a case in my backpack for hiking in. Unfortunately a lot more work for you. But you did ask....

Wishful thinking on Vince's part, it's my turn.....


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You will note in Don's post that item number 2 stated that the rod has to be a 2 piece. No wishful thinking on my part...I will win the rod but John, please buy as many tickets as possible as the proceeds go to a good cause.


John, when I win the rod I'll let you use it for a day provided it is on a "downsouth stream" that you and I have fished along with one of the best guides in that area.



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In my excitement, I missed the 2 piece, but I have tried one of Don's masterpieces and they are a treasure to behold and cast. I like that "when I win the rod"... But as some of your old uncles use to say, "He made me an offer I can't refuse", so we will have to go down south and give it a go regardless.

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Folks, I'm in the midst of compiling the responses from various forums and facebook about the rod. To date, the line weights vary from 3>5 with the rod length 7'6", 7'9" and 8'0" with the most popular 7'9". The responses indicated dry fly presentations which indicates a quicker taper. The thread colour varied from purple > reds > claret. Handle shape wasn't an issue. Not a lot of input on reel seats although one poster wanted more "Bling". Not sure what that means. So, I'm getting close to the selection. If there is a stanch runner up, I may do that rod for the 2018 fund-raiser.





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