Some 20 years ago I fell in love with
I decided to
learn to build some of the best bamboo fly rods that ever unfolded a fly
line over weary trout. At that time, I did not realize, what a task I had
set myself, and that this was only the beginning of a lifelong learning
learning the basics of rod building by experimenting with different
techniques to find those giving me the best results as well as suiting me
obtained the basic skills needed to build a structurally sound rod, I started to
study rod design, experimenting with all kinds of stress curves to learn the
effect of changes in the stress curves and the resulting rod actions.
From the beginning I decided not to copy any rods whatsoever, and besides
building a Garrison's 209E I only built my own tapers.
I wanted to find my own
way, my own style and not copy other maker's work. Of course I did get
inspiration by casting and fishing the rods of other makers, but instead of
taking measurements of the rod's taper and then building copies, I tried to
design an action to give the same feeling as the one that impressed me. This
method is of course very time consuming, especially in the beginning, but
during the years, this method has given me a good understanding of rod
design, and the past few years I have felt at ease with all kinds of
different rod actions for rods up to 9'.
intention from the beginning was to be able to build some excellent rods for
my own fishing (good bamboo rods are expensive, especially for a poor
student), I got so involved in this process that I stopped my studies of
classical music and became a student of the bamboo fly rod instead.
The word spread
that there was a guy building some nice fly rods and in the beginning of the
1980s I had enough orders to start as a full time professional. My
income in the beginning was just enough to survive, but at that time I did
not care. I was obsessed with rod building and rod design and with testing
the results of my efforts.
started the period I call: My years of bamboo talk.
The more I learned
about bamboo, the more I was impressed by this fantastic material, and
during the many hours in my workshop, bamboo and I started to talk together
in a kind of telepathic way. I told the bamboo about what I wished it to do
and why, bamboo told me what it was capable of, what it liked and
what it disliked.
In the beginning
this conversation was considerable, -I had so much to learn!
But as years went by
the relationship between bamboo and me became more like that of an old,
married couple: a little smile, a wrinkling of the eyebrows is all it
takes and the other part understands.
Now, having built more than 700
rods and being 50 years of age, I consider myself a mature master of the