There are many rod materials available to anglers today. None is better than the other, but each has its own unique characteristics. In my opinion, bamboo excels as a trout rod material for rods up to six weight and lengths anywhere between five and eight feet. It is certainly possible to make rods outside of these parameters, but for chasing trout in Australia, this range offers many excellent tapers that are a pleasure to fish.

Modern bamboo rods are very different to the pre-conceived ideas held by many anglers. Prior to the introduction of fibreglass and graphite, an Australian experience of bamboo probably resulted in the use of a long, slow, full flexing rod from the UK. Today, the majority of tapers being used have originated from North America. Combined with modern glues, these produce rods with medium to fast actions that surprise many first time users.

The rivers and creeks that I have fished in the Snowy Mountains since 1986 have generally determined the rods I make. This includes longer five weights for waters like the Thredbo River, three and four weights rods for the open alpine creeks or shorter rods in the six foot range for the tighter, enclosed feeder streams.

Each rod takes approximately fifty hours to make. The bamboo culm is split into strips which are in turn staggered to offset the nodes. After being cut to length, the strips are planed to introduce an un-tapered equilateral triangle and then heat treated. Final planing introduces the taper which requires settings that are determined in thousandths of an inch. Once the planing is completed the strips are glued together to form the blank. Sanding, wrapping guides, varnishing as well as grip shaping and attaching a reel seat, complete the rod.

Lately I have also been experimenting with some fibreglass blanks from Japan and the United States. Whilst they will never replace bamboo as my preferred rod material, they are enjoyable to fish and make a suitable, medium actioned small stream rod. The blanks come in a translucent yellow or white glass finish and are visually very appealing. The addition of silk wraps, grip and reel seat results in a nice build.

If you should have any questions in regards to bamboo or fibreglass rods, please do not hesitate to contact me.