Fly Fishing

Piscifun fly fishing reels


First Published in Harper's Magazine - April 1885

The rod should be the best, whatever material it may be made from. Lancewood, greenheart, bethabara, and many other woods are capable of being converted into an excellent fly-rod, provided the material is good of it's kind, and it has been fashioed by the hands of a skilled workman. Rent and glued - or, as it is now more generally termed, split - bamboo unquestionably stands first as a material in the general estimation of experts in this country. In the fly-casting tournaments held year after year at Central Park in New York it has gradually supplanted all other kinds of rod, and certainly in it strength, lightness, and that steely spring which is the acme of perfection in a fly-rod are found to a degree unequalled in any other known material.

These rods are made by gluing six strips of Calcutta bamboo together in such a way that a cross section of the completed rod forms a hexagon. The rind of the bamboo is placed on the outside, and is untouched in the manufacture, since therein lies all the virtues that the material possesses.

The variety of bamboo used for this purpose may be distinguished by the charred marks on it's yellow cuticle, without which none seems to be imported into this country. noone in the least familiar with this bamboo can have failed to remark these burns, always present, yet never alike. To the split-bamboo rodmaker they are a perfect nuisance, forcing him to reject altogether many a cane otherwise excellent. So every one, surprised that so much labor should be expended merely, as far as is apparent, to injure the cane, naturally asks why this is done.

Reasons are as plentiful as blackberries, and so, of course, there is no lack in this case. Here are a few samples, assigned by those who said they knew all about it.
1. It is a religious ceremony.
2. They are roasted over a large gridiron to kill the larvae of boring insects.
3. It is merely for purpose of ornament.
4. The bamboos grow in jungles matted together with all manner of climbing and tenacious vines; before they can be extricated the jungle must be fired to destroy these creepers.
5. That the canes are roasted over a gridiron to burn off the leaves and creepers attached to them, as the most simple and expeditious way to get rid of them.
6. That it is done with a hot iron, each cane being treated separately, merely to straighten them.

I have heard others, but these are quite sufficient for a liberal exercise of personal prediliction, my own being towards a combination of the reasons numbered 4 and 6.