The style of most of the series bamboo rods I make is a bit different than the traditional or standard treatment , but my own  nonetheless…reflecting a slightly more “organic” approach to angling, relying on things from nature itself to accent and give a final finish…something that for me has enhanced my own personal experience while pursuing trout with a fly…these rods are an extension of my own philosophy and view of not only angling, they are also my way of being in harmony with nature itself…

 

 

note:  I don’t list bamboo rods  or blanks as to their “action” like is done commonly with graphite rods, email me and I can give better descriptions as to what style of angling I would pursue with any given rod or blank I make…dry fly, streamer rod etc…most people familiar with bamboo have an idea of what they are looking for…

              WM does not , and will not copy proprietary tapers of other companies…or make “knock off’s” of classic or existing rods…

 

 

Here is a 7 foot 5 wt “Rainmaker” with a “Full Wells” style grip I turned…I used the “Lemke” reel seat hardware here with one of my “Osage Orange” inserts…this is an awesome dry fly rod…after casting this rod to figure out the best line to recommend, it was hard to let it go…

 

  You will see right off  that I take this all pretty serious…and all of this is truly a “Labor of Love ” for me…I appreciate you checking out my rods, nets & other items…. There are many places to get your angling gear, especially bamboo fly rods,  I am very grateful for you are giving me an opportunity to show you mine…wm

 

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The rod in this pic has a butt extension with an Elk antler cap…there are lots of times this feature comes in handy, not just what some call a “fighting butt”…it works great as a help popping up the rod in a stack mend, and even helps sticking in my shirt pocket or tucked into my wader belt when my hands are full trying to tie on a bug…especially those really small dry’s & 6 0r 7 size tippet material…

 

 

                   On this rod  is a replica reel from a very old pattern I love to use…from a time of  silk fly lines & horse hair leaders… there have been lots of materials used over time pursuing trout with a rod, way before the advent of super graphite’s , highly CNC’ed reels, high tech fluorocarbon , and a personal favorite of mine…rubber C&R bags for my landing nets…things have come a long was as far as what we use chasing trout with a fly…I have tried to make  my gear in a style reminiscent of an older time… also incorporating my own artistic approach and influence from my Rocky Mountain heritage…

 

“RainMaker” series special edition rod…

 

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… here is a winding check detail on a spey model…

 

 

The modern roots of fly fishing really started with the use of 15-18 foot rods made from alder, cherry or similar and use hand tied silk fly lines with horse hair leaders and tippets…so there is really plenty of room to explore various possibilities.

 

 

Above is one of my special edition sries rods…”Rainmaker”…using materials like sinew and antler … gear can also be a extension of ourselves too, and our own personal philosophy…a blend of the old, new & even unorthodox …this pastime is a lot more of an art form for many, and an arena that can be appreciated from many approachs… here I used a combination of medium and dark cork rings in the grip glue up, and carved a few rings from  Mule Deer and Elk sheds for accents…and th natural beaty of Zebrawood for the reel seat insert…

 

 

The wood used for the insert is from a batch over 25 years old…the tree was close to 100 years old when the thunderstorm took it down…twisters from that same storm came pretty close to my home that night…leaving me a very special gift behind…that Osage tree…

 

rm_8…here is one of my custom turned “Osage Orange” reel seat insert’s…

 

This wood was used back then for long bow lamination’s in my old traditional archery shop…I kept a small amount over the years and turned it into some reel seat inserts. The wood from this species is nothing less than “Magic”…super strong, resistant to everything, and has the most incredible irridescent grains and color imaginable…having worked with hardwoods for over 40 years. I can think of no other wood that matches it for its special characteristics…but I am sort of partial too… golden & amber colors are my favorite for sure, and a perfect match for natural bamboo ,sinew, cork & antler…

 

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above is a hand made silver soldered frame stripping guide I use on some of my bamboo rods…all special edition trout rods, and also as an option for any other trout size rod…I use an agate ring’s that come in various shades of amber, burnt orange colors…they are a very special accent that go along very well with that colors of all the materials I use in my rods… Teak & Osage reel seat inserts, bamboo itself with the spar and tung oil finish I rub in, and especially the color of the sinew wraps under the epoxy coating the way I finish them…

 

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Fly fishing and making my own rods has always had a spiritual component for me…using gear that reflects nature and actually is composed of materials that are indigenous from my haunts makes them even more special …Hearing an Elks bugle , seeing the golden colors of September Aspens , the sight of gin clear water flowing around my boots, the first snow on some peaks in the distance…and a rod I crafted with this experience in mind is for me  being a part of  “The  Full Circle “…my calculus for peace and harmony with something I love so very much…

 

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Here is another view of one of the  reel seat hardware’s I am using …the insert is from “Osage Orange” from my ancient wood stocks …a beautiful color compliment for the amber colors of the sinew, the antler and of course the natural color of Bamboo..

 

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I carve all my antler accents from Elk & Mule Deer harvest I have made over the years…the tedious work involved has a special reward in its unique appearance and connection with the Nature I love so much…

 

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 …also one of the “old style” reels with some details again from antler…

 

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        The sinew wraps under the epoxy coating have a prismatic & magnifying effect…very similar to a prehistoric insect trapped in a piece of real “amber”, locking the handiwork  into that matrix forever…showing the handiwork of the wrap and natural characteristics of  the sinew , being imperfect in its own way…

 

 

The twists made by hand are visible in a special way high lighting the variations of shade and color found in the sinew…having a special beauty all its own…this “bee hive” winding check is on one of the “Western” style grips I turn.

 

…here is my signature “Bee Hive” winding check on a “Full Wells” Style cork grip I turn…

  

 

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…my two handers get a lot of attention to the grips…a lot more cork to work with on these…I love to flair out the ends to help as a stop….also allowing larger diameters and contours to get a better grip while casting out longer lengths of line.

 

…my 6′ 6″  4 wt. ,”DreamCatcher” series fly rod ,”Trout  Fisher” net and my machined reel w/anodized finish…

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…on this rod I carved an antler accent for the reel seat on the upper end…

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…sometimes I carve my WM logo in areas like this…on this butt extension I decided not to since it was just way too  beautiful!…

…the pores of the Elk antler are really similar to the way nature grows bamboo…

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~my 6& 1/2 ft. 4 weight set up for wet’s~

                

     

           When deciding to make my own rods the main focus was of course to make ones that cast smoothly, with a  balanced  action &  with a “natural” feel … Bamboo can meet all these needs in a very special way…It does more of the work, storing energy in it by means of its incredible design…longitudinal fibers that are magically connected to the outer fiber wall, being individual and a part of the whole simultaneously…something science and the “high tech ” can only imitate… they use the fibers of composite strands and epoxies to form the matrix, Bamboo does it by means of the Sun, Water, Soil and photosynthesis…and of course its intrinsic code deep inside…to me its pretty obvious which is closer to the earth…and is probably the best reason I chose to use it for angling.

 

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       I make all my birch bark accents ahead of time to insure the best bond possible…I offer these in my custom turned grips as an option, and an integral component of my special edition rods…from taking the raw material harvested from trees that have lived out their lives…preparing it , and selecting pieces in a way that shows off the natural beauty of this material…they look so nice mixed in with the natural cork rings , sinew and antler accents!

 

…This is a Special Edition  was named “Crazy Horse“…I made for an angling friend who lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the haunt of that famous Native American Chief…he fishes the Pactola tailwater, a nice C&R stream in the Black Hills area.

 

 

 

I recently saw an old ad from the 40’s that was about fly fishing and products available…man have things changed…and I’m not so sure for the better…its seeing ad’s which  like that inspired me, that we don’t always have to be like the “status quo” dictates…and I am quite sure this is a real big part of why I am doing things the way I do. You must remember that in the 1850’s Bamboo was considered a new medium by the old school anglers !

 

             

  

            … teak reel seat insert,with sinew & epoxy  reinforced cork grips makes for a very special effect…not only beautiful…but extremely durable in an area that can get a lot of wear and tear…I have re-gripped many rods for folks because this spot began to come apart…

 

…the con-caved sinew wrap on the full wells cork grip…

              Every rod is basically a “one off” , each with its own personal character …by virtue of the materials used,  extensive handwork in the accents, and of course the intrinsic beauty of bamboo…the sinew wraps adds  incredible strength, providing an interesting matrix of epoxy and this traditional material … making for a special beauty, with a prismatic effect under sunlight…the hand carved antler accent rings add a special dimension too…connecting  with the world of  nature …

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…Rocky Mountain Summer…when the run off ends, the grasses are growing, and the fishing is awesome…

          The handwork is reminiscent of a “shamans” ormedicine mans” staff or a special Native American  object  for ceremony…the teak insert on the reel seats of my trout rods provides not only a super water and rot resistant  wood, but also having a color that matches the other ingredients perfectly… the end result is a rod that is very unique in appearance…and one that will bring time angling to a new level for someone that appreciates such things…

 

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 … the combination of sinew wraps with epoxy coating makes a prismatic effect in sunlight…

                     The series names are from all my rods I make come from Native American culture & tradition…the use of a “Talisman ” for good luck was something a special value to their hunter/gatherer culture…placing something from a previous harvest, added a sign of respect for their quarry…and was meant to bring them luck and success, by honoring the spirits of those creatures that adorned their gear…

 

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                   The colors created by the matrix of sinew and the protective epoxy are perfect…with a prismatic effect apparent when sunlight hits them together… the amber hue also being a balanced match with the natural colors of bamboo, cork and the teak wood inserts… the ivory color of the antler accents makes for a pretty special combination, having small flecks of gray, black and brown highlights of the bone and marrow from antlers…making these rod’s not only something to enjoy fishing, but also from an aesthetic point of view, having a deep connection with the environment they come from…something I very much bear witness to as well…

 

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                The “Tailwater Caddis”…a dark version of a mature sedge…Mule Deer fur has the perfect  dark grey & black colors  to match the caddis hatch in places like Clear Creek…by virtue of the “hollow” construction of deer fur it makes a perfect material for dry fly’s…

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…some of my standard finish rods…
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                    All my rods are lettered in permanent white ink with the rod model &  owners name, serial number on all sections and any special remarks desired, under two coats of spar poly…

 

 

…reel seat butt detail on my standard finish series…

…antler reel seat caps are a very nice compliment for the Tich finish reel  seat and teak wood inserts…

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The colors of the sinew check on the rear of the cork grip and the teak reel seat insert are a perfect match, not only for appearance, but also very durable materials as well…

 

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…sunshine makes the colors of the sinew, resin & teak come alive…

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I use extra large tip-tops to allow for leader attachments to easily glide through…especially helpful when using the longer leaders typical with dry fly’s or dropper rigs…

 

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…ferrule and snake guide details…

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…just a slight flick of the wrist and the wraps can take on a very different prismatic appearance…

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…every rod piece is serial numbered as a part of the set…this rod was completed on July 7th 2012 …

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…prismatic amber colors…

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   …some  “Lemke” reel seat hardware I started using on several models…

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…”The Trilogy”…a recent fly of the month pattern…

all photos and text are property of Wandering Monk Fly Rod Co.tm
and can be only used with permission
DreamCatcher series,Talisman series and Shaman series
are all trademarks of wmflyrodco.com