Several years ago I ventured in the world of ” two handed rods”…I started out fishing & building Graphite models…and in recent years I started to make and fish my own bamboo switch and spey rods…to go along with the bamboo trout rods I had been making…the result for me was something magical…the action of bamboo compared to the composite materials was stark…the energy that bamboo stored in it, along with the artistic rhythm I achieved casting them…made me a believer forever…
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                    On this rod I used some birch bark rings I made from a lightning struck  tree for some accents that not only have a magical look about them, but are also very durable for the transition from the antler butt, and also the edges where the cork meets the channel lock reel seat…
~birch bark rings I made under a coating of resin have an incredible look to them!~
~a super compliment to the sinew braiding & antler accents and bamboo~
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~my “Golden Eagle” series rod~
 ~this rod is as fun to look at as it is to fish, I believe a rod like this elevates your experience angling…
 After “swinging” the “off the rack” style cork out there, I’ve tried to make my grip’s as comfortable and functional as possible, also the flowing curves for sure are attractive to the eye!~
…birch bark is not only exceptionally beautiful, its also easily 4X more durable than standard cork…
 
rt_400~a 6wt. spey is a perfect set up for the  Kokanee spawn ~
                     I’m trying  to put in some of my art into these functional fishing tools…whether its gluing up birch bark rings from some materials a friend harvested for me…carving out accent rings from elk and mule deer antler my dog Dakota and I find…or wrapping my guides all with hand split sinew…not the norm for rod making…I’m aware of that… these are all an extension of my approach to angling…attempting to blend in nature and the actual needs of an angling tool…
                     The flared “bell” at both ends not only looks cool, but act as functional locators for your thumb on your top hand & the grip of your lower , for a secure and comfortable connection with the rod …
                 This is a “Two Hander”  that has my decorative sinew braiding along with birch bark ring accents I made from remnants of a lightning struck tree. The birch bark rings have 6 layers of bark glued up…then I coat them with resin. They are extremely durable as well as good looking too!
                A12″ fore grip and a 6″ butt on this one…the styling is my standard “full wells” type fore end. I used 6 stripping guides on this one to add to smooth casting and retrieving…I also used the “Pac-Bay” channel lock reel seat , it is very easily adjusted and has a solid locking mechanism I like with bigger reels.
                   When I’m not fly fishing I’m usually dreaming about it…how much better a way for me to show that is to include materials and crafting that not only respects the creation…but also deviate from the typical methods done by most. There are lots of solid craftsman out there making excellent products…what I do is try and make the angling experience a bit more…if that comes across as lofty and arrogant I apologize…that’s not my intention…only to express my art in something that for decades has caused me so much joy and fulfillment.
~the clear epoxy coating provides a special “prismatic” layer to view the hand wraps~
                 …a recently completed 12 foot 6 weight “Chinook”…a great low water steelhead or all around trout rod…this rod has a flared grip at both ends…with sinew & a burnt ring for  accents…I really like the contrast of the fully flamed blank & sinew … I make these rods in blonde/amber, spot flamed and full flamed style…
IMG_5466 copy~I use a variation of “burnt” cork rings for accents as well~
           There is no real scientific data on this that I know of, other than the effect of “hardening” the exterior layer a bit,   flaming supposedly can add an extra “spring”  or tempering to the bamboo other than the standard kiln drying, since it is done before the raw bamboo is placed in a kiln … most that like the treatment  because of the varied colors it creates.
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              Here is a “blonde” blank with a simple accent on the fore grip…I put a resin coating over the very front part of the full wells for protection and extra strength…it also gives a nice look into the pores of the cork as well.
             The mixture of the Bamboo, natural and burnt cork, sinew & even birch bark. Then with elk and mule deer antler and the glazing effect from the resin create a different appearance than most imagine from a bamboo rod. If I have a “trademark”, it would be my attempt to create functional rods that are also my own personal art using organic materials rather than the more traditional ones…
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                    …on spey length rods I use 6-7 stripping guides to give the best performance possible, from easier and smoother retrieves, also that extra glide effect on the final release and haul…I use ceramic guides standard but can also supply the gold titanium nitride  or the “REC’ recoil style stripping guides for effect…
…these rods are full flexing…winding check to tip top!…
             I am offering a “Kit” now that includes a matching  12 ft. 5/6 weight spey and an 8 footer two piece dry/wet rod…the “Good Medicine” series…contact me for details…
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…a few years ago, testing  a new “tied in hand” pattern out with a “blonde” 11ft 7wt…
     In recent years I began making my own “two handed” rods too from bamboo, as I have been doing with my trout rods for a while…the pleasure of this material is magnified with the style of “swinging” a spey rod …the energy that is stored in bamboo is exceptional, and the feel is something hard to describe…the bamboo does more of the work for you…and since casting, or better put, swinging a spey rod is an essential aspect of this style fishing…the two were made for one another.
yard_bird 2~sometimes big “feather dusters” like this are the ticket…
bamboo has more than enough energy in it to lay these out beautifully~
                  …since the first time “swinging” a two hander, my approach to angling changed forever…having been a fly angler for several decades I thought I knew my pursuit…was I ever mistaken…the joy of the involvement , and the artistic rhythm was something that had an allure I had never experienced before…then when I started to make bamboo rods , and made my first spey model… it was like fly fishing for the very first time again…

 

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…a favorite “low water” pattern of minehere is a “tied in hand”  hocus-pocus…
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                   The “Golden Eagle” is a majestic raptor that ranges the western states and Rocky Mountains…it has a wingspan of 6-8feet…capable of easily catching salmon & steelheads or prey even as large as elk and mule deer calves…it soars over the lakes , streams & mountains and manages to fish for the same quarry as I seek with my gear…this creature is highly revered by Native American culture…and I use its name to honor it and bring me some good luck…
                   The “Chinook” is a Native American name associated with a strong front of weather moving in. Anyone that has witnessed this occurance know that moments before its arrival can create a flurry of animal and fish activity. the incredible layer of dark clouds over a clear horizon is truly an incredible sight.
                  The “Silvertip” is a name that references a Grizzly Bear in its own glory…its fur waving in the wind with the tips of sun worn fur glistening like silver…my experience seeing one fishing for salmon is something that I can never forget…
…Chinook clouds over our cabin @8,000 feet,  harbinger of a serious front coming in…
~what a beautiful introduction for the weather moving in!~
…my switch & spey rods  model  base prices…
…the ” Chinook”…
3 piece …6 – 8wt.11-12′ switch and spey ……………………………………………$1150.00
…the “Silvertip”…
3 piece…9/10wt.13 & 1/2′ spey’…………………………………….$1250.00
…”The Golden Eagle”…
3 piece 6-8 wt. 11-13 &1/2 foot special edition switch or spey……..starting prices @$1450.00
…all my rods come with an extra matched tip section at no extra cost…
…I use 5 stripping guides on switch models, 6-7 on longer speys…
…gunsmoke ss w/ black ceramic ring stripping guides std…
…gold titanium nitride stripping guides available add $75 for switch,$100 for speys …
…Elk antler & braided sinew accent crest add $150…(std. on GE)
…Mule Deer antler ferrule accents add $100 per section…
…Elk antler reel seat add $200…
…antler butt cap standard, rubber available n/c…
…fancy grip details are no problem if desired…burnt cork, birch bark etc…
…additional antler accents, sinew braiding and fancy grip details extra costs based on time involved…

…the special edition series are numbered from 1-100 and come in either flamed or blonde finish and come with all of the extra options available …each one is unique and never to be exactly matched again…

 

…scroll down for more details and pictures of a few of  my rods…
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…a 12′ 6wt  w/ a flamed blank…the contrast of sinew and the flaming is pretty nice…
                          The switch and spey models are patterned after proven European and American tapers…for either “scandi” or “skagit” style casting, capable of using the largest style patterns if desired…these rods are a joy to cast…picking up where composite materials leave off…bamboo being a very forgiving material, can add substantially to the style of not only an accomplished angler, but also someone learning…
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          Bamboo  loads the line a bit slower than composites, requiring a bit less energy to cast, once the rythm has been acquired & learned …when I initailly switched to bamboo from graphite , and learned to be a bit more patient,  letting the rod do the work and not me, it really”clicked” something inside…really fluid …the intrinsic qualities of bamboo from nature, make these rods are a true joy to cast and fish…
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                    “spey & switch” two handed  rods made from bamboo have exceptionally smooth and rhythmic quality about them…something that has to be experienced to really appreciate… these rods are designed for casting  small dry or wet patterns with “scandi”  type rigs & shooting heads or  floating lines and leaders, to larger  salmon and steelhead flies…

    …the “hand rubbed” oil and spar finish makes for an exceptional protective coating on the bamboo blank…it effectively seals in the natural beauty and prevents moisture and sunlight from entering in and doing its damage, but at the same time enhancing the awesome colors of bamboo.

 

 ~I match up shades of sinew to either blend in , as above, or provide contrast to the color of the bamboo~

I use 7 stripping guides on my speys for better retrieve characteristics, and also very notable smoothness in cast and pick up of stripped line in a final haul…starting at 16mm and going down to 8mm before the snake pattern starts… I use either ceramic ring guides or a stainless steel guide that has gold oxide ring inserts sinew & epoxy makes for an incredibly strong bond …

 

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…here is a 2X real life view of the winding check , hook keeper and fore grip detail…

…serial number is basically the day numerically I turn the cork on…

 

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… bamboo can handle larger species with no problem…and are very effective swinging larger patterns…

yard_bird 5~on this spey rod I used antler accents where the reel seat meets the cork~

                   

I turn all my grips from natural cork rings …the winding checks and caps etc are all wrapped in sinew or can have  optional decorative rings I carve from Elk or Mule Deer antler…a 14″ fore grip and 6″ butt is standard, but custom sizes and designs can easily be turned…the spey grips can also have “indicators” built into their design, for helping hand location…I also install a hook keeper in front of the winding check…medium and dark “burnt”  cork rings can also be used for appearance. I can also use the sliding graphite rings for reel mounts for those that prefer, allowing fine tuning balance points with varying reels & lines…

 

BW_9~here I used graphite “slide rings” to mount various reels sizes and weights~

 

I offer as an option to install the graphite rings prior to turning the grip, this is done in lieu of the standard type reel seat set up. This allows for fine tuning balance with different reels and lines. I test the balance points of a few different reels to determine the best parameters for the slide area , for example a  reel with a heavier line and a machined one with a lighter…helping to get a perfect balance point. I install two burnt rings at the boundaries and seal them for an accent.

 

…a typical winding check and hook keeper detail…

               I  use extra large tip tops for ease of larger knots and leaders to flow…also Pac-Bay locking aluminum reel seats…elk antler accents on all grips and seats, with decorative “cresting” accents on base section from carved antler rings and sinew…all are 3 pc. … the 11′ 7wt. is best fished scandi style w/ shooting head or a sinking line…the longer 8-10 wts. do well with either scandi or skagit  weight lines…all rods are signed , personalized and numbered, all rods come with an extra matched tip section…

 

               

                This is the standard reel seat I use I use, the “Pac-Bay” “channel lock”…These seats are made from machined aluminum parts and have a protective anodized coating…the pic above shows it with the optional elk antler accents. Standard is a sinew and resin finish, much more durable than a cork alone treatment, with spey rods getting more rugged use that a typical trout rod , it adds looks overall, but also the durability and function…these seats are embedded in solid epoxy for strength…

IMG_1917~I like this style ferrule vs. the machined types…they provide a longer connection that’s very helpful with longer heavier rods that do a lot of flexing ~

                            I use longer chrome plated brass ferrules  for extra strength , the bamboo cores are continuous from end to end…making for winding check to tip top flexibility…these “deep style”ferrules are a great pairing with the “full flexing” tapers used in the bamboo blanks…a small amount of bees-wax applied keeps the connections very secure, and eliminates the need for taping…the rod in the pic above has my optional antler ring accent on the ferrule connection…I also seal the end grain of the exposed bamboo with a drop of resin to prevent any possible water intrusion.
… ferrule connection details cont’d…again showing the antler ring accents that are optional…
…another pic of the optional antler and sinew accents on the ferrules between section’s…
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…this pic shows the standard ferrule finish on a flamed rod, also the elk antler & sinew butt accent…
~an optional antler ring accent~
                 Here is a closer detail of the braided sinew and antler ring accents, this really makes a special addition to my “two hander ” rods…reminiscent of a “cresting” on an old traditional archery arrow…you can see here some of the natural variations found in the Elk antler…I give them a thin coat of flexible epoxy for protection…
                  …an overall view of the grip section…I can do many different glues ups from various colored cork rings to add something special of your own design…the optional antler caps on the reel seat really add a special effect…the standard treatment is the sinew reinforcing under resin…rubber butt caps can be added on any model…and are the standard finish…
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…another favorite pattern for the steelhead run…”Golden Woodie”... that works equally well for big browns too..
  …winding check to tip top flex action on this switch, I use 5 stripping guides on this size(switch)…
16mm-8mm…on 12 ‘ rods and longer I use 6-7  stripping guides…

 rod specifications and prices are subject to change

all photos and text are property of Wandering Monk Fly Rod Co.tm

and can be only used with permission
    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…

DreamCatcher series,Talisman series
 Shaman , Native Angler & Indian Summer series
Golden Eagle,Chinook & Silvertip & GoodMedicine series
RainMaker,Crazy Horse & WindWalker special edition series
are all trademarks of wmflyrodco.com