The best concise description of a split bamboo fly rod.

"a useful thing, beautifully made"
-Hiram Hawes

fredag 12. desember 2014

Dressing Nodes

Freshly splitt bamboo strips.
No need to get the bamboo strip perfectly straight before the planing process, but there is one thing that's very important and that's the job you do with the nodal areas before you start planing the strips. Warm up the nodes with the heat gun, straighten them in the wise, and sand down rest of the hump that remains. Many use a belt sander for this task,  but I like to do it by hand using a 350-grit  sandpaper, feel that I have good control using this method, cutting as few of the power fibers as possible. This is a part of the building process that means a lot for the final result later on. If I don't do a good job here, I can end up with glue lines, and that's one thing I don't want. The goal is to get the nodes flat, straight and I think they should be as short as possible after the sanding is done. 
And it's always interesting to check out the node-work on other rods done by other makers, I try to get a sneak peek if possible, many have put some effort into this and done a great  job dressing the nodes, smooth and short, the sign of good craftsmanship.

Take your time when sanding the nodes.

Some heat and patience and the nodes are ready.

søndag 16. november 2014

Another Garrison on it's way.

Mid november and the days are getting shorter, its dark at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and quite chilly. Still possible to go fishing but it's time to start making some new bamboo fly rods for the next season. After building the lovely 209 and 202E models based on Garrison's many tapers, I felt the need to try another one from his book " A Masters Guide to Building a Bamboo fly Rod " a book he wrote together with Hoagy B. Carmichael.

After asking which rod Carmichael had as his favorite, I got a very friendly reply were he told me that his favorite for trout fishing  is the mod 204E. A beautiful  7' 3" long rod, casting a 4 and 5 weight line like a dream, so I just had to build this rod for the next summer. 

Splitting the bamboo into strips with that special cracking sound, and stagger the nodes using the 3x3 method. Cutting the strips to the right length. And ones again have a nice odor spreading around in the workshop just like freshly made popcorn while I use the heat gun to warm up the nodes so they are pliable and ready to be straighten using the wise. 

fredag 24. oktober 2014

Secret spots.

One of the guys in the small group of fly fishers sitting a couple of hundred yards upstream,  has taken his binoculars out and are staring straight at me, and its like I could hear him say " hey... what's that guy doing, wading out now when there is no activity". And he has sort of right about that, but.. I'm about to sneak out on one of my "secret" spots, and I was hoping no one would discover me.
Its one of those periods in the late summer when there is "almost" no hatch going on. You can see fly fishers sit alone or in small groups along the river waiting for some kind of hatch to start, drinking coffee and eventually beer, as frustration takes over.
And.. "I'm been there, done that" and still do, but after some hours drinking coffee and wondering why there is no hatch, its time to check out some of those secret spots.
Secret spots which are all located under a tree along the riverbank on quite shallow water, places I've found after I wandered restlessly along the river looking for rising fish. This particular place is one of the really nice spots, there is always a fish under the tree. What's interesting about this place is that this is often the only place the fish are rising, although the river around are holding a lot of fish. The hatch are quite local since it just appear a couple of yards above the fish. And since you cant see the fish rise before you are quite close, not many people have discovered it....yet.

This day the fish were really going, rising every fifteen seconds. And it locked like the fish were feeding on something small that were popping up just a couple of yards above the fish. It was a perfect moment to try out the 7' 4wt taper fresh out from the workshop, accompanied with the the old Pflueger Medalist charged with silk line and silk leader from mr Zandri in Italy, perfect for short distance casting under the trees.                                                                                                

And I realized after a while that the fish were feeding on small midge pupa's laying deep in the surface of the water. And after the second cast with the #20 midge pupa, there was a brown and yellow head sticking up above the surface right where the midge pupa should have been. After a few minutes there was a lovely trout around 3 pound laying in the landing net. I turned around checking if the guys at the bench were still there, but no one were there, they probably left long before the fish went for the midge pupa.


fredag 19. september 2014

A classic ending.

The water level was low on the mountain river, as it tends to be when the season is nearing its end. It had not rained for a long time and the weather was pleasantly warm to be in the middle of September. But one good thing came as a result of the low water level, and it was in the form of the appearing of the perfect riffle. Not too deep and with sufficient current speed to move the line rapidly downstream.
And with the mountains in fall colors as a background, and with Pritt and Mr Nemes in my thoughts, I started to cast the silk fly line cross over and slightly upstream, mending so the Partridge and Orange spider was free drifting with no drag.

My dreaming of north country flies and the classic streams of Yorkshire was brutally interrupted by a fish attacking the Partridge and Orange like a maniac, and after some exiting minutes my first "real" brownie on a spider was a reality. After such an experience, I was wondering if this was just a coincidence. The result after a couple of hours fishing with the spider, were two nice trout and three fish that missed the spider.
After this experience I must say I'm convinced about the effectiveness of the north country spider, and one thing that surprised my a little was how hard the fish took the spider.

tirsdag 9. september 2014

All you need is an Adams.

Remember reading somewhere that the only fly you need, is an Adams in different sizes,  I think it was in one of mr Gierach's great books. Anyway, once in a while it's nice to just forget to always try to match the hatch. Instead just grab one of your rods from the rack, a box of classic's and hit the stream.

Once at the stream just enjoy the surroundings, have a sip of coffee while you are rigging your bamboo rod. And take one of the classics from the "Catskill box" like the famous Adams pattern and just have another great relaxing  day at the stream.

fredag 15. august 2014

Small diamonds in the backcountry.

Small streams and creek's with a healthy population of brook trout, hidden away somewhere deep in the backcountry. Well, it's been kind of a obsession for me to try to find a stream like that. Inspired by BrkTrt and Mark's blog sites, were they are writing with passion about their streams and brookie's, I just had to find my own little secret stream.

And since the brook trout do not naturally belong here in Norway there are not many streams containing brook trout. After years of introduction in Norwegian rivers and lakes the brook trout along with rainbow trout have been banned since the 90's. The reason for this is the fear of foreign diseases, and that they should inter fear with the natural brown trout.

Luckily there are still some "secret" small streams which have a population of brook trout. The Fish is not large, but equipped with a light bamboo rod and a Adams size 16, the fish went crazy. I was actually a bit surprised that there were brook trout almost everywhere I "dropped" the fly. And they were obviously hungry, they threw themselves at the fly almost every time I put the fly on the water. 
I must say the day turned out just the way I was hoping for, drinking coffee next to a stream full of small "diamonds" in the backcoutry. 

torsdag 26. juni 2014

Beautiful Grouse skin and some pattern's from it.

After I started tying these old spiders, a new world of materials appeared, thin silk threads and gorgeous skins from various game birds. My latest supplements for tying these flies is a lovely Grouse skin that came in the mail a few days ago.

Soft hackle feathers that contain a vast range of barred ginger and brown hackles, perfect for tying some of the famous and not so  famous flies from the past containing Grouse feathers. When you read the old and new books about soft hackle flies, there can be some slightly different variations in how to dress them. But if you stick to the book "North Country Flies" written by T.E. Pritt and  Sylvester Nemes book "Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies"  there are plenty of original patterns to choose from.  

Light dressed, short thin body with silk and maybe dubbed with soft fur. The hackle, two turns at the most....sure looks like a spider when you see it from the front. 



The August Brown.    
Body: Light brown silk, dubbed sparingly with hare's face, ribbed with yellow silk,  dressed hacklewise with grouse's feather.  

The Grouse Spider.
Dressed with a mottled feather from the grouse, and body of orange silk.  


fredag 20. juni 2014

Keeping the tradition alive.

 "first there is the spare body, dressed with tying silk only, with or without wire ribbing, or lightly dubbed with soft fur.....then a small and lightly dressed soft hackle, two turns at the outside....."    
                           G.E.M. Skues

I must admit that I have developed a great enthusiasm for these flies .... called North Country Spiders. The fly box with spiders has got its own special pocket in my fly fishing vest next to the pocket with the box containing comparaduns and parachute flies. These North Country flies' simplicity has probably led many modern fly tiers and fly fishermen to ignore them in favour of more complex patterns that look more like the real thing - seen by human eyes. The long soft hackle representing both wings and legs on an insect, the sparse dressed body, not to mention the historical aspect of these flies with a Background of several hundred years was very fascinating to me.

So since I would like to tie these flies as close the original pattern as possible, the hunt for the right materials could begin. The tread used in many of this flies was Pearsall's silk, the same I use in winding the guides on my bamboo flyrods. The problem was the different kinds of game skins, from birds such as..... Snipe, Waterhen, Grouse and Magpie among others, stuff that my local fly tying shops did not have....luckily there's something called internet, so after some checking around I found Steve at Cookshill Flytying  who sold some lovely game skins from the birds I was looking for. 

And with most of the materials in hand, I could continue my adventure with the North Country Spiders, reading old books, have a sip of whiskey while I tie spiders and plan how to fish that perfect riffle I know of.

tirsdag 3. juni 2014

Some new ferrule plugs and a glimpse of the magical powerfibers.

When I see pictures of the rods to the old masters, there is one thing that always impresses me and that's their simple, yet elegant ferrule plugs. So when you cut the finished glued butt section to get the right length, there is always some shorter parts of bamboo left, perfect for making Bamboo ferrule plugs.

They are quite easy to make, and they protect the inside of the female ferrule when not in use. 
Another thing is that you get a nice view of the magical power fibers inside of the bamboo flyrod.......pure eye candy.

fredag 2. mai 2014

April morning sunrise.

This was the sight from the tent opening, after a quite chilly night spent in my beloved Hubba Hubba....just love the name of this tent. Started the camping season last weekend with my boo-brother Geir, after it was quickly decided that it was time for this seasons first night in a tent

Nothing better than to spend some extra time in the sleeping bag, lying in the tent opening drinking freshly made cofee and thinking of the upcoming stress.

While rigging the rod the Leptophlebia Marginata were hatching, not many but enough to make the trout rise. 

It felt just right to start this day with a classic spider pattern like the Waterhen Bloa. 
And with the sun shining on the bamboo flyrod, the trout rose to the spider and life was good.

torsdag 24. april 2014

Feast in the woods.

Just want to share some pictures from the first real fishing this season. It's been a sunny, but quite windy and cold start of this spring, but last day something happend when the temperature were touching the +20 D.Celsius for the first time this spring.

So when rumors said that there were ants with wings flying around in the woods, it was not that hard to take a break from rod building. After all it was what I had been dreaming of ever since the last fishing trip last fall.

Found this ant hill right above where I'm sitting, waiting for the wind to blow the ants on the water. 

The heat from the sun really did a good job of awakening the ants.
This happens mostly in the middle of May, so this is many weeks ahead of time.

A bit skinny maybe, but a nice start of the upcoming trout season.

torsdag 6. februar 2014

Something for the wall.

I saw this idea on a blog that I follow( Niklas Dahlin-Flytier ) and thought it was a nice thing to have on the wall, perfect downstairs in the workshop. Some Old frames that I found in the attic, an image from last summer, and some famous soft hackled patterns ...... thought it became quite nice.
Made two pieces, one for myself and the other goes to another soft hackled fan ...... think he'll like it.

Partridge and Orange

Partridge and Yellow

Grey Partridge

Snipe and Purple

Black Spider

Syl's Midge

Light Snipe and Yellow

Iron Blue Dun

Waterhen Bloa

Light Spanish Needle