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Piscifun 2-Piece 9-feet Graphite 5/6 wt Fly Fishing Rod with Japanese 30-ton Toray Carbon Fiber Blanks and Chromed Stainless Steel Snake Guides

$64.95


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Since November last year, I have been learning how to make traditional Japanese bamboo fishing rods. My sensei is a local craftsman in my neighbourhood, and is a patient, if stern, teacher. Due to the rapid development of technology by Japanese tackle companies and the great changes in the environment and game fishing in Japan, times are hard for the traditional makers of fishing rods here. However a minority of devoted anglers, including myself, use their creations for their fishing, and for me it ended up a natural progression to try making my own. Another reason I got into the hobby was that I recently had eye surgery and was unable to go out fishing for a long time, and so had to pass the time doing something fishing-related.

Here I will describe the process of making my first bamboo fishing rod, with a few photographs. Some of the stages, particularly the lacquering, I was unable to photograph as I had my hands full; also some of the tools and techniques are trade secrets that must remain in the workshop. For beginners it is usual to start with a rod for either madai (red snapper) or shirogisu (Japanese whiting) with a bamboo body and fibreglass tip. Since I go fishing for whiting much more often than for snapper, I went for the latter type. The first step is the selection of bamboo; there are many varieties, of which about six or seven are used for rod making. My teacher showed me a variety from his stores, which is bamboo which has been cut and then dried for a number of years. So long as the bamboo is kept free of burrowing insects, it can keep for decades; some of his best bamboo is from his own late master, whose stock dates back to before the War. Unlike bamboo ‘cane’ that is split and fashioned into rods in the West, bamboo is almost always used whole for Japanese fishing rods.

Vintage Ebisu Japan Fishing Rod 2 Piece in Wood Box | eBay

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Vintage Japan Fishing Rod Holder by WhatsNewOnTheMantel on Etsy

Since November last year, I have been learning how to make traditional Japanese bamboo fishing rods. My sensei is a local craftsman in my neighbourhood, and is a patient, if stern, teacher. Due to the rapid development of technology by Japanese tackle companies and the great changes in the environment and game fishing in Japan, times are hard for the traditional makers of fishing rods here. However a minority of devoted anglers, including myself, use their creations for their fishing, and for me it ended up a natural progression to try making my own. Another reason I got into the hobby was that I recently had eye surgery and was unable to go out fishing for a long time, and so had to pass the time doing something fishing-related.

Here I will describe the process of making my first bamboo fishing rod, with a few photographs. Some of the stages, particularly the lacquering, I was unable to photograph as I had my hands full; also some of the tools and techniques are trade secrets that must remain in the workshop. For beginners it is usual to start with a rod for either madai (red snapper) or shirogisu (Japanese whiting) with a bamboo body and fibreglass tip. Since I go fishing for whiting much more often than for snapper, I went for the latter type. The first step is the selection of bamboo; there are many varieties, of which about six or seven are used for rod making. My teacher showed me a variety from his stores, which is bamboo which has been cut and then dried for a number of years. So long as the bamboo is kept free of burrowing insects, it can keep for decades; some of his best bamboo is from his own late master, whose stock dates back to before the War. Unlike bamboo ‘cane’ that is split and fashioned into rods in the West, bamboo is almost always used whole for Japanese fishing rods.