Bamboo Fly Fishing Rods – Fly Fishing Rods as Old as Time

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Fly Fishing Rods as Old As Time
Bamboo fly fishing rods seem to be as old as time. They may in fact be, but for most people reading this, your first recollections of bamboo fly fishing rods probably arise from fishing your grandfather. If your grandfather owned a bamboo fly fishing rod, do you know where it is right now? Hopefully it survives…in his basement, on your mantle, or even in your selection of fly fishing rods that you still use today.

Chance is that grandpa’s bamboo fly fishing rod would be considered an antique or vintage fly fishing rod. It may have cost as little as $3 when new, which even in the early part of the 20th century, was a good price for a handmade fly fishing rod. These days, a handmade bamboo fly fishing rod costs upwards of $1000 or more, many of them made hand, by individual craftsmen working out of their home garage or workshop.

History of the Bamboo Fly Fishing Rod
Bamboo Fly fishing Rods were first made in the mid 19th century. The first handmade bamboo fly rod (at least in the United States) was made by Mr. Samuel Phillippi, a gunsmith Easton, PA. Using techniques borrowed from bow makers, the bamboo was split, shaped, glued and tapered into a rod shape, frequently consisting of three to four pieces that fit together making a compact fly fishing rod that could be easily carried in a backpack to a distant trout stream.

Prior to this, fly fishing rods were made of Greenheart and Ironwood, two dense, water resistant woods. The Greenheart tree grows in South American, and the Ironwood tree grows in the southwestern United States. Fishing piers are still made of Greenheart which gives support to the wood’s strength and water durability.

As people continued to make bamboo fly fishing rods in their own garage homes and store shops, the technique was continuously refined. The first man to create a “production” quality bamboo fly fishing rod for sale was HL Leonard, whose fly fishing rod company still thrives today.

Buy a Bamboo Fly Fishing Rod
Browse the selection of great bamboo fly fishing rods available on our eBay auction site…we feature used bamboo fly rods, vintage bamboo fly rods, and even a few brand new handmade bamboo fly fishing rods for auction.

2 Responses to “Bamboo Fly Fishing Rods – Fly Fishing Rods as Old as Time”

  • I would love to have a bamboo fly rod.

    When I first moved to New Brunswick from Ontario my grand dad have a lovely bamboo rod. Unfortunately my younger brother had arrived before me by a couple of years and had broken every single one of his tips.

    The rod was beautiful.

    Being raised in foster homes I never got to know my grand father until he was way too old to fish. I really feel a sense of loss there.

    Then to make it worse, my older brother felt it was his rod after grand dad passed. He doesn’t even fish. What a waste.

    Grand dad worked for CN railroads back then and he would get on a train and they would drop him off in the middle of no-where and all he had to do was be standing on the tracks and they would pick him up again.

    I used to sit for hours and listen to his tales. I would love to have fished just once with him.

  • I’ve never had the benefit of coming across a bamboo rod before (I’m fairly new to fly fishing), but your post makes me want to go search for one right now! I wonder if I can get one fairly cheap if I buy online?