Trotting bamboo rod

stevel

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Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
2,476
Location
London
Lockdown has been good for the fishing business, with us all locked indoors, projects for self builds and commissions have gone into overdrive.
Since the start of the pandemic, I've had a glass rod build, on a a blank sent to me from Tomo Ijuin of Japan, finished by Sandy Nelson, an ideal Heb loch salmon/seatrout rod which I'm in the middle of with Lewis Chessman of this forum, and finally a bamboo trotting rod for coarse fish.
Like most, I cut my fishing teeth bait fishing, for me it was the salt species of Brisbane, Australia.
Although I've spent many years now fly fishing for game species, I've had a urge for quite a while now to fish for UK coarse species in the off season with a bamboo trotting rod. For the past 15 years or so, I've fished bamboo, initially with just trout rods, but I gradually widened that to salmon and steelhead when I was convinced it was possible and realistic in this modern world. As such, when the thought of starting to coarse fish started growing in my head, I naturally thought that the rod would be a bamboo one. I fish spey rods in the 11'-12' range weighing up to 12oz for a few days at a time hard fishing up to 12 hours a day, so I don't think a day of fishing with an 11' trotting rod will cause me any concern.
For sure, the rods of Barder are works of art, but also worth small fortunes; I wanted something that I would cherish but not have to take out a second mortgage for. Having experienced the work of Gary Marshall in the early 2000's, and knowing that he also restored and made coarse rods, he was my first port of call.
I was disappointed to be informed by Gary that he intended to retire this year, but he was still willing to engage in the commission for me, there were sufficient long, clean culms remaining to be able to complete the rod; this was lucky as he was running down his stocks.
Last week he sent me the first shots of the rod which is essentially complete, with just the peripheral tasks like a rod bag, and rubbing down to a silk finish to be done. I'm really looking forward to using it the coming close trout season, a very good friend of mine is a coarse fisher from his boyhood, and lives in Bath; with luck I can get out there to fish with him on those classic coarse stretches in that region with this rod.
Attached are some initial pics from Gary, I'll attach more when I receive it. I have come full circle with Gary, I initially went to to see him at his house when I was commissioning my Garrison 206 in the late 2000's, and I will be going up to pick up the rod in June from his house, as I'll be fishing the Wye for salmon then.
Now I just need a nice centrepin...

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GEK79

Well-known member
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
555
Location
Ireland
Lockdown has been good for the fishing business, with us all locked indoors, projects for self builds and commissions have gone into overdrive.
Since the start of the pandemic, I've had a glass rod build, on a a blank sent to me from Tomo Ijuin of Japan, finished by Sandy Nelson, an ideal Heb loch salmon/seatrout rod which I'm in the middle of with Lewis Chessman of this forum, and finally a bamboo trotting rod for coarse fish.
Like most, I cut my fishing teeth bait fishing, for me it was the salt species of Brisbane, Australia.
Although I've spent many years now fly fishing for game species, I've had a urge for quite a while now to fish for UK coarse species in the off season with a bamboo trotting rod. For the past 15 years or so, I've fished bamboo, initially with just trout rods, but I gradually widened that to salmon and steelhead when I was convinced it was possible and realistic in this modern world. As such, when the thought of starting to coarse fish started growing in my head, I naturally thought that the rod would be a bamboo one. I fish spey rods in the 11'-12' range weighing up to 12oz for a few days at a time hard fishing up to 12 hours a day, so I don't think a day of fishing with an 11' trotting rod will cause me any concern.
For sure, the rods of Barder are works of art, but also worth small fortunes; I wanted something that I would cherish but not have to take out a second mortgage for. Having experienced the work of Gary Marshall in the early 2000's, and knowing that he also restored and made coarse rods, he was my first port of call.
I was disappointed to be informed by Gary that he intended to retire this year, but he was still willing to engage in the commission for me, there were sufficient long, clean culms remaining to be able to complete the rod; this was lucky as he was running down his stocks.
Last week he sent me the first shots of the rod which is essentially complete, with just the peripheral tasks like a rod bag, and rubbing down to a silk finish to be done. I'm really looking forward to using it the coming close trout season, a very good friend of mine is a coarse fisher from his boyhood, and lives in Bath; with luck I can get out there to fish with him on those classic coarse stretches in that region with this rod.
Attached are some initial pics from Gary, I'll attach more when I receive it. I have come full circle with Gary, I initially went to to see him at his house when I was commissioning my Garrison 206 in the late 2000's, and I will be going up to pick up the rod in June from his house, as I'll be fishing the Wye for salmon then.
Now I just need a nice centrepin...

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Cant wait to see how she handles Steve.. Fabulous looking rod.. 👌👌👌
 

stevel

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
2,476
Location
London
One of the things you'll all notice is that this rod is made up more like a flyrod than a coarse rod; you will have normally seen intermediate wraps all the way up to the tip.
Gary did ask me about these, but I had seen a build he made for a previous client on his site which had no intermediates and I quite liked the look. Also, having used the long rods a lot in the past 10 years for spey casting for salmon/steelhead, I know that avoiding tip heaviness should be something to strive for, as it will only lead to needing heavier reels and possibly quicker fatigue. I therefore opted to not have them, though they do look very nice; also the fact that although they may have once had a function to aid in giving strength, these intermediates now anyway, are purely decorative, and can only lead to extra weight and possibly loss of action in the tip.
 

stevel

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Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
2,476
Location
London
My father used his cane fly rod for trotting trout streams, this was back in the 50s/60s
I think there are still many people who still use them, Barder does great business for new and second owner coarse sales and they're well over £2k.
As mentioned, I already use 12' salmon spey rods so I don't think there will be too much difference in weight and handling. There's still a big demand for B&W coarse Hexagraphs and these are 40 year old technology (but with updated graphite cloth).
I think the difference is the newer hollowed rods which are much more responsive and lighter than the old bamboo rods.
In fact in the top picture are two of my bamboo rods alongside the Trotter, which Gary was doing some wrap repair work, an 11'7 #7 spey and an 8'6 5/6 trout rod.
 

JoeOh

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
410
Lovely looking rod Stevel. Definitely a "rod for life'.
Your point about B&W Hexagraph rods, they did seem to fit the coarse scene more so than the fly.
I am interested in how you will decide on what reel to match to this very special rod. I am assuming centre-pin.
Will it be a modern reel, a vintage reel (our Sponsor ?) or will you continue the vein of originality and have a reel custom built for you, perhaps by one of the contributors here.
 

stevel

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
2,476
Location
London
Lovely looking rod Stevel. Definitely a "rod for life'.
Your point about B&W Hexagraph rods, they did seem to fit the coarse scene more so than the fly.
I am interested in how you will decide on what reel to match to this very special rod. I am assuming centre-pin.
Will it be a modern reel, a vintage reel (our Sponsor ?) or will you continue the vein of originality and have a reel custom built for you, perhaps by one of the contributors here.
Hi @JoeOh
Thanks, it's definitely a keeper!
The reel will definitely be a centrepin in the traditional style, spoked. I started looking on the Vintage tackle sites (including the sponsors) and also the Neil Freeman's auctions, one of which was quite recent.
There were some lovely reels by custom makers, I'm actually quite shocked at the price of these, rivalling the bench fly reels of known makers. For sure you can get a nice and functional reel for very little money, but this one deserves a fitting partner, right? ;) I'll keep you all informed when that decision is finally made (and fund available!)
Cheers,
Steve
 

Overmiwadrers

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Joined
Mar 25, 2018
Messages
567
Location
Yorkshire
When my dad passed away 18 months ago I inherited his Millwards featherlight . He bought it new when he was about 21. he was 91 when he left us. I intend to take the rod Grayling trotting on the anniversary of his birthday every year. So its 70 years old and still going strong . I will be using it with his Rapidex of the same age...

O M W
 

stevel

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
2,476
Location
London
When my dad passed away 18 months ago I inherited his Millwards featherlight . He bought it new when he was about 21. he was 91 when he left us. I intend to take the rod Grayling trotting on the anniversary of his birthday every year. So its 70 years old and still going strong . I will be using it with his Rapidex of the same age...

O M W
What a great story and what more fitting a way to remember your father every time you use the rod.
 
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