By Kirk Deeter
(I was a proud member of the graphite proletariat, shunning bamboo on purpose… until this happened…)
I’ve never owned a bamboo fly rod in my life, but a couple years ago, I hit an important birthday so I got myself a present. And seeing how a recent trip to Tasmania for wild brown trout was more than a bucket-list adventure, it was also a mission to connect with tradition, I decided to take this rod along. I figured I’d fish it once or twice, but ended up fishing it 80 percent of the time—only when I was out on the windy lakes or targeting really large browns (that I thought could break any rod) did I revert to graphite, and in those cases, I fished a T&T Avantt 5-weight, a Scott Radian 5-weight, or a Sage X 6-weight (one afternoon each). I wasn’t necessarily going for style points with the bamboo, it just cast and fished as smooth as silk. Designed and manufactured in collaboration with Naoki Hashimoto of Hokkaido, Japan, this rod actually has a medium-fast action. It’s a delight to load in short quarters, and was dialed-accurate at 40 feet. I only fished dries with it. Of course, bamboo is expensive, and it’s not an everyday rod. But for someone who wants an heirloom that legitimately performs on the water, as well as being an artistic artifact, I wholeheartedly believe in these rods and recommend them highly. It literally opened a new chapter in the fly-fishing experience for me… and after 40 years and many thousand miles traveled, that’s saying a lot.