On the 9th, 10th and 11th of September, Barb and I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the annual Bamboo Rod Makers Gathering at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center. Rod makers from 24 states plus Japan and Canada came to the gathering. A total of 134 men and women were in attendance. Seminars ranged from a talk on “George Halstead and his rods and ferrules,” by Jed Dempsey and John Feldenzer, to Tim Abbott on bamboo fly rod tapers and how to develop them, to the advantages and disadvantages of various glues used in the making of bamboo rods by a panel of Jed Dempsey, Tim Abbott and John Zimny. Some of this information was above my pay scale; however, I came away with a much greater understanding of how a bamboo fly rod is put together. All of these fellows that I talked to played down the amount of craftsmanship necessary to build a bamboo fly rod. Maybe so, but I think I will stick to buying them rather than attempting to build one myself.
On Saturday afternoon, about 30 fly rods were made available for anyone to pick up and cast. Needless to say, I tried them all. Some bamboo rods are made of six individual strips of bamboo, making them hexagonal in shape. Others are made using five strips, making them pentagonal in shape, while others are made of four strips, being referred to as quadrates. It made no difference whether the rod I was casting was made of six individual strips of bamboo, or five strips or four strips. I liked every one of them. Unfortunately, before I even picked up the first rod, Barbara Ann took away my credit card. A number of these rods were not only excellent casting tools, but were so beautifully finished they would be at home in a jewelry store or a fly shop.
On September 13, Barb, Val Reinhardt and I attended a meeting of the Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) up in Oneonta, NY. Roy Lamberton, of the Clear Water Chapter of TU, gave a Powerpoint presentation of stream improvement work that has successfully been done on the Battenkill River in Vermont. A loose confederation of TU chapters, using the name “Catskill Waters Friends,” is planning on doing a stream improvement project on the East Branch of the Delaware in the area of the Tommanex State Forest access. A meeting is set for October 25 at that access. The meeting will be attended by Federal Fish and Wildlife representatives and members of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
They will advise the TU chapters of how to construct this project so that it will withstand flows of up to 20,000 cubic feet per second. If the project proves to be successful, this type of work will be done on both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc. Hopefully, all TU chapters whose members fish Catskill Rivers will become involved in Friends of Catskill Waters.
This column seems to be read by some very unexpected people. In the “Hardy Brothers Cup Competition” article, I inadvertently offended a citizen of the United Kingdom. I had stated that the rod built to commemorate Hardy Brothers winning the 1911 C. C. de France casting competition had been built by Tom Moran. A Mr. Callum Gladstone also was involved in building this rod. My column failed to give Mr. Gladstone the credit he was due. I hereby sincerely apologize to Callum Gladstone. Thus, hopefully avoiding an international incident.