Book of the Month October 2018

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Some Housekeeping. First, I neglected to include, in my September review, two of the videos purchased for the Library’s collection. Wet Fly Ways by Davy Wotton (Hosted by Gary Taylor) and RIO’s Modern Spey Casting were purchased in addition to the four videos shown in my last report. I again want to thank those who came forward with recommendations for books and videos to purchase. Rick Diffley and Connie Tedrow took the time and effort to make extensive recommendations, most of which are reflected in the materials purchased. Rick Newman also assisted with some recommendations as we were doing the ordering. The Library will endeavor to obtain any titles recommended by members whenever we are in “buying mode”.

Library Staff. Speaking of Connie Tedrow, I am most thrilled to announce that she has agreed to serve the Spokane Fly Fishers as Co-Librarian. I certainly look forward to serving with her. When you see her, please join me in thanking her for her willingness to serve. I apologize for my absence from the September meeting. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse, to spend two weeks fishing flies on a small, western Alaskan stream, the Anchor River, staying in a cabin right on the river! I caught the tail-end of the silver salmon season, along with the start of the steelhead run, and was able to beach beautiful, fresh-run steelhead on flies I tied myself (Sparkle Bead-head Leach and a Princes Nymph). The water level was the lowest in memory of the locals, which necessitated small flies. The Princes Nymph was a size 14! So, I was able to discharge an item on my bucket list! As a bonus, I caught numerous, beautiful sea-run Dolly Varden!

More on Bamboo Fly Rods. In the Barbless summer edition, I reviewed Rod Crafting by Jeffrey Hatton, which dealt with collecting antique fly rods. In keeping with the topic of vintage rods, I want to describe John Gierach’s Fishing Bamboo. This book was written out of Gierach’s particular fondness for fishing with cane, and discusses the collection and actual use of such rods today.

Note that our Library contains many of Gierach’s titles (see the February 2012 edition of the Barbless for a review of most of these). Those of you Gierach fans who read Fishing Bamboo will recognize and appreciate his typical straight-forward, simple style, which is especially welcomed with a topic than could easily become technical. It also contains enough of Gierach’s usual dry, sometimes self-effacing humor to add some entertainment. Ample attention is given to both fishing older,
collectable rods and to fishing cane rods made by modern rod-makers.

The author provides practical guidance in the search for usable vintage and modern bamboo rods. He describes what to look for in the mass-produced rods of the past by such as Montague (“…real clubs”), Horrocks-Ibotson, Shakespeare, and South Bend, as well as some of those like J.C. Higgins and Montgomery Ward that could be obtained from mail order catalogues. He also addresses the upper-end rods produced by such as Granger and Leonard and the very high-end rods produced by such as Garrison and Gillum. From his descriptions of them I think he has a particular fondness for production rods by Heddon. His description of the market fluctuations in bamboo rods is particularly fascinating and, it turns out, it is not what you may assume it would be. I won’t spoil it for you with further discussion but you should read it if you have any interest in collectable bamboo rods.

Gierach provides some very practical, necessary advice that is not so easy to locate elsewhere. There is a very-needed discussion on the topic of fitting modern lines to collectable rods, something that has perplexed most of us who have tried to fish older bamboo. The chapter on new rods and rod makers is very informative and is the only comprehensive discussion of this topic I have seen. News to me, there are many more modern rod makers out there than one might assume, some of whom are trying to preserve the tapers of the old masters and others who are doing more pioneering work. Anyone seriously in the market for a new bamboo rod simply must read this section. Appendices include listings of rod dealers and rod makers with complete contact information for each. Anyone interested in any facet of bamboo rod collecting and fishing simply must read this volume, a very welcome addition to our library from an esteemed author and authority.

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