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Bamboo Bonzai

Rodmakers at Gray Rock

July 6th, 1998

Bamboo and Brown
Here is a nice brown caught and released by Chris Bogart, a noted bamboo fly rod builder from Virgnia's Shenandoah River valley. This nice brown was caught on the upper Manistee River last week during a Hex emergence. Chris was in Grayling Michigan to take part "Rodmakers at Grayrock, '98" - a gathering of bamboo fly rod makers at the WorkShopp and grounds at The Fly Factory.

Chris built the cane rod that he caught this fish on, having adapted the rod taper design from one provided to him by his fly-tying friend John Jackson, known to his many friends as "JJ", who was taken from us this spring at much too young an age. Chris has dubbed this rod taper "JJ Lives", and will be sharing this powerful 4-weight line cane-rod taper with other rod builders.

The week's activities were capped on Saturday night, June 27th, with the fourth annual Trout Bum Bar-B-Q [TBBBQ IV] where the winning ticket was drawn for the "Makers Rod '98" special stream conservation raffle. The winner of the rod was Dave S. Hamhart of Everett Washington.

From an observors view, watching the planing of bamboo, sorting of culms, bamboo sections being placed in the cooker, seeing notes and diagrams scattered on work tables and tacked on the walls, the comradity of the rod makers was truely the tradition of craftsman. A re-establishment of the finest traditions in fly fishing as well as rod building. Pure joy to watch.

It was not all hard work however, as evidenced by Fly Anglers OnLine Bamboo Rodmaker Wayne Cattanach testing one of the "rods" used in the Sporting Flies competition, part of the fun and games of the TBBBQ IV. Wayne could probably cast a tree, but he admitted he much prefered bamboo to the broom shown in the photo below. (You can chat with Wayne in the FAOL chat room on Thursday nights.)

Wayne With Broom
Rodmakers from everywhere were in attendance, including two young gentlemen from Austria, and one from England. Rods were compared, information shared, and even non-bamboo folks were invited to cast the fine rods. What a lovely experience.

For the topper, about $40,000 was raised between the rodmakers raffle, the sale of the orginal art for the tickets, the bar-b-que and some matching funds. All funds were earmarked prior to the fund raiser, and go into stream restoration of the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers, a study of storm water and snowmelt runoff from the town of Grayling into the Au Sable River, and a school fly fishing program for kids in Flint Michigan.

Our sincere thanks to the Rodmakers for their hard work, vision and dedication to produce a fine work of art - The Makers Rod '98. Rumor has it that a Makers Rod '99 will be produced for Gray Rock, and TBBBQ V, scheduled for the weekend of June 26th 1999. As soon as more information is available we will have it here.

A final "thanks" to Wayne Cattanach, and Steve Southard, who extended the invitation to FAOL to be part of Gray Rock and TBBBQ IV, as well as to Kathy, Victor and Nancy Edwards owners of Spikes Keg of Nails in Grayling who were co-sponsors of the BBQ, for their kind personal hospitality. We had a great time, see ya next year!~DB

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