Bamboo Bonzai

The Split Cane Fly Rod
(Excert from Part III: Research and Technique)
A Fly Fisher's Life (1959)
By Charles Ritz
Our sincere thanks to Crown Publishing Company

August 24th, 1998

Publishers note: Since this publisher is older than dirt, it occured to me that some may never have seen many of the older books. From time to time, we hope to excerpt interesting segments from our personal library to enlighten, entertain and perhaps amaze our rod building friends. Some things are older than you might think. Most of these books are long out of print, and if we spark an interest in you, check out the used book stores, or one of the mail-order book sellers. We previously ran a series on bamboo from Ring of the Rise, (check the archives) which I understand is now available in reprint. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome.~DB

The Split Cane Fly Rod, Part Four
(Excerpt from Part III: Research and Technique)
"How to Determine the Quality of a Cane Rod's Action"

"As far as I am concerned, I much prefer a supple rod, which does not, of course, mean a weak rod. It can be a powerful one, provided that its bending, under the tension of a series of tractions representing the successive curves it must take from a short cast to the longest, remains uniformly progressive.

To determine this, tie a piece of string to the top ring and attach the other end to a fixed point. Take the rod in your hand, and bend it progressively, meanwhile examining carefully the successive lines of curve, from minimum to maximum pressure: these curves should show no break or hump, but maintain a regular and decreasing progression from tip to butt. Then, having detached the rod, hold it firmly in the hand and give it a quick flick using the forearm only and without bending the wrist, then watch the rod till it comes to rest: if the tip of the rod gives too many vibrations and fails to stop quickly, it means that it is weak, of inferior quality, badly tempered or not tempered at all.

If you have flicked the rod very hard, it will have a tendency to show a curve with a break at about a third of its length from the tip: this is perfectly normal and correct, so do not be anxious. If the break appears nearer the tip, it is because the rod has a tip action owing to weakness of the tip. If on the contrary, the break occurs towards the middle or near the butt, it is because the rod is too supple as a whole or too weak in the centre.

Most fishermen are content to flick the rod with a regular movement of the wrist which can give no precise indications." ~Charles Ritz

Next time,"The uniformity of cane rod tips."

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