Bamboo Bonzai

Oh Nuts!
(Knot Nuts, Knots)

In His Service Worldwide By Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker

In most cases folks think you know all about fly-fishing, just because you make bamboo fly rods for a living. (Well we make them anyway). If you remember in my last 2 stories I covered common sense in choosing bamboo and true love. Sometimes we need to go back and think on what we know, and what we think we know. This may help you so you don't end up like I did. Yes, I made a BIG boo-boo.

After Diane (my wife) claimed that 5-foot 3-inch cane rod (see my last article,) I needed to make a rod for myself, to replace the one I gave up. I started my quest to make a new cane rod. After going through many hours of mathematical torment I came up with a taper that would end all tapers. Yes, the victory was mine.

Before I can go on with my story, let me tell you about this rod; the taper was for a 6-foot 9-inch rod, two-piece split cane bamboo fly rod with a swell butt, finished in nickel silver; ferrule, slide ban reel seat with wood insert. Oh, this baby is beautiful.

Well not long after I came up with the taper, the shop phone rings, it's Arizona calling. A gentleman by the name of Brian Tracy. He wanted a new cane rod for himself and asked if I had a short rod that I could recommend for his type of fishing. Without even batting an eye I told him about this 6-foot 9-inch rod I was making for myself at the time. Out of the blue he asked how long would it take before I could ship this rod out to him.

Yes, I sold the rod over the phone. Not long after shipping I received a letter from Mr. Tracy about his great experience with this rod. I was blessed by his comments about this 6-foot 9-inch rod. (A note to the reader: if you would like a copy of this letter you may e-mail me, be happy to send it.) Not more than two weeks after shipping Mr. Tracy's rod out to him an another gentleman by the name of Lew Evans called. Here we go again! You would think I 'd be happy about these phone calls. You guessed it, he ordered a 6-foot 9-inch rod with the swelled butt. Mr. Evans also sent a nice note of thanks. Now, after the last two sales of this rod, it's time for me to make MINE!

Here's where it gets funny. I did in fact finish my split cane bamboo fly rod, that 6-foot 9-inch one with the swell butt, finished in nickel silver! But, I did not let Diane cast it until she promised me she would not want this rod. Diane promised and I let her cast it. Her comment? "WOW, nice rod!" My reply, "No you can't have it!" Movin' on with my story, not long after I took my beautiful new 6-foot 9-inch cane rod to a place called the Kern River. The Kern is Northeast of Bakersfield, California. It was there on the river where my boo-boo took place. For the first time in 8 months I get to go fishing for five days.

Loaded, ready to go!

Just think, five days of fly-fishing… O heaven on earth. I packed up the truck with all the essentials; bamboo fly rods, new 6-foot 9-inch bamboo fly rod, 2 older bamboo fly rods. Let's see did I forget anything? Bamboo fly rods and bamboo fly rods. No, not a thing. After I loaded up the truck, I was on my way. Five full days of fly-fishing! A side note: my Dad gave me a beautiful Anglers Image fly fishing knife with an inscription on it that reads "to my son Michael Love Dad 8-20-98." And yes I took my new knife with me on this trip. Did I tell you that this knife had it all, knife blade, scissors, knot tyer. Knot tyer! Who needs a knot tyer? I'm a bamboo fly rod maker and a fly fisherman, I don't need a knot tyer. Well anyway I'd been on the road for 3 ˝ hours and I'm there, yessiree, five days on the Kern River with Rainbows, Browns just waiting for me to take them (and of course release them.)

Made it!

Day 1 on the river was outstanding, day 2 better than day 1. Day 3: boo-boo. . .

On day 3 the wind came up in the late afternoon, I had been using a 4-weight line, I needed to step up a notch to a 5-weight so I could keep on fishing. I forgot my 5-weight reel at home but it just so happened that I had Diane's 5-wt. reel in my bag. Diane's reel had on a new 5-wt line. God I love this woman. Now here I am in full armor; you know, the waders, boots, polarized sunglasses, the fly-fishing hat and vest. OK, I'm on the river after walking down the hill over all the big rocks, falling on my behind here and there. I know that this is it, the fish are here; in my excitement I pulled off 25 feet of line and I start casting. The water is moving at a good speed so I pull off more line so I can get a longer drift. The Kern River Next thing I know I'm pulling off backing I then look up to see where my line was and it's not tied to the backing, the line is floating down the river! I was thinking I would just get new line. It was then that I remembered it's Diane's fly line floating down river.

So I ran up the hill, then when I got to the top I ran down the highway for about an 1/8 of a mile, then I ran down the hill again falling on my behind here and there. Now remember I'm in full armor here. As I got to the water there it was. . .Diane's fly line. The water was too deep for me to walk in and get the line, so I took my new rod and stretched it out over the water to try to get the fly line. At this time I now know how Moses felt when he put his rod in at the Red Sea. I too needed a miracle. God was faithful, I did get the line back. My boo boo was my knot was 'knot' a good one. My new fly fishing knife with the knot tyer? It was back at the truck. Know your knots.

Good days on the river! Yes, you can email me. ~ Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker

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