Bamboo Bonzai

Why Cane

By Joe Loverti

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The allure of the split cane rod has been a part of the magic of fly fishing for a long time. The natural beauty of a well-built cane rod speaks for itself. It brings to mind a time when things were quite different than they are today. A time when one-of-a-kind craftsmanship was the rule rather than the exception. In trying to explain the ever increasing interest in split cane rods, I could do no better that borrow from the renowned author and fisherman, John Gierach who spoke to that issue so well in his wonderful book, "Trout Bum", where he wrote: "... fly-fishing is a sport in which fish are caught properly only in a certain way, often against all odds, and using rods made from a weird kind of grass that grows in China ... John's description hits the nail on the head in describing the mystique of the cane rod."

All the wonderful mystique aside, you really don't have to be a dyed-in-the-wool, fly fishing-geek to get 'hooked' on the charm of cane rods. Many of my customers aren't seasoned cane rod owners, but rather first time cane rod buyers looking for a better way. Typically, they own several fly rods, usually graphite composites. But still, split cane offers them an alternative to what's available at the typical Orvis shop. They want to own a cane rod -- they want to fish a cane rod. Maybe it's simply because cane rods fill a void that's missing with those big name, mass-produced, high-priced rods. Maybe, they're simply tired of paying big dollars for plastic? -- or maybe, it's because that despite these high tech times we live in, things like pleasing the hands, satisfying the eyes, and casting a fly line like nobody's business™ have never really gone out of style.

Should you ever 'get hooked' on split cane rods. You'll have high expectations and perhaps some serious doubts about what to look for in a cane rod. Here's a few thoughts that may help to clear the air before you make your first custom cane rod purchase: In the end, your cane rod will only be as good as the level of craftsmanship mustered-up by its' builder. Unlike mass produced fly rods, mother nature has predetermined that no two split cane rods can or ever will be exactly alike. Each rod is born with a unique personality -- (it's part of the split cane mystique). Each split cane rod is unique and individual. This is where the skill of the rod builder enters the picture. The rod builder must know how and must take the time to bring out the beauty and casting potential lurking inside a raw culm of Tonkin cane. As I like to say, There's a cane rod hidden inside the bamboo, it's the job of the rod builder to find it! To put it simply: choosing the rods' builder is as important as choosing the rod itself.

For me, working with raw cane is immensely satisfying. Using the finest traditional rod building materials to build fishing rods meant to last several lifetimes is a real thrill. I still get a kick in knowing that the owner of a 'Loverti Custom Cane Fly Rod' will feel the same satisfaction in using it as I had when building it. They'll know that I made their rod just as if I had made it for myself -- that's the only way I know how to build a fly rod -- and, the only way I ever want to build a fly rod.


From start to finish, there are few short cuts in building a quality cane rod. It simply takes a lot of time to do the job right. And lots of time is exactly what I give each rod I build. Each piece is hand-split from a seasoned Tonkin bamboo 'culm' and then hand-planed (no bevellers or machinery is used). Each spline is precision tapered by hand to measurements of .001 of an inch tolerences! This produces superior rod action and flawless construction cosmetics. Obviously, when you take this kind time, only a very limited number of rods can leave the shop each year.

Another important matter the potential cane rod buyer should know is that time and craftmanship by itself can't make up for run-of-the-mill materials. That's why only the best Tonkin bamboo culms are good enough to be split into the cane blanks used in my rods -- and, the best quality, nickel / silver hardware (no aluminum) -- and, the best 'AAAA fluor-quality' cork rings -- and, three hand-rubbed coats of water-resistant polyureathane -- well, you get the message. If you want the best, you start with the best. The bottom line is: obsession for a thousand tiny details combined with the finest Tonkin cane, classic hardware and hours and hours time -- allows me to produce one of the 'sweetest' split cane fly rods you can lay your hands on. And, to prove it -- a 100% satisfaction guarantee it my policy. Never had a customer take me up on it yet.


You'll wait with great anticipation for your finished cane rod to arrive. You'll unpack it very carefully and try a few dry casts. Then you'll put a line on it to give it a real test. You'll see how it responds to your unique casting style -- you'll feel the cane come-to-life in your own hands. You'll examine the details and discover the unique personality of a Loverti Cane Fly Rod. It's then you'll know it was well worth the wait. I'm confident you'll agree that it's been built from butt to tip to do three things: please the hands, satisfy the eyes, and cast a fly line like nobody's business™ -- I believe those are things that will never go out of style. ~ Joe Loverti

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