Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read or viewed, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

November 26th, 2007

Split and Glued
By Bill Harms and Tom Whittle

Reviewed by James Castwell

Book cover

By Vince Marinaro is the rest of the title. One might mistake the title for a book by Vince. It is not. It is about him though. Not really a biography but close. I was fortunate to have met him about 1970 and stayed in touch with him for the rest of his life. If anyone ever had an influence on my fly fishing it was Vince. The book is the product of two fine fly fishers and close friends of his, Bill Harms and Tom Whittle. My deepest admiration for the outstanding work.

I read it slowly, very slowly as I did not want it to come to an end. But, end it did, some three hundred pages later, after detailing how and what Vince had accomplished in the world of bamboo rod making. The expertise shown in the book is exemplary of the experience of the authors and their fellowship with him.

There is a wealth of photos all through out the book. Some old black and white but mostly color shots of Vince, his rod making tools and equipment, his fish, his rods and his friends. The first part starts with a fine background on cane rods, then on to his accomplishments.

Of course there are not only pictures of his rods but a detailed list of his tapers used to produce them. As with every cane builder I have ever known, creating the perfect cane rod is an illusion. It is about as easy as painting the perfect picture. Ask any artist, how do you know when you are done with it. Ask any cane maker if he will change anything on the next one.

Unless, of course, they are a commercial builder. Then they have settled on a few that will cover most of the desires of his following. I will venture to say that Vince never was perfectly happy with any of his rods, however he was right proud of several. I was party to one such event when he and his 'Green Mountain' boys came out to Canoe Harbor, by Grayling, Michigan for the subvaria event. He had built a rod back in Pennsylvania and would not let his buddies even see it.


I met him as he stepped from the motor-home, but he popped right back in and quickly returned with the rod tube. The big Italian smile flooded from ear to ear, much to the howls of good natured complaining from his friends. Vince had a wry sense of humor and I was about to become part of it. Introductions were made and then he takes me off to a picnic table at the camp site and with a bit of 'ceremony' opens the case and removes the rod. It was nice, very nice indeed. Was it the most greatest rod I had ever seen? No. But, he had made the whole thing, taper and all. And, it was special. It was a secret thing he had made especially for the South Branch of the Au Sable where we were standing.

The rod was joined and strung and handed to me. Can you say intimidated? How about overwhelmed. Well, pick one then. Now, I was supposed to cast his new rod. It had never been cast! This is the guy who went to Camp David and helped Jimmy Carter and his wife with their fly casting and fishing for Pete's sake. He wants my opinion. Somehow I survived the casting and he gave it a few pitches too. Seemingly satisfied, he took it down and returned it to his rod case. He fished it the next day.

Here are a few pictures I took of him fishing the rod. An end note to this, he accidently broke the rod to smithereens later in the day. And, oh yes, the taper was not exactly what he wanted. Close, but not quite.

Vince on South Branch

Vince on South Branch

Vince on South Branch

Vince on South Branch

Vince on South Branch

Vince on South Branch

I am sure the book will be of great interest and value to many of you. Those who knew the man and those of you who just wish you had. Many may have tried, but few have left their mark on our recreation; he most certainly left his, Split and Glued by Vince Marinaro. ~ James Castwell, (JC)

Split and Glued By Vincent C. Marinaro
By Bill Harms and Tom Whittle
Published by Stony Creek Rods
6530 Leo Drive
Harrisburg, Pennyslvania 17111
Phone: 717-652-6545

8½" x 11" format, full-color throughout,
approximately 300 pages, 11 original paintings,
225 photographs, 50 drawings, plus charts of
all Marinaro's rod tapers.

Hardbound, 7 x 10 inches, 159 pages
Trade Edition ISBN: 978-0-9796532-0-9
Limited Edition ISBN: 978-0-9796532-1-6
Printed and bound in the United States of America
By Jostens Printing and Publishing
Price: $59.95 (plus S & H) US
Special Limited Edition Sold Out

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