George, Packing our vessels for secret pond trip.   Jackman, Maine.

George, Packing our vessels for secret pond trip.
Jackman, Maine.

I’m filling in for my son this week on the blog. George as my kids call me is not my nickname of choice. They call me that after George Costanza from Seinfeld. They say I’m cheap!  I’m not cheap I just don’t let anything go to waste and have a hard time throwing things away. Wait till they have three hungry mouths to feed and we’ll see who’s cheap. Ill admit, I do have a few of my grandfather Challie’s traits. My uncle Chuck says he always ate the bad food and let the good go bad. And yes I have been known to do a little dumpster diving. Who can pass up a wood desk or table at the curb? Ok so I’m cheap. Enough about George.
Gear in-tow. MaGuiver style.

Gear in-tow. MaGuiver style.

As I said I’m writing to give my son a break this week. Although I think he does an excellent job. This blog about bamboo rod building “De-Hart of a maker” is the brainchild of Doug’s our whole rod making adventure was all his idea. He methodically drug me into it and I’m so glad he did. All my life I’ve strived for perfection. At a very young age my Mom instilled a valuable work ethic in me and I can still hear her telling me today “if your gonna do a job do it right”. I’ve always been looking for something that will last forever. Something that won’t rust or rot, wear out and die off. I think that’s why I get so much pleasure in restoring things to a working condition again. Although I’ve learned over the years that perfection doesn’t exist, I’ve also learned that things don’t have to be perfect, to be perfect. Rod building helps fill that void in me. They may not last forever but I’m sure they’ll be around a lot longer than I will. Hopefully my great grand kids will be fly fishermen.

Our rod making journey started when Doug was in high school and his mother asked me “What are we gonna get these boys for Christmas?” I told her Doug wants these forms for making bamboo rods. I had no idea what they even looked like. So Doug supplied the info and we ordered them.
He bought himself a couple of books on rod building and would ask me questions from time to time. I would thumb through the books and cringe, thinking holy crap! We’re gonna need degree’s in geometry and rocket science.
Not much happened for the next few years and the forms were put in the attic.
As time went by Doug read more books, studied rods and their makers. He would take fishing trips to Pennsylvania and New York by himself stopping in every fly shop he passed drooling over the bamboo rods. He had me read Ed Engle’s book Splitting Cane. When I told him I’d be sure and get it back to him he said “no hurry I read it eight times”. EIGHT TIMES ! !

Photo taken from a slide. Picture taken by my Grandfather somewhere in Maine.

Photo taken from a slide. Picture taken by my Grandfather somewhere in Maine.

As the years passed I always felt bad knowing how Much he wanted to build his own rods, also knowing that if my father were alive they would be building rods together. My father was a very smart man with the patience of a saint and the talent of an artist.

Doug was lucky enough to get in touch with Jim Downes a rod builder in PA. Jim invited us to come out to his shop and he would walk us through the process. One of the best things we could have done. A great guy who gave us our start on the road to rod building.

Now Doug graduated from Rowan University with a degree in history. And although the US Civil War was high on his list his true passion is on the history of bamboo rods and their makers. I’m amazed at his knowledge. He knows rods, tapers and who built them by recognition of the smallest details. He knows the builders both past and present, and what their rods are worth. We’ll be working on a rod together in the shop and I’m constantly asking him “who’s taper are we making now? Whats the action? What weight is it again? Oh that’s right a Jim Payne 102 modified 7-1/2 ft. 5 wt”.  The kid knows his fly fishing rods.

Under the title of the blog his opening statement reads “The journey of a rod maker in pursuit of living the dream” whether he knows it or not he’s already living the dream.

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3 Responses to

  1. Toothbrusher says:

    I brush my teeth I don’t understand where this is coming from

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