It’s been too long since I touched bamboo…

It’s been a while.  No doubt.  And it’s been bothering me lately.

If you’ve been following the time stamps, this comes quite a bit after I finished my 7622 Sir D.  Here is the Summer 2014 update on that:
– I needed to grind down the handle even more than I had to make it suitably small.  It’s tiny, but fittingly so.
– I liked it well enough with a GPX DT2F, but a lighter WF2 was a bit better.  The tip is REALLY soft and folds under itself easily. We found this out in July when I had it up to Vermilion for Dad’s first review.  But later, in August, I had it to a bluegill/ bass pond  and had a blast sightfishing with soft hackles to ‘gills… with a 1 weight line.  It works a lot better.  It’s really a 1 weight!  Yikes!
– I showed it off at the local “Bamboo Gathering” in September, held every year in Martell, WI.  A bunch of folks were pleased and surprised by it, because it’s fantastically light yet feels like it will fish well.
– And fish well it does…

I took it, along with my dad, to my favorite brookie stream in Wisconsin.  Initially we tried tossing dries after seeing a couple rises but after an hour with no activity whatsoever, I did my usual – knotted and threw a small Clouser on 4X tippet.  Not 3 strips in and an 8″ brookie came flying out of the glass-smooth water right about where my fly ought to have been. That was the beginning.

Dad switched over and we were jumping, rolling, and fighting 8-11″ browns and brookies like they were on their last night eating.  Every turn, cut, hole, and pocket held at least a fish or two.  Most of the bigger holes held well over a dozen willing takers.  Cool water made most of them leapers.

The evening began to set in and the water turned dark, the shadows became long.  We’d worked our way well upstream and were facing a long, gradually deepening hole that formed in a tight bend that ultimately faced to my left as it turned upriver.  The brookies were still enthusiastic, and it was still fun – hours later – having to actually whip the little fish in order to bring them to hand.  But as evening so often does, the big boys came out to play.  I set in to one heavier-than-usual take and nothing moved for a moment, then the largest brookie I’d taken in years showed itself and proceeded to give me concerns about putting a set in my new little rod.  When it finally came to hand, it was a full foot long and thick enough that I could barely get a hand under it for a viewing.  It was in full spawning colors deserving of a column in a magazine.  The day was made.

Last cast.  Call it, kid, or else you leave things hanging.

The loop uncurled.  Plip, stripstripstrip… That was when the water opened and my streamer disappeared in the jaws of a giant butter-yellow small-water brown… it clamped down and turned in mere inches of water…

******************************************************

That was really the last I touched bamboo.  I’ve been refinishing a Shakespeare steelhead-sized rod and putting intermediate wraps on it, a better reel seat and fighting butt, etc but not a lot of progress was made last fall.  Too much going on, not enough time, not enough motivation.  Til recently when I realized it has been over a year since I touched ‘boo with any real determination.  (Doesn’t help that my SPLTCN plates are no more – darn you Indiana…)

Dad bought himself a Payne – maybe it’s a 102 – and let me wiggle it over the holidays just a couple days ago.  Yep, that long stick of Arundinaria amabilis is still an old friend.  I’ve missed you.  It felt right with an old reel and somehow I suddenly caught the slightest whiff of drying varnish and toasted cane.  Yep, I’ve missed you ‘boo. We’ll have to get reacquainted before long.

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