And in the beginning…

As I sit here wrapping a rod for a customer I have been reflecting on when this journey started. Trying to do this by memory is not an easy task these days! Seems that I remember the year 1991, I had just met my wife to be, though I still didn’t know that! Kinda like not knowing where my new found interest in building a bamboo fly rod was going, funny how that worked. We were on one of those weekend drives, you know, new girl friend, getting to know each other, drive up to the mountains on a nice summer day… well we were passing through Lyons Colorado and I had heard of South Creek Ltd. seems there was a guy up there making bamboo fly rods! “Let’s stop in here and see what this is all about” I said to my new gal! We were greeted by Mike and he showed us what he was doing! Then I started to look at some of the rods on the rack and quickly realized that this was just a dream, I could never afford the prices for a fishing rod! But… I knew right then and there that I could make one! It seems to me that it was on that first visit that I asked Mike if he had any information, but I may have thought about it for a while and then come back, just don’t remember that detail. Anyway he sold me a book that he had in stock “The Bamboo Rod And How to Build It” by Claude M. Kreider, I have that book in front of me as I write this! At the time there was not much in print about this subject. The bible, ” A Master’s Guide To Building A Bamboo Fly Rod” by Garrison/Carmichael was out of print and “Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods” by Wayne Cattanach was not out yet.

So I read my book cover to cover and found that there was a copy or two of the Garrison book avalaible at the Library. I would go to the Longmont library and check it out for as long as I could, then go to the Denver library and do the same! At some point I started to make a set of forms (still use them today!) and started acquiring the tools that I felt I needed. Looking back on this, if there would have been a class avalaible I could have paid for it with the money I spent on tools that I didn’t need!

At some point I went back to see Mike and told him that I was ready to try my hand at making a bamboo fly rod! He sold me a culm of cane and was nice enough to throw in a partial culm that he had taken a section out of for a repair on another rod! “Practice splitting this one he said, then you can go to work on your good one.” Well that is just what I did… the splitting went quite well! I’ll just keep going until I screw it up I thought! Well long story short I ended up with a one tip 8 ft. rod based on a Winston taper that I got out of the Krieder book! Still have that rod though it belongs to my son, (that story to come later) Now I wish I would have dated that rod, though I did sign it (not very well) and it is a pretty good effort if I do say so myself!

And so it began…

More to come, I hope you enjoyed my reflections … as I sit here wrapping a rod!

Joe E. Arguello

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to And in the beginning…

  1. vitamin a says:

    Hi, I just stopped by to visit your website and thought I’d say I enjoyed myself.

  2. There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  3. iphone4s says:

    Very interesting info!Perfect just what I was searching for!

  4. Nick Edgman says:

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So nice to search out anyone with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this web site is one thing that is wanted on the web, somebody with somewhat originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the internet!

  5. Howdy! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thank you!

  6. Very nice info and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thanks 🙂

  7. Kendall says:

    Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  8. Robert Fridge says:

    When I was living in Colorado for a while I heard there was a builder in the area with a fly shop. So I went and checked him out. And met Joe. We became friends. I had already taken a class with Wayne Cattanach and had built some rods. Joe, you were always very helpful and build a beautiful rod. I have since moved back to the Texas coast and haven’t built a rod since. Hurricane got all my tools anyhow, but I sure enjoyed casting and comparing rods with Joe. Say hi to Verna for me and good fishing. Robert

  9. It isn’t every day to discover such a wonderful friend which blogging sites such great things.

  10. I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    My Bolg :

  11. Tony Spezio says:

    I always had a desire to make a bamboo rod but had no idea how to do it till I went to a show in 1990.
    I started fishing Bamboo in 1945 when I bought a used Bamboo rod for 25 cents. I still have that rod.
    I attended the show in PA. where Wayne and Ron did the presentation on making Bamboo rods and I thought it was too complacated. In any case, I started building the form that took me 9 years to compleate because I could not find anyone that would mill the groove. The form was drilled and tapped all that time.
    After moving to Arkansas, I got to meet with Wayne at a class he was doing a few miles from me. He convinced me that I could do the groove by hand. Three days later, my forms were ready to use. That led me into splitting some bamboo that I already had. A week later I was casting my first home made bamboo rod.

  12. Joe,

    Nice blog! I started one on my site a few months back, but the only comments I get are from spammers 🙁

    Incidentally, I thought about making agate stripping guides to sell, but couldn’t see any way to make money at it! While I have built my own bamboo rod through a class at High Desert Fly Rods, I would never consider myself a rod builder. I live in Boise, where High Desert happens to be located, so I was able to take my time building the rod. Most students have 7 grueling days to finish a rod, but it took me almost 2 *months*!!!

    Again, nice blog!


  13. Marv Loopstra says:

    As a 60 year old just starting out a year ago, I read of your beginnings and wonder where my own journey will take me. Wish I had started this 40 years ago!

  14. Erin Block says:

    Funny how time is forgotten, years pass, and suddenly it’s surprising how far you’ve come. I really enjoyed hearing of “the beginnings…” Very much looking forward to reading more.

  15. John Rivera says:

    …nice job with the blog, Joe…I hope to read more…you, your better half and Frank are special to us…and of course…there’s the Big T…the St. Vrain…Rocky Mountain National…and… of course, your pleasant casting bamboo rods…

    …my better looking and smarter half, Fabia, says, “…if she didn’t have me to make a bamboo rod for her, she’d order one from you…”…

    Life is good…

    John P. Rivera

  16. Steve Yasgur says:

    “And so it goes; and so it goes”
    –Bily Joel

    Joe, big grins here reminiscing about my own start, which really kicked in when I spotted a copy of George Maurer and Bernard Elser’s book in a local shop. I was a primo example of ‘unconscious incompetence’–didn’t know what I didn’t know. Witness the 3/4″ woodworker’s gouge for removing internal dams from the culm . . .
    Joe, as with your other skills you’ve shared with us, the flyrod blog [f-l-o-g????] is off to a great start, well-told and resonating widely. Don’t stop now!

  17. Mike McClain says:

    It is uncanny how many parallels there are in this craft.

    In 1993, or so, I also made a stop at Mike’s in Lyons, on my way to fish the beaver ponds in Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Walked out with an old Phillipson “Peerless”, a tour of his shop, and the thought that anyone who would pay what Mike was asking for a fly rod(even then) had to be crazy…sure wish I’d bought one of them then.

    I had read the Garrison/Carmichael book when it was new, but did not have time, or money, to mess with building cane rods until years later. Besides, graphite was the new thing, and I could build a couple a week easy. The bamboo bug never went away however, and with kids through college, and retirement in the offing, the time finally arrived.

    Fortunately I was spared the ‘buy and build tons of nearly useful tools stage’, since I had the benefit of
    Frank Drummond’s class. Which since Frank learned the art in your class, sort of ties us all together, and completes the circle.

    By the way, it’s getting close to time to visit the greenback cutts in the Park. You ready?

  18. Eric Peper says:

    Nice stuff, Joe. Your site was one of the first I looked at when I started getting back into bamboo rods (for fishing — I’d never try and build one) about 10 years ago. Now, a half dozen rods later, I am one happy camper. I’m sitting here looking at my two Granger tubes (8642 and 8040), and just knowing what joy they hold in store for me makes me smile. Thanks for sharing your reminiscences.


  19. Tony Spezio says:

    Brings back a lot of memoeries of the way I started.

Leave a Reply