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Bamboo rod care, use & maintenance

A bamboo rod with use will show signs of wear and require inevitable repairs.  Unlike graphite they require care and attention.    This part of what draws one to their split-cane rod -if not in the beginning then over time; the effort put into them nurtures the bond, and the rod requires this of its fisherman.

This is why you see people holding onto these rods their entire life, even through generations.

Ferrules

  • keep them clean, especially before seating; and periodically sweep the  ferrules (with a q-tip and alcohol) to keep it clean of dust or dirt or oils, as even the smallest particles can create problems (be careful to keep alcohol clear of the finish)
  • never ‘force’ ferrules together or apart
  • seat ferrules completely but not with any degree of force- they should easily slip together and apart
  • NEVER TWIST FERRULE CONNECTIONS, only push and pull straight together and apart, keeping hands level, near the joint, and the guides lined up
  • do not lubricate the ferrules.  this will attract dust and dirt
  • temperature extremes can effect ferrule fit.  if this happens, returning the ferrules to ‘room temperature’ can be done by placing the ferrule snuggled up under an armpit for a few minutes to warm it up.
  • an occasional sweep with 0000 steel wool may be required if the ferrule has been neglected or unused for some time -NOT to remove any nickle but the oxidation that may be on the surface

 

FISHING

  • let the rod do the casting, it is the only way to get a good cast from it… aggressively ‘forcing’ the cast will not get your fly anywhere and possibly overstress the rod.
  • cast slow (even ‘fast’ bamboo is slow next to graphite)
  • avoid knowingly casting to fish larger than the rod is made to handle
  • when playing large fish, rotate the rod grip in your hand, and use the butt section as leverage, not so much the tip.  too much stress in one direction could cause the development of a set.  Be particularly careful when playing the fish in close not to over stress the rod  holding the rod no more than 30 degrees to the river
  • do not use the rod to relieve snagged flies
  • hook tenders are absent from the rod for two reasons; one, storing the line under tension can contribute to acquiring a set in the rod shaft; two, there is too great a risk of snagging the tended line and tearing out the hook tender.  the same holds true using a guide as a tender.  Instead, just hold the line under a finger against the cork grip when you’re walking.

AFTER USE AND STORAGE

  • Personally I keep my rods stored indoors, with the rod tube cap OFF.  This lets the rod dry completely (especially the cork grip) and allows the varnish to breath.
  • always wipe down rod after use with clean cotton, dry completely before storing in tube.  make sure the cork grip is also completely dried out
  • make sure rod sack is dry
  • leave the cap off the rod tube for a few days after fishing, cork takes a while to dry out
  • Any moisture left in an enclosed tube will damage the rod.  Varnish is not entirely ‘water proof’ and the moisture content of the cane will eventually reach an equilibrium with its ambient surroundings.  This could cause one of two things; one, mildew, and two, contribute to the development of a ’set.’  For that reason, the driest area of your home is the best place to store your rod.
  • keep rod/tube in a dry place when not in use
  • avoid temperature extremes, especially heat (for example, car trunks on hot days)
  • to maintain the finish, I recommend ‘orange wax’ from TownTalk Polish Co. as a polish.  becareful use any chemical polishes, only natural waxes, to avoid any bad reactions with the varnish
  • to maintain the metal finish, avoid liquid metal polishes which could interact with the varnish, instead opt to use a ’sunshine cloth’

SETS

  • a ’set’ may develop in the rod either due to too much stress applied to the rod, or due to an increased moisture content of the rod.
  • mild sets can be corrected by gently bending the ’set’ in the opposite direction, however considerable care must be given not to overcorrect the bend.  more serious sets should be sent back to the maker for correction
  • mild sets after playing a fish are often corrected with a few false casts
  • mild sets are a fact of life for a bamboo rod, and mild sets should not negatively effect the casting of the rod for the most part.  The set only needs correcting when it begins to interfere with the cast
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