I’m Psychic… Who Knew

Since the day I heard back in March that I won the opportunity to use and write about the bamboo fly rod from Fall River Flyrods, the Madison reel from Montana Fly Company and the fly line from Rio Products, I’ve joked that I was going to break this rod. Not intentionally of course, but I know my history with rods.

Who knew that on the evening of August 9th my prediction would come true.

I think it’s going to need more than a BandAid…

When fishing the Fox River for smallies I use spinning gear and usually have about 15 to 20 feet of line out, letting a lure drift around in the current. I move the rod around a bit to pick apart every nook and cranny, ever tiny current break that might be holding a fish.

Smallies being what they are, the ultimate fresh water predator, it’s not unusual to have them hit right at your feet with no more than a few feet of line out. The hits are sudden and violent and the runs are intense. On a good day, I go home with a sore hand and wrist from fishing this way.

I use medium light spinning gear with a very fast action. I also only use braided line, which doesn’t stretch. To compensate for that, I keep the drag set relatively loose. The tip and loose drag are enough to cushion the blow of these short, sudden and violent hits.

I was doing the same thing with the fly rod on Thursday night.

With about an eight foot leader and another foot of line out, I was dragging something through the water in and out of a current seam. A pool of line was at my feet. I had the line cinched with my finger at the grip.

This I believe was the problem, no drag.

The hit was sudden and violent and my initial reaction was to give a quick hard snap back to set the hook.

And then I heard another snap.

That couldn’t be good.

The rods tip alone wasn’t enough to cushion the blow. Having the line cinched down and giving a quick hard snap back didn’t help. There was nowhere else for the end of the rod to go but… snap.

I knew better, but in the moment, I didn’t.

Sorry about this Mr. Zicha. No matter how much care in handling this rod that I took, I can’t control the actions of an aggressive predator. They don’t care what you’re rod is made of or how outstanding it’s craftsmanship.

They are there to humiliate all.

I do know this, no more short drifts at the end of a cast with about nine feet of line out…

I don’t think the twisty ties will hold for long.


The Outdoor Blogger Network teamed up with Fall River Flyrods, Montana Fly Company and RIO Products this spring to put together a rig consisting of an 8ft, 2-piece, 5wt “South Fork” bamboo rod, Madison reel, and double taper, floating line to be fished by 15 far-flung anglers over the course of the season. One of those 15 anglers will own the rod, reel, and line when all is said and done, along with an accompanying journal in which all 15 anglers will record their thoughts and experiences during their time with the rod. With a first season like that, the story of this brand new rod is off to a very good start.

24 thoughts on “I’m Psychic… Who Knew

    1. Ken G Post author

      My biggest fear was falling on it. Been done in the past. Sure footed so far. Glad there’s another tip. Rebecca is looking into getting another to finish the tour.

  1. bob

    based upon your description, the rod shouldn’t have broken. Usually bamboo rods bend at the ferrules and just stay bent. However, perhaps you are a closeted Lou Ferrigno hook-setter, and such was inevitable.

    Still, this shouldn’t sour you on bamboo. You only got the barest of initiations into the joys (few) and the disappointments (many) of late-blooming, baby-boomer, faux flyfishing nostalgia.

    How did you get into this contest anyway? I could write a journal too, although if I were to win, my bamboo would – suspiciously it is true – end up on ebay.

    1. Ken G Post author

      All my life I’ve brought things back to people only to have them tell me “that shouldn’t have happened like that…”

      I’m tough on things I guess. Used to drive my mom nuts when I was a kid.

      Love the rod, just won’t do that again.

      This was all through Outdoor Blogger Network. You’re flickr site would qualify I think.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I wish I had this kind of intuition on future events when it came to playing the Lotto Howard.

      Instead, I sense broken bamboo fly rods in my future.

  2. Fontinalis Rising

    Ken- here I thought it would happen to me. I may have softened that tip up a bit for you, who knows? Sounds like you got a raw deal- cheap shotted by some surly smallmouth. Me? I wouldn’t take it after smallies as all my flies have lead eyes and I’ve been hitting my rods with my flies a lot lately. It was painful to see those shards. Fortunately he sent two tips. JT/FR

    1. Ken G Post author

      Jason, I thought of your comment about the rod being a tip wrapping machine. I’ve been using heavier flies, I wonder if I softened it up with the same tip wrapping issues. There have been a few.

      Got this from Rebecca this morning after letting her know about the tip…

      “Your story trumps the bird poop on the rod case.”

      I guess it does.

      1. Quill Gordon

        Well, this certainly does trump the bird poop on the case. You’ve set the bar pretty high for the rest of the group now.

        Give it some time and this story will eventually be about the huge bass that snapped a 5wt like a twig (leaving out the part about the short line hook set).

    1. Ken G Post author

      One day, years ago, it was my responsibility to clean the antique glass I collected with the ex. I broke one. I may as well have killed a beloved pet.

      Couple of months later, she broke one. Didn’t say a word, shit happens.

      To this day I will not touch or clean anything that someone says is an antique. You want it cleaned or moved… do it yourself.

    1. Ken G Post author

      I was just pissed at myself.

      No worries, there’s another and Jason Zicha says the thing can be fixed. Shipping it out to him this weekend.

      What you have to worry about is that I’m passing it on to Nick today.

      I think he’s going to take it carp fishing.

      That should be banned.

    1. Ken G Post author

      The rod comes with two tips. It now has one.

      Jason was very understanding and pretty funny in one email. The instructions that come with the rod… he ignores his own instructions. Someone has to test their limits, as he so much said.

      Then I got hold of it…

      I’m shipping the broken tip to him. It will be fixed and ready to be given to the final recipient of the rod.

  3. Julie Z

    Ken (and Company)~

    I would have been by here sooner to comment but was tied up for what seemed like forever with PC issues; I am glad to finally have the chance to assure you that there REALLY is no worries about the tip on this rod. One of the very best things about fishing bamboo is that it is indeed repairable if you should have the occasional “oh shit, I forgot about that ceiling fan” or “uh…guess closing the door on that wasn’t a great idea” kind of moment.

    The tip section showed up this week and should be back in commission in no time~ and I would hazard a guess that it will look FAR better than the rod tube does when Jason’s finished with it 😉

  4. Ken G Post author

    It amazes me that it can be fixed. Someone at the cast and compare I went too was describing the repair process. I find it fascinating.

    I’m hoping the bird shit doesn’t get washed away in it’s journey. I was going to seal it, but thought I’d wait. If I win it and there is still remnants, than I’ll make it a permanent part of the tube.

    I like the feel of bamboo. Better than the three others I have. I’m not a tech head, so I’ll assume graphite of some kind. I think it just fits my style of casting better. Tell Jason sorry for making him work…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *