Describing actions of bamboo fly rods is a bit like describing a painting you have seen at a local gallery to a slack-jawed friend. If you are really good at creatively visualizing something while somebody else is describing it to you then its not a problem. Fly rod literature for most part is typically comprised of a multitude of adjectives and combinations of touchy feely words that really do not describe the essence of a particular rods action. Until you pick up the rod and actually cast it you can only then fully understand the rods true persona.
As a rodmaker I’ve casted countless bamboo fly rods and the ones I like most are the ones that compliment the way I fish. That being said I gravitate to dry fly rods that are moderately quick, accurate, and light weight. Some load up in close, others spit line like a fire hose, some do both. I’ve casted Leonards, Paynes, T&T’s, and Garrisons and liked them all. I dislike many rods that others like, and like many rods others dislike for pretty obvious reasons. Boxers or briefs? I had a caller once ask me “how far do your rods cast?” my reply was “how good of a caster are you?” We all have arms and wrists that are educated differently, we all have different ways we choose fish, different rivers, different flies, and inevitably there is a rod best suited for the particular need. The choices are limitless.
My favorite clients are dry fly enthusiasts because I know that they are not going to put one of those silly fluorescent line indicators on their leader and triple haul a #2 salmon fly with a trout rod. Although I’m probably going to take some heat for this entry irregardless. Recently I had a really good chat with a customer who lives in upstate New York and he said casting the rod I made for him was like “eating ice cream”, I thought that was a very creative way of saying it was his new best friend. He described the rods action as most complimentary to his fishing style.
“My favorite rods are the ones I can manipulate masterfully to simply catch fish”
This has been my personal motto for many years now. I suppose I’ve always trusted my intuition about fish so naturally I make rods to further reinforce those intuitions. Ultimately I am in a happy place since I am able to make “favorite” rods for myself and many others to date. I only wish to continue a certain level of excellence and evolution in my rod building. I also am thankful for the giving few who have inspired me to do so and only hope that I may also be of influence as I grow older.
Clint Joseph Bova