Fishing in small stream using bamboo fly rod | News

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Kostic in early 2020 at the Fly Fishing Show in Lancaster. He is one of the founders of Sweetgrass Rods, a bamboo fly rod company based in Butte, Montana. Meeting him there was perhaps my last bright spot before the coronavirus catastrophe upends things for millions everywhere… for a long time. But there was a bright spot for me right after that, which was that he and I connected, and my early and active interest in bamboo fly rods began.

For fly fishermen, and those purists who use cane rods as their current weapon of choice, Jerry and the Sweetgrass Rod Team are legends in the rod industry that go back several decades. Like me, Jerry spent some time in the Northern California Bay Area years ago, immersed himself in the art of fly fishing, eventually gained his wings in the magic of making bamboo fly rods and then joined the disciples of the RL Winston Rod Company .

In the mid-1970s, the RL Winston Rod Company, a distinguished leader in the bamboo fly rod industry, (based in San Francisco), was moved to Twin Bridges, Montana by Glenn Brackett and Tom Morgan. There, the landscape of epic trout streams will continue to inspire perfection in bamboo rod making to anglers everywhere, at the hands of a passionate team of craftsmen. In the early 2000s for philosophical reasons, the core builders of the RL Winston Rod Company decided to repopulate, split and continue raising the standards in the reed rod industry, and for nearly two decades, they have remained at the forefront and Sweetgrass rods continue to thrive.

Kustich is one of the most likable fellows and anglers I have ever met. We exchanged contact information and kept in touch. I write for some outdoor outlets and often post about the memorable fishing vacations I enjoy, in the hope that others in central PA will be inspired to get out and explore the riches this area has to offer. After reading some of the outside posts I’ve shared, Jerry suggests I consider writing an article or two for the monthly Sweetgrass Newsletter. I suggest he send me a rod to use temporarily and I will write up some articles about my personal experiences and observations while fishing them in local trout streams. Jerry says he’s got a 7-foot, 3-inch, 4-weight bamboo fly rod that he refers to as a “quad” that can be really good, especially for fishing small to medium trout here in central Pennsylvania. I’m excited and can’t wait to receive the package and head out.

The stick is a quadrilateral – that is, a reed (cylinder) of raw bamboo that will be sliced, planed and machined into a finished rod of four triangular segments. Bamboo fly rods are usually quadrilateral (4 segments), pent (5 segments) or hex (6 segments) when finished. The strips are cut, planed, baked, glued, and finished into the final product. When I had the opportunity to cast the 4-weight, I noticed that the casting process was a bit different. The quadrilateral shape makes straight vertical casting more accurate due to the physics of the design, and on small to medium flows here in the middle of PA, this is a big advantage. Bamboo as a rod material is slightly heavier than fiberglass or graphite, and the rhythm of the rod when casting is more pronounced and, in fact, incredibly enjoyable – like working a musical instrument or a metronome. It just flows…

So I recently decided to hit some small local streams with my Sweetgrass, and I had a ball. It’s early September, a dry attractor pattern on two different rivers, very close to home. The smaller stream is primarily native brook trout. The other has larger flows but is small and mostly brown in color.

My straight upstream casting is very precise. 6-bar hex rods can give a “wobble” effect that makes casting somewhere a little more difficult. But this rod allows me to make more accurate casts upstream when there is little canopy. Even though the rod is a 4 weight, it casts like a 4-5 weight, giving me the confidence to cast longer and pick larger trout.

So, the bottom line is that fishing two rivers over the course of two hours gives me some fun – I caught a fish, didn’t see another soul, and spent some time in the north central PA outdoors, and I’m happy to say that after this trip and a little before it, I’m a supporter and customer Lawful.

(tags for translation) local

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