I have admired Matt Schliske’s pictures and posts on Facebook for a long time now so I asked him if he wanted to send over a post so we can spread the word of the great work his doing with bamboo, not to mention what he is doing on the water. I have not be able to cast one of his rods but I can only imagine how awesome if may be. Here is a small write up he sent over. Check out his FB page and website.
Post written by Matt Schliske owner of Schliske Bamboo Fly Rods
My passion for split cane fly rods started around the same time as my love of fly fishing. The first bamboo rod I ever saw was on the same day I caught my first fish on a fly rod deep in the backcountry of the flattops wilderness area of Colorado. I have a great / crazy friend who shoved me off the deep end on both accounts.
It didn’t take long for me to acquire a bamboo rod of my own, which led to me trying to learn all I could about these strange sticks. Another buddy from my native state of Wyoming had made a couple cane rods in his basement. He gave me some stuff to get started making my own and it quickly snowballed from there. I’ve been making bamboo rods for 8 or 9 years now. I’ve done it professionally for 7 years and full time for two. Full time rod making is so different from making rods in addition to having a regular job. It’s especially challenging when you have a family, house and other obligations vying for your time and attention.
My passion has turned into a sickness that I can’t seem to shake. I don’t really recommend dabbling in cane rods to anyone because I’ve seen too many lives and relationships ruined because of it. So in other words, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, if anyone wants to flirt with self destruction, check my website at www.bamboo-fisher.com
I design pretty much all of my own tapers. My rods range from small fairy wand 2wts on up to 12′ two handed spey rods and hollow built 10wt tarpon rods.
Most of the rods I make though are 7 foot to 8 foot 4 and 5wts for trout fishing. My current favorite trout rod is a 2 piece 7’9″ 5wt. It will cast dry flies like butter but has the backbone to chuck large weighted streamers and nymphs when you feel like being dirty. I like to design a rod that has modern casting qualities with traditional finishes that contain my own aesthetic touches. For example, I use a lot of silk threads on my rods that were made back in the 1930s, but I also try to use titanium on reel seats and ferrules whenever I can.
I realize bamboo is not for everyone, but I have used the material to successfully capture fish on a fly for years now in all kinds of different angling situations.
To me it’s all about the feel and sensitivity that bamboo provides. I also really like being able to use natural materials as much as possible. Another big benefit in my eyes is that the rods are not disposable. I have rods from the 1920s that I still fish. If anything goes wrong with the rod, it can be fixed. If properly taken care of, they can last three generations or more. I plan on handing my cane rods down to my grandkids someday. Just like my grandfather handed his down to me.