The bamboo fly rod is a type of fishing rod made from bamboo that has been used for centuries. The first bamboo fly rods were made in China, where bamboo was abundant and the art of rod making was well-established.
The earliest known bamboo fly rods date back to the 7th century, during the Tang Dynasty in China. These rods were made from Tonkin bamboo and were used for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The rods were made by splitting the bamboo into thin strips, which were then glued together and shaped into a tapered form. The resulting rod was strong, lightweight, and had excellent flex and sensitivity, making it ideal for catching fish.
In the 19th century, bamboo fly rods became popular in Europe and North America, where they were used primarily for fly fishing. American rod makers such as Hiram Leonard and E.W. Edwards began making high-quality bamboo fly rods that were highly sought after by anglers.
Bamboo fly rods remained the preferred type of fly fishing rod throughout the first half of the 20th century. However, the popularity of synthetic materials such as fiberglass and graphite began to rise in the 1950s and 1960s, and many rod makers began to switch to these materials.
Today, bamboo fly rods remain popular among a dedicated group of anglers and collectors who appreciate their beauty, craftsmanship, and traditional feel. While modern materials offer some advantages over bamboo, many anglers still prefer the classic look and feel of a well-made bamboo fly rod.