Probably like yourself I love fishing and for many reasons and one of those reasons, apart from getting a tight line, I love meeting the people who have the same passion as myself. One such person who certainly has a passion for our piscatorial adventures is a great friend Paddy. Sadly I don’t get to see him that often, probably for the best his wife would think he’d gone missing with the amount of time we’d be on a river!
So to cut a long story short – as Paddy has done such a great write up for me to put on here for everyone – Paddy occasionally asks me to make “stuff” for him. One such thing was a wading/walking stick with a rod in it. I love a challenge, so I did, this is the result… (by the way I’m making a few now, some are in the shop, three I’m currently making are spoken for and I’ve just been asked to make one with fretwork and carvings – photo’s to come!)
“Rae is a great guy and a friend although we have only met face to face once at West Beck Chalk stream last year, and where he is always welcome when his schedule permits. Rae made me some of my first Kebari flies, beautiful in little corked bottles with chords and beads- 3 matching flies per bottle. Next came the bamboo case for my 1st Step Tenkara rod from Prague- great.
I began my trout fishing life as a young poacher from overgrown tiny trout streams around Bath creeping through the undergrowth and finding surprisingly good trout that had never seen a fisherman, let alone a fly. Successful trips finished at the Beaujolais restaurant where Jean-Paul traded them for a steak supper!
I have an old Welsh walking stick with a trout rod in the handle and the idea translated forward 50 years- Rae can you make me a wading/walking stick in bamboo with a tenkara rod in the handle please. ( the plot here is all those walks with Marti my wife (no fishing kit allowed) and then we sit by a stream in Devon, the North York Moors, the Lakes, the Dales and wish for ten minutes with a fly rod.
Rae sourced the rod and the bamboo. The rod has to have a traditional-no cork- handle to fit inside. I found a small replica brass compass on E-bay from India which arrived in time.
A wait. Then an e-mail- “stick on its way can’t make fishing date so posting”
Today I arranged to take the stick/rod to West Beck and for Dave Southall and Tony Walsh to accompany me ( Dave is an excellent photographer) weather looked rubbish misty and promising and delivering rain. So well done Dave to get pics out of it.
Dave revues Tenkara rods for the press and probably has 15. Tony and Dave both loved the concept, loved the look of the walking/wading stick. It balances well, is weighted in the foot. The compass in the handle/cork looks great but works loose a little, easily adjusted with a layer of wrapping.
A hidden cord loop extracts the rod from the handle where it doesn’t rattle. I understand Rae had to find a new tool to clean out the depth of bamboo required. We added a 3 weight level line and 6ft of tippet- too much in the wind and rain so we shortened it. The rod casts really well. A slightly heavier level line or a braided line will probably work even better particularly in adverse weather.
We searched the river for the small grayling shoals and found several including fish to 2 lbs or more but the Autumn levels are very low and large trout at the head of most pools are very easily spooked. Not moving to surface fly today, we can see where grayling have been scouring small circles overnight for the many shrimp in the stream. On with a weighted shrimp and follows began but no takes, slashes by very large trout cleared some pools and fortunately did not connect as some were 3 lbs or more and might have tested the rod beyond intention.
Finally a grayling is deceived half to three quarters of a pound and the rod performed very well. Grayling returned to river, rod returned to wading stick areal success and the whole ensemble ready for future deceits of all sorts! Thanks Rae.”
Thank you Paddy for the review and I look forward to catching up with you soon 🙂