Gierach on the almost religious devotion to bamboo

Most readers are probably familiar with Colorado author John Gierach. He has become one of angling’s most popular writers, in the years following the 1986 publication of his best known book Trout Bum (Pruett Publishing).

Gierach earned special affection from many bamboo rod fly fishers 1997, when he published Fishing Bamboo (Lyons Press). Since fiberglass and, later, graphite became standard rod-making materials, bamboo has become a niche material. Still, there are many contemporary makers of bamboo rods. And there are many older rods, having been produced for well over one hundred years now, in circulation. I sometime use some older rods myself.

Gierach recently published a new short essay on bamboo rods in the business news magazine Bloomberg. The essays is titled “The Quasi-Religious, Damn-Near-Irrational Appeal of Bamboo Fishing Rods” (August 8, 2019). You can find the article, accompanied by pictures of fine contemporary rods, here.

2 Responses to “Gierach on the almost religious devotion to bamboo”

  1. AJ Morris Says:

    Strangely relieved to see Gierach’s “official” website is only a promotional page put up by his publisher.

    I’ve been using bamboo off and on for nearly four decades, but I have yet to develop a lasting affection for it. Leaving everything else aside, bamboo rods, well… they pretty much suck to fish with. And that’s a tall fence to get over.

    Despite this, I continue to fish with ’em occasionally for reasons that are not entirely clear even to me. In part, it’s a feeling there is more to the game than cold-eyed efficiency. I’d like to believe that it’s good for the soul to now and then to deliberately limit ourselves and be less than the perfect predator.


  2. Kenov Says:

    I find lately that I keep setting them out to fish, but then I grab a different rod as I head to the car. Still, I like the sentiments expressed in your last paragraph.


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