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bonefishing hawaii:

bamboo switch rods and more.


on wednesday i had the opportunity to fish with canadian rod maker james reid.  at thirty six, he is an expert split cane fly rod builder.  i know exactly squat about building a bamboo rod (except for the kind used to catch o’ama).  i do have a few bamboo fly rods and the one thing about them i know is that i like to fish them.  needless to say i was stoked to cast some of james’ creations.


i met up with james, deano, and craig.  deano has built up a reputation of being the local bamboo guy out here in hawaii.  he fishes bamboo rods here almost exclusively.  craig is like me, an aficionado of all things fly.


james was nice enough to let me use a 4/5 switch rod that he just started offering his clients.  i hung my abel switch on it, wiggled it around a bit and thought, “yeah... this will do nicely”.  james gave me a 350 gr. rio scandi head (i think it was) for the rod.  i could  hardly wait to cast it.

the fish gods took pity on me.

like all bamboo rods, it took a smooth relaxed casting stroke.  you cannot force or push a bamboo rod.  instead you have to go through your casting stroke, almost in slow motion, and just “let it cast” itself.  at least that’s what i tell myself when i’m casting one.  when you step aside and just let it do its thing you will unlock a magical sweetness not duplicated anywhere else on the face of this earth.  the rod instantly transforms from a useless limber stick to a magical wand that will do anything and everything you want it to in both fresh and saltwater... and do it extremely effortlessly!  this thing was Sweet (with a capital s), i wanted to sneak away and run off with it.  the seven mile walk/hitchhike home would have been worth it.  fortunately for james, i couldn’t stop casting it.  james also makes a 8883 salt special single hand rod that i also got to fish (craig already has one).  this rod would be absolutely perfect for sight fishing duties here.


oh yeah, the fishing.  almost forgot about that.  this winter, despite it’s recent ugliness, has actually been really good.  here we are in the beginning of february and there are lots of bones around.  in the few hours the four of us fished, we hooked a bunch of fish and according to sean, monday was the same.  so they are definitely out there though the conditions would suggest otherwise.  james’ bamboo rods also performed very well fighting bones.  the 4/5 wt. switch i was fishing handled a six to sevenish pound bone (in some pretty gnarly reef) with no problem at all.  the fish never got into my backing and was still kicking hard when i tailed and released it.


if you are interested in owning one of james’ masterpieces click here for a link to his website and contact info.  be forewarned, james has about a year and a half long waitlist for his rods and that list is getting longer by the day.  so get in line (behind me) quickly if you want a crack at one in the next few years.

james reid 4/5 switch bent.

the result.

"bamboo" deano bent.

yet another notch in deano's bamboo.

craig thought he hooked a fish.  then he thought it was a rock.  it turned out to be a nohu or scorpion fish.  watch out for those spines!

i got this little bonus weke (goatfish)...

and, of course, more of these guys.

after the sun sank below the horizon, the gods treated us to an absolutely ridiculous sky.

what a way to end a great day with good friends both old and new.

not enough bones for you yet?  click here to see the rest of the week.

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"Nervous Water Fly Fishers- your guide to fly fishing in Hawaii"