I started fly fishing at a fairly young age with an old bamboo fly rod my dad had stored away in the basement of our house. He would only allow me to use his bamboo rod when we as a family were not fishing together. Needless to say I did not really know what I was doing, nor did I fully appreciate the qualities inherit in a split cane fly rod.
Years had past and graphite became the rod of choice for me until 2007 when I received a Payne bamboo fly rod as a gift. It was then that I started to realize some of the benefits of fishing a bamboo fly rod, the power and the feel of casting and playing a trout that other rods did not have.
Shortly after receiving my first bamboo fly rod as a gift I had found an advertisement online to make a bamboo fly rod. Along with my many years of woodworking I thought that would be a great merging of my two passions, fly fishing and woodworking. The instructors of the class were Daryll Whitehead and Chet Croco, both of whom are highly regarded in the bamboo world for not only the high quality bamboo rods them make, but for teaching others how to make their own bamboo fly rod. I took their three day class to learn how to make a blank, and after spending the next several months in their shop honing the craft, I had 9 finished rods. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to learn from many skilled craftsman, developing my own style and philosophy along the way.
I have come to appreciate that bamboo rods have power, grace and elegance unlike any other material. I try to incorporate all three of these elements in the rods I make. The rod tapers I use are based not only on classic makers such as Leonard, Everett Garrison and Paul Young, but also on modern makers such as Daryll Whitehead and Tom Whittle.
I make 6 strip (Hexagon) rods that range from slow to fast action, using only the highest quality “A” Grade Tonkin Cane (Arundinaria amabilis) and the finest components. My Signature Rods are 2 or 3 piece rods with 2 tips and in the 3-7 weight line range. I also offer Signature 1-Tip Rods, Signature Grade Blanks in a number of lengths and line sizes, and Spinning Rods.
I look forward to the opportunity to make your next bamboo rod and believe you will be proud to own and fish a Donahe Rod!
Larry P. Donahe
Maker–Donahe Split Cane Rods