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In Tom's Words


For many of today's anglers, bamboo rods bring back memories of bygone years, of a time when fishing was simpler, perhaps less demanding. Back in a time when bamboo was really the only rod material and before modern technology enabled us to create the wide range of rods on the market today. Yet, some anglers, including myself, still think fondly of bamboo rods as wonderful instruments for casting and fishing. My first fishing experiences were with an old Montague bamboo rod, when I fished for cutthroat trout in a small mountain stream in southwestern Montana, when, lacking finesse, my only thoughts were how could I fool a fish by sneaking a grasshopper into the stream without being seen.

Early History


I grew up at my parents' El Western Motel in Ennis, Montana, home of the famous Madison River. It was there I met my fly fishing mentor, Howard Sykes, a skillful fly fisher from New Jersey, under whose careful eye my love for fly-fishing blossomed. Howard's favorite rod was a Leonard bamboo. As he taught me to cast and to fly fish, he often let me use it, and I became enamored of its precision and grace in presenting a fly.

Bamboo Heritage


Despite the popularity of fiberglass and graphite as rod-making materials, they haven't entirely replaced bamboo rods, many of which are still highly prized by anglers not only for their collector's value but also for their great fishing attributes. How could this be? Perhaps the greatest reason is bamboo rods have been the foundation of our modern fly fishing heritage since the late 1800s. There have been countless rodmakers pursuing the craft of designing and building rods to match their ideas for the perfect casting and fishing rod. Many of these rods are truly works of art; they represent the attainment of near perfection in the embodiment of form and function.

Morgan Handmill


In the middle 1990s, I invented and then completed the design work for the Morgan Bamboo Hand Mill. This revolutionary mill allows a bamboo rod maker to cut bamboo strips easily and accurately to carry on the long tradition of making bamboo rods without a major investment in a power-milling machine.

Bamboo Details


We purchase our bamboo through a broker who travels to the tiny village of Aozai in the Guangdong Province of China where he hand-selects it. This is the village where the botanist F.C. McClure, who is the Westerner who named this bamboo Arundinaria amabilis in the 1920s, identified as the center of the Tonkin bamboo region.