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Bamboo Ferrule and new reel seat on bamboo rods made by Steve Dugmore

Monday, 16 November 2015 16:33

In my last newsletter I wrote about the bamboo-ferruled, 7ft 3-wt rod built for me by Capetonian Stephen Dugmore.

If memory serves me correctly, it was Bjarne Fries, the Danish rod maker who first brought the concept to international attention with an article in the April 2002 issue of the journal Powerfibres and he, in turn, had come across the idea three years earlier while on a visit to Japan. He called it the FIBH ferrule, an acronym for Fries' Integrated Bamboo Hexaferrule.

Elsewhere in the world, others, such as the Argentinian, Marcelo Calviello, picked up on the theme.

In 2005, the Italian Alberto Poratelli, started experimenting. He discovered that bamboo has a breaking point of 700 kg/cm² (9955 pounds/inch²), more than sufficient to take the stress of casting. Furthermore, a light metal ferrule weighs 6 grams and a bamboo-on-bamboo ferrule weighs 1.3 grams and allows a more even transmission of casting forces.

Click in imafges to enlarge

IMG 5151

Stephen Dugmore’s version of the Poratelli bamboo ferrule on his latest rod. (Tom Sutcliffe photograph.)

You can visit Poratelli’s website for more information, but Stephen incorporates some of the design principles of the American rod builder J W Healey who simplified the production process.

Steve Dugmore says:

I built a 7ft 3-weight, bamboo ferrule rod for Tom Sutcliffe and then a rod was commissioned by Fred von Reibnitz, an Australian who visits South Africa regularly. I made him a 7ft 4-wt a couple of years ago which he really likes. I took him fishing with that rod and took along another 1-wt. He liked the 1-wt so much that he asked me to make him one.

The reel seat and grip on his rod is something of an innovation. Basically I was trying to make a grip that has a continuous surface right over the reel seat. The back brass and timber cap screws up into the rod locking the reel in place.

IMG 5152 Dugmore One weight

The rod handle on Steve Dugmore’s new 1-weight split cane rod. Note the red wraps with two bands of white.

I use a Sage Quiet Taper fly line on the 1-wt. I suggested that he also get a 2wt WF line for the rod for when he will only be fishing short. He says he has now got one and that it puts that line out nicely too. The colour scheme, red with two bands of white, is the colour scheme of the von Reibnitz family crest.

After his first trip with the rod, Fred von Reibnitz wrote:

I'm in Khancoban, near to New South Wales-Victoria border, after a day on a couple of small Victorian streams with the 1-wt. I also fished with it on a small NSW stream called Ogilvies on my drive here. Adjusting my casting to access what the rod brings has been my first challenge, but I'm greatly enjoying the journey! It responds beautifully to a light ‘handshake’ hold, index finger along the butt above the grip, and a firm, even casting action without any overpowering of the forward cast. I'd be lying if I said I got that right all the time but, whenever I did, the line went out so smoothly! What surprised me was how much power the rod then has. 

I fished mostly from within the stream, as we did on the Smalblaar, and that usually gave me a chance for a nice drift despite the bushes. Fishing mainly with small beetle patterns I had a lot of takes from rainbows of up to 1/2 a pound. The ones that stuck (and many didn't, felt like two pounders on this lovely wisp of a rod.

Visit Stephen’s website for more information:

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