Bill Taylor with a nice Nipigon River Brook Trout
In the early 90’s after quite some time angling with graphite rods I became intrigued by bamboo. My finances were limited and it seemed that cane rods were an unnecessary luxury for a young man starting a family. I put the ambition to the side until a trip to the South Platte River in Colorado would forever change my perspective.
It was a beautiful day on a stretch of the South Platte between 11 mile and Spinney Mountain reservoir. I had engaged the services of a guide in Colorado Springs and he was showing me the trout filled waters and tying blue winged olive mayfly imitation to my tippet. Unfortunately the fly shop where I had purchased a new line from had made the mistake of attaching the wrong end of a WF line to my fly reel. This running line would not load the fly rod correctly and I struggled to cast the outfit throughout the day. As the day was winding down I asked the guide what his favorite outfit for fishing these waters was. He pulled out a 7’6″ 4 weight Gary Howells cane rod and allowed me to cast it. I was Hooked!
My finances were still tight and I thought maybe I could make a rod to cut down on costs. I gathered tools and learned the craft without much outside direction. I discovered a company that catered to bamboo rod makers and began to purchase materials from them. One day the owner asked if I would be willing to work for him. This lead to a 2 year apprenticeship of sorts and taught me a great deal about constructing rods.
Bamboo rods have become an obsession. Many of my clients have become friends and allow me to continue the quest for the magical feel I encountered on that Colorado stream many years ago.