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Beaverhead rods
Faster, Lighter, Stronger, Bamboo Rods

Handcrafted in Twin Bridges, Montana by Wayne Maca

Wayne has worked alongside Master Rod Builder Glenn Brackett at the R.L. Winston Rod Co. for many years, He's is part of the infamous Boo Boys with Jeff Walker & Jerry Kustich. Not bad company to keep! Wayne continues to amaze us with his innovations. He's now blending old with new technology and delving. into the near impossible to bring us some mind blowing state of the art rods! We expect good things from Wayne in the future and he's taking us there pretty fast!

$2,000 one tip or 2/1

Please feel free to contact me if you have any question or special request.

Bamboo Fly Rods

230cm (7'6") Very fast action #4, #5, #6

A powerhouse of a rod for the strong, heavy handed, hard caster. Capable of delivering big wind resistant bugs under adverse conditions. Basically a point and shoot rod when curve casts and fast water mends are the norm. A float fishers dream since it was designed for canoe fishing on the Big Hole and Beaverhead. With a paddle handle tucked under one armpit while sliding down a riffle this rod allows you to fish backward to a rapidly disappearing eddy with a one handed "hit it fast and quickly cover it " technique. This is a rod for the angler who truly "hunts fish" no matter what the cover or conditions require. A good repetoire of casts is a prerequisite with this rod, a healthy dose of serious "fish hunting attitude" doesn't hurt either!

240 cm (7'10.5") Fast action #4 #5 #6

Generally the most "popular" rod I make. The 240cm length of this model makes it a more user friendly, yet powerful rod, capable of putting out 70 ft.+ of line to "wow" your buddies, and all the while retain the accuracy at normal fishing distances to deliver a #22 midge to a fishes' nose. I realize there is a lot of ego involved with the owning and fishing of bamboo, it's just better in my opinion to show it on the river versus the casting pond by weilding a simply "better tool" for the job at hand. At the end of the day of course, go back to "wowing" them while casting a nice wind resistant "hopper".

250 cm (8'2.5") Fast action #4 #5 #6

When it comes to persnickety fish and lots of patience a rod that can deliver the right cast is of vital importance. This is the one. It's still powerful when compared to any conventional bamboo rod, and all the while possesses a gentle yet authoritative casting feel. Being slightly over 8' adds just the right inertial load to make this a sight fishermans dream. In slower waters with less manhandling of line needed this rod "rocks". Throwing a hard upstream mend is still no problem but it's usually unnecessary, because of the prescise "lining out" and control this rod provides.

260 cm (8'6") Fast-medium action #5 #6 #7

When it comes to me building a traditional feel into a bamboo rod this is about as close as I can get, ( or would like to come, ) with my current building techniques. It's still powerful and accurate, but for my tastes is more of a rod that a lover of "traditional bamboo rods" would enjoy. Because of the inertial "swing weight" it is an overall slower casting ( more parabolic ) rod. Still able to cast extreme distances, dance a line above streamside willows, and cast short and sweet to a slowly sipping riser. The kind of rod one hands to a friend who has fished bamboo for years, and says, what do you think, while waiting for the widening of their eyes.

Specialty Rods

Medium action #3 #4 #5

Every once in a while an oddball occurs, usually diagnosed by the sound testing. The cane is simply better suited for a slower less powerful rod, if it slips beyond this point it finds its' way to the wood stove. It's not junk at all, it simply possesses a lower than optimum modulus of elasticity which many rodmakers don't notice. Legitimatly however, because they can't (unless they are infringing on the now in process patenting of the rod).This blank is turned into a more full flexing, slower casting more traditional feeling flyrod, for those who are really into the" older feel of bamboo ". This is the rod for the "purist" who thinks I can't build a slower rod. I may not like to, but that just says I generally like to push the quality of the bamboo into its' upper realms. When it simply wants to work best as a "slower rod" what can I do? The material itself governs what it becomes.

The "Primo" Project

These rods do not even exist yet because the cane to build them shows up so rarely! At this point in time I have 2 culms of the most perfect bamboo I have ever seen, in terms of fiber to pith ratio, cell count/size, and density. From what I've tested this bamboo is almost unimaginable, the acoustic and visual tests put it solidly into the realm of graphite-like response. The culms quite honestly blow the others out of the water. This is the "Pure Gold" of natural materials in bamboo rodbuilding. I'm almost afraid to touch them. They will require an entirely different thinking process and lots of hours of design to bring to total fruition. I can also guarantee you will "pay through the nose" for me to design and finally cut into these culms. It will be an enormous amount of re-design work, which should produce a true 9' 5wt. rod which is truly as fast as lower modulus graphite. This will definitely be among the outer parameters of pushing at the "cutting edge, envelope" of bamboo rod design. If you are up for a challenge in rodmaking history call and we'll talk. However, "Talk is cheap,... These rods won't be".

How is a flyrod from Beaverhead Rods different?

A simple explanation is just not possible ... there is a somewhat uncommon synergy that occurs when the specific design elements of this rod come together. Some people think it's a strange black magic of sorts. I think it's just a little more of a pre-determined physics result, that luckily, seems to be more repeatable, than traditional rods of the past. The cumulative result is the production of a very efficient (fast, light, strong) fishing tool. We need to adjust our thinking at this point,...Hiram Leonard, Jim Payne, E.C. Powell, and Lew Stoner were all looking for this rod in their day. Composites technology didn't exist at that time so it was virtually impossible to discover, or especially, to build it. The clock has been ticking since those days and the cutting edge of physics in our "new time" is now just becoming realized in the progression of bamboo rods.

The all important blank for these rods starts differently than all other bamboo rods. The culm is acoustically profiled to assess its' fiber to pith ratio, and consequently its' ability to transfer energy, and withstand both tensile and compressive stresses. Throughout the entire process of building the rod these assessments and matching techniques take place, even in the matching of finished tips and butts. As the saying goes "there is no such thing as a bad material, just a bad application".When one thinks about it with reference to Powell, or Stoner, in their day and age, they were faced with the same quandry.Why replicate a Garrison from the past containing oblolete design with respect to their times? Indeed, they did not copy anyone, much to their credit, they were perceptive enough to know that time itself, and knowledge, had already moved on. I strongly doubt that we could accept Ferrari replicating Ford model "Ts". (why in the hell would they?)

The individual strips 0f these rods receive a specific treatment depending upon their fiber density which enables them to become more structurally sound in their own right, before final bonding. This proprietary treatment renders them more resistant to the compressive and lateral fiber buckling stresses which plague traditionally built bamboo rods (glass and graphite as well as a matter of fact). Since I came from fifteen-plus years in the snowboard/composites industry, you might want to think "monocoque strength" in each individual strip before they even begin to be considered for the specialized epoxy/molding process. Porsche, is doing this now in this years new production Carrera GT, a complete carbon fiber monocoque chassis weighing 175 lbs. It quite obviously works, and has for years in high end auto racing. in short it's "damn strong construction".

The difficulties and parameters of the gluing process for these blanks have a tendency to make many people in product manufacturing run for cover. Toxicity runs very high and precautions have to be taken. Simply handling the materials properly places one in a "zen like, robotic" state of mind, time, and space. Not even the most miniscule mistake with respect to out-gassing, barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, mixing, handling, and the specialized vacuum cure sequence necessary is allowable. No time and temperature variations can exist even during the 2nd and 3rd cure phases because of tensile or compressive requirements in the final cross linking of the adhesive. Gluing has to be done absolutely perfectly each time. Mistakes are completely Taboo!

To enhance the power transference and match the lightness of the rods a specifically designed proprietary carbon fiber "hinge free," ferrule system is incorporated, again using snowboard /composites technology. It provides a substantially more sensitive feel and greater positive control than traditional metal ferrules with one twelfth the weight. User un-friendly ferrules are now a thing of the past. The "I'm swinging a small potato in the middle of my rod feeling" is also gone! And since the ferrule eliminates "hinging", energy transference from butt to tip is more "purely" established with less energy loss overall.

Utilizing "cutting edge" design parameters and a constant focus around two main criteria, strength and light weight, practically no stone was left unturned in the quest for the "Faster, Lighter, Stronger," bamboo rod. The overall and specific physics of what makes a flyrod do its' job were evaluated many times with each new variable uncovered. My friends, Glenn Brackett, Jeff Walker, & Jerry Kustich, down the alley at the RL Winston bamboo shop kept bringing up the old adage "How hard do you want to make it?". Guess what, sage advice, their time proven awareness of building bamboo rods in a production manner was completely correct. I had to keep at least some sensibility of affordability and production in sight.

Guide spacing's were altered because of the inertial load they contributed to the rod. Snake Brand Guides were chosen because of their light weight and ease of use (no filing or prepping).The tiptops are shortened 100 thousandths of an inch however to reduce rod tip weight at its' outermost important point (extreme?, possibly, but with a purpose).The length of wraps was adjusted to allow for a more productionized coating of the wraps without allowing an unacceptably higher "swing weight" to ensue. The finish reduces weight by being auto clear coat sprayed on to insure a thin, even, almost bulletproof lightweight coating. Production time became critical in the scope of the "big picture" of things which are uniquely human, as I enjoy my time spent fishing, because after all, that's still supposedly what it's all about. There is a good story about the late, and great, Gary Howells being interviewed one time. The interviewer asked how many rods do you make per year, to which Howells replied, the question should be, how many days do you fish each year?

Hardware was a serious weight concern, nickel silver was completely out because of its' boat anchor characteristics. Aluminum, being about seven times lighter was rather obviously the only way to go. Even then a slim design was chosen to further eliminate excess weight. The seat spacer was a particularly difficult concern. Coco bola, rosewood, walnut, fiddleback maple, etc. have all been used to excess and they're somewhat heavy. Outside my shop was an old gnarled golden willow, (shortened by the power company through the years). Discovering that 30 lbs. of burl yielded less than a pound of useable reel seat wood (theoretically increasing its' inherant value,) prompted me to learn to stabilize it, and use it (I know, making it hard again). But, it wasn't boring due to over use, and it was extremely lightweight, if not fascinatingly beautiful with respect to its' grain and color.

Cosmetics come at the end of the list of main concerns because frankly "Frills are for Sissies" and Performance..., "Absolutely Rules". The winding check and butt cap are made of cherry, stabilized, and finally along with the willow spacer coated with auto clear coat, a thin protective coat, not meant to fill nuances in a plasticizing manner, but to accentuate the three dimensional quality of the burl. An attempt to seal the wood from the elements and yet to celebrate the small fissures, and knots, and bring attention to what nature wanted us all to notice about her own handiwork. Clean, simple, and efficient, is still quite apparently, the inviolable best.

When it's all said and done a rod that's " Faster, Lighter, and Stronger" with outstanding fishability emerges, one which can stand alone in the bamboo flyrod world based upon its' own merit. The first built for truly hardcore long days of "Combat Fishing", rain or shine, windy or calm. A totally no "Bull", no nonsense approach to using the time we have left for better experiences through better fishing efficiency (I can't teach you to fish more effectively, but, I can build you a good tool which can certainly help). Now there are no excuses left when natures clock announces the time, it's still fishing time. In fact when you do a wet cast of forty feet and have the line speed to dry the fly on the back cast with no false casting your fishing effectiveness just increased over 50%, and we all know the old saying about not being able to catch anything unless the hook's in the water. Now your on Montana and natures natural time clock, and "Winning the Game"!

Articles about Beaverhead Rods

Powerfibers Oct 2004 article by Joe Byrd

Denver Post Jan 7th, 2005 article by Charlie Meyers

California Flyfisher Magazine 2005 article by Tom Chandler

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