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James L. Reams
About James Reams

James Reams I like to spot and stalk trout in difficult waters, and the bamboo rods I carefully hand craft reflect that. Years ago, I began hollow building bamboo fly rods in the tradition of E.C. Powell, and fell iin love with their lightweight, responsive feel. They feature delicacy without weakness, and strength without bulk. To traditionalists, they are beautiful bamboo fly rods with the feel, sensitivity, nostalgia and relaxed pace that makes a bamboo rod their only choice. To modern fishermen, these rods are superb, reliable fishing tools that can't be surpassed for delicacy and presentation quality. I have refined my tapers and hollow building techniques over my 20+ years as a builder, and work hard to produce rods that are the equal of any cosmetically.

About Reams Bamboo Rods

My rod catalog represents years of patiently building tapers, testing them on the water, and fine-tuning their actions.

Strongly influencing my work are the rods of E.C. Powell and Payne. Powell's pioneering work in semi-hollow building rods was genuis, and Payne rods are rightly famous for their casting and fishing qualities (and certainly for the integrity of their construction - most Paynes are still as straight as they day they were manufactured).

I believe that hollow scalloping a rod produces bamboo fly rods that cast with both power and delicacy, and fight fish with a stubborn resolve. Not only are hollow-built rods lighter than solid cane, they also dampen qucker and feel livelier. Plus, hollow scalloping allows me to create an internal taper in addition to the external taper. This allows me to fine-tune tapers in ways no solid builder could.


My rods undergo multiple heat tempering steps which gives them a rich, caramel color. My components are typically blued, and my wraps are clean and minimal (these are beautiful, but they're fishing rods and I don't want a lot of extra crap on them gumming up the works).My rod catalog represents years of patiently building tapers, testing them on the water, and fine-tuning their actions.

Models and Pricing

7.5' Tapers

3 wt, 3/2 Smooth, medium slow (76-3-TT): Loads fully and at close range - perfect for delicate leaders at close range.

4 wt, 2/2 Medium (76-15): Buttery smooth, medium-action rod is ideal for long leaders - and great for presenting midge and mayfly imitations at all reasonable ranges. An excellent all-around short 4wt.

5 wt, 2/2 Parabolic design (76-23): Fast, powerful rod which feels light but still handles big bugs and big fish with aplomb.

7.8' Taper

3 wt, 2/2 Smooth, medium+: Fast becoming one of my most popular rods, this fishes beautifully - even in a little wind, and against big fish. One customer used it at a "secret" river to catch several 20+" brown trout. Great small fly rod.

8' Tapers

5 wt, 2/2 Medium/light (96-8): Delicate enough for the most exacting presentation, yet it can still reach out to when needed.

5 wt, 2/2 Medium/fast, all-around taper (96-11): True medium fast taper that will do anything you ask of it - from Tricos at close range to Drakes across the river.

5 wt, 2/2 True Progressive (96-35): Based on the legendary Powell B-9 taper and one of the best all-around bamboo rods ever created. It almost casts for you.

5 wt, 3/2 Medium/fast (96-8): The perfect all-around travel rod - goes anywhere, casts any fly, and does so with no effort on the part of the caster.

Reams Grip Detail

8'3" Tapers

4/5 wt, 2/2 Medium/fast (99-42): A wonderful, tippy dry fly rod and one of my best-selling designs. These long 4 and 5wt rods are testaments to what hollow building can really mean to a bamboo rod. Delicate yet never weak.

4 wt, 2/2 Medium (99-43): As above, but loads farther into the mid. In my opinion, this is the best all-around spring creek rod.

4 wt, 3/2 True Progressive (99-44): Similar to above rod but in a 3-piece design for traveling ease.

8'6" Tapers

4 wt, 2/2 Medium (196-3-H): One of my newest tapers, and one that many customers consider their favorite all-around rod. Delicacy, strength and versatility in a 4wt format - no solid-built cane rod offers what this rod does. My best seller.

5 wt, 2/2 Medium (196-2-B): A wonderful, full-flexing 5wt that offers a lot of feedback and is a joy to cast. Versatile and eminently fishable.

5/6 wt, 2/2 Medium/Fast (196-1-N): Another best-seller. Perhaps the ultimate all-around rod for any situation - from midges to stoneflies.

9' Tapers

7 wt (6 shooting head), 2/2 Fast (89-46): Strong Salmon and Steelhead rod in the West Coast tradition. Due to hollow-building, this surprisingly light rod fishes well all day long...

Companion Tapers

5 wt, 2/2 Fast (196-3-HCR): Two butt sections mate with two tips to create either a fast 8' rod, or a slightly slower 8.5' rod. A very, very fishable tribute to the Powell Companion rods.


$2400 for two-piece rods with two tips (2/2)

$2700 for three-piece rods with two tips (3/2)

$3100 for Companion taper (two butt sections & two tips)

Now that my waiting list has grown to several years, I must reserve the right to increase prices on ordered rods. Before beginning work on your ordered rod, I'll advise you of the price.

Leather Rod Tubes

A fine rod deserves a fine case - which is why we've added these US-made leather rod tubes to our catalog. Add one to your order for $340.


Additional Info

I hand-craft and hollow-build each rod to exacting standards, carefully producing a superb fishing instrument.

My rods are individually hand crafted from a single clum of bamboo, and every one of the 150+ steps of the rod building process is designed to maximize rod performance and appearance. None is more critical than my hollow scalloping process, where I remove the non-performing pithy center of the bamboo spline. Not only does this lighten the rod, but it also results in a livelier, faster-dampening rod. It also allows me to fine-tune the rod taper by varying the internal taper of the rod.

Each rod is double heat-tempered and straightened. I hand split each culm to keep the fibers intact. I carefully straighten and prep nodes, careful not to remove the power fibers at the surface. Many builders speed the rod building process by grinding away the nodes, which is fast, but removes power fibers and degrades rod performance.

  • My finished rods feature a warm, dark caramel colored cane
  • I use blued, truncated ferrules
  • My favorite grip is the tapered full wells (Powell style. Cigar grip optional)
  • Bronzed, Snake Brand guides and vintage Perfection-style strippers (agate option)
  • Slide band reels seats are used to keep rod weight down (screwlock available)
  • Pearsall's Gossamer silk wraps are spar varnished for a translucent finish

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