Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Bearden, Scott

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I didn't think I qualified as a new name, but since just about everybody else has written their biography I can't justify not contributing my own.

Back around 1985 my grandmother bought me an $11 Zebco spinning rod and reel from the drug store. As an 8 yr old boy, I was immediately obsessed with fishing and read everything I could get my hands on. A few months later my father and I went on one of many fishing trips and brought along the elderly husband of my step mother's hair dresser. He was just as obsessed with fishing as I was, but because of his age and health, he had not gone fishing in years. He somehow had subscribed to just about every outdoor and fishing magazine, not once, but twice, so he gave me the extra copies. But it was another gift he gave me that changed me forever. Upon returning from that fishing trip with him, he was so happy that we got him out of the house and took him fishing that he asked us to wait in his driveway a few minutes. He walked out of his garage carrying an armful of rods and made several trips to load up my father's station wagon with all of his tackle.  He had tears in his eyes and let us know just how much he appreciated us taking him out. He quietly passed away not long after that fateful trip.

In all of this large collection of tackle was a fiberglass fly rod and red automatic fly reel. I had read briefly about fly fishing and I was very intrigued. Most of the literature I read was about bait fishing, but whenever something was mentioned about fly fishing, it depicted as something different, but special. I grew up in the Bay Area in California, and my father worked in San Francisco. I spent many Saturdays and Sundays at the fabled Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club flailing that clumsy stick. A gentleman by the name of Jack Horner took pity on me and did his very best to teach me how to cast. He made it abundantly clear to my father that I needed a better rod, preferably made of graphite. The only place my dad knew of to buy fly fishing stuff was Orvis, and he passed the San Francisco Orvis store on the way to work every day. My father financed my first outfit for me. The salesman convinced my father to buy the cheapest outfit they had, a 7' 4wt Green Mountain rod and reel with line. I loved the rod and even cast the rod tip in the living room much to my parent's chagrin. It took me a year of cutting grass and doing odd jobs to pay him back. On subsequent trips to that Orvis store I picked up a few books, among them,  the newly minted Trout Bum by John Gierach. I had also made a habit of reading the Orvis catalog by flashlight under my covers at night when I was supposed to be asleep. I noticed how Orvis put special emphasis on its bamboo fly rods, but being only 9 at that point there was no way I could afford one, no matter how much grass I cut.  During one of my many visits to the store somehow the salesman who sold my dad the outfit convinced us to "upgrade" to an 8' 6" 6wt Green Mountain outfit telling my father I would be able to cast it better. I can't tell you how odd the feeling is test casting a rod in a dirty back alley in a big city. Despite not liking the change in rods, it brought several years of happy memories until I joined the Marines and shipped out, not to go fishing again for several years.

Part way through my second enlistment, my wife at the time left me and cleaned me out financially. My bank account had pennies in it and I was about to discover that all the bills were 90 days late and just about everything that I knew was about to come to a screeching halt. I had to sell everything that wasn't nailed down, including all of my fly fishing gear. A few years later I remarried and got out of the Marines when stop loss was finally lifted. Just a few months out I became very ill and was hospitalized for a few weeks. While in the hospital I had asked for some fly fishing magazines to pass the time. My current wife had no idea of my past love for fly fishing and she was in for a surprise. While I was recovering at home I managed to replace all of my gear and then some. I bought the cheapest rod and reel outfit I could put together because I had discovered that I could buy all of the parts to make rods myself. I bought every book and video on the subject and somehow Wayne's book popped up as a recommendation on Amazon, so I picked it up. Thinking back to those bamboo rods I stayed up past my bed time to look at in the Orvis catalog, I was now convinced I could make one myself.  I read Wayne's book from cover to cover several times over the course of a year. I joined the list and started picking up tools one at a time. Tony Spezio and Darrol Groth were both instrumental in getting me started. It was Darrol who cursed Mark Wendt by telling me he lived near by and I should get in touch with him. The three of them have helped me out dearly and shared much of their time and knowledge. Without them I would still just be talking about making a bamboo rod and reading Wayne's book from cover to cover.

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