Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Blair, Doug

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I remember reading Harry’s initial invitation on this list and deciding, “Who better to follow into an unknown stream.”  As it happens, I hesitated and am only now adding my two cents. My name is Doug Blair. I’ve been lurking on the list for the past few years.  Occasionally, an idea is sparked from reading someone’s entry.  Occasionally, I tire when the thread turns to debate. On the whole, however, I find it comforting and useful to read the experiences of other makers...there’s a deep appreciation for experiences that are not unlike my own. 

Of my rod making I say, “Harry Boyd got me started.” Several years ago Harry presented a program on bamboo rod making at our fly rodders club annual conclave.  He unknowingly planted a seed that took.  My commitment to the process took a few years to “fester.”  I’d tired of building modern stuff and grew more and more fascinated by the complexity and artistry of making bamboo rods.

In an early visit to Harry’s shop the deal was sealed.  His gracious and welcoming nature and obvious expertise helped push me closer to that "black hole."  Of course, once you leap....Since then, reading Cattanach, Gould, Garrison, this List and Power Fibers have mentored a grand hobby.  I’ve also enjoyed a special boost from attending Rodmakers Gatherings...having special memories from the Southern Gatherings and Canadian Cane. I can't deny that an afternoon with Chet Croco and Darryl Whitehead had an undeniable affect and ranks among my favorite schooling.

In writing this, I realize that I’m on my third career after 20+ years at the local university here in Lafayette....South Louisiana.  After years as a therapist, teacher and consultant, corporate HR now robs me of my precious rod making time.  Time at the bench is a great challenge...and relief from all that prevents my retirement.

My cold water fishing started when I was a boy in Ohio.  A braided line wrapped around a stick with a hook and a worm did the trick on many an unsuspecting fish in Arcola Creek.  Years later I marveled at my youngest brother’s prowess in catching a steelhead there using my first fiberglass rod; this after I had made many empty-handed trips to rivers such as the Deschutes.  Luckily, I’ve had better luck in some great places since children and grandchildren have all settled in areas with wonderful fishing. My 8 year-old grand daughter sports a cane rod from my bench and is a patient student.

On the home front, most fishing has been on the coast in the marsh and on the flats stalking redfish and sea trout.  While I’ve made a rod for use in the brackish water, modern material has been the usual choice there.  Our fly rodder club has numerous activities for warm water fishing and a couple of fellows fish with rods from my bench.  It’s a real joy to see a friend catch a bass, bream and sac’a’lait (or carp) on a rod that I’ve made.

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