Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Elders, Ron

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My name is Ron Elder and I live in Calgary Alberta Canada.  I have a wonderful wife who understands my passion and puts on the waders and shares it with me.  We have 2 boys, 6 and 14 who have no choice in the matter and have to fish in the summer.

I grew up with a fly rod in my hand.  When I was 8 my Dad put an old cane rod (Phillipson and I wish I still had it) in my hand and turned me loose. I grew up in the East Kootenays of British Columbia fishing pure west slope cutthroat and rainbow trout waters. On the odd occasion I would target Dollies (bull trout). During the summers as a kid (11-14 years of age), I would get up in the early AM and with my gear walk over to the weigh scales at the sawmill and hitch a ride on the logging trucks. Over time I got to know all the drivers and I would ask what drainage they were headed for that day. I would pick a driver and destination and then fish those waters for the day. I worked out a system with the drivers where they would blow their air horn at a pre determined mile post on their last trip in and I would meet them on the road to be picked up on the run out.

Oh how I miss those days!

When I reached my teens I had saved my money and traded the cane for a new Fenwick glass rod. Over time glass turned to graphite which then turned to whatever the flavor of the day was. You know the drill. Every time I changed rods or technologies I felt something was missing. It wasn’t until later in life (1996) that I fished with a fellow who had an Orvis cane rod. He let me cast it that day fishing BWOs to rising trout on the Crowsnest River and the light went on. That’s what I was missing. That feeling of being connected to the rod. Feeling the line through every movement of the cast. It was then that I knew I wanted a bamboo rod again. Being a do it yourself type of guy and having found George Barne’s book in a used book store I took on the task of building my own rod. Thus the journey began. I found this list in 1998 and have been off and on ever since. I initially enjoyed the trials and tribulations of Harry and Bob Nunley and following Harry's postings convinced me I could do this. Through this list I found a wonderful man named Craig Naldrett, who left us much too soon, and he helped mentor me through my first couple of rods.  Now I make a handful of rods each year and have started to make more and more of my own fittings over time.  Here I am now one year away from fifty making rods and not fishing enough during the summer months like I did in my youth.

In 2003 to make things come full circle I put a cane rod in oldest son’s hand at the age of 8. It was the least I could do.  In 20011 I have another rod due for the youngest as it will be his turn.

Take care and thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge.  The camaraderie on this is second to none.

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