Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Koehler, Eric

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I'm Eric Koehler, a rodmaker list lurker and hobby builder.  I've been around the list since 1997 or so, when AJ Thramer first gave me some priceless advice about how to get started.  (I was living in Oregon at the time near the McKenzie River... but have been back in my native Texas since 1998.)   I grew up on the east side of Houston, but fled from there about 25 years ago to go to college in San Antonio.  Except for the time in Oregon, my wife and I have lived in Austin since 89. We have two young children: a son and a daughter.

I got interested in bamboo from reading John Gierach's essays and then and saw the Garrison/Carmichael book sitting in the reading area of the (now defunct) Austin Angler somewhere around 1994 or so.  Read the book cover to cover a couple times, then when working on a project in Oregon, I started asking about bamboo rods.  AJ Thramer's name came up more than once, so I got out the phone book and called him up.  He was really gracious, inspired me, and set me on the path... I ordered Wayne's book, the VHS tapes, and a bale of cane.

I've been receiving mail in digest mode for a few years since my son was born.  I check the topics once a week and try to stay current...  My rodmaking went on a long-term sabbatical around that same time as my role as a father took priority.  I've only built two rods since my son was born.  When our daughter was born the dust REALLY began to accumulate on my block planes.  But my wife and I feel like we're about to emerge from the intensive early child-rearing cave (our daughter will turn 3 in a week or so) and I'm starting to get my garage/shop back in order again.

I have been known to bring a load of strips, a roughing form, and my Record plane into hotel rooms while traveling on business.  I try not to leave too many shavings on the floor for the housekeeping people to deal with.

I've built nodeless and pentas (but not a nodeless penta just yet).  I don't sell my rods, I give them away or I use them or barter for fly reels, etc.  While I love Austin, I am really too far away from quality trout waters.  Our native Guadalupe bass are fun and somewhat troutlike, but there's no substitute for a meandering high-meadow stream full of native coldwater fish that will come up to a well-presented dry.  ( I love the small to medium-sized waters of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.)  My favorite tapers that I've built are a 6.5' 3wt based on one of Wayne Cattanach's tapers, and a nodeless one based on the PHY Driggs River.

I am really dissatisfied with my finish work, but it's getting better. Slowly.

I have a pretty nice stereo set up in the garage and I listen to soundboard download recordings of Phish concerts while I work on rods.

Last, and certainly not least, if any of you are in or around Austin, drop me an email and I'll make some time between coaching soccer games, music lessons, home remodeling projects, etc.

So, that's me.  Back into lurker mode now!

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