Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Mitchell, Henry

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Henry Mitchell, now 62, flyfishing 30 years, bamboozled for the last 7. A Physician Assistant since '76, my best career move was to move to Maine and discover the fly rod. I work in an ER but am retiring by attrition: this year I'm down to two shifts a week, next year maybe none. A confirmed bachelor for 49 years, I met Joanie on a fishing trip. The prenuptial agreement was that she doesn't mess with my fishing/tying/rodmaking and I don't interfere with her horses. We are fortunate to live on Merrymeeting Bay, which is a large freshwater estuary, with waterfowl, eagles, fox and deer frequently seen from the front porch. Gabi is my young lab who's doing her best to turn me into a duck hunter.

I thought I was pretty clever rolling my own out of graphite, when somewhere I read that putting on guides and grips was work for apprentices, in the old shops the real makers were those who made the blanks. Kind of puts you in your place.

Then I met Lon Blauvelt at a show, he said he could teach me to make a bamboo rod.

Next, David Van Burgel and Kathy Scott (Lord and Lady Cane) showed a video of David making a rod at our TU meeting. I thought well, he's not too weird, maybe I can do this.

So, I took Lon's class in 2002. On about the third day of the classs I knew that I would be doing this for a long time: I'm now working on rod #18.

My rods would be better if I  were as compulsive as I am impulsive, if I didn't experiment so much, if I weren't so anxious to get on to the next one.

The list has been a great resource, I'd hate to think what I might have done without some of the lessons I've learned from all of you, thanks for being there.

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