Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Rod Selection - Pack Rods

< Home < Tips Area < Rod Selection < Pack Rods


I know they're not very popular, but I'm looking for a taper for a 4 piece pack rod.  My brother will be spending some time out west this summer backpacking and I would like to build a rod for him.

I'm looking for something 7 - 7 1/2' in a 4 - 6 weight.  (Todd Grisier)

    Phillipson Smuggler.  7.5' 4 piece six weight.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      I've just started a four piece. I had decided to base it on the Payne 101 taper. I have only got to the rough planing stage, so it's not too late to change. Does anyone know for sure if the .292 dimension at 75 inches is real or could it be a typo?. I also wondered if the dimensions for the 70 and 75 inch stations might have been transposed?-   (David Kennedy)

        Here are the #'s for my Payne 101. It's an early one, 5 thousandths has been subtracted for varnish.

        1" = .065
        5" = .091
        10" = .101
        15" = .117
        20" = .131
        25" = .145
        30" = .155
        35" = .170
        40" = .181
        43.5" = .186 at the ferrule
        47" = .212
        50" = .218
        55" = .232
        60" = .248
        65" = .267
        70" = .285
        75" = .309
        80" = .344 rest under cork.  (Dennis Higham)

    The South Bend #291 is a good 6wt 4pc pack rod. I think it was John Dotson who posted the taper to the list a couple of months ago. I have cast an original and found it to be a strong wind bucking 7 1/2' rod capable of fishing weighted nymphs as well as streamers. I believe this taper as well as the taper for the 7 1/2' 2 piece #290 were developed by Wes Jordan during his tenure @ South Bend. If you decide on this one and don't have the taper let me know and I'll send it to you.  (Will Price)

    I've done a little bit of experimenting with 4 piece backpacking rods, one of the surprising things I've found is that some of the faster 2 piece tapers also make very good 4 piece tapers. I converted a 2 piece Cattanach 7042 into a 4 piece and I liked it as a 4 piece. The 7042 is a 4 weight that tends to lean towards a 5 weight, and as a 4 piece it seems better as a 5 weight. If cutting a 2 piece into a 4 piece goes against your sensibilities Wayne does have a 7043 (3 piece) which is beefed up a little bit to handle the extra weight of the extra ferrule, it will handle being converted into a 4 piece very well.  (Darryl Hayashida)


As of today I’ve made three of WC’s 7042 (page 182 upper left) and I love the action of this taper, it’s sweet.  I just finished a WC 7643 but I have to let it sit a couple of days before I can test the action on the water.  As per the stress charts this rod should be very similar to the 7042.

I am a member of the High Lakers Club and I  like short sectioned rods for backpacking into the mountains (24” maximum).  I also like rods that have the ability to roll cast onto the lakes I fish.  I’m looking for a taper with similar action to WC 7042 but longer, I do understand that the four ferrules will change the action and balance to a certain degree.  I am willing to sacrifice some of the desired action for convenience so I’m looking for a good bet for the next rod I make as a happy compromise if there is one.  Bottom line I’m in the hunt for a nice medium to fast 4 or 5 wt 4 piece taper in the 7’6”-8’ length.  (Mike Monsos)

    Why not simply take the two piece 7'6 and split it into a 4 piece. Sir D himself did this with the 7’ rod and said the change in action was negligible.  I believe he made no changes to the taper, simply made the 2 piece and cut each section in half. Use short or extra short ferrules and you should be fine.  (Jim Lowe)

      Oh yeah, that rod is so fast I bet you could extend the butt 3 inches and not even notice.  (Jim Lowe)

      That is exactly what I have done on a 7613 and a perfectionist. Both work fine and travel very well.

      I need to make another 7613 bacause a person liked it so much he badgered me into giving my fishing rod to him.  (Gordon Koppin)

      I had a conversation with Sir D himself about this once,and you are correct. He did, just split the the Sir D 2 piece rod into four pieces but he made aluminum ferrules for the rod to try to reduce extra ferrule weight. I have yet to try it though.  (Bill Bixler)

    Here is a set of numbers which will give you a 7654 with the same action as the Catt 7042.  It is compensated for the extra ferrules, length, and line weight.  My program calculates changes in dimensions so that when you cast the new rod, with extra ferrules and line weight, the rod deflects exactly the same amount.  That should give you the same feel except for the extra weight you’re moving.  The 7042 blank with ferrule would be about 2.1 ounces, the 7654 blank would be about 3.0 ounces with three ferrules.  You could compensate some by hollow building.

    I haven’t done enough designing and building with my program to be absolutely certain the feel will be the same, but it should be close.

    If you decide to build this taper, let me know how it works out.

    0.350  (Al Baldauski)


Some friends and I like to backpack into high lakes and I’ve been looking for a taper to make for these trips.  I’m looking at Bob Milwards 7’ 6” 4 wt  4 piece Pack Rod taper, any others out there that I should look at before I set the forms.  I just finished a WC 7’6”  three piece and really like the taper but I need something a bit more compact for hiking in the mountains.  I had thought about trying to modify the taper to a 4 piece but I have little confidence in my ability to calculated it even with the programs out there.  (Mike Monsos)

    I have cut a perfectionist into 4 pieces making a nice 4 wt that I used in Korea and I had a Dickerson 7613 that I cut into 4 pieces for a 5 wt. The who has that uses it for silver salmon among other things. I have to make another one of those.  (Gordon Koppin)

      I think Darryl Hayashida used to talk of making the Sir D into a 4 piece pack rod. He said it handled very nicely.  (Will Price)

    I used to take a Heddon 8 1/2’ 3 piece.  I'd just strap the case to the side of my external frame backpack and hit the trail. That worked fine for me.  I also had a large day pack that worked the same way.  (Larry Swearingen)

      I built a modified Cattanach 7042, modified to four pieces, for backpacking.  It is a 7 ft. 5 wt. which seems odd, but I think the extra power helps handle the weight of the ferrules. I am quite happy with it.

      0    0.068
      5    0.070
      10    0.082
      15    0.102
      20    0.123
      25    0.140
      30    0.158
      35    0.174
      40    0.194
      45    0.218
      50    0.226
      55    0.232
      60    0.257
      65    0.273
      70    0.290
      75    0.314
      80    0.314
      84    0.314

      Ferrules: (truncated)            

      8/64  at 21"
      13/64 at 42"  
      17/64 at 63"  

      I planed it as a two piece and then just cut it into four after gluing up.  Gotta pick your  bamboo so your nodes work, though.  (Dan Zimmerlin)

        The Cattanach 7042 is  so fast it doesn't take much to make it a 5 wt, miss a few thousandths on the 2 piece or 3 piece rod and you have a 5 wt easy. Try to compensate while making it a 4 piece and it's easy to see how that can happen.

        Cattanach does have a 7043 version of the rod, which my friends seem to like. Something to consider is that from a backpacking perspective, a 3 piece is a better choice, with a hollow 3 piece probably being the best compromise between proper packing height and weight.

        In other words, a 2 piece would be lightest, a 4 piece would be more convenient (really?) but most multi-day packs are about the height of a 3 piece cane rod so a hollow 3 piece would be the best compromise and most modern packs have straps and pockets along the side to handle tubes and trekking poles.

        I don't know the situation but shorter will generally mean heavier if you're compensating for the ferrules by adding more wood (or should I say grass....).  (Jim Lowe)

          I’ve made three of the WC 7042’s and love that action also.  That would be nice in the three piece taper I would have to think.  The WC 7643 that I made is only 31.5 per section and it’s not bad for backpacking but a bit shorter would be a little better if the action of the rod doesn’t suffer.  I’ll make the call after I finish up the 7’6” 4 piece that Al computed for me.  I’ve only made the two of Wayne’s tapers in the 4 rods I’ve made but both are a real joy to cast.  I guess I’m a WC fan.  (Mike Monsos)

    If you are using my RodDNA rod design program, you can take any taper/model  and convert it to a 4 piece rod with good results.  So for example, if you have a favorite 2 piece. rod taper you can simply change the # of pieces to 4 and have a taper for it automatically calculated  that will have the feel of the 2 pc. rod.

    Let me know if you have any questions.  (Larry Tusoni)

    I've always thought that Daryl Whitehead's 4-piece pack rod was a pretty darned nice rod.  I've forgotten whether it's 7’ or 7’6”.  In my view, any 4-piece that doesn't cast like a log, with all that metal hanging out there, is a good rod, and I remember his taper being as nice as a good 2 piece rod.

    I think I recently saw that that taper was posted.  (Lee Koch)


I have started making some 4 piece travel rods lately & I was wondering how many guys have delved into this & what were your opinions of the rods you made?

I imagine there is some difference in the action to say a Dickerson 8013 2 piece as opposed to the 4 piece.  How about some insight into this?  Also what have you used for the ferrules?  Regular sized ferrules such as REC's Uniferrules or truncated ferrules?  (Bret Reiter)

    I made an 8013 four piecer this year for a backpacker.  We finished it without any ferrules, instead it is spliced.  When he gets to his camp, he just lashes it together with waxed thread and leaves it that way till he is ready to leave.  I wouldn't want one, but he thinks its great.  (Scott Grady)

    Really can't offer any constructive criticism on the merits of the one (and only), 5 piece pack rod I made for a grandson in 2000, other than to say he's fished it a lot (for small mouths) and makes no complaints (within earshot). Personally I think one could hit a softball a country mile with it. What may be of interest is that it is 'nodeless' and spliceless. Each section was made from bamboo taken from between the nodes. Have no record of its taper dimensions, but know that it didn't match any published specs. The ferrules I used were Wright & McGill 'Uni-Fit Ferrules', designed for glass rods, and you may be aware that the size designations for those are (were), based on the o.d. of the male, eg; a #10 male ferrule measures .156" o.d. My grandson works for Lockheed Martin and sometimes he's out in some Western state, and sometimes in Rhode Island, but if and when he's available I'll have him bring the rod home to take some measurements, etc..~ if you're interested.  (Vince Brannick)

    Darryl Hayashida used to post about a 4 piece Sir D that he made using aluminum ferrules.  He spoke highly of it.  He made the ferrules himself.  If you can't make them or find them, I would suggest the truncated ferrules.  (Hal Manas)

      To add to what Hal has said, I had talked to Darryl  about this rod once and he told me that he did not alter the taper and he merely cut the rod into four equal sections. He used aluminum because he was concerned about the weight of the rod with NS ferrules. He spoke very highly of the rod, and being "packable", it  served his purposes quite well.  (Bill Bixler)

    Using your Dickerson 8013 as an example:  If you make it a 4 piece rod with no alteration to the taper, the extra ferrule weight will make it feel like you’ve put a 6 wt line on a five wt rod.

    I’ve got a program that will calculate a new taper based on the added ferrules to make it cast the same as the two piece.  You may still feel a difference because of the extra weight.

    If you want to see the difference, email me off list or on list if anyone else is interested.  (Al Baldauski)

    Bamboo ferrules (or the titanium-and-carbon-fiber spigot ferrules I have made) are an interesting solution to the usual problems with 4-piece cane rods with conventional nickel-silver ferrules.  The major effect of bamboo or spigot ferrules is reduced weight towards the tip of the rod which can make the  rod feel faster.  In addition, such rods commonly do not have "flat" spots from the ferrules.  Despite those advantages, I recall trying a 4-piece, nickel-silver ferruled rod which was a joy to cast.  The builder said he put a lot of thought into designing the taper for it.  In other words, simply adding ferrules to a familiar taper may not be the best way to build a 4-piece rod.  (Tim Anderson)

      I purchased a Harry Boyd 5 weight two piece last year and love it! I use it now almost exclusively leaving all my other rods collecting dust. However, I am planning a cross country trip on my motorcycle this summer and I wish I had a more compact (4 piece?) bamboo rod like it. (5-6 wt med-fast action) I am interested if following this thread and seeing what information is out there and if there are any rod builders who have had success with this.   (Harold Maxwell)

      I have a friend who has been at me for a couple of years to build him a 4-piece rod.  So insistent that I gave him my Phillipson Smuggler, but even that  didn't stop him.

      So I am going to take a leaf out of Phillipson's book, and am in the process of turning up some aluminum ferrules for getting around the weight problem.

      Haven't yet decided whether to make them normal length or truncated.  What do you blokes reckon?  Is aluminum strong enough to do the job truncated?  (Peter McKean)

        Strength has more to do with thickness than length. I would go with wall thickness in the .020 range as a minimum with aluminum, just to be sure. You will still be considerably lighter than NS with the traditional .0156 wall. You may need to keep the male slides at .0156 to use standard drills and reamers. I think that's OK. . I've never tried AL for a ferrule, but would probably use a tempered aircraft alloy like what is used in arrows. Truncated or not has more to do with how long the ferrule will wear, and that is determined by how well you can fit it. A good full length sliding fit will outlast anything else. The better you can fit, the shorter you can go. Remember that AL has a tendency to gall, so you may have to fit a bit slacker than normal to prevent it. Waxing the male slide may be an option if all else fails, It's a bit of a nuisance, but better than galling.

        I would not mind trying a set for myself, but would be cautious about supplying them to someone else who might not be as careful about keeping them clean and free from oxidation, etc.  (Tom Smithwick)

        I have recently seen some references to the Hariki nickel silver ferrules , made in Japan and “pre-fit”. I understand they are very short and light, but have been tested extensively without failures.

        I think Scott Rods uses them in the U.S.A., and maybe Peter’s skilled rodmaking friend, Nick Taransky uses them in Australia?

        Any experience with these little critters? Sounds like they could be the ticket for a 4 piece rod, especially the “extra-short” variety.  (George Deagle)

    For what it's worth. I use what some call "micro" ferrules on all my rods these days. I made a 3pc out of a two piece taper and the two micro ferrules weighed less than the standard single ferrule you'd normally find on the rod.

    An interesting development I thought.  (Jim Lowe)


Does anyone build 4 or 5 section Bamboo rods at 9'? If you do, where do you get your design?  (George Hills)

    I am in the process of building an 8'0", 4 piece rod & also a 7'6", 4 piece rod. I just turned the grips on both of them tonight.

    I am going to build a 9'0" one too next fall.  Mark Wendt extrapolated these from 2 piece rods for me. (Bret Reiter)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store