Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Rod Selection - Small Rods


< Home < Tips Area < Rod Selection < Small Rods

Rule

Does anyone have any tapers for a 4 foot rod.  Something kid sized. I guess it doesn't have to be real usable maybe 10 or 15 foot casts.  (Mark Bolan)

    If you want a rod for kid to pose for a picture with go ahead and make a 4' rod.  If you want a rod for a kid to fish with, I wouldn't make them anything under 7'.  It is much easier for a child to cast a longer rod.  With a short rod, it is more difficult to get the timing down, IMHO.  Besides, there are lots of good 7' tapers out there.  (Robert Kope)

      I agree.  I made my daughter a short rod thinking that it would be good for her (girl, kinda small, ergo: short, light rod...).  She had a hard time loading it because it  didn't function like a normal length rod.  If you want you kids to become anglers, give them the best rod  you can make.

      Same goes for wives, by the way.  I can't tell you how many times I heard guys buying rods from me saying "my wife wants to learn, so I'm getting a new rod, and I'll let her use my old rod that I don't like too much anyway. Haw, haw, haw..."  Or maybe it was "Hee, haw, hee haw..."  Need I say more?  (Jason Swan)

      Robert is correct. Actually I believe the shortest a cane Trout rod can be made is 5-'6" (and I love short rods). Oh, you can make them shorter but they better be of fiberglass.  Anything that I have ever felt shorter than 51/2' lacks what we refer to as action. Now, if anyone has a taper that is say 5' that actually bends would you please share it with me (and shut me up)  (Marty DeSapio)

        How about using the tip section of an 8' rod and overline it?  (Tony Young)

        Sorry Marty,  I disagree.  I built a rod once about 3.5' as a part of a museum exhibit.  It was all to scale.  That rod sat in a museum exhibit bent artificially in a casting arc for about three years.  I took it out and it was straight.  I then cast it and was able to get respectable casts up to about 20 to 25 ft.  I agree that it is NOT a child's rod, and that it is not even particularly well suited for anything very practical,  BUT it did cast and perform as a longer rod might.  It was a bear cat to cast,  but if you could figure out the timing it works.  (Ralph Moon)

          You don't actually need a rod to cast fly line. Try it using just your arm some time. I'd still try the tip section of an 8' rod though.  (Tony Young)

          Ask my 12 year old about his four foot rod, and catching browns (2 1/2--3 # range) on Dry Run Creek. Ask some snobby fly fishermen (who only thought they had everything) about sitting in the easy chair, with their four footer, watching fly fishing on TV and not only watching, but also participating. Ask the fly fishing club members about trying to cast practice flies into each other's coffee cups, or trying to pop each other on the ear. How about playing golf at the Sow Bug, after Skip made a scaled down furled leader. I can set on the couch and back cast through the doorway into the bedroom and then shoot the line clear across the living room. Ask about a backcast that's too high and what happens when the leader gets tangled with a set of deer antlers. Have you seen those short dowel rods, with the yarn tied to them in fly fishing stores for teaching, one that I know of has one made of bamboo.

          Practical fishing tools, ask Davy! Fun indoors, you bet! The first one I seen was made by Hardy, I thought if was for advertising, but the shop owner said no,  people use them for fishing. Lifeless, probably because everything is scaled down or because they're too butt heavy. It's difficult to find a reel and reel seat light enough. Even a longer rod is harder to cast if it is butt heavy.

          For Davy's 9th birthday I made a 7042 version of the Sir D, he liked it till he started using the Payne 100 copy, and even that one, he says needs a little lighter butt section. Last night he put the first dips of varnish on his L'il Bob rod that he planed out himself, a 6 wt. copy of a Norwood rod he liked at the SRG, for warm water fishing. Kids will fool you, you can't tell them what they like, no more than I can tell you what you like.

          Yes Tony, you can take a lighter version of a longer rod's tip section, swell the butt a little and make a nice short rod.  (David Dziadosz)

    For a kids rod I suggest the grand experiment rod with a 6 wt line on it.  (Timothy Troester)

    If you really must have a 4" rod, somewhere in the archives is a 4" 4 wt of AJ Thramer's design. I have not made it., but it is said to be an excellent small rod.  (Dick Fuhrman)

    Try one of Bob Nunley's tapers for his 5'0" rods I think you will be more than pleased with those.  (Bret Reiter)

    First realize that a short rod 5 feet long or under is a rod made for special conditions, not for a child or someone smaller, and because of the different timing it takes to cast, should be for someone who understands the mechanics of casting, or at least someone who is willing to work  with the rod to get it to cast well.

    One of my most favorite rods is a 5 foot rod that I use for small streams. I've found that since there isn't as much length to bend in a cast the stress curve has to look like a slow rod - you want to get as much of the rod as you can to bend so that the entire length gets involved in the cast, but since the length is short and much lighter than a "normal" longer rod it feels much faster than the stress curve would indicate. Don't expect to get much more than a 30 - 35 foot cast out of a short rod like this, but that isn't much of a problem in the places I use this rod. Most of the time I'm just casting the leader and a few inches of the fly line.

    Which brings up another point of rods like this - you have to find the right balance between being able to cast just the leader up to reasonable maximum distance. I have found that for some reason the characteristics of  quads lend themselves to doing this. The first quad I made, a 7' Sir D, at first I thought was real wimpy. Up to about 20 feet a cast felt like it was just about ready to collapse, but as the cast got longer the rod really "stood up" and easily cast out to about 60 feet (I have seen better casters cast this rod a lot further).

    In my opinion quads make better 5 foot rods because of this. They are slow and delicate for short casts, but still have reserve power for longer casts. I like the 5 foot quad so much I have made it in a one piece, a 2 piece, and a four piece (the 16 inch rod tube fits inside my backpack).  (Darryl Hayashida)

Rule

I am wanting to make a 6 foot 2 piece rod for myself and was looking at the Paul Young Smidgen. Should I just make it with the current dimensions as two piece or should I alter it using Hexrod holding the stresses constant? It seems that when I do that the planing form settings are altered dramatically. Sorry, I'm a newbie with Hexrod and a little wary of it's power.  (Phil Smith)

    In most instances I would advise you to add a little bamboo above and below the ferrule stations to strengthen that part of the rod.  In practice, I've followed the advice of a list member in regards to that particular rod.  I've made four of the Smidgen tapered rods and each time just used the numbers from the Rodmakers Taper Archive without adding anything.  Each rod has turned out great.

    In fact, I have beside me a 2 piece Smidgen made by Al Medved.  He used the numbers on Rodmakers as well, and it's a wonderful little rod.  (Harry Boyd)

    I made a 1 piece 5' rod that I liked so much that I planed out 8 blanks at once. I wanted to use it in some of the high elevation Sierra Mountain streams I hike to. Problem was hiking, rock scrambling and crawling through the brush with a 5' encumbrance was very inconvenient. Since I had 8 blanks I figured I wouldn't lose much if I experimented and cut one in half and installed a ferrule. It worked out very well, I couldn't really tell the difference from the one piece - Well, there was a slight difference in the casting, but the convenience of being able to put it in a 30 inch rod tube more than made it worth it. So, since I tend to take things to extremes, I cut another blank into three pieces, but this time used aluminum ferrules (I make my own) since they are 1/3 the weight of NS ferrules. Ended up the three piece doesn't cast much differently than the two piece. Going from the one piece to the three piece there is a noticeable difference, but again, being able to carry the rod inside my backpack makes it more than worth it. The 3 piece still casts very nicely.

    This was done on blanks that were originally made to be a one piece and fairly full flexing (my philosophy on short rods is to get most of the rod working during a cast since there isn't much rod to begin with). Making a two piece out of a one piece that was designed to be faster, there would be less of a difference. I am not familiar with the Smidgen, but I am going to assume it is a parabolic since it's a Paul Young rod. A one piece parabolic shouldn't be too bad as a two piece since the ferrule will be placed in the middle of the relatively stiffer midsection. I would tend not to make a three piece out of a parabolic since the ferrules will be closer to what is supposed to be the more flexible parts of the rod. It would depend on the length of the rod and where the ferrules would be placed.  (Darryl Hayashida)

      You always were an adventurous soul in the field of rodmaking, but a 3 piece 5' rod, surely that has to be a first timer. (dare I suggest You patent it ?  :-)

      I’ve acquired some aluminum for ferrules - 6062 it is called ? - will it wear more/faster than NS? (Carsten Jorgensen)

        I am working on a 4 piece 6' rod....

        I haven't been making aluminum ferrules long enough to be able to say if they wear faster or not. It's been about a year and a half since I started making them, and I haven't had any problems with them or seen any indication of wear yet. I haven't used them in salt water though.

        I use 6262 alloy. It has 55,000 PSI yield strength, good corrosion resistance and it had a little lead and bismuth in the alloy. I feel that offers a little bit of a self lubricating property so that it slips together and apart a easier.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    When you add a ferrule with the Hexrod method, it "beefs up" the butt half of the rod to carry the extra weight.  The rod dimensions for the tip will not change but the butt dimensions will get heavier.

    If you want to see how the rod will feel when you add a ferrule, weight-wise,  you  can just  tape a  ferrule to  the top  of the one-piece rod, in the middle, and cast it.  (Or use the same weight in lead wire, etc.)  If it feels fine you are set.  If it feels too weak in the butt then you will need to add some "wood" there.  That is what Hexrod is trying to calculate.

    If you have really light ferrules like Darryl H (I'm envious), then the difference should be very small.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    I made Wayne's 6'3" 2/2 4 wt. I like it, several people cast it at the Catskill gathering and liked it as well.   (Pete Van Schaack)

    I've made 3 six piece, 7'6" rods on a 4/5 wt taper that came out as a 6 wt forward taper that casts pretty well. A good back pack or suitcase rod.  (Hank Woolman)

Rule

Can someone suggest a good taper in the 6'6' to 7'0 range.

A friend of mine has asked me to make her a rod for high country fishing. The rod should cast well in close and up to 40’. It should also role cast well and have enough back bone to handle wind. I know that the Cattanach 7’ 4 wt or Sir D Favorite meets this criteria but I've made a bunch of those and I'm looking for something I've not made before. I'm currently working on a Payne 97 and the Payne 98 that I tried, I didn't care for too much (I'm not sure what taper it was.)

Any suggestions? I've thought about making a longer version of the Young Midge in the Howells book.  (Jim Lowe)

    Dickerson 6611.  (Tim Pembroke)

    Love the Leonard 6’ 10" 4/5 wt

    Making my fourth one now (this one's for me). I use a 4 wt line. Does every thing I need, roll casts well and defiantly has a backbone. 

    Dimensions can be found at David Rays Taper library.

    Or on the Rodmakers site here.  (Luke Bannister)

      Thanks for the taper suggestion and I'm glad you like the site. Do you have the taper or know where I can get it. I've never heard of this particular rod. As a Leonard, can I presume this rod is on the medium to medium slow side?  (Jim Lowe)

    I just finished gluing up rod number 8, a Wayne Cattanach 8’ 6 wt 2 piece (the Force taper) and am down to my last scraps of bamboo.  I have enough roughed up strips left over from rods 1-8 to make one more rod.  So before my kids and I pack up and head to the UP for the summer I thought I'd plane out and glue up one last rod to wrap and finish this summer.

    The strips I have left are enough to make a 3 piece rod no longer than 7'3".  Any suggestions?  I was thinking about the 3 piece version of the Driggs River from the archives.  Has any one made this?  I made a 2 piece Driggs for a friend who loved it.  Any other suggestions would be appreciated.  Line weight really doesn't matter.  I wouldn't be opposed to anything from a 2 to a 5.  The big thing is it has to be a 3 piece and can't be over 7'3".  (Aaron Gaffney)

      I thought you were shootin' for #100! :^)  Dave Collyer  (Denver Dave) makes a sweet little 3 piece Driggs.  Maybe he'd share some of the magic he puts in it with you (us?).  Which reminds me, for your ferrule lapping problems - he might suggest you take your pants off when lapping ferrules.  Works for him.  (Darrol Groth)

Rule

I am new to making bamboo rods. For the past 10 years I have made graphite rods for myself and others but as everyone knows I HAVE to go back to my roots, BAMBOO. YES.... Can anyone suggest a featherweight fly rod in the 2 to 4 weight line. I love small rods less than eight feet. Small to medium sized streams in North Georgia 16 to 24 in. brook, rainbows and browns. Someone please help with an idea. This is going to be the first bamboo rod I am going to build and I want it to be a sweetie. My ideas have been either a PHY midge, smidgen or the Driggs River.  (Chris Kowalczyk)

    I'll second the midge (6'4" 4wt), and the Driggs (7'2" 5wt), and add the Perfectionist (7'6" 4wt).  For small streams these are all ideal tapers, and you can't go wrong.  (Chris Obuchowski)

      So is nobody going to recommend the Payne 96? I've made Midges, 6611's and several 96 and I really like the 96, though it's all a bit like comparing Italian sports cars, they are all fine tools and the differences can get a bit esoteric.  (John Channer)

        I have made several Driggs tapered rods.  It is my favorite taper.  Parabolic action is different, but a great taper.  (Rob Clarke)

    My vote would go to the Dickerson 6611. Powerful little 4wt that is more than capable of handling those 16-24" trout. The ones you mention would all probably do the job, but I like faster action bamboo rods and the Dickerson is the best casting 6'6" rod that I've had the pleasure of casting.  (Will Price)

    I have cast the Midge, but I have made the Smidgen and the Driggs. I personally like the Smidgen. I use it for all my brookie fishing and have landed 18" rainbows on it too. The day after I finished my first Smidgen I brought it into work and Lee Orr cast it 63' with a crosswind, that was enough to convince me that a 6' rod can be versatile. The biggest limitation is the ability to throw heavy nymph tandem rigs and get them to roll over well and also mending is obviously an issue, but on small brooks and creeks that is often irrelevant. The Driggs that I made was a monster. It was for someone else so I've never fished it, but lawn casting it was fun. It was a rifle though, and took some practice to get it to be gentle on presentation. I put 4 different lines on it and the consensus was that the Wulff Triangle Taper on the Driggs was far and away what it liked best. Casting an anvil weighted wooly bugger with a weighted nymph dropper would feel like casting a dry fly on the Driggs, it'd handle it just fine. You'll be happy either way.  (Phil Smith)

    I haven't made a Driggs but it is on my to do list. Even though it is considered to be parabolic it just has a natural action  that synchronizes with most people's casting styles even if they hate parabolic rods.  (Doug Easton)

      Of the rods mentioned I would be hard pressed to pick just one. The Driggs is a rod that most everyone likes. The 97 is a favorite of mine and the 96 is a very fine little rod. The smidgen and midge also are great rods. I have shown up at the river and passed out rods to friends. I just cannot fish them all at the same time. I must mention here that one of the joys of my life was fishing the Driggs River on the Driggs River. I think I fished a 97 that day also. (Timothy Troester)

    Driggs doesn't really fall into the "featherweight" category. The Midge and Smidgen might but for 7 more inches you could build a Payne 97, which is lighter than some of the more popular 7’ rods out there, such as the Sir D and Garrison 201.  (Jim Lowe)

Rule

lI have a second rod on the bench bound and heat treated. It will make a 6' 2 piece. I am looking around at tapers and would like something that will fish the tight mountain streams in the Smokies. The local Hiwassee may not fish so well in another month if we don't get some rain soon and I would like to have a smaller rod for chasing fish up in the mountains. Up there 5-6' is all you need and a 10-20 roll cast is the type of presentation I would like to be able to make.

Question: How can I look at a stress curve and know if it will do that? Where does the "soft" spot need to be on the action length? Does a parabolic rod do this? Am I asking the right questions?  (Barry Janzen)

    Dig up one of Wayne Cattanach's tapers, he designs rods to roll cast. I built his 6'3"  4wt, it's a roll casting machine.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    What you want is a PHY midge. It will roll cast beautifully and will cast 40' through a screen door. See if any of the guys have a midge taper they've made and will recommend (I know there is a couple of them out there). The midge I have came from a blank that Mike Brooks made, but I'm not sure if he's sharing that taper.  (Bill Walters)

    I used to fish that area quite a bit, and the PHY Midge is the perfect taper.   (Kevin Little)

Rule

I know there aren’t  many short tapers but was wondering what was everyone’s favorite taper under 5’.  5 to 15 foot casts, dry flies, very small streams choked with rhododendron is what I am thinking.  (Greg Reeves)

    I've made AJ Thramer’s 4'4" DX taper and I really like it. I also have the taper for a Payne 4'4" banty in both the 4 wt and 5 wt version. The strips are ready for it but I need to finish up my Dickerson 661510 before I start on the Payne 5 wt version. AJ's taper is a really nice rod for what you are looking for and it will easily throw 40' of line if needed.  (Will Price)

    My favorite is Chris Bogarts's Blue Ridge Banty (4wt).  While Chris' taper is for a 4'11" one piece rod I made mine 5'0" in two pieces.  The rod will handle both short and long casts.  I've used mine on Spruce Creek and I can chuck a size 14 beetle all the way across to the far bank or under overhanging trees.  It also has the fighting strength to land 20"+ fish.  The taper is available on Rod DNA but I remember it being incorrectly identified as a 3pc rod.

    A number of Chris' taper were developed for fishing the mountain streams in VA and many are able to cast just a couple feet of line plus a leader.  (Bob Williams)

    Some years ago ('78, i think) i traded a set of rorschack cards for a two piece sewell dunton rod about 4'6" or so, called Barry's banty.  the workmanship was only fair, but it would throw a 3dt twenty feet  like a bullet.  unfortunately, i stepped on the tip.  this was before i began building, so i didn't even have dimensions. i also fish small streams and have learned to hate rhododendrons.  i look forward to your more helpful responses. i would like to build a nice, quick, back pocket special,  myself.  (Roland Cote)

    You might look at the young smidgen at 6 ft it is a very good short cast rod with it's soft tip. It also throws a nice long line when you need it, you could also make it in a 5 ft 3 wt version by making the butt shorter, this is the rod that Harry raves about.

    The Thramer 4'4" is really a 5 wt rod not a 4 wt, and it is a straight taper with a strong tip and not really good at short distance. It's not the typical Thramer taper you would think about.  (Bob Norwood)

    Since I fish mostly small mountain streams exactly like you describe I have made two of the A.J. Thramer 4'-4" rods as one piece rods.  I like them except for the fact that it seems impossible for me to balance them with a reel on them.  When I used them I put my reel in my pocket after I stripped off an appropriate amount of line.  I have heard wonderful things about the Nunley 504, but I have never made one.  I gave up on anything under 6' and I am very happy with my Lee Wulff 6' midge.  I will be happy to give you the taper to that rod or any of the other 6' rods that I have made that are successful.  Good luck.  By the way, if anyone has a short taper that solves these problems I would love to know about it and have the taper to try myself.  (Hal Manas)

    I know this is not a 5 foot taper but a 5 foot 9 inch is the Lee Wulff for the 6 wt, a one piece rod.  They fish well and can cast long or short with size 16 -8 flies. I have used it up here for grayling  and arctic char up to 6 lbs and some silver salmon.  For an under 5 foot 2 piece, look at the Orvis and Hardy tapers.  (Jeff Van Zandt)

    I've made a bunch of Nunley's 504's five foot four weight one piece. Big hit with those who got them. Also made a thramer 444 (4'4"), but only as a one piece. Both are nice close range casters, but the 504 can reach out if you need distance. Like when you come to a big, big, pool on an otherwise narrow stream, and there is a ledge across on the other side, and you can see the 18 inch brown. And he takes your fly. There is also a payne banty rod, those are nice as well.

    However: when I think of short rods these days, I like the Nunley mountain fork, the Paul young midge, and the Dickerson 6611. They can fish close in, but are a bit more versatile and you can mend line more easily.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

Rule

I want to build Thramer's 444 nodeless (4'4").  Is this length too short for nodeless?  (Louis Devos)

    No, I built the same taper in nodeless (the only nodeless that I've built to date). I have the strips cut, glued and rough tapered for a matched pair of Payne 4'4" bantys (both nodeless). 1 will be the LT version 4wt  and the other is going to be the H 5wt version. (Will Price)

      I have been looking for this Payne taper.  Is it somewhere on-line?  (Louis Devos)

        Payne Banty taper has been posted here...  (Dennis Higham)

Rule

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