Bamboo Tips - Tips Area - Tradition

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Why do makers usually build a rod with two identical tips?  Other than having a spare in case of accident, etc. it 

seems like plenty extra work for no palpable advantage.  Now, a rod with a dry fly tip section and a wet fly tip section I can understand.  But two of the same tip section?  I await illumination on this.  (Todd Enders)

    Most rodmakers that build 2 like tips is not so much for a accident as it is that you break in each tip together. The theory is when you go fishing you rotate the tips so after a length of time the fibers that break down (I’m talking years) in the tips as it is cast will match the other so they should cast alike and stay as close to the casting like taper that it was built after.  (John Pickard)


    1. Originally, it was so that one could rest wooden rod tips.  Monday use tip 1, Tuesday use tip two.  Once these rods took a set, it was just about impossible to straighten them without damaging. 

    2. In the bamboo era, it seems that it is a matter of letting the tips wear evenly (if you believe the hokum that a cane rod has a certain number of duty cycles that it can perform and them it stops being a useful tool).

    3. I've always thought of it as part of the cult of over-readying one's self for fishing.  Fly fishing products are often WAY overbuilt (look at all of the aerospace- paradigm reels for trout) and have always been that way, especially on the high end. 

    4. This is part of the Cult of People Who Fly Fish Twice A Year and Spend $5000 Each Time On Lodges and Guides.  Insert picture of overpaid, Type-A investment banker knucklehead waist deep in New Zealand water with his head to toes brand new Simms gear, his $300 Maui Jim Flexon glasses, his (laugh) Orvis Vortex 5/6 reel on his Orvis $700 T3 trout rod, with a big phallus of a Cuban cigar in his big, flabby mouth.  That moronic Filson hat.  He's on top of the world.  He'll conquer these fish just like he's conquered the bond market.  A man who doesn't take no for an answer, especially not from some dumb trout.  He's a winner and he's got TWO TIPS on his "spare" Joe West Rod that he just bought for $3500. 

    5. It is a bit of subconscious insurance.  Same reason I bring my crappy Cabelas 5 wt 7 piece rod everywhere with me even though I never use it.

    6. 2-tip rods are a better investment in the long term.  Look at the prices Codella, Keane, et al will pay for a 1 tip Vs a two tip.  Many people (collectors, ha!) don't like 1-tip rods for the above reasons

    7. Something expensive to break that you really will never use.

    Just some passing opinions.  (Joe West)

      As the bloke who was last heard to be asking about two-phase epoxy to finish wraps, I should not, perhaps, be the man to defend the traditions of the craft.

      But you do have to remember that these rods were designed and conceived for a world very different from our own; a world where your New Zealand - bound arbitrageur would be better represented as a railroad robber baron.

      A world where the user was not a few hours by air from the factory, but some times months away in Alaska or the North West Territories. Some bought their rods from Messrs Hardy  and emigrated to the outposts of Empire, to India, to South Africa, to Australia, to New Zealand.  Some took  their rods from Highland Mills and moved away to, shudder, Texas.

      With a bespoke rod, whether made in the US or in England, there was probably no question whether  the rod tip would be repaired/replaced, but to the owner the second tip meant the difference between continuing to fish or sulking for a couple of months.

      Do you carry a spare tire in your car?  What conclusions do you draw from that about the other four tires that are on it?

      None at all, I imagine.  It's a spare, it's a great comfort even if it's not needed, an incalculable benefit if is, and from the point of view of the supplier it's a great PR tool!  (Peter McKean)

    Many makers believe (myself included, though I speak as a novice) that making and using two tips will prolong the life of the rod by more evenly distributing the wear on the rod from casting to and catching beautiful, large, and even beautiful large fishes.  As I understand (and practice) it, the best way to achieve this is alternate tips each time that you fish the rod.  I am not certain, but I think that it helps to give one tip time to "rest" while the other has all of the fun.  I have heard that buying two pairs of shoes and doing this extends the life of EACH pair by 3X what it would be if you wore one pair day after day.  I suspect the same type of thing happens in the tips of our rods, seeing as how they are a natural material.  Well, that and there is the extra in a not so nice pinch  [;)] I may be way off base here, but that is how my mind rationalizes such seemingly irrational behavior.  Of course, now I must admit that I am working on a few one tip rods to try some tapers to see how well I like them.

    Studies show that it is unclear how much the beauty of the fish stressing the rod affects the eventual wear, but that the angler may not care.

    Not very scientific ones, though.  (Carl DiNardo)

      The two tip theory is nonsense and is just American Tradition. I say this because the vast majority of European rods were only ever built and sold with one tip.  (Paul Blakley)

        A lot of people have chimed in about the tip rotation being bubkus.  I would like to be convinced.  After all, traditional bowyers agree (probably not agree, but the information is accepted), that a stick bow  has a limited life that, given proper care, is related to use (IE: How many shots are fired through the bow).  Some will even estimate how many their bows should handle before the performance is affected.  Yes, I know bamboo is not wood, and that the stresses are different.  However, most materials that I know of can weaken or soften if repeatedly stressed.  Flex an opened paper clip multiple times.  What happened?  Do the same with a piece of plastic.  Do it with green wood.  Do it with dried wood.  I'm about to go do it to some bamboo, just to see.  I have a junk tip just waiting for me. My point is that I have reasons for believing the bubkus.  Someone change my mind.  Tell me why it is bubkus.  (Carl DiNardo)

          Orvis once published numbers on just what you're describing.  Though I don't know them off hand, (archives, maybe?) it's something like 9 bajillion casts is all a rod has in it.  I think their numbers were a little low.  I've cast lots of really old rods that still had plenty of life in them.  (Harry Boyd)

            Has anyone ever actually tried a long term stress test?

            For example, clamp a rod into a vice & rig up something that would automatically simulate a casting stroke & let the thing run for days. Figure out the "frequency" - e.g. 25 casts per minute - so you'd have a way to figure out how many casts have been made. Stop every once in a while & measure rod deflection. Recap the results and see how long it takes to "wear out" the rod. You could test different glues, heat treatments, maybe even tapers to see which one "holds up" the best.  (Tom Bowden)

    One advantage to the extra tip is that if someone happens to break one, say killing a snake or something, he can still fish the rod while the broken tip is sent back to the maker for repair, which may take several weeks or even months.  (Tim Preusch)

      Hmmm.  'Twould seem to me easier on the rod to use the rod/line combination as a whip to dissuade said snake from a more comfortable distance...  [:-)]

      Can't say that I exactly buy the stress/even wear thing.  You never cast the same number of times, at the same distance, nor hook the same number of fish or obstacles from trip to trip.  Even if one were to fish the same water every day, the fish aren't going to behave exactly the same.

      As I said originally, I can see having two tips from the standpoint of having a spare in case of whatever, but other than that, I can't think of a good reason. As far as modern makers go, I can certainly accept tradition as a reason, but, back in the day, there must have been salient reasons to establish said tradition.  Could have been that the folks that ordered rods specified an extra tip, given a choice, and the makers were simply responding to demand.  That would make some sense.

      Looking at it from a time/labor expense standpoint though, seems to me there had to be something more to have makers investing maybe half again the labor into a rod to produce a set of matched tips.

      Yeah, it's quite possible I'm overanalyzing this, but it just struck me that in several respects it seemed an odd practice.  Then again, it is a good two months until the water around here turns liquid again.  (Todd Enders)

        The people who REALLY needed the second tip were the early graphite manufacturers.  Heck, Sage even has a 2nd tip program.  The second tip for my 0 wt SPLCA outfit would have been $110 (if memory serves me).  Probably making it the most expensive object in the world if examined from a weight/cost ratio.  Let's see...

        1 0 wt tip = .25 oz (an educated guess)
        1 0 wt tip = $110

        Thus 0 wt tips cost $7040 per pound.  I think I've found a new business model.  Just sell tips!!!  Only tips!!!  MWAHAHAHAHA.  Dr. Frankenstein, bring me my mandrel.  (Joe West)

        Really It is just a goal for rod makers like me to make two identical tips. One of mine always turns out bad and I toss it. It seems that I've been collecting a lot of extra male ferrules!  (Doug Easton)

    Definitely for breakage insurance. Like the time I was 10 miles out in the back country and I broke a tip when I tried to jump over a narrow part of a creek. Jammed it right into the overhanging opposite bank. The second tip saved the day - heck it saved the whole week!  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Traditionally, rods were made with 2 identical tips because a fisherman would own just one rod and fish it every time he went fishing. This would wear the tip section out(the part that does most of the bending) in a few years. The second tip was made to alternate every time the rod was fished thus doubling the life of the rod. A second tip makes no sense today as a fisherman has many rods to use and the reliance on one rod is all but history.  (Marty DeSapio)

    In my personal opinion I think that a bamboo rod is a very valuable instrument when we find the correct one. I think that is impossible to make two rods the same and like Darryl told the second tip just warranty that if you had found that special rod you have a second option to continue using it if unfortunately you broke a tip. Also interchanging the tips will assure you to have the rod well balanced (the example of the shoes was good). When we make a rod we use the same culm. All the rod is involved in the same process of building (heat treatment, humidity, varnish consistence, etc), so the two tips will perform the same.

    Just thinking.  (Marcelo Calviello)


I just finished up a couple of woodworking projects this weekend so tonight I got my rod stuff back out.  While looking at the rough tapered sections I have for rods 3 and 4 I got to thinking about why I need two tips.

I've never fished bamboo before.  Do I need two tips because I'm likely to break one?  Because they take a set?  Because it's tradition?

Both of these rods are for myself.  I'm not trying to be cheap or be a corner cutter, but I was thinking that if I made them with one tip I would have some sections left, which combined with some butt strips, would be enough to make and additional rod.  Plus I'd save the time and cost of ferruling and wrapping another tip.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    All my own rods are single tip, because I am cheap! If/when  something happens to a tip, I can make a new one or fix the old one without too much bother and if the tips don't quite match, the guy who owns them doesn't mind <g>. I only make 2 tips for  rods that are made to sell.  (John Channer)


I've also been lurking for a while putting into practice some of the great advice provided by you guys. I am glad to see the list actually seems as healthy as ever despite the recent 'grits wobbles'. In a funny sort of way the 'wobbles' seem to have actually reenergized things. They have certainly drawn out some of the lurkers - at least for a posting or two.

Anyway here's my question - Besides the obvious advantage of having a spare tip should one break what is the reasoning behind making 2 tips?. I have seen it advocated that tips be alternated on each fishing trip. - why?  (Stephen Dugmore)

    Alternating the tips lessens the chance of the tips taking a set from fishing.  As to why two tips, tradition is a factor, as is the obvious factor of having a spare.  Not necessary, mind you, but what folks have come to expect.  I think the set business has something to do with it as well, as rods were doubtless used hard, back in the day, and makers were probably less likely to get one back for repair by including two tips (just speculation on my part).

    Indeed, I've heard tell of a modern maker or two who will not do two tips, period.  Don't know the details, and don't know the maker(s) personally, but have it on good authority from one who does that this is the case.

    FWIW, having that second tip has saved the day for me once this year -- fly strike blew up one tip on my big water rod. put the second tip on, and kept fishing.  :-)   Of course, I need to repair the boogered tip, and really do need to get after that shortly, so I have that back-up tip in the tube again.  Never know when fate or stupidity might strike...   (Todd Enders)

    I've always thought the question about having to make two tips was a good one. Basically I feel it's more tradition than anything else. After all, graphite rods don't come with 2 tips and they are highly respected. In some ways furnishing 2 tips is kind of admitting you'll probably break one and need the second one and that certainly isn't right at least during normal casting. I have sold quite a few rods with only a single tip and the customers are satisfied especially since they get the rod at a lower price.  (Ray Gould)

      Yes a rod does need two tips:

      1: Never put your rod away wet

      2: Turn your rod while fighting a big fish

      When I sell a rod to a customer I tell them the second tip for the rod is their warranty if they break it then they will pay for the third tip. They laugh and I tell them I am serious that one tip should last a lifetime and the second tip should last the lifetime of their grandchild.  (Adam Vigil)

      For a beginner like myself the reason to make two tips is that you may still end up with only one when you're done.

      I do want to thank you for describing the "tensioner" in Tips & Tapers. I put one together and it really works well.  (Henry Mitchell)

      There seem to be a couple different reasons.

      (1) Historically many rods had 2 tips of different taper and/or length. You might have one tip for dries and the other for nymphs or wets.

      (2) It has also been suggested that the reason is so you can let one tip "rest" while you use the other one and alternate them, this was to help prevent sets form occurring.

      Personally I think it is another one of those traditions of the new rodmaking that goes along with not sawing strips, etc. I have a couple English rods with only one tip and I understand that this was general practice in Europe. I use this one tip all the time and it never seems to need a rest. The only real argument I consider possibly valid it that in case of breakage you still have a functional rod. I snapped the tip on this one once, repaired it with Gorilla Glue overnight and was fishing again the next day,  again without resting it. I guess another good reason is that it increases the profit margin for a maker.  (Larry Puckett)

    All mentioned are good reasons but I think that the 2 tips option is given to assure the owner of the rod that if something wrong happen to one of the tips, he will have another tip for replace made with the same culm from where the rod was made. That is my reason.  (Marcelo Calviello)

    The last time this came up got me thinking...   This is a question you might call - salt.  Something to think about when there's nothing else to think about.

    In what I consider to be one of the best Angling short stories ever written, The River God by Roland Pertwee (found in many of the angling anthologies that abound) a very young man pines for a bamboo fly rod of his own as he admires his brother-in-law's:

    "It's got two top joints - two!", I exclaimed ecstatically.

    "Of course," said he.  "All good trout rods have two."  I marveled in silence at what seemed to me then a combination of extravagance and excellent precaution.

    It's a good story.  Might not explain anything, but I like it.  (Darrol Groth)

    It has been said, that in the good old days, if you broke your tip, you were without a rod for a considerable period of time. If you had a rod with two tips, you could ship one back to be repaired, and fish the other one.

    I fish one tip pretty much all the time on my rods, with no ill effects. I change tips when I feel like it.   (Mike Canazon)

    My opinion is that the older bamboo rods had two tips because (1) they took curved sets over time and permitted alternating tips to reduce rod fatigue; (2) glues were not as good so rods often came apart; (3) early rods were often not heat treated and not as stiff; (4) if one tip was broken, the fisherperson could still have a rod to fish (personal example this summer while fishing in Montana); and (5) it is a comfort to the rod buyer knowing there is a backup if the rod is caught in the "screen door". Seems two tips is both historical and practical. Modern bamboo rods are more often made with only one tip because of improved glues, heat treating, and reduced cost.  (Frank Paul)

      Back in the day, I guy was lucky to have one good rod.  How many of us go on a fishing trip with one rod? An extra tip made a lot of sense if it was your only backup.  You probably took along a couple extra guides, some winding silk and ferrule cement, just in case, too.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)


Just finished wrapping a 2/2 rod for a friend and started thinking how labor intensive it is. Matching both tips to mirror themselves can be a real hair puller at times. Up to now all the rods I have built have been two tip rods and wrapping to me has become dreary to say the least at times. Now I can see building two tips for customers who want them, but how about your own personal rods. I see the reasoning about the 2/2 rod (resting tips, spare in case of damage, etc.) but being a builder if you damage a tip to your own personal rod, it's back to the shop to cut another. Even better if you keep some spare strips in the rack from that culm. Plus cheaper cost, 1/2 set of ferrules, less snakes and thread. And the time saved you could be making another rod for the arsenal. Just wondering how many of you guys build one tip rod for yourself?  (Mark Heskett)

    You do not need more than one tip. It is simply a holdover from a time when cane rods were constructed with hide glues and little or no heat treatment - giving tips a rest was probably a good idea. There was also an idea that cane rods wore out and two tips would give longer life. This has been debated to death without consensus (I note that many of the Gillums, Paynes, and Dickersons still seem to cast just fine despite being at least 50 years old and having had two or more owners).

    Having said all that, I do my rods with two tips because it's good to have a spare (although I have never broken a cane rod). But there is another reason. I've done about 25 rods, and every one of my bad ones was a one-tip rod made with scrap cane and crappy hardware that I could not bring myself to throw out. So now I make them pretty and with two tips. It seems to make me pay attention to detail.

    I think that most makers and anglers look at two tips as prerequisite for quality. And the fallacy that cane is sooo fragile that you must have two tips is still widely held. We all know that one isn't true, but I don't know any rodmaker who makes "my rods come with only one tip" a selling point.

    On the other hand, the notable rodmaker John Long makes all his personal rods with one tip. He says that if ever needs a replacement he will just make one.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      I'm not so sure I agree with your reasoning behind the history of two tips.  The way I think about it, cane rods were traditionally constructed with two tips because repair work 50 years ago was not nearly so efficient as it is today.  Fifty years ago people were also not as prone to owning a dozen or more different rods.   Our society had a much larger working class back then.  Fishermen were most often from the trades rather than professionals.

      When Joe Average broke the only tip on "his" rod, it likely meant he could not go fishing again until he had the tip repaired or bought a new rod.  That rod was often his one and only fishing rod.  And repairing a rod meant going through quite an ordeal.  Joe Average had to package the tip (make a wooden crate, very few cardboard tubes, no convenient pvc shipping tubes), make a trip to the postal service (no UPS or FedEx home pickup), ship the rod via Parcel Post (one to three weeks shipping, each way), and communicate with the manufacturers.  There was no email, no web site, and folks didn't make long distance calls then the way we do now with cell phones and no long distance charges ever.   Joe Average  had to write a letter.  Once the rod arrived at the manufacturer, the work was done.  Let's assume there are no hassles in getting the work done.  The repair shop gets the work done quickly -- let's say 3-4 weeks.

      Now the waiting game began again.  Joe is billed.  (Another week in postal service).  Joe pays the bill (via check or Western Union, no convenient Visa or Mastercard).  Another week in postal service.  The repaired rod is shipped back, (another 1-3 weeks).

      And before you know it, six months later, Joe can go fishing again.  Except by now it's February, and Joe has missed a year's fishing.

      Compare that to today.  Break a rod?  No big deal, just use one of your half-a-dozen other rods.  And next time you pass your local fly shop, drop the broken rod off there.  Some flyshop owners replace the rod on the spot.  If not, they'll usually ship it to the manufacturer for you.  In three weeks, tops, your back in business.

      Why make two tip rods today?  Well, because I can.  Because it tells the customer I care about his needs.  Because it harkens back to an era when service was more important than efficiency.  Because bamboo buyers expect it.   (Harry Boyd)

        I think Harry hit it (finally) with his closing statement: "Because bamboo buyers expect it." Historically I thought the 2-tip tradition was due to having one dry fly tip and one wet fly  tip.  (Larry Puckett)

        I would like to debate this one - not to be combative but because I would like to flush out the real history here. You are correct in that repairs were a major problem back in the day, but for every Payne 98 sent out there were thousands of Rapidans,  Beaverkills, Lucky Strikes, Oriskanys, Hudsons, Majestics, Comets, Clippers, and you get the picture. That is because cane rods were more expensive in real dollars back then. Joe average angler could not afford a Payne, and probably worked a lot of overtime and scrimped for even a Montague Red Wing. Now, here is the question I can not answer: Did the less expensive rods likely to be owned by typical anglers come with two tips? If they did, then your repair idea is supported greatly as is my polemic on resting the tip.If they did not, then BOTH our ideas are not supported. OK probably wrong. and how did the high end makers advertise availability of two tips? Perhaps someone has some of the old Payne or Young catalogs and could comment.

        My statement was made on the basis on the fishing literature- I have read all kinds of stories about the resting/wear problem (in both fiction and non-fiction). And I think that expectations were different then. Remember that old Fed EX commercial that starts with Marco Polo and the court? If the goods aren't here in three years the deal's off! Then there are a series of progressively more modern business situations with ever-shrinking timelines for delivery that culminate in "next-day". Joe average really had few options other than cane, and the standard was weeks of letter writing to get anything done. My guess is that anglers were A LOT more careful with their equipment. But perhaps mailing things was just something that everyone expected to have to do once in a while.

        I hope this does not come off as a "I'm right and you are wrong" debate. I honestly don't know the answer, but you have gotten me thinking about the question and I would like see some other opinions on this.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

          I am in possession of the rods both of my grandfather's had. One is a H&I sold as a Ward's Sport King, the other I haven't quite identified yet (I think it is a Montague). Both of my grandfathers were just average Joe working men and were likely to spend just enough to get something to do the job.  I know both of these rods were  relatively inexpensive at the time, and they were also the only fly rods both had.  Both of the rods came with two tips. I think Harry has a good point about the repair problems and the need for two tips.  I do remember my grandfather telling me when I was a boy that the second tip was in case he broke one.  I fished with him often as a boy and know he loved to fly fish.  I don't know the original reasoning behind a second tip, but the need for repairs seems as likely a reason as any.  Since I can repair my own rods I tend to make single tip rods for my own use, and always take multiple rods (since I have the luxury of owning several now) on any fishing trip.  If I only had one rod I think I would want the security of a second tip though.  (John Wild)

            My apologies to all who have come up with conceptions of the reason d'etre for two tip rods.  While all of the ideas are seemingly reasonable and probable, none have any validity other than the authority of the submitter.  So, here I go with my two cents.  I rather think that the origin of multiple pieces for fly rods began quite some time before the advent of split cane rods.  There very many old hard wood rods that came with a veritable panoply of parts.  I have seen a number with one butt and two midsections and with three tips. Hard wood rods relied primarily on the thickness of the rod for their strength and when the rod maker did not take this in to account in his design, the result was a rod that was very liable to break at the thinnest part.  Any sudden variation of taper was also a weak point. A time line progression would indicate the dropping of the second mid and later the dropping of the third tip and finally the dropping of the second tip.  (the black hollow rods of today)  In other words i would rather believe that it is the result of an evolutionary process fired by better techniques and materials.  The other reasons given may have also have been part of the evolutionary process, but it seems rather excessive to have the rod design prepared to meet only occasional problems.  I dare say that to break a bamboo rod requires almost  without exception  poor design or abuse.  I have broken only two rods in my life.  The first at the base of the female  ferrule (poor construction techniques)  and the other a Greenheart rod at the grip) extremely poor construction techniques.)  I dare say that in nearly every other instance or rod breakage I can find a fault of technique or handling to be the cause.  (Ralph Moon)

    I avoid 2/2 rods like the plague.  But at times I have to go with the demand and build 2.  But then I guarantee my rods for life.  (Mine!!)  Most guys do not understand the term "limited guarantee."   (Ralph Moon)

      In the UK there is marginally less tradition for two tip rods, although plenty exist.

      I suppose if anything is going to break it will be the tip, I've broken the butts on carbon and boron rods, but not cane or glass.

      This is entirely unrelated to material however, more the ineptitude of the designers of the rods.

      Boron has a very strange failure mode, it breaks clean across when subjected to sudden shock.

      I have to say that i have yet to handle a boron rod that convinced me that this is a rodmaking material.

      I think I've only ever made one two tip rod, and that almost by accident, the strange thing is that although both tips of this three piece rod mike up different, they feel much the same in use!  (Robin Haywood)

    When I make a rod for a gift to an organization like the Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains for their Scholarship fund I make two tips, but the question was about the rods that I make for myself and for those I make one tip most of the time.  Since I have some ferrules that come from Rush River Rods, full sets only, I sometimes go ahead and make a second tip, but then I usually end up giving those away, too.  The rods that I fish myself are all one tip.  Just call me lazy.  (Hal Manas)

    All the rods I make for myself have 1 tip. I can make my own so I am in no danger of not getting a replacement. I always bring at least 2 rods on a trip any way. The breaking of a tip. whatever who ever said the rod tip was the only piece that can break. I have seen people break butts and mid sections. The breaks usually are from falling any way or the wind blowing a car do shut. Anyone who breaks a tip due to pulling on a snag should be beat with with the butt sections.

    I must say though a tight thread wrap and super glue will go a long way in fixing a broken tip on a trip. For those who order a rod they get 2 tips. I tell them the first one is their warranty if it breaks I will fix it once free. If they break it or the other tip again, they they pay a clumsy tax and it runs about $200.

    They are told their bamboo fly rod will last their lifetime if treated properly and it will be with them when all their other toys are gone.  (Adam Vigil)

    I have been fishing bamboo rods for 40 years and have broken two butts and one tip. One butt "exploded" ( a hollowed 9 ft EC Powell) on a steelhead that decided to head south just as I was leaning too far north, and another butt broke when I slipped on a rock and the rod neatly bridged two rocks, splintering under my chest, as I muttered the usual oaths.

    I'd be a strong advocate of having an extra complete rod or two, especially on any big or important trips away from home. The fish and the terrain here in northern B.C. are both a bit rugged, with graphite rods also suffering lots of breakage at the hands of those who use them.

    I'd sooner have two rods rather than just an extra tip. 

    Hope to avoid further calamities, but one never knows.  (George Deagle)

    I know I'm not a professional rodmaker and this topic is probably something I should therefore keep my nose out of, but the marketing practices you folks are discussing are a rennet of the past and perhaps it really is time to brainstorm more creative and timely solutions to this topic.

    One possibility that quickly comes to mind is to let the customer decide: one tip or two. The one tip rod of course would have the incentive of costing less and an option to order another tip in the future would/could be in the contract.  Replacement tips could also be guaranteed at a predetermined price with an understanding that a perfect match of cane color, etc. might not be possible. In many cases the original hardware might be recycled.

    It appears that most of you keep very careful records of every thing you do so a simple email or phone call could have a an extra or a replacement tip on its way fairly quickly.

    Again I want to apologize if I have butted in where I don't belong. I do realize that traditions run very strong in this craft; they seem almost arcane (if you'll excuse the pun). One tip rods indeed have advantages to both the maker and the buyer and I am sure most buyers are just as smart as the makers. I think they have the same realization as we do, that after all we're only talking about a string on a stick. I think they too have more than one rod. I think they know that our rods are better than yesteryears and that today’s rodmakers can reproduce just about anything.

    BTW I dropped in at Roscoe for an hour on Saturday and met some of you wonderful people and saw some great work. It was a real pleasure.  (Dick Steinbach)

      I agree with you Dick, particularly now when well made rods don't take a set (as easily). Those guys who sell and buy the hi-end rods need to have two tips. (tradition). Makes the buyer think he's  getting his $'s worth. (which they are).

      I think Harry made the point that bamboo doesn't seem to break as readily as graphite. When was the last time you saw a plastic rod with two tips?

      It is a pretty package, but doesn't it keep the myth alive that bamboo is more fragile? (which is not true).. But how can you charge $1800 for a one tip rod.

      The only rod I have broken (actually delaminated) was the butt of an extremely hollowed experiment. It was my fault, old glue. So should I make rods with two butt's? (don't answer about rods with two cheeks).  (Jerry Foster)

      I make one tip rods for myself and whoever else wants one. I do tell customers that my standard rod includes 2 tips because of all the reason's given, plus the fact that, if I'm going to make 2 tips, I want to make them both at the same time so they match. It can be a real pain to try to match flamed bamboo, guide spacing and thread color a few years down the road. I don't save bamboo like Garrison did, I just can't bring myself to be that retentive about it, I'm sure everyone else made a lot of replacement tips with what they had in stock.  (John Channer)


I have always  thought it probable that the reason for the spare tip, originally, was that when a rod left the factory, or the gnome's cave, whichever, it was likely to be taken a long way away, and in a time when return of the rod to effect repairs was not an overnight express thing, but a transaction involving weeks, and possibly even months.

The young "mawster" who busted a tip on his Hardy rod while persecuting mahseer in the Subcontinent was faced with a possible year or more.

So the second tip was a good idea, if not an essential thing, to keep the angler fishing while awaiting repairs; and thus to keep him happy and still liking the brand.

I have also thought that the "young mawster" was probably the reason we see so many inappropriately heavy rods of English origin out here - the sales person in the London store was totally unfamiliar with what the customer faced out in the colonies, but probably thought all the fish were going to be huge ( "Here be Dragones" ) and sold him a rod with a bit of room for error.

I think, to some extent at least that is the reason for the fragility myth - "It's got two tips.  They, ergo, can't last very long, can they?"  And of course it was exploited to the limit by people advertising the replacement materials.

And at least here in Australia when you say "bamboo" to a fisherman,  in addition to a comment about fragility you will get one about how heavy and slow the rods are.  The most common remark I get from a plastic fisherman when he holds one of my rods is how light and responsive it is - because he is expecting it to be the opposite.  (Peter McKean)

    Thought I heard, somewhere, that single tip rods were commonly sold in Europe.  Any truth to this?  (Roland Cote)

      That's very common. Most European rodmakers have said that they only sell two tip rods to US customers.  (Will Price)

        Quite a lot of the rods that came out here to Australia and to India were provided with 2 tips - hence my feeling that the "tyranny of distance" was the factor that determined it; the tendency toward over weight, overlength rods was possibly due to the sales clerk in England not really knowing what the customer was going to find as prey, but suspecting that distant fields are always greener, so the fish would probably be huge and thus would need a big rod - with 2 tips.  (Peter McKean)

      I can confirm that my European rodmaking friends usually make two tips only for customers/friends in the US.  In fact, when I started building rods, they said there was no reason for me, as an amateur, to make rods with two tips, so I stopped doing it.  (Tim Anderson)

    I think it's not just the two tips that imply fragility and vulnerability in bamboo rods, it's the non-fishing functional decoration and embellishment that gets attached to some rods. Exquisitely knurled butt caps and rings,  inlaid grips, mortising etc. all contribute to an impression of preciousness. In real fishing situations I find that I foul my tip often enough that I have to set the butt down somewhere to clear it, and taking extra care to avoid hurting such preciousness is just not on. I build my rods with a rubber butt cap and get on with fishing. (Mike McGuire)


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