Great Expectations

My 50th birthday is approaching fast and SWMBO asked if there was anything I wanted for a special present. That was her first mistake 🙂

I’ve had a hankering to fish cane & silk for a while now. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because I have too much hi-tech paraphernalia cluttering up my life that a move towards more traditional tackle appeals. Anyway, I never thought I’d get the opportunity to pander to this little desire until I started working out whether a bamboo rod would be feasible on my budget.

I looked at several ‘off the shelf’ offerings within my budget and, to be honest, I wasn’t really inspired. Subsequently I found out that most of these are made in Chinese factories from sub standard cane and are unlikely last a lifetime, as a good cane rod should. Of course, there are the usual eBay lots, many of these are rebuilds using parts from older rods or vintage rods who’s provenance is unknown. The only other option to investigate was a custom made rod.

Here’s where things start to get scary. Internet research showed me that four figure sums are often the starting point for custom cane rods. Add higher quality reel seats, inserts, ferrules etc. and the figure climbs into the realms of the ridiculous. I was starting to lose hope. My original aim was to get rod, line and a suitable reel but this was clearly out of the question and there is no point in getting one without the other two.

At this point I was given the details of a guy in Michigan who might be able to build something for me at a reasonable cost. Enter Bob Farrand.

Having looked at pictures of his work I contacted him to enquire about his availability, lead time, costs etc. and I was delighted to find out that not only would he undertake the work but, at the end I would have enough funds for the reel and line too.

After a flurry of emails, here’s the specification for the build:

  • Hand built honey flamed Wayne Cattenach 6332 taper blank [6′ 3″ 2 piece] with 2 tip sections
  • Anodized Silver down-locking reel seat
  • Amboyna burl reel seat insert
  • Agate stripping ring
  • Mid brown wraps with dark brown trim
  • Super fine cork handle

Bob will start flaming & splitting the cane very soon and has promised to send updates of progress.

About Adrian

Dreaming the dream and praying for a lottery win that will allow me to live it. View all posts by Adrian

5 responses to “Great Expectations

  • Alex

    Bob is a great builder, you’ll be happy with his work. He’s also fun to fish with. I’ve fished the Au Sable River in MI with him several times. Once we were back at the his truck BS’ing and while he was hooking his fly on his hook keeper the nail knot got stuck in the tip. Bob pulled down harder to break it free but the knot wasn’t coming and the rod snapped. My jaw dropped. Bob shrugged it off, tossed it in the back of his truck along with the other dozen rods he brought with him.

  • Adrian

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the reassuring comments about Bob. I’ve seen photos of his work on the rod builders forum and our conversations so far lead me to believe that he is a man of great skill and integrity.

    Lucky you! Fishing the Au Sable. It’s on my list 🙂


  • Neil

    Hi matey

    Can`t wait to see the new rod. Bet you don`t go pulling flys out of trees with it !!!


  • It’s coming together « Riffles and Runs

    […] the news that the rod will probably be shipped next week, the great silk & cane project is nearing completion. […]

  • Great Expectations - Update « Riffles and Runs

    […] Expectations – Update Posted on November 19, 2007 by Adrian I just had a mail from Bob; the rod is almost complete and should be shipped next week – well over a month ahead of schedule. As soon […]

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