How to look after and care for a Split Cane Fly Rod

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Considerable time, care and experience have gone into the making of each or our hand crafted rods. With the proper care you can ensure that it will last for generations to come.

Bamboo as a natural material is unparalleled in its strength and resilience yet unfortunately no matter how well made a bamboo fly rod is or the quality of components used are if not cared for correctly it may weaken or become damaged.

To avoid this frustration please follow these guidelines and suggestions for caring for your split cane fly rod.


Assembly

Before assembling your fly rod inspect each sections ferrule for dust which may have accumulated whilst in storage and if necessary clean them, this will prevent the ferrules from becoming locked together. Occasionally it may be necessary to use a cotton swab lightly dipped in alcohol to clean the internal female ferrule section but make certain that the entire inside area is completely dry before assembly.

If provided with them and fishing on consecutive days it may be worth rotating the fly rod tips, each of the tip sections which come with a Chris Clemes rod can be differentiated by the wrappings located nearest the male ferrules.

To assemble the fly rod begin by placing the tip section into the butt section, whilst keeping your hands close together apply pressure in a straight line until they are a snug fit. Never slide the sections together whilst holding the rod guides as this can weaken their wrappings and alignment.

Follow these steps to assemble your fly rod correctly –

  • Wipe off the male slide before inserting it into the female ferrule to remove all dust and debris.

  • Place the male ferrule approximately halfway into the female section and then sight down the rod to see if the guides are all in line.

  • To complete assembly continue by sliding the ferrules in a straight line until they fit snugly together, use the least amount of force possible, until firmly engaged.

  • If you happen to have a three piece fly rod, always begin the assembly by starting with the smallest section first, i.e.  tip to the mid section, mid to butt section.

  • Make sure that the sections are in alignment by sighting through the guides.

  • Should the fly rod appear to be misaligned take it apart using the methods stated below in disassembly  and re-assemble it until you are satisfied that  the rod sections and guides are aligned.

  • During assembly should you feel that a ferrule is loose do not use the rod until the problem has been resolved.


Always apply force in a straight line. Never twist the ferrules to avoid damaging them and the Bamboo fly rod blank.

On The Water

All split cane fly rods are prone to occasionally adopting a slight sweep or warped appearance also referred to as a “set”. This can be caused by fighting a fish incorrectly also known as a “fighting set”. Fortunately these sets can usually be corrected quite easily by making a few false casts.

When playing a fish on a bamboo fly rod there are two points to consider to avoid a “fighting set”. Firstly, remember to turn the fly rod whilst playing a good sized fish, this distributes the strain on the bamboo and ensures that it is not always applied in one direction. Secondly when fighting a fish, try and keep no more than a 70° degree angle between the butt of the fly rod and the fish.


When fighting a fish, try and keep no more than a 70° degree angle between the butt of the rod and the fish.

Below are some important guidelines for when you are on the water.

  • When preparing to cast carefully pull the knot joining the fly line and leader out of the tip ring. This will prevent undue stress at the tip of the rod which may result in a breakage near the tip ring.

  • Should you happen to snag your fly on the back cast or it becomes snagged in the stream, do not yank vigorously with your rod tip in an attempt to dislodge it. If you are able attempt to carefully wade to the fly or reach and dislodge it, if you are unable to reach the fly, then point the rod straight down the line at the obstruction and gently pull on the line using your free hand.

  • It is better to lose a fly or tippet than cause damage to your fly rod.


Always rest the rod at an angled position against an object (tree limb or branch, etc.) which supports it from as near to the center of the rods axis. This will guard breakages and sets.

  • In the event that your line becomes twisted around the tip section or your leader knot becomes jammed in the tip ring stop and clear the problem before pulling on the line or leader.

  • Always use the ‘keeper’ ring to store flies and not the cork handle.

  • Should you need to set your rod down for any lengthy period please allow it to rest in an angled position against an object (tree limb or branch, etc.) which supports it from as near to the center of the rods axis as possible and never store the rod under tension.

  • Disassemble the rod after use and never leave the rod assembled overnight. When disassembling the rod always use a straight, in-line pressure and remember to never twist the bamboo when the ferrules are engaged.

  • When disengaging the ferrules in most cases you will hear a “pop” sound. This is perfectly natural and is merely air escaping from the seal that was created when they were engaged.


You will hear a “pop” sound. This is perfectly natural and is merely air escaping from the seal that was created when they were engaged.

Storage

  • After fishing wipe down the fly rod, cork grip and ferrules with a soft cloth and remove any moisture, never put your rod away when it is wet. The ferrule plugs should be inserted before the rod is placed back in its rod bag and tube and stored in a cool dry place.

  • When putting your rod back in its tube we recommend making a circle with your thumb and index finger at the top of the tube and pass

  • the rod and bag through them, this will prevent the guides snagging and being damaged on the rim of the rod tube.

In the event the rod was exposed to prolonged moisture, simply take the rod out of its case and allow it to dry in a warm, safe place overnight or for 24 hrs before following the steps above. If possible leave the cap off the rod tube for a few days after fishing as the cork handle may take longer to dry out.


After fishing wipe down the rod, cork grip and ferrules with a soft cloth to remove any moisture.

REPAIRS & MAINTENANCE

CORK HANDLES

To clean the handle we recommend dishwashing soap and warm water, once the dirt buildup has been removed wipe the surface with a damp cloth. Be sure to remove all remnants of the soap otherwise this may cause the handle to dry out and crack. For stubborn dirt and buildup we recommend using fine sandpaper to do the job, but is a job best done by our specialists to avoid damaging the cork.

AGATE GUIDES

Occasionally run a piece of nylon stocking through the guides on your rod to see if there are any burrs that may wear on your line. If the nylon snags it is advisable to send the rod to your nearest dealer for repairs.

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