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Parallel Lines
  • How long will your "Going into Business" sale last?
    I'd like to make a few sales at these prices. After that I'll raise them incrementally.
  • What is the lead time from me ordering a rod to you shipping it?
    10 weeks as of June, 2024
  • Where do you get your bamboo?
    I order it from Angler's Bamboo Company in Livingston, Montana.
  • Why do rods often come with an extra tip section?
    The tip section is the thinnest part of the rod and experiences the most stress which means it is the most vulnerable to taking a set (a permanent bend). The idea of two tip sections is that you alternate them on fishing days or trips. That would mean, if you care to look at it this way, it takes twice as long for each tip to take a set. Fish enough however - we should be so lucky - and, well... It probably is cheaper to buy an extra tip than to send it back to the maker to remove the set, since sets are an expected part of normal usage and wouldn't be covered by a warranty. However, if you have a heat gun, patience and a certain daring-do, you can DIY. There are plenty of books and online resources.
  • Why, oh why, do split bamboo fly rods cost so much?
    For the time being, mine don't. Material costs figure in of course, but labor is far and away the greatest expense. If you sell a two piece rod for $900 and you subtract an estimated material cost of $150, you have $750 worth of labor. If it takes a maker 60 hours to build one, he's making $12.50/hour. It's obviously got to be a labor of love. Here are the upsides: The commute to work is about thirty seconds No boss No co-workers complaining about their job or trying to engage you in political discussions You can listen to your preferred music minus the roaring of rolling eyes No one to give you grief if you make a mistake - no one but yourself that is Multi-tasking not required It's always "bring your dog to work" day
  • Graphite versus bamboo? What think you?
    Well... Read "Splitting Cane" by Ed Engle and "Fishing Bamboo" by John Gierach. I've read them twice and both writers wax rhapsodic about split bamboo to a sizable extent, but what I glean from them is bamboo allows a level of "forgiveness" in casting. Gierach wrote: "A bamboo rod loads more naturally and reacts more organically to the whim of the caster. It's also more forgiving than graphite, so in the end it's much easier to cast well if you're not an expert". The best explanation I've read comes from the French rod maker J. de Lespinay the author of "My Fly Rod: How to Build a Bamboo Fly Rod, a Practical Guide". I will quote directly... Whilst carbon fibre is impersonal and may easily pass from one hand to another, "bamboo" when performing well, requires an adaptation time depending on the adaptability of the caster and, paradoxically, on his ability to cast well. After all that however, what a discovery! The reason is that these rods do not have an ordinary action and remind us that there is no alternative that gives equal satisfaction. On the contrary, one quickly has the feeling that one has returned to something previously known and unique. From this, arises that feeling of "memory", a term which could lead to confusion. Confused?
  • That was a bit of a cop out - you told me what three fly fishing writers think. Not that it really matters, but what do you think?
    I'll start with what I like about fly fishing in general - returning the fly within seconds to the spot I missed a fish. He's probably still there or not too far away. With spincasting you have to reel all the way in before you cast again. By the time you get your lure to near the same location, the fish might be in Saskatoon. I am not a great caster, not by a long shot, and when I re-cast I'm usually two feet to the north, south, east or west of where I meant to land the fly. My eyes and hand are seemingly being guided by a different brain. When I first started fishing bamboo, I found I could get closer to where I wanted to place the fly. A lot closer actually and I'd be hard pressed to understand why my eyes and hand decided to team up. So the other "fly fishing in general" thing is focus. If I can get the fly off the water and back on it in two seconds rather than twenty, I didn't spend eighteen seconds thinking about plumbing problems at home. The re-cast is so automatic I don't really think at all. That focus is interrupted when I do land some distance away. And then again. And again. My focus turns to cursing my hand, eyes and brain. What the three authors were talking about came real for me. I found my second cast was much closer to where I wanted it to be. More likelihood of catching the fish which increases my focus. It does take me at least half an hour to get in that groove though. Focus is what I really like about making rods. I'm only doing one thing at a time whether it's planing strips, wrapping guides, fitting ferrules...
  • As of 2024, should I expect a Grassland Fly Rod to be better than others I can purchase?
    No, but better in the world of split cane means a whole lot more than fishability. I'll discuss this later. Bear with me. However, you will get the best I can make which is pretty darn good. I have standards and any that don't meet those will be gifts to family and friends. They love me, or at least like me, and won't mind a rod that's not "arm candy", if you will.
  • You mention standards. What are they?
    I don't believe mine are any better than those of other makers. The obvious ones, really too obvious to mention, are: The reel seat and guides line up Staggered nodes The ferrules aren't loose, but not so tight you'll struggle helplessly to pull the sections apart. The reel seat keeps the reel on the rod You know what makes a car decent transportation - think of it that way. The ones that matter to me or to anyone who'll plunk down a grand: The taper matches the one the buyer requests. If he wants a Payne 214 Parabolic taper he should be able to mike it out and nod his head. "Tight glue lines" is the phrase that's overused but completely accurate. As you know, a cane rod fundamentally consists of six tapered equilateral triangles glued together to form a hexagonal cross-section. The seam where the flat of one strip meets the flat of the next strip at 60 degrees should not be visible other than the angle change. Speaking of flats, a flat should be flat, not rounded. The reel seat filler - a phrase that used to confuse me - is the wooden part what the reel foot sits on. The reel is held in place with either a band, uplocking or downlocking hardware There are photos all over the web. I like a nice shiny hardwood filler, burled maple or otherwise. Guide wraps that flow seamlessly - that word again - with no thread gaps. All the wraps should start the same distance from the guide foot and end at the same distance on the guide foot. I find this requires more patience than anything else. The same for wraps on ferrules and tip tops. And the wraps should be the color, or close to it, that the customer wants. I make sure to tell her that epoxy and varnish affect color. Probably a few before and after photos would help. There are color preservers that are supposed to help, but from what I've seen it only makes the guides less transparent.
  • Earlier you wrote spar varnish is your finish of choice. Have you tried other finishes?
    Yes, please see the "Products, Services and Such" page. I go into painful detail under Rod Finish. I haven't tried any other way. After I spent time and money building a dip tube with its dust-free "box" I figure I'll stick with that. An interesting method that I'll probably never try is rubbing the sections with Gorilla Glue - 28 times is what I've read some makers recommend. It's supposed to look good and keep any water from penetrating the cane.
  • And the other stuff, you know, the other stuff that makes a rod puff up with pride. Will you fill me in?
    Signature thread wraps are added touches that serve no purpose. Many makers have their own style so that you can tell from a distance who made it. Most customers like that. But if you want to add little extra flair, ask first. If your customer went to LSU she might want purple and gold wraps. If she went to Florida, don't sell her one. Opaque or translucent wraps - your choice. I'm indifferent.
  • When I get a fly stuck in a tree while fishing bamboo, will I snap the rod if I yank on it like a madman?
    You probably won't snap it, but you might well put a set (a bend) in it that will take time and effort to repair. When you realize you've done that, you'll try to snap it over your knee, but you'll find out it's hard to break so you'll throw it in the river. They actually break more easily than that, but I like the drama. The proper method, whether you're fishing with bamboo, graphite, spinning rod, is to point the rod at the escaped fly/lure and yank on the line. The fly rarely comes back with the line because it's not the fly that's stuck, it's the leader/tippet wrapped around a twig. As you probably know, doors - usually car doors - kill more rods than anything you might encounter on a river. That being said, in the last 25 years I've managed to break two graphite rods during a slip and fall. Snapped like spaghetti. Uncooked spaghetti. Of course.
  • Chinese bamboo rods - Would you like to say something unpleasant about them?
    I've never fished with one nor, to my knowledge, even seen one, but that doesn't mean I'll be negative about them. The rods are probably perfectly fine, lovely and a delight to cast. After all, China has been producing beautiful art and crafts for millennia. But the way I see it Mary, if you want to buy something from the PRC, go to WalMart.
  • On your "Products, Services and Such" page you said you'd send a checklist. Why not post it here? Or there?
    It's there - "Rod/Blank Preferences Checklist" under "Products, Services and Such" On the message page, copy/modify/paste the list. There's always some back and forth so the more specific you are, the less back and forth.
  • WARNING, ADVERTENCIA, ACHTUNG, AVERTISSEMENT - The FOLLOWING FAQs Were Written for My Own Amusement. Or to make it a question, Were the FOLLOWING FAQs Written For Your Own Amusement?
    Yes, and I've enjoyed writing them more than I should have.
  • My father says the remaining FAQs are jejune and denigratory. My father says FAQs should be elucidative. If my father knows all these arcane words, why does he hang around 7-11 all day? It isn't even the nice 7-11.
    Not the nice 7-11? You tell your father the next I buy him a burrito at the "not nice" 7-11, he can microwave it himself.
  • Are FAQs actually frequently asked?
    This one is.
  • You almost exclusively use the Raleway Semi Bold font. Why? I truly don't care, but I wanted you to use a question from me.
    I started to use different fonts, but it gave the impression, at least to me, that this website was being assembled by ten different people who don't know each other. That actually is the case. In fact this question is being answered by Sal Paradise whoever he is. I, rather we, think Raleway looks sharp and crisp as well as consistent and of one mind. And yes, I'm fully aware it's been said that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
  • Ever since I was old enough to look at dogs, I've wanted to live in a village, a township or a hamlet. I'm 37 now and suppose it's time to get with it. There is a bit of a problem - I don't know one from another, whether there's one nearby, if I have to apply ahead to get a good spot. Also, I'd have to turn off Animal Planet, peel myself from this davenport and google those things. Could you save me the trouble?
    I happen to be lying on my divan at the moment, halfway through a "Have Gun Will Travel" marathon, so I'm swallowed by inertia as well. However, as unlikely as it seems, you could be a potential customer so I might put some effort into it. ((( Okay, found something... It appears you're going to have to live in a village. I saw no references to township idiots or hamlet idiots.
  • I've noticed that you use varying shades of drab as your preferred background color. Is that because you're an old man?
    Yes and no. Before I was an old man I was a young geezer waiting in the wings. I associate drabness with anonymity a condition for which I've long striven. It requires admirable talent to blend into the background. I hope to achieve that, but having a top rated website may foil my goal.
  • My husband says I can either buy a fine, fine, superfine split bamboo fly rod from Grassland Fly Rods of Denton, Texas or clothe and feed our children. Any thoughts?
    There's no reason you can't do both. Denton has a Taco Bell conveniently within walking distance of a thrift clothing store. Perhaps your pleasant little burg is zoned in such a manner that makes this possible. A family of five can eat at TB for about $9 if you order from the Cravings Value Menu. A little secret I learned while visiting a former associate at a federal facility in Leavenworth, Kansas is to order one small drink and then get about thirty refills. The downside to this is you have to eat in Taco Bell. The upside is you're not eating in Taco Casa. Thrift stores always have a donor drop-off. Rather than going into the store, gather the little ones, and big ones, into a tight flock and hover about this area. Remember the "big eye" paintings? Any donor worth his Lexus will dump his stuff on you. Plus, he won't have to wait for the unloader guy and he can hit the stream with his fine, fine, superfine Grassland Fly Rod.
  • Is there still smoke under the lights at Alamo Dragway on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday?
    No. I think you're in the wrong FAQ.
  • You never seem to have any rods in inventory. Are you actually selling some? Do you even make any? Well?
    The gall. I pride myself on being a person who can do more in a day than most people can do in an hour.
  • How do you spell "filigree"?
    "Filligrie" or something like that.
  • "You despise me, don't you?" That was my impression of Peter Lorre in "Casablanca" when he was talking to Rick, Humphrey Bogart's character. Was it any good?
    Right on the mark - I've never heard one better. Perhaps you'd like to buy a fly rod - I've been told people go to Casablanca for the waters.
  • My cousin-in-law ties size 2 flies that imitate Hot Pockets. I fished some and all I caught were college students. Does Colorado law require that I release them?
    I don't believe so - the fishing regs don't mention a bag or size limit. I guess no news is good news.
  • The judge says I have to stop skinning cats - by the way dummy, there's only ONE way to do it - and he thinks fly fishing might calm me down. Is it true people will pay me if I show them where to fish? I know some weedy ponds near the animal shelter. And no jokes about catfish. I've heard them all and anyway, snotwad, you probably think you're too high and mighty to talk to me. Well, you can just go to hell!
    Well, I'll be darned if you don't remind me of my yoga instructor except she used to beat dead horses.
  • Did Samuel Johnson actually say that fly fishing is the last refuge of a scoundrel?
    He certainly did, Red Ryder! Johnson was a Briton and and the gentry wouldn't let him fish on their chalk streams. Rather than feasting on "wilde caughted trouewttes", he had to settle for meals of sour grapes that Boswell gathered for him. As for those of us at Grassland Fly Rods, we adore the gentry especially those wonderful ladies and gentlemen who have rivers flowing through their ranches in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. To my gentrified potential friends: I'd be more than happy to demonstrate the joy and beauty of a Grassland Fly Rod at your convenience. Preferably on a cloudy day, around 70°, little to no breeze. Also, sometimes I need a day or two of fishing alone to assure that this is the perfect rod for you. A fine Napoleon Brandy (1.75 liters) often improves my discernment. I won't be disappointed or rather, you won't be disappointed. Thank you! Thank you so much!
  • I have a serious question about fly fishing and would appreciate it if you treat it with some respect. Last week I was getting seriously skunked and thinking about calling it a day. I saw a grasshopper on a willow, grabbed him and tossed him into the stream. Pop! Well, I found another one, plunged a hook through his heart and caught a nice brown. Then another. And another. Am I still a fly fisher or just a six year old with a cane pole?
    Consider the fly - a bent piece of steel tied up with bits of dead birds and mammals. An elk doesn't donate a hunk of hide just so you can fish an Elk Hair Caddis. A rabbit doesn't rip off his face - euphemistically called a hare's mask - to allow you the privilege of tying and fishing a Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph. The rooster's cape? As far as I know insect parts have not been scavenged for inclusion in beginner fly tying kits, but I say it's about time. Just to be on the safe-side, and to keep the self-righteous off your back, pull the hopper's life support plug and tie him to your hook. Voila! Dead animal parts tied to bent steel. As your endearing schoolmarm might have said, aren't we all six year olds with cane poles? I mean when we're not skinning cats.
  • I've been told that the vast majority of rock 'n' roll stars don't fly fish. Is that why they get all the girls?
    Hmmm... Give up fly fishing for six months and let me know how that works out for you.
  • While eating Wyoming-shaped waffles at Red Roof Inn's free breakfast I overheard a Canadian tell a regular person he was returning to Winnipeg. Is that near Saskatoon? Can I get there in miles or do I have to go in kilometers?
    If you travel in leagues you'll get there faster.
  • Did you know the hotel staff almost never checks to see if you're a paying guest at Red Roof Inn's free breakfast?
    If you manage to find your way to Winnipeg, and I pray you do, the staff, which is composed primarily of Canadians, does check for room key cards and the waffles are Manitoba-shaped.
  • Years back Sal lent me a thick book and said it was about fly fishing. He winked, so now I know he's the liar I thought he was. Twenty pages in I realized it was about rich Russians - my favorite subject (wink). I gave it to a homeless guy with a winking dog and then fled. Was I too hasty? Since you'll know I'm a rube if I give the title, I'll tell you it opens, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Do you like the word "hasty"?
    Actually I do, but let us digress. I think you mistook Sal's disconcerting eye twitch for a wink, perhaps the dog's as well. In a broad sense it is about fly fishing, well about Catch & Release® anyway. The happy families eat the fish they catch; the unhappy families discuss the ethics of fly fishing while they eat veal.
  • My mother told me if you give a Floridian a fish you can feed him for a day, but if you give him a Grassland Fly Rod he'll just snap off the tip as he stumbles out his screen door. Is she right or just daft?
    She's not completely wrong, but I suspect she meant "fifth" rather than "fish".
  • What, if anything, is it all about Mr. Grassland Fly Rods?
    Are you alluding to life or selling fly rods? I've got a pretty good grip on the meaning of life. Selling fly rods? - not so much.
  • Regarding the previous question, I don't really think it's my responsibility to rescue your rod reputation from ruins, but... Would you like to change your answer?
    I appreciate your casual concern, so yes, I would like to modify my last response. I don't actually have a good grip on the meaning of life.
  • Why did St. Peter deny Uncle Jimbo passage through the pearly gates? How would I know this?
    In 1973 a section of the Moravian Catechism was expunged which nobody but me seems to recall. It stated that St. Peter, having been a successful angler and one smart cookie, would ask each supplicant ten questions based on certain personality factors which were left unclear. The third question was "What did you do with that split bamboo fly rod your father gave you? Did you fish with it?" Maybe that's two questions. Of course Peter knew the answer. When Jimbo hemmed and hawed, he was shown a photograph of a dust coated Garrison 209 mounted shakily above an Insignia flat screen TV in his man cave. Interestingly, the photo reeked of Kentucky Tavern Bourbon. Peter opened the UnderUber app and Jimbo was whisked far away in a '96 Dodge Neon. This is strictly supposition on my part, but I'm guessing you inherited that rod from Uncle Jimbo and it's stuffed in a PVC pipe stashed in your attic. St. Peter knows and St. Peter talks. To you. Get it out and go fishing, but only after it's been fully restored to it's former glory by Grassland Fly Rods of Denton, Texas. Or just give it to me.
  • I was fishing near Ithaca when an old woman came up and said, "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards for the vineyards are in bloom." Do you think that was a job offer? I sure could use a gig - I'm down to my last Woolly Bugger.
    Leave us not get carried away just yet - we'll save that for later. Before you agree to this rather vague and dubious proposition, have you thought about what you'll need? It seems one's typical reynard (we did not make that word up) weighs around twelve pounds, so we believe you'll do well with an 8'6" 7wt. Rather than using a Woolly Bugger, we'd suggest you tie size 2 grape bunch imitations, possibly a Riesling varietal. Since we adhere to the principle of Catch & Release®, we suggest they be returned to the wild which in this case would be Rudy Giuliani's Manhattan apartment.
  • I've finally inveigled an invitation to a recherché dinner party. However, I feel exceedingly timorous because I want to use "peripatetic" during a tête-à-tête. That being said, I'm pusillanimous that I'll use it incorrectly. If that should manifest itself, will everybody know I'm an unctuous, pretentious dimwit?
    Only the people at the party. By the way, you owe me a burrito.
  • In third grade we were told by the time we got to high school the US would be on the metric system. Did that happen and I just slept through it?
    Yes, it did - at least for things that matter. What used to be a fifth of gin is now labeled 750 ml. Were you expecting something more? Get real or go back to sleep.
  • Because fathers do this, I asked my five year-old daughter what she wants to be when she grows up. Without hesitation she squealed, "A madcap ehwess (heiress)!" My countenance must have reflected my shock. She ran off crying, "I woathe you!" I feel such shame. A produce manager at Winco might be able to bring home overripe bananas, but supporting the lifestyle an heiress requires, well... I feel my only hope is to become the sales manager for Grassland Fly Rods. Is there an online application?
    There is not, but there is hope. Our research team conducted a study with a number of madcap heiresses. They were each given a 9 foot, 6 weight Grassland Fly Rod and guided on a private stretch of the Madison River. After a very successful week of fishing, we rented them a chauffeured Bentley, a penthouse suite in Las Vegas and also gave them a tow sack full of cocaine. After a week we asked which they preferred and they laughed in our collective face. Sorry, there is no hope.
  • Hi, this is the late Tony Joe White. Have you ever sold a Grassland Fly Rod to a wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin' woman? I think she's trying to kill me.
    Tony, sweetheart, you know my customer list is confidential, but yeah I did. If I thought she might come looking, I'd tell you to keep your wits about you, but I guess it's a little too late for that now, isn't it?
  • A forest of Tonkin bamboo took over a farmer's melon field. "Oh, that's bad!" said his neighbor. "Maybe," said the farmer. Soon, the bamboo towered. "Great bamboo! Sell it as scaffolding. You'll be rich!' "Maybe," said the farmer. Two months later, the scaffolding collapsed while building the temple. "Yikes!" cried the neighbor. "The TV lawyers are going to wreck you!" "Maybe," said the farmer, "But I got a call from a guy in Texas. He wants to buy all the scaffolding." Was that you?
    "Maybe," said the rod maker.
  • Yesterday evening I was standing in my yard, minding my own business, just poking at a dandelion with a stick, when my neighbor strolled over and told me if shrews were the size of bobcats, none of us would be safe. As if I don't have enough to worry about, now this. Why does she keep torturing me? What should I do?
    Well, just in case the shrew issue should come to pass, Grassland Fly Rods is developing a taper for a 6'6", 9 weight that might interest you. As a professional I can neither advise nor even suggest that you strap a serrated polished steel dagger to the rod tip, but... Let it not be said that you went down without a fight.
  • It's hard not to notice that you're a big fan of the trite cliché or treacly aphorism, so I'm confident that on more than one occasion you've said, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Well, I've never had a good intention in my life. Would you say I'm on the right path?
    I've never paved a road in my life with good intentions or otherwise, but I've driven on a few thousand. Despite my oblivious nature, I've noticed the "good intentioned" roads are much rougher - teeth rattling so - than the other kind.
  • Who was it that said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God?
    The same man who never said anything about homosexuality or abortion.
  • I'd love to buy one of your primo rods, but a friend told me if tie my own flies I can save enough now so I can buy later. Okay. I plopped down about $2000 on fly tying material - rooster capes, chenille, marabou (whatever that is), little gadgety tools, beads, animal fur and tails (including 20 chinchilla tails, "remnants" they're called), hooks for dry flies, nymphs, streamers, terrestrials... It looks like I'll break even around July 2037. Can I put in an order now? Will you be alive then?
    Funny how that works out. Sure, put in an order. The psychic hotline says I have until 2038. Soon after I die the rod should appreciate a good 7%, so you'll have that going for you. Good luck with the flies and get a pair of 2x reading glasses - you'll need them in a few weeks.
  • What was Santana's best album? Please don't tell me why you think so - you can really go on way too long.
    Caravanserai However, Love Devotion Surrender, the album he made with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, could well...
  • Stop, just stop, okay? Just stop.
    I only ... sorry, okay, your loss.
  • I bought a rod and a cap with your logo - apparently no longer available - and flew to Saskatoon to wet a line. The Airport Westin has a nice bar and a nicer server. After I downed a Sazerac or four she started to get sweet on me even playfully pulling my cap off and tossing it out the door. But then she grabbed another server and cried, "Tell Mr. Grassland Fly Rods I DON'T LIKE HIM!" She ran out - I guess her shift was over. When were you in Saskatoon and what did you do to make her so mad?
    Would it surprise you to learn there's a reason I no longer sell caps?
  • Do you ever find yourself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses or bringing up the rear of every funeral you meet? May I call you...
    No, you may NOT call me Ishmael. Although that might be a good name for a rod. Fishmael? We'll keep in touch.
  • I've been concerned about moles, not just moles but mostly moles. Sal told me if I put roadkill critters in my yard, it will keep the moles at bay. I gathered up nine before dark and tossed them in the front yard where the dirt's the squishiest - the mole dirt. This morning the yard was full of crows and school kids. I don't like any of them, so I ran out front waving my arms and screaming. They scattered, but grownups started coming out looking at me. I went inside and am writing this.
    Dad, this is an FAQ not a place for your journal entries. Get back to the rod shop and finish wrapping those guides.
  • With all the troubles in the world, don't you think making fly rods is a little bit beyond frivolous?
    Guilty - you got me. I believe I could make the world a better place if I quit making rods and spent my time posting questions to an FAQ that no one is ever going to read.
  • During Bengals halftimes I've been studying The Buddha's Four Noble Truths: 1. Life is suffering. 2. The cause of suffering is craving. 3. The end of suffering comes with the cessation of craving. 4. The Eightfold Path leads away from suffering and craving. It's so confusing - does craving a split cane Grassland Fly Rod actually lead one to suffering or is there a catch since they're made of bamboo? Is that one of the eight things? If so, can we call it even? Oh, wait - it's kickoff.
    Speaking of cessation, it never ceases to amaze me how these FAQs inspire such arrogance and ignorance. Keep 'em coming!
  • "I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray. But when I woke up this mornin' could've sworn it was judgment day." Tell me who's that a-writin'?
    John the Revelator, he wrote the book of the seven seals. Or maybe Prince. They both had pencil thin mustaches, so it's hard to know.
  • I'm an urbane sophisticate, a little edgy, handsome, smooth, capital redolent and, of course, a discerning oenophile. However, a betweeded gentleman at the club tells me I might lack a touch of rugged outdoorsiness. A photo gallery of me wading an Adirondack stream with a Grassland Fly Rod and a look of severe, uncompromised determination might set that right. Can you send me one? Since I won't be using it, I'll return it later. I don't do fish.
    Perhaps your outdoorsy image could be enhanced if you lived under a bridge for a while. There's one near my house where you'd have plenty of company. Don't forget your corkscrew!
  • Huh?
    Well, I guess that is a question and, if the truth be known, one I frequently ask.
  • Okay, I'm about to get all Barbara Streisandy on you, scribbling down the most famous line she's sung. I know you know it since you're an old person. Here goes: "People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world!" They don't sound lucky to me, they sound desperate. Hoping I've put you on the defensive, sir, do you need people?
    Only if they're customers.
  • Referring to the previous question, your response was both cynical and pathetic, would you agree?
    "Mendacious" would be the more accurate adjective.
  • Since the Denton newspaper has gone the way of the Studebaker Hawk, is there anything you miss more than getting up at first light, brewing a pot of coffee, picking up the paper in the front yard, pouring a cup with some cream, sitting in your comfy chair and reading the sports page?
    No, not even my youth.
  • I stepped on and subsequently read one of your brochures while riding Saskatoon transit. It says you informed The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum that you would not accept an invitation of induction into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. I believe I speak for the entire split cane fly fishing community when I ask, why did you withdraw yourself from nomination?
    It was a very difficult decision to make. As an inductee one is expected to make personal appearances and be fêted in such places as Monte Carlo, Telluride, Prague and... well, the list is endless. I would much rather be at home making rods, arranging and re-arranging my mint condition cans of Van Camp's various bean products and distributing my flyers on Saskatoon buses.
  • The Catskill Fly Fishing Center doesn't have the slightest idea you exist, do they?
    Not until I wrote that letter. Now some bewildered volunteer named Reginald does. His reply was polite but rather condescending.
  • In George Black's 2006 book "Casting a Spell", he writes in the preface that the modern split bamboo rod maker is essentially flicking boogers in the face of conspicuous consumption or something like that. He finished that thought with "No bamboo fly rod ever carried a bar code." Just to be contrary to ordinary, have you considered doing so?
    Sadly, I did that once and mistakenly used the same bar code assigned to the Presto Fry Baby. I spent a week driving to this and that Costco gathering up all the rods I'd stocked. At the last one I went ahead and bought a Fry Baby. I flicked a booger in its face.
  • My efforts to get Fenwick, my BAF (best acquaintance forever), to go fishing have been unsuccessful. I didn't feel I was badgering him, but after a while he said he wasn't an outdoorsman because he had a fear of his thorax getting pierced. Yesterday I saw him on Clod Creek with a Grassland Fly Rod and Rory. Is Rory now his BAF? Before Fenwick, Rory was my BAF. My world is topsy turvy. Why do I think you're to blame?
    Maybe I am. Before I sold Rory a Grassland Fly Rod he wanted a guarantee that if it were to pierce a thorax he could return the rod for double his money. What are the odds, so I said, "sure". Oh, wait - it seems I'm getting a call from Rory.
  • It's been said that almost immediately before a person dies their entire life flashes before their eyes. In any case, I'd just as soon pass on this - my life has been so boring I'm afraid I'll fall asleep before I die and miss the whole thing. Would it be okay if I use your life instead? During my rather tedious existence on this our fair planet nothing has ever come close to the thrills you must experience making split bamboo Grassland Fly Rods in Denton, Texas.
    You're not the first person to make this request and you probably won't be the last. If you have some time before the yawning reaper comes for you, I might suggest a stretch of indentured servitude in the rod shop. Your life will be so much more fulfilling and interesting, you won't need my flashing life. Then I can get back to the "Have Gun Will Travel" marathon with two aluminum foil pie plate things of parmesan garlic Jiffy Pop and a twelve-pack of Milwaukee's Best.
  • Why are there so many chinchillas in my son's bedroom?
    Perhaps it's because his bathroom is an abattoir.
  • My wife and I were watching The Price is Right when she asked me if I was aware of the tremendous number of people who were constantly laughing behind my back. I wanted to tell her it's because we were sitting in the front row at a comedy club, but we've never been to a comedy club. Should we go to one? I really like that Drew Carey.
    Don't we all, don't we all.
  • Chinchillas? What? Did I dream this or did the legendary silver screen cowboy star Hoot Gibson have a shockingly bad TV show in 1954 that was basically just a shill for chinchilla farming? Chinchilla farming?? Did the little fellas drive little tractors? How adorable to see that must be.
    No dream my friend. The old Hooter - a man more fondly remembered than any number of our presidents - was in on the chinchilla racket, uh scam, sheer horror, criminality (your turn) long before the internet made such frightful money grubbing cretinism commonplace.
  • Why do we have two ways of saying the same thing both of which are stupid: "Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks" and "Run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes"? Do you think we should drop English and adopt a language that doesn't have either one of those unfortunate idioms or am I barking up the wrong tree?
    I guess you're asking me if you're laboring under the misapprehension that I can somehow help you with your question. No, you are definitely laboring under an apprehension unless of course you actually are barking up a tree that you suspect might be a tree that's not really suitable for barking up. Try a white birch - they have the prettiest bark.
  • Remember the PSA that showed an elderly chinchilla named Martha on an Omaha street corner holding a twig in her left paw? As a disembodied voice booms "What law says it's a crime to be a chinchilla?", a splash of red paint washes over her. Lying there oozing acrylic, the voice again booms, "Being fur is different than wearing fur. Remember Martha." Then the camera pans up and we see the Navy's Blue Angels flying high in the sky. I don't remember it either, but I want to.
    Well heck, let's pretend we do. What I do remember is that a small town in West Texas was renamed to memorialize her. Wait, is that right?
  • Have you considered renaming Grassland Fly Rods? Perhaps "Legion" since you are many.
    Sure, if you define many as one. Okay, two if you include my alter-ego who thinks he can split bamboo without gashing his thumb. Hey wait! Is this a ploy to cast me into a herd of swine? I won't have it, no I will not! However, I recommend that if you were to cast into a herd of swine you might want to try a size 4 truffle pattern. Or an acorn style fly - with a little patience you might catch a blind pig.
  • I don't know much, but I do know I'm going fly fishing somewhere in the Andes. My intended guide emailed instructions: "Fly to La Paz or some such place, rent a car and when you get to a village where the chinchillas have no tails, I'll find you." I'm starting to think maybe I should never, ever leave the house, but the chinchilla thing - do they have tails? Maybe I don't want to know.
    During my many years of nomadic fly fishing with Brian Wilson - yes that Brian Wilson - I've noticed fourteen things. So as not to delay my midmorning nap I'll focus on one. In areas where fly fishing is minimal at best, almost all chinchillas have tails. Where fly fishing is more common, most chinchillas don't. Excuse me, but Brian has asked me to tie him a few of what we used to call "bunny leech" fly patterns.
  • My eight year old grandson has started using the phrase "from cage to coat". An example: Asking him if he wanted to go fly fishing he said, "Sure grandpa, but who knows what might happen from cage to coat." Another: As I was pushing him out the door so he could catch the school bus, he picked up a jagged rock. Alarmed, I asked him "Huh?". He said, "Grandpa, I'll be the one who determines what happens from cage to coat." What the hell is he talking about? Am I raising a maniac?
    Probably. Concerning the phrase, consider the chinchilla. Where was he raised? Where does he end up? What happens in between? I don't want to visit your house.
  • Please delete my earlier question about women. I wrote that I took my ex-almost fiancée to a snazzy French restaurant to propose. The catastrophe began when I said, "It looks like a nose hair or two are about to reach your lip. I have tweezers in my Econoline van - I'll get them." She stood up, went to the kitchen and didn't come out. The sous chef approached with a boning knife and told me I was not welcome there. Please, please, please delete it - it's upset my new fiancée frightfully. Please?
    Done and good luck.
  • In case you're not aware, it appears no one has had much to say about your FAQs even though you've asked several friends for their opinion. You might like to think they just haven't read them, but you know better. It's quite obvious you're sitting at your laptop making them up and thinking you're clever, but has it occurred to you the FAQs are imbecilic and your friends don't want to hurt your feelings? And what's this new chinchilla thing?
    The notion that they don't want to hurt my feelings might or might not have merit, but I do find some consolation with the thought. However, I'd prefer they think I'm witty. The chinchillas? None of your business.
  • Lenin reputedly said, “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” By “them” did he mean chinchillas? By “rope” did he mean fly line? If so, why didn’t he just come right out and say it? Do you suspect it was Bolshevik subterfuge or was he playing an online word game?
    I believe you might be onto something which is a rare feat for most of my FAQ submitters. Firstly my friend, it's hard to look at Lenin without thinking about a certain someone who is also depicted with a pointy little beard, fierce piercing eyes, horns and a pitchfork. I mean minus the horns and pitchfork. Hanging chinchillas? Probably. With fly line? Possibly, they do have tiny necks. On the other hand, capitalists have sold plenty of rope to the PRC. Now China sells it to us.
  • If you had a hammer would you hammer in the morning?
    Not until I’ve had my coffee. On the other hand, if I had a fly rod I’d fly rod in the morning.
  • Yesterday I was walking my Maltese on an elm lined boulevard when we passed a boy sitting on the curb. "Mister, I wanna pet your dog." "Sure. Sit Falcon. Be careful he could bite", I joked. He shot back, "If he bites me I'll turn his guts into garters!" Then an old man popped out and said, "Come in, your Malt-o-Meal's ready." The kid glared at me, "Okay, Grandpa." What the hell is he talking about? Is his grandfather raising a maniac?
    Probably. Your Maltese is named Falcon? Please.
  • Last Sunday I went into a fly shop looking for my cat. Two men and a sales guy were talking, but I couldn't understand anything they said. I studied Finnish on Duolingo for a couple of weeks and got pretty good at it except for the phrases and stuff, so I was wondering if Duolingo had Fly Fisher Talk. Wouldn't it be cool if I could walk right over to them and speak their language? Do you think they'd be my friends?
    Certainly. Maybe you could invite them to Helsinki and visit the world’s largest chinchillat “zoo”. That’s Finnish for chinchilla, but I guess you know that. I would suggest you don’t exit through the gift shop, but if you do keep in mind that Finns need to dress warmly.
  • As a child of the universe at the tender age of nine, I was stickily thumbing through a Rand McNally looking for any and all towns named for dogs, you know Beagle Holler or Dachshundbourg and such. Try as I might I can't remember where I saw a body of water called The Ocean of Most Souls - average depth 1.75 cm. It would seem that it would only be suitable for dry fly fishing. Would that be correct and do you know where this is?
    My reference point comes from National Lampoon's Deteriorata. "Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet" My guess is it's somewhere in Russia. Try a Putin Pillager. It's tied just like Stalin Starver without the mustache. I guarantee you'll catch maggot-ridden leeches.
  • Do you think you'll die if you eat another chicken fried steak?
    I'll die whether I eat another chicken fried steak or not.
  • I got sick of reading those modern heretical bibles, so I got out the real one, the 1611 KJV. Funny, but Job 1:7 didn’t read as I remembered: “And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From that Airbnb on the corner. Of all the ones I own, it’s my favorite.” This was shocking. How many did he own?
    Did? No, does. He owns all of them. “But Mr. Grassland Fly Rods, sir”, you whimper, “Why do almost all abnb’s show a different superduperhost if they are all owned by Satan?” Demonic possession, that is to say, managed by demons. Who but the devil himself would boot a hardworking family from housing they faithfully rented and maintained? Maybe we all would. Sam and Madge paid $900/month for a little studio in Savannah, but a certain someone saw they could get $300/night tourist money. Adieu, Sam and Madge! There’s an affordable hovel next to the Kitty Kat Klub. Who would? No, sorry, not me.
  • Danny here. It’s been rough. After my girlfriend Bea died, I had to leave Florence. Actually, the whole state of Alabama for reasons. Reasons are reason enough. Soon I found myself wallowing in the slough of despond. In a sweat fever I heard Bea whisper, “Fly fishering.” I think she meant fly fishing. I dashed to a distant fly shop, bought a bunch of stuff and hired a guide. The next day Virgil took me to the Sticks River. It was November, but the river was really warm. Do you know the place?
    Well, maybe. Are you sure it's spelled "Sticks"? Also, I think I know the guide. Was he a well-versed, super serious elderly gentleman around, say, 2000 years old?
  • An imaginary person - not me - who has no purpose in life and often fails to reset her clocks in spring or fall, or summer for that matter, reads your FAQs. I mean really reads them and thinks about them. A lot. That person thinks you're rotting in the state of Denmark because you mock Catch & Release® - you laugh all the way to the bank with your filthy lucre. Why do you want to kill our gilly friends?
    Rotting? Where do you people come from? I don't mock Catch & Release® - not at all, not at all. I'm a C&Rer from wayback, ask Sherman and Peabody. If anything I like to think I'm mocking the self-righteous which is the favorite pastime of we the self-righteous. I immediately knew you weren't the imaginary person who says they're not the imaginary person, but I know you know who is. Who is it?
  • Since 2016 my waking hours have been spent mourning the passing of Post Toasties. Could this be the end of our glorious civilization? A dismissal of what was certainly the manna with which the Lord fed the children of Israel? Orvis has repeatedly, I emphasize repeatedly, denied that fly fishing was a contributing factor in the demise of the "Toasted Lady", but to that I say, quoting Lionel Richie, "Methinks thou doth protest too much." Since the cataclysm, what do you eat for breakfast?
    Post Toasties! There are those of us, forward thinkers I believe we're called, who bought bomb-proof warehouses in Belfast and made a call to Post Cereal. Also, not too far from Belfast the fishing's pretty good. Curiously, about half the trout are green and the other half are orange. All the rainbow trout were dispatched in 1916.
  • As the foremost split cane fly rod maker in Northeast Denton, do you fancy yourself as a swooning romantic or as a prosaic, scientific, data driven, steely-eyed, cold-hearted realist bent on conquering the world of bamboo fly rods and points beyond? That is to say, should we force the Système International d'Unités on a country where most people can't make correct change?
    "Points beyond" might be a stretch. To worm out of the question, I would say both. If I may... The favorite poem of many high schoolers is "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. I was one of those lads. The poem is evocative, stark, chock full of symbolism and stuff, has a delightful rhyme scheme and is easy to memorize for extra credit. I've been known to suggest that it could be improved upon, and appeal to broader range of folk, if the last verse were altered somewhat: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And kilometers to go before I sleep, And kilometers to go before I sleep.
  • What happened to all the chinchilla related questions? My youngest was reading your FAQs and now he wants to get a few. He said a few dozen, but I'll leave it at a few. Could you please publish some kind of care and feeding info or something a little less horrific than is your custom?
    You let him read the Grassland Fly Rods FAQs? You're the kind of parent who gives the internet a bad name. The Chinchilla Show should answer most of his questions.
  • Are you a good person?
  • Enough of technology and it's soul ripping horror. I am, I'm proud to say, a future Luddite. When I tell my friends, or those ahead of me in line at HEB's self-checkout, they ask, much to my consternation, "Why wait?" Then I snap back, "Well, maybe I won't wait!" That pretty much ends the discussion. This happens a lot. But I keep waiting. What am I waiting for?
    You need to draw a line in the sand where your Ludditeness begins or ends. Do you still want to drive a car, melt Jello in a microwave, watch seal videos on Tik Tok? More importantly, are you prepared to fully embrace an existence where "plastic" fly rods don't exist? Where split Tonkin cane is the embodiment of genteel sport, dare I say, of life itself? Of course, you'll be fishing with silk fly line that you have to let dry in the sun while the green drakes are emerging, all the while listening to the happy chatter of people catching fish while you sit on a decomposing log reading the collected works of Horace Walpole. That, my friend, is what it means to be a Luddite. Sign me up.
  • Hey, have you heard this one? A chinchilla and a furrier walk into a bar... That's as far as I've gotten and probably won't finish it any time soon. I just walked into a bar and have other things to do.
    Does that mean I'm supposed to finish it? I don't know, this is hard... ... a horse and a farrier walk into the bar right behind them. The two gentlemen become fast friends and before long they're drunkenly comparing their respective crafts. At closing time both are too sloshed to stand, but the animals are ready for bed. They take their leave - the chinchilla wearing little iron shoes and the horse timidly walks out sans tail and mane. No, I don't know what to do with it. 9:00 in the morning and, holding his head, the chinchilla says, "Barkeep, give me the hair of the dog." The furrier looks wildly around the room, "Where, where?" Okay, let me try again. ...a snowy wind is howling along the boulevard. The barkeep whines, "I don't usually complain, but with that bitter weather and me scooping ice all day, my left hand is freezing." The furrier whips out a skinning knife and says, "Well bud, give me a minute and I can help you out." Too gross? ...a sign outside the bar reads, "So-called emotional support animals are not welcome. Try a bar uptown." But enter they do. The barkeep glares and yells, "Hey, can't you read? Get out!" The chinchilla retorts, "All right, all right, I'll leash him to a lamp post, but give me an Old Fashioned and make it extra old." That was predictable, I suppose. ...after they order, barkeep trips over the furrier's intentionally wayward foot and spills a double rye Manhattan on the his cashmere sweater. He apologizes, "Sir, I'm so sorry, let me wipe that up for you. And I'll you get you a triple Manhattan - on the house" "Thanks, but no bother with that, uh, rag, my fine fellow, I always carry a, uh, sponge with me." As he sops up the spillage, our man looks at it, "Hey, little buddy, I told you we'd drink for free." I know, I know, I know. ...strangely, the door was half open and there was not a soul in sight and no sign that anyone had been there all day. The furrier leans down, "Well, free booze! We can drink whatever we want, any flavour. Talk aboot a lucky day, eh?" "I suppose, but I know you'll grab your usual bottle of Canadian Club." Are they getting any better? No? ...and look for a table near the TV, but they're all taken. The furrier says, "There are some empty seats at that big one. Those three guys won't mind if we sit with them." Just as the chinchilla starts to ask, they turn around. It's an Orthodox rabbi, a Catholic priest and a Baptist minister. The minister scowls, "What the hell are you guys doing here? We're supposed to be the stars of this joke. Some clown came up with the premise and then bailed on us." The priest says, "You guys shut up - Ross is about to make a move on Rachel." Quite moved, the chinchilla weeps. Catskills humor? I wish ...and then they spin on their heels and walk back out. An hour later, Stevie Nicks and a chinchilla walk into a bar. Stevie Nicks and a chinchilla walk into a bar. Stevie Nicks and a chinchilla walk into a bar. Is there really anything else you'd rather think about? Maybe we're getting somewhere? I mean, you know, Stevie...? ...they look around and a bunch of rednecks, that is to say men's men, are pounding down Keystone Light. The furrier orders a Yuengling Black and Tan. The bar goes quiet and hard looks fly at him. He looks down at the chinchilla who's been nestled in his pocket. "Hey kiddo, rough crowd. Maybe I should get you out of sight." They settle into a dark corner with the chinchilla warmly hidden in our man's woolen slacks. After his sixth Black and Tan, he asks the barkeep, "Good sir, where does one relieve oneself?" The publican smirks and points to a drain in the floor. A bubba looks over and squawks, "Looks like our city fella needs the powder room." As the drunken herd guffaws, the furrier, too plastered to fumble with his zipper, yanks his pants down. The chinchilla slips out and slides down the drain." After a moment of stunned silence, the taverner says, "Hey, hey, you're just supposed to piss in it!" Too long? Yeah, well. ...that is completely full, not an empty table, but awfully quiet, total rapt silence, except for the sonorous voice of a young man with a red beard standing on a small stand: "...but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face. And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars." Silence that is beyond rapt except for the sound of tissues wiping tears. The furrier leans down to the chinchilla and says a little too loudly, "I didn't know there was an English pub in this neighborhood." A furrier and a chinchilla are thrown out of a bar... It's possible the English might get misty when they hear Yeats... Sorry, just joking...
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