top of page
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?
    4 weeks as of December, 2023.
  • 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 2023, 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 mad man?
    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. Or that I won't be. The rods are probably perfectly fine, lovely and a delight to cast. China has been producing beautiful art and crafts for millennia, but the way I see it Mary, people buy split bamboo fly rods for the romance, the idea of the driven artisan guided by the ghosts of Hiram Leonard and Jim Payne. All that stuff. I'm as susceptible as the next person. Perhaps that's too laden with something elitist and unsavory - perhaps. An ersatz Shaker chair made in China is probably as comfortable, if that's the right word, as one made by Shakers, but please, give me a break. Would you really want one in your house and pretend it's something that it's not? Our Wal-Mart mentality has shaped our blinkered buying habits, but it seems to me that given the option, buy locally by which I mean North American. Going on way too long and putting myself too far out on a limb, here's my last gasp on the topic - During the European middle ages, the people were kept ignorant and tied to the land by a variety of despots and other forces, but man could they build beautiful cathedrals and parish churches which will last long after every human chromosome has turned to dust. A quality split bamboo fly rod probably won't, but you and I won't know.
  • On your "Products, Services and Such" page you said you'd send a checklist. Why not post it here? Or there?
    I will.
  • 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?
    I'm sorry, what was the question?
  • 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.
  • 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 wild caught trouewttes, as he spelled it, 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. I'd love to tell each and everyone of those delightful people that I'd appreciate their invitation to demonstrate the joy and beauty of a Grassland Fly Rod. Thank you so much! Thank you!
  • 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.
  • 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 4 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.
  • Huh?
    Well, I guess that is a question and, if the truth be known, one I frequently ask.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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 enviable mint condition collection of 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 used 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. You're 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 bedroom?
    Perhaps it's because your 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 adopt a better language that doesn't have either one of those sappy 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 "Which 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?
  • 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 [some city or other], 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, well except for some codgers with rambunctious grandchildren. Where fly fishing is more common, most chinchillas, except for the grandchildren, 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 told you I took my ex-almost fiancée to a chichi 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. Can you please fulfill my request? It's upset my latest fiancée.
    Done and good luck.
  • In case you're not aware, pretty much 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. 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 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.
bottom of page