Thursday, December 6, 2012

Erin Block: The View From Coal Creek:Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons, and Bamboo

The View From Coal Creek
You might know Erin Block if you've read her blog Mysteries Internal Over the last year I've gotten to know her through ciber space encounters on Facebook, browsing Mid Current post and reading her blog. Erin's writing is eloquent and personnel, she writes from the heart and soul,  someday I hope our paths cross on some rippling river in the mountains.

Erin just published her first book,  The View from Coal Creek: Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons, and Bamboo. 

Erin's inspiration for the book came from wanting to find out for herself why people fish bamboo, and why when they do, it verges on a religious experience. "And also, to discover why, in a society that measures worth from profit and efficiency, do people still build bamboo rods. Bamboo rod makers appeared to take the long way around -- putting more miles on the odometer, so to speak...But as I came to find out, they also happen to have very rich eyes, and very full hearts. And as George Black writes.."Once they've put down roots, they tend to become trees."

Erin fishing a bamboo rod.
photo by Jay Zimmerman
Erin, have you fished a bamboo rod and how does it compare to graphite. 

I have fished a bamboo rod – actually, much of the book centers around me making my own all throughout last winter. So I spent the summer fishing it exhaustively. Small streams and high lakes….I love it. And not just because I made it from the culm up myself. There is certainly a slower action to it, but the major thing I learned through it all is that the stereotypical “willowy” bamboo rods are poorly made ones. Either, because of the quality of the cane itself, the taper, or the accuracy of the planing and craftsmanship. And for certain situations bamboo is a bit impractical – 10 wt saltwater rods or such. 
However, on small streams, I think the precision and responsiveness of a well made bamboo rod can’t be beat. I wasn't expecting such a stark contrast from graphite – I starting fishing on a Scott G2, which is a medium action and very responsive. However, I’d take my bamboo over it for small stream fishing, anytime. I’ve fished it for bass, too. It’s a hoot. I just like the feel of it…it makes you slow down and think about what you’re doing. Which apparently, I need!

Do you have a favorite bamboo rod designer. 
I made my rod with Frank Drummond of Brush Creek Cane in Estes Park, CO. He’s a master. Absolutely amazing. Very handsome rods and his work can’t be beat on quality.
Not to mention his ethic on the process, on the craft, on fishing, on the art of it all. I learned so much.

purchase the book here.