Rambling Review: Fall River Bamboo Fly Rod “South Fork”

Rambling Review: Fall River Bamboo Fly Rod “South Fork”

Fall River South Fork Fly Rod
Fall River South Fork Fly Rod

Why:

The opportunity to fish the Fall River South Fork Rod, along with the Montana Fly Company reel and Rio line, came through the Outdoor Blogger Network. I am the first of 18 “hosts” for this rod and reel and over the next several months, the South Fork rod will travel across the U.S. and be fished, analyzed, and loved by some great fly fishing bloggers. At the end of it’s journey, one of the lucky hosts will be randomly chosen to own this pretty blonde fly rod. My fingers will remain crossed for the next couple of months hoping that it’s me.

I am a teacher and an average guy. I like equipment that can stand up to abuse in the field but does not break the bank. These basic facts have kept me from purchasing a bamboo rod even though I have cast and drooled over several. This opportunity to fish and play around with a beautifully handcrafted fly rod is a true blessing.

Fall River South Fork Fly Rod
Fall River South Fork Fly Rod

First impressions:

The Specifics - The Fall River “South Fork” Bamboo Fly Rod is an 8′ 5wt rod with a described moderate/fast action.

The Case –  When I first opened up the postal package and pulled the rod tube out, I was blown away. This is not your run of the mill rod tube, nor is it a standard metal tube that comes with most bamboo rods.  This hexigonal oak case is a work of art and a beautiful way to transport this fly rod.

The Color –  Blonde bamboo rods are beautiful. They show off the quality of the bamboo and the workmanship of the craftsman. I liked the dark green wraps against the blonde bamboo too. The color combo really made the rod pop.

Two tips - Having very little experience with bamboo, I knew that some rods came with two tips, but I did not fully understand why. I asked the rodmaker and he explained that it was more or less an American tradition to sell a rod with two tips as a “just in case.” Since many early fly fishermen relied on their rod to catch a meal and sustain life, any rod tip damage could mean serious trouble. Having the spare tip allowed for the owner to get the other repaired while still being able to fish.

Fall River South Fork Fly Rod
Rod Wraps

Field Use:

Typically, when reviewing gear on Arizona Wanderings, I spend copious amounts of time in the field putting gear through the paces. For fly rods I generally like to spend multiple trips putting the rod through all kinds of different scenarios and seeing how it puts up with standard abuse that comes with its owner. With only three days with this beautiful fly rod, here is what I found.

Fall River Fly Rod
Fall River Fly Rod

I fished this rod on two different creeks. Both creeks present different challenges. One is very brushy requiring short acurate casts and a good amount of finesse. The other is a bit more open, requiring longer more delicate casts. I also spent some time on a local pond messing around finding a nice casting stroke and laying out some serious line. The Fall River South Fork Rod performed flawlessly.

Jason Zicha, the rod maker, had written to me and said that the casting stroke of the South Fork Rod was a bit on the faster side of bamboo. Still, I had to remind myself to slow down and let the rod load. Having fished mostly graphite, it is difficult to compare the two, but the benefits of that soft presentation are hard to miss. By the time I had the rod figured out, I realized that I was actually fishing slower and taking my time. There was no “hurry up and fish” moments. Instead, I was enjoying the actual casting and finesse of the rod as much as I was pulling fish out of the creek.

Fall River Fly Rod
Fall River Fly Rod

A bit more quality time on the water with this fly rod would have yielded more information and insight to the different dynamics of its character, but by my estimation, the South Fork fly rod made by Jason Zicha is truly a work of art. The couple of bamboo rod makers that had a look and cast it a bit were more than impressed and had nothing but compliments for this flawless piece of wood.

Pros:

Beautiful custom craftsmanship

Delicate presentation

High Quality material and components

Handcrafted rod tube

Price – for a bamboo rod with two tips, this is a reasonable price

Cons:

Price – on a teacher’s salary, my wife just looks at me and laughs.

Weight – bamboo rods are heavier than graphite, comes with the territory

Prognosis:  I thoroughly enjoyed fishing the South Fork bamboo rod and would highly recommend anyone interested in looking for a bamboo rod to check out the beautiful craftsmanship of Jason Zicha at Fall River Fly Rods.

 

J Zicha
Master craftsman Jason Zicha

Disclaimer:

The reviews at Arizona Wanderings are my honest opinion. The Fall River South Fork Fly Rod was provided by Fall River in conjunction with the Outdoor Blogger Network for the purpose of this review. Arizona Wanderings is not sponsored by or associated with any of the stated companies and is accepting no compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

 

22 Responses to “Rambling Review: Fall River Bamboo Fly Rod “South Fork””

  1. Rebecca

    Oh I’m jealous.

    There. I admitted it.

    Fantastic write up and it’s good to see a beautiful fish caught with a beautiful rod. Now, cross your fingers and maybe that rod will return back to you ~

    Reply
  2. Ken G

    Tick, tock, tick, tock….that’s the sound that will drive me crazy the next few months as I await the arrival of this rod.

    I think the cons of most of us will echo your first one, at least we’ll keep our respective spouses laughing.

    Great product shots too, you’ve set the bar rather high for the rest of us.

    Reply
  3. Bud

    Jason’s rods are real works of art. I wish I could afford one.

    Reply
  4. azwanderings

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. It’s not every day I get to fish bamboo, so it was definitely a treat. Looking forward to getting my hands on another soon.

    Ben

    Reply
  5. Royal Wulff aka Mike

    I have cast bamboo but once before, sadly never in the field. I believe you said it best in that in the process of slowing down you become more in tune with the act of casting, more in tune with the rod. Far and fine my friend!

    Reply
  6. Brian L. Schiele

    Excellent write up Ben! You have set the bar high for the rest of us.
    I am grateful that I several weeks to work through what I want to say and do when it is my turn.
    Brian

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Thanks for the kind words Brian. You’re going to love this fly rod.

      Ben

      Reply
      • Brian L. Schiele

        I know I will.. Of the 18 of us, I am fortunate enough I know Jason. He lives a few hours away from me. I haven’t fish with his rods, but I have cast them on a few occasions.
        Brian

        Reply
    • azwanderings

      It sure was fun. Always wish I could have more time on the water.

      Ben

      Reply
  7. mr blur

    I loved casting that rod. must have been tough packing it up and shipping it on. it is for me. like giving away a daughter to be wed to some schmuck, at least that’s how it feels to me…I noticed that you (perhaps intentionally) neglected to mention that the reel was a poor fit to the rod. rod became much nicer to cast once we rigged up my san miguel w/ it.

    fish bamboo.

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Right on Mike. It surely was a sweet stick and I was more than sad to package it up. My goal is to commission one of yours here soon. The neglect to discuss the reel was intentional. Since the review was more about the rod, I decided to focus the bulk of the article on Jason’s work as opposed to MFCs reel.

      Ben

      Reply

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