Author: Matt West

Rambling Along the Silk Road

Written by : Posted on May 20, 2021 : No Comments
by Andrew Laird Turner

The fly on which I caught my first trout was surely a simple, wingless wet fly – a gray hackle peacock perhaps.  My father often chose simple wet flies for our early outings. They’re the perfect choice for beginners.  Fish will take them dead drifted, swung and stripped.

As a kid, I never thought about how flies were tied even though fly tying material was always strewn about my father’s fly tying room.  He tied coho and trout flies for local sporting goods shops. But his desk, with the wooden spools of thread and floss amidst the feathers and hair, was off limits.  Much later, I came to understand his tying reflected the post-WWII consensus that modern materials were better.  So the threads and flosses I had seen were nylon and rayon….

Read the whole Ramble in PDF

Bamboo Bicycle Frame!

Written by : Posted on December 9, 2017 : No Comments

Bamboo Bike Frame

Karl Nielsen (@woodbikenielsen and @kidcalifornia on Instagram) got with us on the construction of his custom bamboo bike frame. Using Peak Bamboo, carbon, various woods and a lot of patience and elbow grease, he put together a real beauty.  We think you’ll agree; check out the specifications and pictures in the PDF to get your juices flowing.  Let us know how we can assist you with materials and know-how for your next bamboo project!

Read the PDF here.

Ferrule Advice

Written by : Posted on October 25, 2017 : No Comments


It Ain’t What You Don’t Know That Gets You Into Trouble. It’s What You Know for Sure That Just Ain’t So.  – (Not) Mark Twain

I’ve had this Ferrule Advice Ramble posted for over a decade.  Yes, it has evolved and gotten far longer as other questionable issues arise, but in its basic form it has been on the internet for quite some time.  Yet even now I have folks who order the ‘right’ ferrules and then send me condemnatory emails wanting to know why I sent them the wrong ferrules when they ordered the right ones.  Now, let me emphasize, some folks quickly admit their mistake and are as kind as can be.  Other folks verge on being nasty.  Please, if you wind up in this situation, be the kind sort of person.  I often wind up spending a half hour looking up their order, measuring a set of ferrules that matches what they ordered, and asking them to measure the set in their hands.  Folks, I do make mistakes.  I am a fallible human.  I rarely make this sort of mistake.  Inevitably the fellow who received the ‘wrong’ set will write back and, yes, based on the specs he shares with me he is holding the set he ordered.  Yet about half of the folks in this situation absolutely, to the inmost recesses of their soul, are convinced that I have tricked them, that our labeling is inaccurate, that our website is misleading.  Read the anonymous quote offered above which is often (and falsely – which is finely ironic considering the words which comprise the quote) attributed to Mark Twain.  Those words get to the core of this problem.  Neophytes tend to make assumptions.  Sometimes they’re accurate, sometimes they’re not.  With ferrules, they’re wrong about half the time (because you’re either measuring the ferrule station, or you’re measuring the male slide’s Outside Diameter….not both at once, and not always the same one depending on what sort of ferrule you’re ordering).  Of course this means newbies are right half the time, which can really cause trouble when they get lucky with Truncated Ferrules, but later butcher the ordering of Restoration Step Down Ferrules (which are measured the other way).  Please, please, please take the time to read this ramble.  Sure, it’s long.  Yes, it will take some of your precious time.  But let me assure you, if you are both new to ferules and certain you know what’s going on, then you more than anyone need to slow down and read these words.  The time spent reading will save you very real time and money (think: wasted shipping days/re-stocking fees/re-shipping expenses).   I wrote all these words primarily for your benefit.  Slow down and enjoy the learning curve.

Here’s the original beginning of this Ramble:

If you have the least question about ferrules – if you’re new to ferrules or only moderately experienced – please, please read this information at least once. I promise, it will help to prevent mistakes and misunderstandings. Thanks!

Welcome to the Golden Witch Ferrule Advice Ramble! I need to let you, the rodmaker or restorationist reading this page, know that I have lost clients because of ferrules. Ferrules are finicky, challenging, yet almost invariably necessary and worthwhile little beasts.

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Making Bamboo Chopsticks

Written by : Posted on May 18, 2017 : No Comments

Making Bamboo Chopsticks

Chopsticks. Love bamboo & Asian cuisine? You can craft hexagonal bamboo chopsticks. For novice rodmakers, they represent a good way to practice setting up and using a planing form on something arguably less important (and intimidating) than a first set of rod blanks.For every maker, chopsticks represent an incredibly useful way of productively using scrap bamboo from the rodmaking process. And what a teaching tool, too, for those who may be curious about how rods are made…each chopstick’s cross-sectional end grain shows off that hexagonal “how-to.” Keep a set in your back pocket at rod shows. Use them at dinner as a conversation starter. Hexagonal chopsticks make wonderful gifts for anglers and non-anglers alike. Thanks to Jeff Evans for sharing his idea and his taper!

Read the PDF article here.


Bamboo Rodmaking for Beginners

Written by : Posted on May 5, 2017 : No Comments

In 1997 or so, Frank Armbruster of Colorado Bootstrap published a Free Report on the basics of how to build a bamboo fly rod. He advertised it in the classifieds of a popular national fishing rag for the price of one SASE and a couple of unused stamps. Our own Matt West responded to that ad, and that was the first day of the rest of his life. 

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GW Ain’t Just for Bamboo

Written by : Posted on February 9, 2017 : No Comments

The Fiberglass Manifesto

Cameron Mortenson, over at The Fiberglass Manifesto, has featured GW in a blog post.  Killer.  Thanks, Cameron!

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Take a Peak at The Planing Form to Read About Bamboo

Written by : Posted on October 27, 2016 : No Comments

The Planing Form

Peak Bamboo is in The Planing Form, Issue #161 October/September 2016.

Read the article in PDF format here.

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Peak Bamboo is in Angling International

Written by : Posted on October 5, 2016 : No Comments

Peak Bamboo is in Angling International

Peak Bamboo is in the October 2016 Angling International magazine.  Read about us on page 26 of the online issue!

The Planing Form Put a Hex on the News

Written by : Posted on August 25, 2016 : No Comments

The Planing Form

Kirk recently did a review of our Hex products in The Planing Form, Issue #160 July/August 2016.

Read the article in PDF format here.

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Making Silk Fly Lines

Written by : Posted on March 22, 2016 : No Comments

Furled silk fly linesSpecial Thanks to Daniel Klepac for taking the time to put together a tutorial on how to furl silk fly lines!

Before fishing lines were braided, they were furled. Horse hair, some sort of grass and silk were the materials of the day. The difference between the silk line I made and how most furled leaders are made is the number of legs. Most furled leaders have two legs (strands). My silk line has three, this results in a more round shape.

The bits and pieces of “how to” were gathered from the web, nothing copyrighted or proprietary. I think most folks avoid silk lines due to cost of commercial lines, upkeep, and lack of DIY. I’m going to do my best to explain the process, if anything doesn’t make sense or you have any questions…let me know!

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