Hand Crafted Bamboo Fly Rods
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Rick Robbins, of Lexington, Virginia, has been building bamboo fly rods since 1972. His love affair with bamboo fly rods began in the 1960s when, as a university student, he made his first ever credit purchase—an H.L. Leonard 48DF. Later as a Leonard dealer in the early 1970s Rick’s interest in bamboo rod construction was sparked by Hap Mills of Leonard. But, it was a friendship with Tom Maxwell that began in 1971 that launched Rick as a bamboo rod builder. As a mentor and friend until his death in 1998, Tom Maxwell was the dominant influence on Rick’s work. Rick also credits Marc Aroner’s friendship and help as significantly inspiring his pursuit of quality bamboo rod construction.
Each Rick Robbins fly rod is built from scratch using 1930s tooling. Rick makes all of the components on his rods with the exception of the guides. His tapers are his own and he is well known as a talented rod designer. He offers a wide variety of models and is available to design custom tapers as well.
It is easy to spot a Robbins rod from the large swelled butt, tightly pressed nodes, honey blonde tempered cane, and the signature nickel silver insert along the back of the reelseat. His rods come with nickel silver ferrules and hardware, twin tips, and are supplied in a heavy duty aluminum tube with brass ends. Oxidized ferrules and hardware and brown toned cane are available upon special request.
The models available from Rick Robbins include the following:
The Main Stem Series
These rods are powerful fast rods designed to form the backbone of a bamboo rod collection. Reminiscent of the Wes Jordon eight-footer, the Leonard 50DF and Payne’s famous model 202, selection of a rod from this series would be the place to start for an all around rod.
The Main Stem series include: 8’ 3-pc for VI; 8’ 3-pc for V; 7.5’ 2-pc for V.
The Little River Series
Spawned in the headwaters streams of Virginia and the small limestone creeks of Pennsylvania, these are powerful rods designed primarily for IV weight lines. Heat treated to a honey blonde tone, they are built to deliver the tight loop precision demanded for accurate dry fly presentation on small waters.
The Little River Series include: 7’ 3pc IV; 6.5’ 2pc IV; 7’ 2pc IV; 7.5’ 2pc IV.
The price for the 2 piece Model is $2550 and $2750. for the 3 piece models.
The Headwaters Series
With their roots grounded in the native brook trout streams of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the Headwaters Series rods are specialty pieces designed for the tight spaces and wee trout found in the upper reaches of trout environments. These short rods can weave under the canopy of hemlock and rhododendron to present a fly to native fish in small pools. They have tight loop capability and are designed to handle a variety of fly sizes.
The Headwaters Series include: 6’ 3pc IV; 6.5’ 3pc V; 6.5’ 3pc IV/V.
The Salmon Rivers Series
Tempered on the rivers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Salmon River Series of Rick Robbins Bamboo Fly Rods provide the verve, backbone and ease required to hunt the Atlantic salmon of these waters. These rods have a large swelled butt and powerful lower section. This provides not only the muscle needed for longer casts, but also the leverage to bring large fish to hand.
The Salmon Rivers Series include: 8’4” 3pc VIII; 8’ 3pc VIII; 8’ 3pc VII.
The Steeves Series
Well known reprobate and talented fly designer, Harrison R. Steeves III, commissioned Rick to design a rod for punching into western winds with larger sized terrestrials. He asked for a seven-foot, two-piece rod for VI weight lines. Rick had a lot of reservations, but put together a powerful little rod bearing a Maxwell/Marinaro ferrule, coupled with sturdy tips and a flatter butt section. It resulted in a dynamite casting machine. It is offered in VI weight (model 726) and in V weight (model 725).
The Holy Grail
This is a most remarkable rod. There is nothing else out there like it. Designed as a 8’ 3-pc for IV, Rick incorporated his well know progressive compound taper design for the lower portion and the design concept featured in the Steeves Series anchored by a Maxwell/Marinaro ferrule. The resulting rod far exceeded expectations. Not only is it a powerful eight footer for IV, it also handles III, V, and VI weight lines. It is delightfully versatile, and precise and must be cast to be believed.
Custom models are also available. Each model is not available every year. Call to check on the production schedule and an estimated time of delivery. Wait times average one to two years. Two-Piece rods are $2250 and Three-Piece rods are $2500. A deposit of $350 is required and will lock in the price and put the rod on the production schedule.
Robert R. Selb
Classic Fly Fisherman
222 S. Broad St.
Lansdale, PA 19446
Visa and Mastercard also check or Money Order, Paypal can be used on orders under $150.00.
Toll Free 1-866-930-3667 or 215-412-3667