I have fished all my life on one form or another, but only introduced to Fly Fishing some 7 years ago:~ after joining the local fishing club. Initially self taught from videos but a couple of years...

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Blue Ridge Oysters

Posted by Shaun Ash on 21 June 2015
Blue Ridge Oysters
Blue Ridge Oysters.
Fly fishing is funny past time as it is full of technology but steeped in history and these two things can merge with a bamboo rod and modern plastic fly line, modern tapers using ancient materials.

After meeting Nick Taransky of NA Taransky bamboo and casting some of his hand crafted bamboo rods I became very interested in this old but ultimately practical material.
Then one day I was listening to the" Itinerant Angler" pod cast on the topic of Oyster bamboo rods, and how this master craftsmen ran classes in bamboo rod making where in a week ? attendees fashioned their own rods, this sounded like a pretty cool way to get a rod and have a truly unique experience.

So as we planned our American holiday my fantastic partner offered me the chance to spend a week in Blue Ridge Georgia and build a rod.  I pretended to think about it and quickly sent an email to Oyster about booking into a class and staying above the workshop at the " Cast & Blast " Inn. I secured both with the patient help of Bill's partner Shannen who is truly helpful and is organisation personified.

So after a week in Wyoming I boarded a plane to Atlanta Georgia after a nice drive I arrived at Oyster head quarters on East Main Street Blue Ridge ,it's a bit of a street of dreams, fly shop,tavern,brewery, cigar shop numerous eateries and of course the aforementioned Cast & Blast Inn.

While I did make a lot of notes on each step in the process ,here I just want to try a give a hint of how much fun this course is.While it sound cliche it's not the rod is truly a bonus. The process taught me a lot about rod building but more about teaching.
On this journey to a bamboo rod that starts with a culm which you file the nodes then flame to colour, split,sand,shape, plain.sand, glue,wrap all while Bill and Riley guide,watch and remind you how many ways there is to break the tip if you don't follow the process. They never crowd but never miss helping, all while Bill who is a master engraver works on pieces and Riley works on the beautiful range of shop rods. This gives you the comfort of a free but monitored working environment.  Despite a group of individuals from different backgrounds, all building different rods some how even-though there is beer on tape in the break room !! O yeah . We all ended up with a finished rod presented at a group dinner on the final night at Harvest on Main.

The next two days was spent fishing the new rod with local guide Hunter Barnes day one drifting the Toccoa river with class mate Frank while the fish where small we had good numbers and a great time.
Day two was spent casting large dry flies on a small cold private mountain stream that held some surprisingly large fish. As the stream was often flowing under a closed canopy of trees, tight,accurate casting with long leaders was the order of the day often casting leader only this is where bamboo excels. I was rewarded with several fish and one remarkable rainbow. The perfect end to my time in the Appalachian adventure.

Author: Shaun Ash
Tags: Tips, Tricks and General Information

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