marutake fly rod

What is a Marutake fly rod.

The bamboo fly rod was developed in the USA and Europe in the 19th century. However, the Japanese had already made the bamboo rod about 150 years before by using a different method. Western style bamboo rods are made of 6 pieces of split Tonkin bamboo, glued together in a hexagon shape. A Japanese traditional bamboo rod, called 'Wazao', is made of whole natural unsplit bamboo stalks. Wazao craftsmen made many types of traditional fishing rods, but didn't make the fly-fishing rod  because they didn't know much about fly-fishing and there wasn't much need for them at the time. During the late 90s, some Japanese fly-fishermen made bamboo rods by the Wazao method. But, their process was actually a little different from Wazao and as a result, they didn't call it Wazao, but rather the'Marutake' fly rod.  Marutake means whole or natural bamboo.

Split cane rod blank
Marutake rod blank

Characteristics of the Marutake fly rod

Bamboo stalk has a hollow structure like a fiberglass or graphite carbon rod blank and has some excellent characteristics. It is lighter and faster than split bamboo rod blanks.  The weight is the same as fiberglass, but it seems crisper and faster. Its most excellent characteristic is its sensitivity. You can feel the subtle strike of small fish. But it also has a weak point. It is little weaker than other rod materials so it isn't well suited for big game such as salmon or blue water fish. I recommend it for light and delicate freshwater fishing.

Where does the bamboo for the Marutake rod come from?

Bamboo grows in hot or moderate climate like that of Southern Asia and Japan.  Usually it is obtained free in Japan. You can get high performance fly rod blanks without paying money by cutting it yourself.

Why did I start making these rods?

When I was walking around the hills near my home, I found some beautiful  bamboo by the path. It was about 7 feet high and the stalk was straight. I asked myself,  'Can I make a fly rod from this bamboo?'  I took it and dried it out for about a year, then challenged myself to make the fly rod. The result was fantastic!   I was extremely surprised by the performance of my rod.  My 7'1" short Marutake rod has enough power to fully cast a WF5F fly line.

Are they easy to make?

If you want to make a perfectly straight, beautifully finished rod like a Wazao, it's quite difficult. There are a lot of processes that need high levels of skill. But if you don't care so much about a perfect finish,  it's not so difficult. You can skip some processes that don't relate to the casting performance.

Enjoy Marutake fly rod building

The action of the Marutake rod is determined by the combination of bamboo stalks. You can make any action and any length fly rods by choosing  bamboo stalks that are different in diameter, taper, and species. The pleasure of Marutake fly rod building is not only in the assembly of the rod parts, but also in the making of the original and custom action fly rods you want.