My first rod was made of wood..... not split cane you understand, just some sort of wood. It was a Christmas present from auntie Nova who had no idea what she was unleashing onto the fish of this world. She had acquired the 'junior fishing set' through her catalogue of gifts available in return for cigarette coupons, the reward scheme for diligent smokers. It was a very different time back then.
In three pieces with a 2" bakelite centre pin that regularly fell apart, the middle section broke - frequently - at the lower ferrule especially when I waggled the rod to demonstrate its action, or lack of it.
When this rod finally became so much kindling my non-angling parents bought me a 5' trigger grip, solid glass spinning rod and an Intrepid Truspin which I used for float fishing in 7 or 8' of water. It was a trying time but I did manage a huge roach of nearly two pounds on long trotted silkweed with it. However, its shortcomings were apparent and I progressed to a two piece 7' glass rod for a short while. It all ended quite literally in tears when, fishing from a weir, I got snagged, pointed the rod at the lead and pulled only to se the top section disappear into the depths. Shortly after the line broke and I was effectively grounded from fishing until I could get a replacement as a birthday present.
I eventually progressed to a 10' split cane rod which was classed as an 'all rounder'. Most rods were 'all rounders' back then, even the grown ups only had one rod and maybe a solid glass boat rod for pikeing.
Me aged 11 or 12 using a split cane rod. In the background is my lifelong angling friend Paddy
So, I have been aware of cane and had moved on into the world of hollow glass and carbon. I saw no reason to go back.
However, I've used a couple of cane rods in recent years and even caught a barbel on one, funny, that fish meant a lot to me even though it was a mere 3 or 4 pounds. In my last post I told you about Neil's cane rod and whilst I was waiting for it to be made I was looking forward to having a go with it but it still was only a novelty thing. Then, one morning I woke up and thought to myself "I want a cane rod". It was as simple as that, I had a sudden and overpowering need to use some bamboo. Within a week I had one.
I'm normally something of a steady Eddy but when struck with an impulse I am direct and fast. I had my rod and immediately wanted more. What is it about split cane? Why are they so appealing on the eye and seductive in the hand?
So here I am, the new season is a couple of days away and I have no particular plans to catch the biggest or the best barbel or chub this year, I intend to just enjoy each fish I catch and I know that anything caught on cane will enhance the experience. Sure, I will get side tracked and the old urges will take over from time to time but cane has become a part of my angling artillery once more and I think that this time, it is here to stay.