Jim Downes has been building bamboo fly rods professionally for more than 15 years. The enthusiasm and dedication to the art of cane rod making is reflected in the exacting fly rods he crafts. Culms of bamboo used in the L J Downes rod shop were hand selected in China over two decades ago. His tapers are proprietary, based on but not copied from Heddon’s high-end fly rods. Attention to detail and outstanding workmanship are the hallmarks of an L J Downes bamboo fly rod. Not only are these rods pleasing to the eye, they are made to be fished!
Jim is a full time rod maker, living and working in the heart of Central Pennsylvania’s trout stream country. His rod shop is located in Coburn, PA on the banks of Penns Creek, one of the states finest limestone streams. In the time left between building cane rods and trout fishing, he also teaches bamboo rod building classes. Thus continuing the tradition of crafting fly rods made from hand tapered strips of bamboo and the long heritage of makers past and present across the country.
Jim is currently working with Walt Carpenter to produce a series of 3 rods in the Catskill Tradition. The tapers originated when Walt worked as a Master Rod Maker at the Payne Rod Company. The rod cosmetics are a collaborative effort between Walt and Jim. The rods are being built by Jim in his shop.
You are invited to stop by the rod shop and see how split cane rods are made. Talk with the maker, take rod out and cast it. You will be impressed at how well they cast. According to Jim ‘there is no difference between need and want when it comes to bamboo rods.”
Stop by and see Jim’s highly crafted bamboo rods at the Maryland Fly Fishing Show!