“Just a quick note on AK’s 841. I received the rod, and with some luck noticed the next weekend was forecast to be drizzle, with temps in the 40s. If you notice blaze orange in the photos, the state park where I fish was open to deer with guns on that Saturday, so I was all orange, as a guy creeping along a stream can be a bit suggestive to eager hunters. The forecast was dead on, and the blue wing olives(size 22) came off well. I had purchased those flies from your shop a few years ago so I had the correct fly for a change. Please understand the gravity of this day: Minnesota has very few hatches. This was one of maybe five I remember since I started fly fishing in 1993. Consequently I have few dries as the fishing in southeast Minnesota is mostly nymphs. In addition, Minnesota recently opened the streams in state parks to fishing year round, which in this case gave me the perfect weather for blue wing olives during November which had always been closed. So I shrugged an orange coat on over some wool, and caught an amazing hatch all afternoon. I was casting a Mike Clark fly rod made for AK, and casting AK dry flies to a hatch that I’ve only seen a few times in decades. It really could not have been more perfect, and whether it was just my imagination or not, that rod just dropped the fly where I looked. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to own a rod fished by such a legend, and made by such a legend. There is another side to this story, because I’ve only used tandem nymphs for all these years. Last year I realized I never learned to cast a dry. I flip my wrist hard on the delivery to turn over the weighted nymphs, and that same stroke with a dry causes a bad tailing loop. AK’s rod finally got me to eliminate the snap, which slowly turned the dim bulb over my head bright enough to re-create my forward cast. To say it was an epic day on the river would be a profound understatement. There really are no words. ”
— J. Finnamore, Minnesota
“Mike and Kathy,
Well, we’re three for three! My new 4 weight arrived safe and sound. I wish I could have come down and picked it up in person, but we’re still really busy getting settled into our new home in Wyoming. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I opened the tube and took out this beautiful rod! We took it up to one of our favorite rivers here in Cody Country and I broke the rod in on a beautiful Brown! The hatch was pretty sparse while we were there, but there were a few bugs coming off and a Parachute Adams was just the ticket! It usually takes me a bit to get comfortable with a new rod, but I felt at home with this one right away. It only took a few casts to find its rhythm and flies were going where I wanted them to. I wish we would have had more time to fish as I could cast this beauty all day. What a pleasure! As with my other two SCL rods, this one is worth the wait and worth every penny! With my collection of awesome SCL rods in 3, 4, and 5 weights, I’m ready to take on whatever our new back yard has to offer. I can’t wait to get the 5 out on the Yellowstone when the Stoneflies hatch next year. There are several rivers that I don’t dare name that will be perfect for my 3 and my brand new 4wt. With all of the water out here, you both can rest assured these amazing rods won’t be sitting idle! They’ll be getting a good workout! Thanks you again for your guidance and patience while helping me pick the best rods for my fishing and for making them the beautiful pieces of work they all are! Your rods are pieces of beautiful art that are also awesome fishing tools! I’m always proud and happy when someone notices my rods and asks about them. It’s fun to explain how all of this came about for me and what wonderful people make these rods a reality! It’s hard to believe how many years we’ve known each other already! It seems like we just walked in for the first time to meet and order our first one. We not only ended up with great rods, but also some great friends! Thanks again for everything!
— Larry Sportsman, Cody, Wyoming
“Hello Mike and Kathy. After a few years of waiting I was finally able to pull the plastic cover off the handle of the 7ft 4wt Mike built for me yesterday. GrandPa's turn. We fished the Willowemoc between Roscoe and Livingston Manor yesterday afternoon. I caught two nice 17" wild browns with a Hendrickson snowshoe emerger. Mike, this rod is simply outstanding. It punches line with an amazing crispness that is just delightful to cast. I can see it easily becoming my best friend on the water. THANK YOU! One happy camper here. It is so nice to catch two nice fish on a beautiful rod like this first day out. A good omen.”
— Robert, Alaska
“The rod is wondrous. It exceeds my expectations in every way. It has that hard to define "subtle power." I fished the Big T with Roger yesterday. The flow is up but the baetis came off anyway. The rod did everything I asked of it. Side arm roll casts into the wind, reach casts, presented close and far with equal aplomb. I can tell already. It is my "go to" rod for small to medium size creeks and high alpine lakes (which makes up 90% of my fishing).
Thank you for this piece of art and for keeping the craft alive.
— Henry Miniter, Parker, Colorado
“Dear Kathy and Mike,
Hello, how are you?
I hope you are doing all very well.
I finally had the chance to try Mike´s rod, 201528 after almost a year since receiving it.
I used your recommended Cortland 444 Silk Line in a #5 WFF.
Took it to a trip to Mascardi Lake, Bariloche, Argentina.
Since it was my first time using bamboo and it was very windy in a big lake it took me a little while to get used to the action but once I did, I got some decent 40 to 50 foot casts going using foam attracters flies….
As you can see from the pictures, rod works perfectly on brooks, rainbows and brown trouts !
I managed some good presentations with good fishing sensitivity and enough backbone to fight bigger than average fish, very very happy with the rod.
Thank you again for your work and hope one day you´ll have the chance to come to Patagonia to see the results for yourselves.
— Maximiliano F. Meyer, Argentina
“Good morning Mike and Kathy, Received the rod late last night...well after dark. Everything in good shape on the shipment...not a scratch on the outside packaging.
The rod is absolutely gorgeous, surpassing my expectations. While I haven't had the chance to lawn cast it yet (will do that tomorrow when it warms up again), the craftsmanship is just superb...but you have to know that. The overall appearance is just what I was looking for...a true classic bamboo rod. The delicacy of the work is what hits me first. The engraving, color, and scale of the hardware is truly artistic, like fine jewelry. The agate stripping guide was well-selected and is itself a work of art. The wraps are flawless and even the script is understated and just right. Fantastic color and finish...each component complements the others. I don't remember the species of wood used for the spacer, but it is also just the right touch. The grip feels just right in the hand...I think we nailed the size and shape. I'm sure I'll continue to discover the finer details of the whole package (speaking of package, I am also impressed by the quality of the tube and sock...very spiffy stuff), but I am delighted with everything I see.
I'll string her up this weekend and give it some casts. I'm sure it will be great! Although it would be tempting to just display this rod like a piece of art, it will be used for its intended purpose and I can hardly wait to get it on the stream. As Claes Oldenburg has said "I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum."
Wishing you the very best Thanksgiving...I am blessed and grateful! Thanks so much for your contributions to those feelings!
— David Packard, Omaha, NE
“Mike and Kathy, I looked through my fishing log book and came up with a list of different species of fish that I have caught on my South Creek rod # 201018:. Brook, brown, rainbow, cutthroat (Yellowstone, snake river, west slope, Colorado, and greenback), grayling, whitefish, small mouth and largemouth bass, white and black crappie, catfish, redeared sunfish, bluegill, pumpkin seed, rock bass, carp and bull trout. A moderately impressive list. I have nothing but praise for the fly rod, it can handle any fish from an 8 inch brookies to a 4 pound bass. I once hooked a big carp, maybe over 20 pounds, but I didn't want to test the rod to that level so I cut the line. And you can tell it is well fished and will be for many years.”
— Art Schultz, Wyoming
“I just want to say thanks for how nice and helpful you were to my son and I last week when we visited your shop. After our second trip to your shop and a few more flies, my son did land a nice rainbow. He also lost another one of A.K.’s hoppers on what he thinks was the same brown he lost the first one on! Kept saying he wanted to catch that fish to get his flies back.
This is from my son:
Thank you for the hat. After we left, I wore it and went fishing. I caught a 14” rainbow.
As a dad who has been hoping for a while that my son would want to try fly fishing instead of a spinning rod; I was excited that he started just before this trip and he wanted to fish with me in Colorado. So I was going out there just wanting to do what I could to help him catch is first trout on a fly rod, which he did. But your generous gesture with the hat really topped off this trip for him and me too. That hat is now his “lucky” hat. I didn’t mention this in your shop but the next day was also his 13th birthday.
Thank you very much for everything. This ended up being a trip that my son and I will not forget. I've sent a picture of Devon with his fish and of course wearing your hat. I wanted you to see the smile on his face.”
— Ryan Allred, Wichita, KS
“I just fell in love.
Not giddy or infatuated. Deep in my soul. In love.
I have avoided rods described as fast or a ‘dry fly’ taper. In my experience they lack the ability to load deep. If I had not been to your store, cast your other rods and understood your influences and preferences, I would never have bought The Gierach Signature rod since it’s described as fast.
I trusted your work.
Yes, it is quick. The deep load, delivery and precision of this rod has opened my eyes to why one rounds off their steeds with various tapers.
Concerning selection of wood to match the bamboo color. Stunning.
My South Creek Ltd. Gierach Signature rod just replaced a rod I was taking with me next week to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Replaced it permanently.
With my gratitude for your fine work,”
— Mark Brinkman, Texas
“Yesterday early at the morning I received the lovely bamboo rod.Quickly I smelt the tube, I appreciated the high quality of the rod manufacture and I felt the casting feeling with soft movements....I went outside to my garden and I was casting a long time the rod ...Uff...wonderful work in short and in medium / long distance and cast easily very long leaders.
Cold and windy day in Madrid....but a happy day for me. Thank you very much Mike and Kathy, Kathy and Mike... My next step will be to test the rod in trout fishing environment and sure catching big trouts....I will send you photos...
I am getting used to put names to my rods...this one, with green and red colours over a fair bamboo colour, as the final spring fields of June, has already name: "Mother".
You will have news from me in a short time.
— Alberto, Spain
“Mike and Kathy...thanks so much for the time today....I got back to the cabin a few hours ago and put the rod together and did a number of false casts in the driveway....the balance and beauty of the rod are both magnificent!
I have never felt a rod that was like an extension of my arm. Thanks you both for being true craftsmen in a world of quick production and knock offs!
Fantastic rod and service...
Crystal Lakes CO
— John Haack, Crystal Lakes, Colorado
“Scott, Mike, Kathy,
I want to address this to all of you, since you've all been involved in my recent purchase experiences, I can't thank you enough for your advice, your patience, your expertise in helping me in my initiation into bamboo. I know I'll never approach your level of knowledge, or your devotion to this wonderful way of experiencing this part of God's wonderful creation. I can only tell you that learning to cast bamboo has been a pure, joy-filled experience. I enjoy casting! I enjoy catching, of course, but the whole experience is true gift that I would never have known about if it weren't for you three. Oh, by the way, you might pass along my thanks to John Gierach, too. His books "tweeked" something in me that must have been there all along, but his older book, "Fishing Bamboo" really triggered this whole episode. I'd love to get a chance to thank him sometime.
My desire to say all this is coming from a sense I get in my spirit, that sometimes you need to hear how much you bless people -- it's a God-given talent that each of you have! Each of you is gifted in a unique way that complements the others, and I would be in error if I didn't tell you that!
— D.P., Missouri
“Over the years you have done every thing I have asked of you. I know I'm a customer but you have all treated me as if I'm so much more. That is why I continue to deal with you. I can call you and get a friend on the other end not a salesman! Thank you.
Your humble friend.”
— M. Lang, Great Britain
“Mike and Kathy, I received my rod this morning! My union buddy on the UPS truck brought it by this morning on his way into town, and before noon, I’d put your reel on her, and she lost her virginity just a few miles outta town on Clear Creek (just off the Cumberland River) to a little 6-8” stock rainbow that got suckered in on a little Tellico nymph! It was in the low 70s here by mid-day, and everything in the world was hatchin’ off, but these damn stock trout don’t know to bite a dry fly, ‘cause they sure wouldn’t hit one! I love this rod! I never handled a rod, bamboo or otherwise, that just FELT so good! Thank you!
Can’t wait to get on some real water with this baby!
— Steve Cawood, Pineville, Kentucky
Just wanted to thank you and Kathy for the bamboo rods that you made for me. I could not be more pleased.
My first cast of a fly rod when I was I was about 10 years old was with an old bamboo rod my father had and I've wanted another ever since.
Haven't had a chance to line these and use them , but if this weather holds, I'll try them soon.
These rods may very well be the finest pieces of equipment a Flyfisherman could own. Look forward to putting them to work.
— Monte G. Miller, Windsor, CO
“Well, you’ve done it again! This new 3 weight is everything I hoped (and knew) it would be. The 5 weight that you build for me a few years ago immediately became my go to rod for the bigger water, but I have a feeling I’ll be seeking smaller water and more delicate dry fly fishing just so I can take this incredible new rod out to put it through its paces. You may remember when we went to the park to try one out that I only needed one or two casts to know this rod was exactly what I wanted. Well, without a doubt, it is indeed what the doctor ordered.
I took your advice on where to go fish this beauty for the first time. Wow, that was some advice! The water was amazing, the fish very cooperative and the rod performed better than I could have ever hoped. It did well in the tight willowy places and mended the line well. I was really impressed at how much authority it has when things opened up. The long casts were accurate and handled the wind better than expected for a 3 wt.
It played the fish really well too. I like to get them in and off quickly to avoid stressing them out and this rod did a great job for me. One in particular was caught in a narrow fast moving part of the stream. He headed straight for a root wad where I’d have probably lost him. I was able to turn him and keep him clear of it easier than expected. Once clear, he was off quickly and headed off to sulk.
Both of my South Creek rods have the uncanny ability to put the fly exactly where I want it to go. I swear, if I look there, the fly goes there. I don’t know how you build that magic into these rods, but you can certainly put our names back on the list for another when our turn comes up again.
For people that may be concerned about the wait time for one, let me say that it’s certainly worth it. I have a pretty nice rod collection and I’ll tell you that the two I have from you are fantastic fishing machines. I can’t wait to get the new one out on some of our smaller streams here in Missouri. We have a lot of it around here and I’ll be better prepared for it now!
Every time I take this rod out of its tube, I am again amazed at how beautiful it is. Your rods are truly pieces of fine art. I guess that makes them “Functional Art”. People I meet on the streams often ask about my cane rods and are surprised that I fish so regularly with them. I tell them they are proudly made for fishermen by people that love fishing and would be sadly disappointed if they weren’t being used. Well, fear not. These two SCL rods will get a lot of miles put on them.
Thanks again for such a great pair of rods. We’re looking forward to seeing you on our next trip to Colorado!
— Larry Sportsman, St. Charles, MO
“ I just wanted to take the time to again thank you for the wonderful rod you built me. I got back to NJ from Crested Butte a few days ago. The 7' 9" 5 wt. GSR fished great. I fished it on the Middle Fork of the South Platte in South Park, the East River and Slate River in Crested Butte and one day on the Frying Pan. Many fish were caught up to my largest, an 17" brown on the South Platte. It casts and fishes great. My fellow bamboo buddies marveled over the full intermediate wraps and the high quality of the finish work. Thank you and until we meet again...
All the best,
Toms River, NJ
— Robert Santangelo , Toms River, NJ
“Dear Mike and Kathy
Thank you very much that my long waited bamboo rod arrived here in perfect condition.
It has just taken my breath away.
This is the rod which carries multidimensional characters needed for perfect trout fishing.
Elegant but practical, reserved, but aggressive, and gentle but aggressive.
A perfect balance between both ends.
Thank you again for making my dream comes true.
I will write you once I fish this rod at my favorite river in Nikko, a beautiful national park located in Tochigi prefecture and the very first place in japan to be flyfished by English person named Hans Hunter.
— T.N., Japan
“I was out on the Livingstone last Monday afternoon/evening, and the upper Oldman Friday and Saturday last too.
The heavy runoff/flooding that hit Calgary also hit both those rivers, and the consensus seems to be that a lot of the smaller cutts and rainbows were washed downstream. I caught a couple of big (for these waters) cutts, but they were not rising like they used to, and the ones that were, were more selective. I guess near-death experiences (for the trout) can do that.
But I meant to write about your rod, not the fishing. I can now say with some authority, after fishing it hard for a few days, that your 5-weight is the finest rod I have ever fished, bar none, graphite or cane. Despite my initial impressions in a heavy rain/hailstom, your 5-weight loads a long line slowly, allows an impressively large sweet spot of line out, and it drops a light or heavy leader with equal aplomb, so long as I do my part.
No shock waves, no hissy-fits, no drama, just a smooth, delicate tool with which to snake out 10 or 60 feet of Cortland double-taper, and drop a longish leader and tippet right into the shoe-box-sized part of a currents seam where that wily cutt is rising. It even mends the line well.
Fishing with this rod is an absolute pleasure that rivals just about any other pleasure to be found in life, no exaggeration.
I cant say enough nice things about your handiwork, and of course the rod itself is absolutely beautiful. One of these days Ill get a photo of it sitting on the hood of my 1991 Dodge pickup, and the beauty/ugly contrast with knock you over. No matter, no one would ever guess a rod this good is tucked behind the seat of a truck that ugly, and thats a good thing, because I would hate to lose her.”
— Bill, Calgary
“Mike, Kathy, and Scott, I want to thank you for being such gracious hosts to my dear friend Bob this past week. I asked Bob to stop by your shop and check on you and my rod order. Seriously, I thought Bob would be interested in your shop. Having him there is the next best thing to my being there. Thank you for taking such good care of Bob and his son Scott. Bob came home with a big surprise for me! I was speechless. The South Creek Limited reel is truly a work of art. I have never owned craftsmanship like that in a reel. Hell, the leather pouch alone is worth the price of admission. I have to be honest with you. I probably will have to prostitute that reel a little before your rod arrives. As my friend said, we are users (not abusers) of fine equipment. That reel needs to go fishing. Final note. Bob brought me back a hat. It's a nice hat, but what hooked me was underneath the bill. The dark olive color underneath is perfect for fish spotting. I immediately took my flip focals from my old fishing hat and retired that worn out thing. This will be my new lucky hat. Your attention to detail is impeccable.”
— Chip Childress, North Carolina
“The rod and reel arrived today. What an exquisite rod! Your craftsmanship, as always, Mike, is impeccable. The wood spacers at the front and rear of the grip are a very nice touch. The intermediate wraps are understated and the color combinations of the threads are elegant. I had to take a magnifying glass to fully appreciate the delicate engraving. I like the heavier rod sack and new tube design, too. The rod is every bit a 7 WF. What a boomstick! I threw the entire length of the line with one backcast and haul. At shorter distances the rod throws a delicate, but still tight, loop. I can't wait to get it on the water. One of these days I want to take it to a steelhead river.
Thanks so much. Many blessings to both of you.
— Chuck Traylor, Tennessee
“Hey Mike, I just wanted to share a fishing story with you! I was fishing the Guadalupe river the other day( Feb 23rd) with the 8'9" 6wt rod you made for me. Well I was fishing a #24 midge larva under a #18 egg pattern without a strike indicator when the line stopped dead. I figured I was hung up on the bottom. I wasn't! I lifted the rod to dislodge the fly and got a head shake! I knew the midge was on 6X so there wasn't a lot I could do to get the fish moving. So I shuffled down below the fish and put as much pressure on him as I dared. He took off up stream into some fast water and held there for few minutes! When I got up beside him and applied pressure he rolled on the surface and took off down stream to his original holding spot. Well this went on for about 15 minutes, playing him down in the butt section of the rod, and pointing the rod at him when he ran. When he finally came to my net we were both worn out! A hook jawed 27" rainbow! I have hooked fish close to this size before on graphite rods ,but never brought them to the net( they always broke off). The rod performed magnificently, just the right amount of power and authority but with that forgiveness only bamboo has! I still can't believe I didn't lose this fish. The hook held (the #18 egg) my knots held and the rod played the fish to the net. I did have the awareness to turn the rod over and put it behind me to bring him to the net! I am happy to report no set in the tip! I released him then sat on the bank for a while admiring the rod, then went home for a large scotch! Thanks for a great fishing tool!
— Stephen Bell, Austin, TX
“I know you like to hear about the fishing experiences that we have with your rods. Well, it has been a bamboo season. This year has been a little lean on fishing time as compared to most years for us, but the time we've spent on the river has been amazing. My nice graphite rods are feeling left out these days. They haven't been out of the tubes since I got back from your place in January except for a very windy day on the North Fork of the Shoshone River with Tim Wade.
I absolutely love this thing. It casts like a dream and handles the fish like nothing else in my collection. Even when fishing heavier tippets for larger fish, you can really put the pressure on and get the fish in and off quickly. I've been fishing for a long time and have been able to cast a lot of nice rods. This rod seems to have a magic in it that I've rarely found in any rod. It seems like all I have to do is look somewhere and the fly just goes there. It is such a pleasure to fish with. I like the rhythm that comes with casting this rod. It fishes at the same pace that I do. Some rods seem to move more quickly than I want them to. This one is there exactly when I want it to be. I would say that it's like it was built for me, but obviously, it was!
Mike, that is a testament to your ability to hear your clients as we tell you what we're looking for. I remember you asking Kathy to take a second rod with us to the park the day we first came in. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted until I made the first cast with the other one you sent with us. You knew before I did that I really wanted the one you had me cast. One cast and I knew too. When I'm out with it, I don't want the day to end. I'm always impressed with how well it handles the different size fish. My home river has everything from small wild rainbows to very heavy brownies. My rod has a great balance of delicacy to power. I can set the hook on a little wild bow without launching him into space but still have the authority to bring in a 22 brown. It's become my go to rod for sure.
I wasn't sure how patient I could be during the waiting period, but stopping by and visiting with you has become a big part of our western vacation every year. We always enjoy stopping in and catching up with you both. Keep me advised about my waiting list status. I'm sure we'll be filling out another order when our time comes again. Thanks again for building me such a great rod. It looks like a piece of fine art and fishes like a machine! I have a lot of jealous friends now.”
— Larry Sportsman, Missouri
“I received my 5 weight rod from you today. I must say it is beyond expectations. I was introduced to cane rods 7 years ago. Prior to that I was fishing top of the range graphite rods. I purchased one of the best 3 weight cane rods on the market and since then have fished with it constantly. It has been my pride and joy. Five years ago to the month I ordered a 5 weight rod from you. I had heard of your reputation through various sources and wondered if you could in reality live up to such a reputation. Something I respect in this day and age of instant gratification when we can buy off the shelf so many fantastic quality rods, that there are still people sitting in workshops hand making rods that others are willing to wait 5 YEARS for an order. That I think is amazing in itself. So it was with trepidation I waited, wondering if you could ever live up to my expectations. I am more than pleased to say that you blew me away. Unravelling the rod I found the workmanship to be extraordinary with amazing attention to detail. As an art piece, your rods are glorious by themselves. But the true joy was in the casting, for that is what it is all about. I found the action of my rod to be probably the best I have ever cast. It has now replaced my three weight as my favorite rod. Thanks again. I believe your waiting list is now 5 years. Please put me back on the list.”
— Stafford Robinson, South Africa
“I had a chance to actually fish the rod over the weekend, as opposed to casting it into 38 degree water where there were no fish. The rod exceeds my highest expectations as a fishing tool. It is absolutely butter smooth to cast, with a forgiving action that allows me to fish all day without getting tired. It is accurate at close range and far away, mends line very well, and fights fish very effectively. My only problem now will be how to prevent my other rods from getting jealous and haunting me at night. Such problems!
Thank you both again for everything,”
— R. Lekowski, Massachusetts
“The rods received their baptism in Michigan in a weeklong fish of the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers. Fish were scarce, but Diane managed to hook up to a 17" brown, which is an ordinary fish out your way, but it took her under a deadfall and broke off. She also had a 20" give a long look at her hex fly (hexagenia limbata, Michigan caddis). The rods performed beautifully, the 8.5 is a dream of a rod, and the 9 though a little heavy for Diane I found well up to the task of heaving the larger flies and enjoyed it a lot. I am amazed by the damping action of your rods. So many bamboos seem to want to vibrate once flexed. Both rods have been baptized by catching fish. I wish I were younger so I could keep ordering your rods. We are grateful to you for your considered handling of the order and for the fine rods.
Bob and Diane
— Bob & Diane Miller, Kentucky
“That 4wt rod of mine is quickly becoming an extension of my right arm. Three browns were taken in a pool that required a sidearm whip cast underneath trees, landing the fly five feet "in" to the shady hole. I tried to capture it in a picture or two. This rod allowed me to do this too easily actually. I sat there laughing after catching the three fish thinking to myself that it shouldn't be this easy to reach that spot. I love the rod.
— G. Siemer, Boulder, CO
“After so many years of picturing this moment in my mind...
I opened the package and gave it a look. Perfect. And again, just like I had
imagined, but better, as it succeeds to give a very classic (you were
right, Kath, the red's gorgeous) impression, though looking fresh and
powerful at the same time. Some things stay forever modern. To every minute
detail, this is what I have been hoping for. And I'll be looking at it a lot
more, when my head has straightened out for some time...
Because in about 5 minutes I was out on the lawn, getting to know it.
It speaks to me on all levels, and oh how beautifully it does it. Even with
a WF6 line as I don't have a decent DT at hand at the moment, I was
immediately able to put the end of the tippet absolutely where I wanted it
to go, be it gracefully, softly or swiftly, near or far, and with an overall
FEEL, so crisp and flexible, to it that I've never experienced before...
This rod does it all for me... Night fishing for browns with caddis
imitations, stalking near the main currents, casting short... And fishing
streamers over those same currents with more line... John G. Did not
exaggerate at all when he wrote what he wrote about the action, describing a
thing that for me fills all my needs for a day (or night) of fishing... As
you already knew. :) Thank you a million times, and then some.
— Sami Parkkinen, Finland
“I've never sent a review, but after checking your site for the first time, and re-reading a couple of Gierach's books lately I thought I should. I am satisfied and happy to fish the 6 ½, DT3, 3/2 you made for me, c. 1996. It's been on several small streams casting and catching fish. Odd but it's been packed along to more places than it's been fished. Reason being such a small rod can't be fished everywheres. Over the years it has gone east with me, through NY, PA and MD, west through Utah, Mont., Idaho, but never uncased, save for examination's sake. At the NY Times I showed it to Howell Raines, before his fall, he liked looking at the thing, and he said, "I wonder if I should get a cane rod."). But it's gotten its work out here. It's been out quite a bit on the small streams of Southern California and throughout the Eastern Sierra. It has caught a lot of trout. It's still in fine shape, too.
You might remember Phil Snyder and Art Warner, two old pals. I spent a lot of time talking rods at Phil's; Art and I have fished some long hikey days together. Two summers ago we camped and fished a dream of a stream chock full of thick fish washed down from a private water near Lake Tahoe, in the gold country of California. The 6 ½ took several in the 12" - 16" range. Art and I waded upstream, trading off pools, casting to cruisers who were looking up. It was nearly ideal dry fly fishing with lovely cane. All on dries, what could possibly be better.
Love the medium taper of this rod. It loads and casts beautifully on the tight stream. The cane is medium flamed, wraps black and red, a la Chubb. It is my shortest bamboo, and it sets the base of my collection. When I travel I try to cover myself with my three piecers: 6 ½ Clark, 7 ½' G. Granger, 7 ½' Battenkill, 8' G. Granger. The small guy comes out only if that small stream presents itself. It never saw the water this summer on the Missouri, Madison or Henry's Fork. In fact, a lot of the time, esp. on the Mad., I was undergunned. (Couldn't turn fish on the Mad., and have considered a 7-weight Battenkill).”
— Darrell Kunitomi, Los Angeles, CA
“I received your absolutely incredible rod late yesterday. One word can describe this rod...Perfection! This gives "exceeding expectations" a whole new meaning.
Thanks and with my warmest regards,”
— Jim Cloud, Chesterfield, MO
“"...yesterday as I went to the Chateau de La Hulpe south of Brussels - a beautiful estate of the once rich and famous Hulpe family with beautiful rolling perfectly manicured lawns - just made for casting. There was a slight frost on the grounds, but I found a spot where the sun had softened the grass and went there to assemble and string up Mike s rod. My children were busy feeding the ducks, so I had a moment of privacy as I spooled out enough line to take my first cast with the sun cresting over an evergreen forest and a Chateau to my back. My first casts were rushed with anticipation, but when the excitement began to focus on the task at hand, I just closed my eyes and felt the rod load and unload. When I opened my eyes again I had slowed my pace and was casting beautiful and graceful loops with gentle presentations (albeit orange tufts of yarn to oak leaves off in the distance). I was able to cast longer than I would ever need, and place my fly where I wanted. Gets back to what John says - Mike started making rods that worked long before he got lost in the details of fancy hardware. I was casting the work of a living legend (don t share this with Mike as I'm sure he's use to it, and will think I went off the deep end)!"
Chris Ringlstetter, Brussels, Belgium”
— Chris Ringlstetter, Brussels, Belgium
“I had a chance to fish the new rod (and reel) today. Our closest
trout stream was blown out by a bunch of thunderstorms, so I headed
out to my favorite ponds. I certainly hope you aren't offended that
your work is being used on humble bass and panfish.
The rod is the finest I've held. It is beautiful and casts like a
dream. As I fished the rod, I remembered telling Mike that I liked
the Anniversary Rod because I could feel everything from the butt to
the tip. That comes through perfectly. One continuous, fluid, curve
of cane making it easy to sense when the rod is loaded. A supreme
fishing tool. 8'3" is perfect for the float tube. Powerful but not
— Al Saulnier, Pitsburg, Ohio
“"I have had a premiere with the new rod. I want to thank you for a beautiful rod that is just what I hoped for.
I wanted to catch a special fish as the first one on the rod you built me so I took it to one of my favourite small Rivers. To cut a long story short, I finally hooked and landed a fish that I think will do the rod honour. A wild Browntrout of 24 inches that weighed in at around 6lb, perhaps a little TOO good even. There was a bit of nerves involved. I eventually landed it and here are the pictures, courtesy of Johan. The rod behaved excellently, the rodhandler perhaps not. Nevertheless, a great fish on a great rod."
— Ulf Borjesson, Stenkullen, Sweden
“"Last Saturday, I went to my home river and I used "Anita Rae".
The pics is the first fish this year ,"Yamame".
It was a small fish, Anita's grip size, but it pulled well.
Next time, I'll send bigger fish. Anita and I affinity seems good.
Because I got 12 fish within 4hours.
She will be my good partner."”
— Kimito Hirai, Tokyo, Japan
“"I just wanted to report that Serial Number 9916 and I got to go to up to Third Meadow on Slough Creek in Yellowstone this year... we both had a great time!
20" native cutts (none of those sissy hatchery fish!) on a 5-weight Mike Clark rod was about as much fun as a guy is ever supposed to have... thanks for making such a super rod!
— Rob Pritchett, Hurst, TX
“"I tied on a #16 delta wing Caddis to a 9 foot number seven knotted tapered leader and let the line drift down stream. I could feel the rod loading on the first back cast, and I didn't need to turn my head to look for it loading on the forward cast. It was like the great fly casting instructor in the sky had hold of my wrist. 'Well, I'll be damned.' That was my first thought about your rod. I know that's not what the Rock Star testimonials say. Looking back on it, I was so wrong imagining what the experience would be like. I was thinking it would be like finally getting to drive a high performance sports car. I found out it was like casting a fly rod, a very, very good fly rod. Mike, the rod you made me performs exceptionally well, and is incredibly beautiful. More importantly, I appreciate you letting me participate in the creation process while getting the full benefit of all your experience.”
— Monty Murty, Arlington, VA
“"Just back from a week of fishing in Northern Michigan. I fished the new 8' 5 WT. South Creek Ltd. rod and would like you to know that I am very pleased. I had been in the back yard a few times with the rod since receipt but this was my first time on the water. The rod is an extremely smooth casting rod. I can feel the rod load at very short distances and can push it out beyond any sensible fishing distance. I expected the rod to be a performer with smaller flies but I was most impressed with the ease of casting with a size 10 Brown Drake attached to a 4X leader. One afternoon when the fishing was on the slow side I found myself totally relaxed and content to be casting. Completely effortless, so effortless that I suggested my companion listen while I cast. Total silence! Long story short, the cosmetics are right on the money and better yet the rod fishes. I am very pleased and plan to fish the SHIT out this one."
— Robert Sowers, Zanesville, OH
“"As you know, I have been a collector of fine split cane bamboo fly rods for sometime now. This collection consists of a variety of rods and includes Paynes, Leonards, Paul Youngs, Dickersons, etc. I fish the majority of these rods. Over a year ago, you built me an 8-foot-6 5-weight rod along the lines of John Gierach and A.K. Best s rod and I have fished it constantly since. I thought you would like to know that notwithstanding my collection, this is the rod that goes with me on every fishing trip and that I fish it almost to the exclusion of the others. It is my rod of choice."
— Steven Binder, Golden, Colorado
“"Spent pleasant moments Thursday evening, after getting home, and Friday casting the rod. I did fish it on the Arkansas today and it was heavy duty wind. This is a fabulous rod! It handled the conditions very well...it does it all. Best thing is it has made me a much better caster. Thank you both."”
— Herb Luhman, Edwards, Colorado
The rod is wonderful! It s perfect for the size streams I have fished for trout in Colorado, Oklahoma, & Arkansas. It roll casts like a dream and when you assemble it ~ you can feel the trout in it. It s the perfect size & taper for what I do. I couldn t be more pleased with it s performance and the fact that it is lovely to the eye is just a bonus. I have, of course, also used it for other species of fish here in Oklahoma & it has accounted for itself pretty well with one exception...I m afraid it didn t have the backbone to turn a foul hooked beaver (in the 30 pound class) and keep him from returning to his (or her) den with my $5.00 bass bug! Then again, maybe I m the one without the backbone since I broke him off as soon as I figured out what I had hooked that summer night. In spite of it s shortcomings as a beaver rod it is the finest rod I own and I favor it above all others."
— Ed McCollum, Oklahoma City, OK
“"I wanted to let you know how delighted I am with the 3 and 5 weight rods you built for me in 2004. Most of my trout fishing is on either very small streams or larger freestone rivers in mountainous terrain and the rods are very well-suited to these environments. As well as allowing me to present my flies accurately the rods have also proved to be very effective at cushioning the surges and runs of hooked fish. To date I have only used the Cortland Sylk lines that you recommended; I find these are well-balanced partners to the rods."
— Michael Kearney, Pyrmont, Australia
“"After fishing the bamboo a couple of times in Rocky Mountain National Park, I took it to the Frying Pan last week. WHAT A JOY!!!! We caught several fish, some of them over 14 inches. The Bamboo rod was just great. It casts great and fights a fish as well as anything I ve ever fished. Everyone who saw the rod marveled at the workmanship, design and overall beauty. Once again, thank you for building a rod of this quality and beauty."
— Ken Hume, Aurora, Colorado
“"Your rod is something wonderful. I have had a chance to cast it these last two days and can t find anything that it doesn t do perfectly or any line that it will not cast beautifully. It will be an exercise in sheer pleasure in casting it with different lines on the water to find its perfect match in my hands. It seems that no matter how close or how far the cast was or how little or how much energy I put into the cast, it invariably turns the fly over precisely and seemingly always in time to allow the fly to float to the water-even if you re aiming 6 inches above the water. It fits me perfectly, and I am so glad that I chose this rod. On top of all of that, it is drop dead gorgeous. As a rod builder myself I can use this as a benchmark to some day approach."
— Syndey A. Smith, MD, Gulfport, MS
“"Thank you so much for the beautiful rod, I am going to try it out today~ Unfortunately, the weather here in England has been so dry that the fly life has been drastically effected, but we shall see~ Thanks again ~ Tight Lines."”
— Eric Clapton
“"I thought I would drop you a line to let Mike know just how delighted I am with the Gierach Signature Rod. It really is a beauty! Please let Mike know how pleased I am with it. It is far more than just a fishing rod, but rather a work of art, I shall treasure it always. I haven t yet decided whether to pass it on to my children or grand children in my will. But I m thinking I ll just give them the Hardys and Orvis and have it buried with me! Anyway, the rod has been to the Test, the Itchen and the Hampshire Avon already. It s not lost it s American flavour but I need to get it out to Colorado next year before it thinks it s British and goes all stiff on me! Thanks to you both again for all your help."”
— Graham Salmon, Minstead, Hants, United Kingdom