I have a passion for fishing and this love has overflowed into my workshop where I make bamboo fly rods. My interest in these rods has been limited to the rods I use and like to fish. I think of myself as first a fisherman and then a rodmaker and I like to work on and improve the tapers I already have. An example of that is that I no longer flute the rods I make to hollow them but cut the apex of the triangle strips flat. I feel that Lou Stoners concern for extra glue areas on the strips is no longer relevant with the advent of today’s epoxy glues. This has been proven out over a number of years with the rods I use myself and rods that have been extensively used by others. The results are that rods of a longer length that were hard to fish all day are now light enough to use.

My 9’-0”/ 6 weight rod weighs 4.1 ounces. My 8’-0”/ 5 weight rod weighs 3.36 ounces. They are a pleasure to fish and are light in the hand.

The rods I make to sell are rods I use myself. I do not make the rods of others. I have no argument if persons want to use short rods or very light lines but I find no need for them myself so I have not been concerned with developing the tapers or experimenting with them. The rods I make are my own personal choice for fishing tools.

Google  “Bamboo Under The Microscope” and you will see a wonderful collection of slides done by Dr. Wolfram Schott (a famous rodmaker from Germany) One of the things it shows is the damage done to cane by flaming, done for cosmetic purposes. R. E. Milward (a famous rodmaker from British Columbia) in his book “Bamboo Fact Fiction And Fly rods” concludes that over heating of bamboo is “wanton destruction.” This observation was made after extensive laboratory tests. As a result of these findings I do not flame or over oven temper the bamboo I make my rods from. The color on my website is pretty accurate.

Dave and Tony
I dip my rods in a dip tank after the rod guides are on the rod. After winding the guides the first coat of finish I put on the wraps is flex coat epoxy rod finish. This is rather unorthodox but it really anchors or glues the guide onto the rod blank. This results in durability for the rod guides. Before I did this normal wear and tear of going through the brush could loosen a guide up and result in cracking of the varnish ruining the integrity of the finish. Epoxy rod finish eliminates this as the guides are really anchored firmly. I do not believe the epoxy would do the same job if there were a coat of varnish on under it.

Much has been written about heavy layers of varnish adversely affecting the action of a rod. In my dip tank the varnish in the tube is at 95 degrees F. and comes up into the drying portion at 85 degrees F. This warm varnish goes on a lot thinner than if I were to brush it on. My measurement of one coat of varnish is less that .001 of an inch, which is very thin indeed. If you have done any varnishing you know that the first coat does not come out as smooth as you would like so it must be steel wooled or taken down to prepare it for the next coat. The end result is that by dipping after the guides are wound is that the rod is fully sealed with the guides firmly anchored to the rod blank with several coats of varnish that are very thin and very durable. The final rubbing out of the finish must be done in a timely manner also as the varnish gets so hard the final polishing compound will not touch it. These final decisions made by me as to how I finish my rods have been made not as to what is easiest but by what I feel is the very best method of doing it.

I like nickel silver fittings and as no coatings have been found to put anything like a durable black finish on it I prefer to have the fittings bright. Black nickel snake guides are available from Snake Brand but that is not a durable finish either. Their snakes are half the weight of others so for me that is the choice.

I prefer a rod grip that is just the right length for me. When I take the rod in my hand it should fit and I should not need to move my hand around to get it right. It should also not be too big around. A grip that is too big around makes my hand cramp up. I find a lot of graphite rods have too fat a grip. The grip should be narrow at the rear to make it right for my hand. I prefer a cap and ring reel seat because it is traditional and also lighter in weight.

I like subtle colors on a rod so that everything matches cane, silk and reel seat wood all in harmonious colors. I use Pearsall’s Gossamer silk thread, as it is the thinnest thread I can get and helps to keep the build over the wraps thin. The colors I like are Antique Gold, Java and Amber.

The wood I presently am using for my reel seats is black cherry cut from the valley of my favorite local spring creek.

Here is my list of rods I have developed over time:

7’-6”/ 4 wt.
7’-9”/4 wt
9’-0”/6 or 7wt

All of my rods come in a traditional brass capped case and ferrule plug. Please email me if you are interested and we can discuss pricing.

Norling rods

Dave Sr 612.618.1248  davidrobertnorling@gmail.com
Dave Jr 612.839.3947  fish.norling@gmail.com
Dave and Dave's Blogspot
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