Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Ernst, Bill

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When I first read Mr. Boyd's suggestion that new and not so new list members introduce themselves, I really didn't think I would respond because I'm not really a "joiner" if you know what I mean.  Curmudgeon is a term I more closely associate with.  After reading the many responses and the varied backgrounds of those that have responded, I now feel even less comfortable because there are obviously many more experienced, better educated, and most likely more handsome and stronger rodmakers out there than I could ever hope to be associated with.  Regardless, my therapist said I need to fight this low self esteem thing so here is my story:

I was born and raised in New Jersey where I learned to tie flies at 13, a year before I even learned to use them.  I built my first fly rod from a Silaflex blank and was lucky enough to meet and fish with some mighty talented fishermen through my teens.  I traveled out west to attend Utah State University in the early 60's, became patriotic and left school after three years to join the USMC, returned to Utah after discharge, and I've been here most of the time since.  I recently retired at 63 after 39 years in the electrical trade and decided it was time to do what I had wanted to do for nearly 40 years; build my own bamboo fly rods.

I am still married to my first and only wife who, to me, is still the cutest little Filipina in the world.  We have two grown daughters and two grandsons.  I have been collecting and repairing old bamboo rods for as long as I can remember and I'm sure this experience has served me well in my new pursuit.  I figure I could have bought about two and a half really good bamboo rods for what I've invested in this new hobby but so far I'm pretty happy with my decision.  I've read everything I can get my hands on and I've watched a number of videos too but, with the exception of a bushel of advice I've received from Mr. Ralph Moon and multiple tips from a few list members, I would say I'm a self taught rod maker.  I am currently working on rod number 5, my first three piece rod, and I've been lucky enough that the first four actually turned out pretty nice.

Thanks to everyone that contributed to my education as a rod maker.  I do appreciate it.

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