Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Kearney, Ian

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I was going to do my usual annual invite to anyone visiting New Zealand over the next few months to drop in and see me, but thought I should expand this with some background in the spirit of this topic.

I am in mid 60's and  have been fishing for about 60 of those years. I say I am semiretired, but my wife says that just means I work 40 hours a week instead of 60. I live in the top of the South island area in Nelson, New Zealand, a place selected to live as it has about 30 different fishing rivers within a couple of hours drive from home, and about ten within 30 minutes.  I have been collecting and restoring old fishing tackle for 20 plus years and about 1997 decided it might be useful to make a replacement tip for a rod if I needed to. That got me into rod making and some great initial help over the net from people like Tom Smithwick, Chris Bogart, Andy Royer and many more. Over the years I have built about 50 rods but have been less active over the last few years as my work has taken me to Sydney a lot, and my workshop will not fit in my suitcase.

It has been an interesting challenge to source materials here when most of the quoted sources are in the USA and there are considerable cost disadvantages in trying to import items in to NZ. As such I have tended to  learn most of the techniques such as making ferrules and guides to give me more independence. As I am trained mainly a Bean counter learning how to use a lathe , saw benches etc has been an interesting challenge. I started off using wooden forms, then made some steel ones, and generally this has worked out pretty well.

In New Zealand cane rods are not "trendy " like in some countries so I am still considered a bit of an eccentric . That said I have helped another 4-5 people in NZ to get started on making cane rods and a couple of these are now quite prolific makers.

Over the years a number of visiting rodmakers from the US, Australia, England, Holland, Norway  etc have visited while passing through New Zealand and in 2003 I organized a Real Southern Gathering and we had a number of rodmakers here from around the world including Bob Nunley, the Demarests, Dianne and Jerry Madigan  and Danny Twang. That was a great gathering, and I keep promising to organize another “once I have some time".

That said there is a standard invitation for any rodmakers heading down this way to call in. There is usually a bed available and plenty of local rivers to fish, even if the local wild brown trout are not easy to catch. My wife has remarked on a number of occasions just how these rodmakers all seem to be such nice people!

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