Kakuhiro decided to abandon Tonkin and go with Japanese bamboo. The most common Japanese bamboo is madake, the second is mosochiku, and the third is hachiku. Mosochiku was far less practical, because it has the thickest diameter with thin surface fiber, and the length between each node was terribly short.

He tried both madake and hachiku bamboo and found hachiku was better to accomplish the action that he needed.

“I fell in love with hachiku. It is lighter, but still keeps enough strength at the surface. I believed I could make the best bamboo rod ever to catch Japanese trout with hachiku.”

After much trial and error, Kakuhiro finally could make all the processes repeatable to keep the quality at the same level.

“It is never easy to make the same rod one after another. There is no bamboo in the world that is consistently the same. Every single bamboo has its own character. In those days that I used Tonkin, I never felt comfortable because I could not see or confirm beforehand what I was going to use. It was not like a carbon sheet that was under the quality control of a big Japanese chemical company. It was like a gamble. But I was released from that nightmare once I decided on hachiku as my life partner. Now I can shop for bamboo in my city.”

*This article was extracted and translated from “Mostly Bamboo” by courtesy of the author.

One of the most popular optional items of Maekawa craft rods is the reel seat filler. Some love the beautiful pattern of stacked bamboo, and some love stacked wood. Toshiyuki also makes landing nets along with bamboo rods. He uses stacked bamboo at their grips. Now you can find many reel seat fillers and landing nets that have the same stacked construction that Toshiyuki first started.

“I don’t care if other makers copied it. I would rather be proud of it because they thought it worthy of being copied.”

Even such a generous person had something left that he could not divulge. It was the process of varnishing. He has his own method to avoid dust and bubbles. It is easiest and simplest again, but all he could tell me was the fact that he is using two-part polyurethane resin both at the guide wrapping section and all over the blank. He does not brush. It sounded unusual to me because I do not know any other makers who use two-part polyurethane resin to varnish the whole rod surface. How does he catch up with the high curing rate of this resin? That is still a mystery to me.

*This article was extracted from “Mostly Bamboo” by courtesy of the author.

I believe Kojiro Murata is a child of Garrison, but his rods also contain some of Payne’s genes. His model “Natural Free 704” is the first model he designed in his career. Its base model is Garrison’s “201,” but is still Murata’s best-selling rod. It has a strong taste of Garrison but with glass-like varnishing. I will be beaten to death by many Payne lovers right away if I let the cat out of the bag, saying, “More beautiful than Payne.” So I will not say it!

But even if I shut my mouth about his art-like varnishing, his unique and exquisite design is so stunning that once seen, your eyes will be glued to it.

He uses the thinnest Japanese natural embroidery silk thread for wrapping. Even if you brought your eyes close to his rod, it would be difficult to find the bump of thread on the shaft. It looks like it is painted on the shaft. When you move your eyes down to the grip, you will find a beautifully coated wooden check that is another signature of a Murata rod.

“I was lucky enough to have gotten very much support from friends and acquaintances when I started the business. I never could become a bamboo rod maker if they had not helped me. Now I am just returning what I got 40 years ago to the next generations. I will not hide anything. I’ll answer any question I can.”

*This article was extracted from “Mostly Bamboo” by courtesy of the author.