Harada Takezao (can be translated into English as Harada Bamboo Rod) is located in south of Osaka where is not far from a sacred Buddhist place which is called Koyasan.
Katsumi makes his rods mostly with madake that he harvests by himself in Koyasan. Madake is tall and thick bamboo that grows up to sixty-five feet tall and six inches in diameter at their max. The wazao uses madake for its tip because it is sensitive but still has a higher response rate than other bamboos. Katsumi uses madake for that same reason.
“If you compare madake with Tonkin, madake has more bending capability. I use madake because I love a parabolic rod. When you cast a madake rod, you will feel the butt bend well. The power will be transmitted slowly toward the tip, and this slow speed makes a fly turn over, even when used with a long tippet.”
It is often said that the bamboo rod has a higher catching rate than the graphite rod once a fish is hooked. A slow response can handle the power waves from many different directions. If this logic is correct, madake has an even higher catching rate than Tonkin.
His rod has a uniquely shaped reel seat filler. He once noticed his hand was uncomfortable while casting because of the small bump between grip and reel seat filler. That gap hurts his right palm. He wanted to improve it. He stopped using a common round filler and curved it to an oval flattened shape. I like it because it looks like a miniature artwork done by Antoni Gaudy to my eyes.
“It is more time-consuming work than it seems, but I am sure there are many fly fishers who feel the same way I did, uncomfortable while casting.”
“Yes, I often had some pressed lines in my palm after fishing.”
“We bamboo rod makers often think there is no room for improvement on the bamboo rod. But never. If we just keep doing what we did for years, we forget that the maker’s mission is to make users happier.”
*This article was extracted from “Mostly Bamboo” by courtesy of the author.