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Guest article from Andy Sliwa…From cane fishing rods to carbon

From cane fishing rods to carbon

By Andy Sliwa


Firstly I had better introduce myself I’m Andy Sliwa and I make fishing rods. I started messing about with rods around forty years ago when I decided I could make the rods better than they were originally, I’m still trying.View 9.14 on cane and pin.JPG in slide show

I got into making cane fishing rods about twenty years ago when the second hand (vintage) rods I was buying were not what I wanted. So I bit the bullet and after a bit of research, swearing and bleeding ( the edges of planed bamboo are bloody sharp) I managed to make a half decent copy of a MK IV View Minema 4 butt ring..jpg in slide showCarp that I christened with a 3lb Chub. I still use the rod now and again. Since then I have designed my own Barbel rods and made a few for others. All my cane rods are hand planed and I try making as many components as I can. About five years ago I was invited to have a stand at the Barbel specialists meeting in Northampton where I met a certain Mr Mason who asked me to restore a B James MK IV Avon for him, part of the deal was for me to have a day fishing with him on the Teme, a great day despite the lack of fish. It was here that Dave asked if I could find something a bit different from what was available, I said cane he said carbon, Dave won.

View Rods.jpg in slide show So I put the feelers out and after discarding a few blanks the result is the Dave Mason 10’6” Barbel rod. The blank was thoroughly tested to destruction in some cases but we believe it is one of the best small river rods out there. After damaging my shoulder at work I have semi retired from making classy cane rods to concentrate on the fantastic plastic. We have a nice little selection of rods made on American blanks the Dave Mason Barbel, 9’ stalker, 13’ float and the Big River Special.View Dave Mason Barbel.jpg in slide show


The Big River is a rod I seem to be taking out with me more than the others as it is more of an all-round Barbel rod it’s at home casting big weights or fishing in the margins. I am now expanding the range to include some of the best blanks available from Harrison’s. These will be available as soon as I make my mind up what I want.

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One Response to “Guest article from Andy Sliwa…From cane fishing rods to carbon”

  1. An interesting piece Andy.

    Now I am going to give my age away by saying that I have used rods in materials from greenheart and lancewood, through to the latest carbon fibre of course. Split cane went through several problematic times, especially in the 60s when decent cane became almost impossible to obtain. The first glass rods were heavy and floppy, but by 1965, were very good indeed.

    I used rods from the stable of Chapmans, B James and blanks from JB Walker as well as several rods I made for myself.

    Today I have some excellent rods built on Harrison blanks as well as a few remarkable very low cost rods which are actually better than the very best rods of the 60s.

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