Flyfishing’s Bamboo Origins Shine in this Exquisite Drift Boat
Blog by Steph Albano, June 2021
About this time each year, bamboo rod makers from across the country come together on the Henry’s Fork. If you visit Harriman State Park you can ‘meet the makers’, cast a few of their rods, and learn more about how this art form comes together. This year, Ron Knowles brought his bamboo drift boat along. As if the rods were not enough, this boat is a true example of how art and flyfishing often intersect.
Ron has been building bamboo rods since 2002 through his company “The Grizzly Switch” in Missoula, MT. A couple of years ago he decided to take this up a notch and build a bamboo boat. He purchased Kingfisher plans from Jason Cajune and made a few minor modifications. Nine hundred hours later his masterpiece was complete. It is a masterpiece. Rod storage is built-in for anything up to a 10-foot rod. Storage for fly boxes, jackets, and other gear is available in the side boxes as well as under the seats. Oh, and the doors to those seats, have a beautiful engraving of a fisherman. The intricate flooring is easily removable for cleaning the boat. He also built three bamboo oars compete with a Guinea Fowl feather sealed in. Yes, three, just in case you need a spare.
The details to this dream package don’t stop there. The trailer articulates on the bank – just in case you might be taking out someplace that isn’t exactly smooth. It also comes with an electric wench -no hand cranking at the end of your day on the water!
Ron has had the boat out 8 times and enjoyed every minute on the water. However, he is ready to sell this boat and move on to his next project. He is only asking $10,000. We’ve seen used drift boats going for more than that!
What is Ron’s next project? Hard to say….. he has a bamboo rod vault on his vehicle. No details were missed there either. This carrier comes complete with internal braided nylon sleeves to keep your rod from bouncing. He has bamboo wading staffs as well. Sixty-seven pieces of birch bark were laid together for the handles on these wadding staffs. Stunning!