How to Straighten a Bamboo Fly Rod

Bamboo fly rod is one of the best fishing rods. Both amateurs and experts prefer it for their many useful properties. One of their most important advantages is that they can be cast easily. Another advantage is that fishers can use it for a long term, or even leave it for their descendants.

However, this type of rod has an inconvenient thing:  you will break its form if you don’t handle and store it carefully. The bamboo is a pliable material, they will warp easily and will be stuck at an unexpected position if you don’t keep it straight. No Fisher likes a bent fishing rod!

Fortunately, this property of its material also helps us to straighten a bamboo rod possibly. You just need to do it right and safe, and you can keep it for years.

Hence, you have to know how to straighten a bamboo fly rod. Here’s a 3-step instruction for you.

How to Straighten a Bamboo Fly Rod

Determine the bamboo fly rod

You can’t know exactly where on the bamboo rod is bent just by using your eyes. A little help from a straight edge is necessary.

What you need to do first is to disassemble the rod: Grasp each of its tightly, then pull them straight apart.  You must never twist them. Otherwise, the metal rings that keep the parts of the bamboo rod together will go loose.

Next, place each single section close to an edge, for example, the edge of a table, one by one. Typically, you can find the bending in one of the thinnest positions – the top of each section. These positions are easy to bend.

Determine the bamboo fly rod

Image source: Fly Fishing Pursuits

Leave the minor bending on the top of the rod; it will not cause any effects for casting. Pay attention to the major wraps in other sections of the bamboo rod. They need to be fixed promptly.

Preparing your bamboo rod before straightening

Generally, before straightening the rod, you need to gently heat the offending area of the rod, so it will become more tender. That is, as I mentioned in the opening, easier for us to bend it into the expected sharp.

Rod builders prefer using an alcohol lamp, a heat gun, or a stove to perform their works. Don’t take that risk. Otherwise, you will probably make the bend worse and spend an amount of extra money to an expert to fix it for you. Instead, I recommend you these two options: hot water steam or heat from a hair dryer.

Take a look at the condition and quality of the glue. The layers of the glue in old bamboo rods can move on each other. This may cause cracks and damage the rod if you use dry heat to fix. In other words, steam heat is the best way for an old rod.

To prepare an old bamboo rod, put the bending area 10-inches above a kettle. Move the rod back and forth over the steam until the rod is hot enough.

With new bamboo rods, you can use dry heat to prepare it. You need to run a hair dryer set on the low heat all over the rod until it is hot enough.

Remember: Never overheat the bamboo fly rod. High heat can damage the layers of the rod. It will also cause degradation of the varnish and the glue. The section needs only gentle heating and should never be too hot to the touch.

Preparing your bamboo rod before straightening

Image source: YouTube

How to Straighten a Bamboo Fly Rod

The main idea is to flex the bend in the opposite direction when the rod is still hot enough. Also, straightening the rod can keep it in this attitude until it cools. Use your hands to straighten the rod. Be careful not to apply too much pressure on the rod for you won’t accidentally break it. Keep heating and bending it until it is completely straight. If the bamboo rod has more than one bend, go slow and work on one bend at a time.

Fix the largest bend first, then move on, one by one, toward the slightest bend. If you get frustrated, just stop and go back at it the next day.

If your bamboo fly rod is old, you have to clean off the old glue. At the same time,  apply a new epoxy one after straightening the rod, while the rod is still warm.

Put each section close to the edge that you used to determine the rod before. Check if all the bent positions are finally all straight. If not, do it again.

If they are now perfectly on shaped, reassemble the rod. Put the rod on a table, secure it in a vice. Tie a light weight to the end of the rod and leave it overnight to make sure it won’t bend back again immediately.


People like bamboo rods for their many advantageous features, especially its potential to be handed down among generations. However, they may be bent if you forget to give it a little care and attention. Don’t worry; you can straighten them with some easy techniques and your patience.