Fly Fishing Book Excerpt: George Black's Casting a Spell

Prior to reading George Black’s Casting a Spell, the idea of owning a bamboo rod resided in the same brain space as notions of a new Lamborghini in the garage — a fanciful reach for someone of my circumstance, and certainly not worth the energy to explore. But whether because Black came to bamboo as a complete neophyte or because he applied the same well-researched storytelling that marks his writing about everything from human rights to Chilean dam construction, by the end of his book my conversion had begun.
The pivot-point of the story in Casting a Spell is Eustis Edwards, who built some of the finest bamboo rods in the world in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Edwards typified the plight of cane rod craftsmen who endure Faustian bargains while preserving the spirit of the craft — before finally saying “Enough is enough.” In “The Rod That Won the West,” Black follows Mark Twain, Eli Whitney, Rexall Drugs and Winchester Rifles along a single thread and uncovers the origins of one of the finest bamboo rods — or I should say fly rods — ever made. New on MidCurrent.

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  • Not all bamboo has been/is a Lamborghini. Many do/can experience the thrill without the shill.