Bamboo sticks of varying thickness are brought together to form a fishing rod. The artisans who make these rods use what is called a jointed fishing rod construction, which pole makers developed during the Edo period. It’s also known as Edo Fishing Rods. Edo, now Tokyo, has many canals and faces and faced the Pacific Ocean, so it harbored a variety of fish. Since that time a variety of poles have passed through history targeting specific fish and fishing methods. Some of the materials used for this task include monk’s belly or fish pole bamboo, arrow bamboo, and black bamboo.
After drying for three years, bamboo stock passes through a processing phase to become wazao. An important part of this process is smelting to correct kinks and bends followed by igniting it to add strength. Shapes and thickness play an important role in choosing the right sticks for the rods, as well as the cutting and assembly. The craftsmanship one sees in these rods can’t be found in modern carbon poles. Painted lacquer coupled with bamboo’s natural color brings out a unique hue with a smooth, shiny gloss.
Some of the finest pieces include metal chasing and other decorations that could arouse the latent fisherman in any of us. Bamboo’s sensitivity conveys even the most delicate motion from a fish, and its strength can handle even the strongest pulls on the line. Superb capabilities combined with exquisite craftsmanship, the Edo Fishing Rods continues to inspire fishermen around the world.