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John Bokstrom - Rodmaker (Page 5)

After both found out that they shared the same interest in making bamboo fly rods, they had a long talk that evening and ended up with plans for a meeting. That meeting actually took place in April 1988 and was a success so the decision was easy to have another meeting after that. John chaired both meetings, in 1988 and 1990 with Don's assistance. John published a more detailed story about the meeting in the Planing Form, issue #60.

Typical for his careful reasoning and planning is the fact that the meeting is not every year, but every two years and off fishing season. In retrospect that proved to be a wise decision: After two years people get really eager to come back again and see the others again. And without permission to fish no one gets distracted by rising trout in the nearby lake. And it is easy to get distracted.

Corbett Lake Lodge has a beautiful lake just a few steps from the main lodge, filled with huge rainbows, the species that made the Kamloops area world famous. Thanks to John's reasoning the folks are really "at it" and apparently have a helluva good time--at least they keep coming back.

A lightweight Bokstrom sliding band reelseat.
A lightweight Bokstrom sliding band reelseat.

"In recognition of outstanding personal contributions to raise the quality of fly fishing and to enhance the enjoyment of the sport for fly anglers everywhere" John Bokstrom was awarded the prestigious Letcher Lambuth Award by the Washington Fly Fishing Club (located in Seattle) in 1992. Other recipients were such famous people as the authors Roderick Haig-Brown and Steve Raymond, John's personal friend Syd Glasso, one of the worlds best flytyers who led the renaissance of traditional Atlantic Salmon fly patterns, and Dawn Holbrook who helped many bamboo rodbuilders to get started.

Sad news hit me in 1997 when John started seriously thinking about quitting bamboo rodbuilding. In 1998 he actually quit and sold most of his excellent equipment to Ron Grantham of Port Moody, B.C. who now makes excellent bamboo fly rods himself. Those bad news came as no surprise, because he was already suffering from Parkinson's disease for some time, but it was nevertheless very sad to see him actually quit making bamboo rods.

But the good news are that he has absolutely no plans to turn away from the rodbuilding scene. So we will continue seeing him contribute to the "common knowledge pool", attending rodbuilder's gatherings and I guess he will be a frequent guest at Ron Grantham's workshop helping him improve, as well as helping other rodbuilders to get started. Thanks to e-mail and the Internet it is easy to stay in touch with what is going on in Canada, the U.S. and the rest of the world. It is an amazing boost that the Internet gave bamboo rodbuilding. Like many of us, he makes ample use of e-mail as a communications channel to swap information about the finer things in bamboo rodbuilding with rodbuilders around the world.

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