In 1960 C.W. Jenkins began crafting cane fly rods using tools he designed and built in his basement shop.  What began as a hobby has produced a limited number of fine bamboo fly rods treasured by anglers world-wide. Today, his son Steve continues to fashion rods in the same practiced and time-tested manner. 

"The Jenkins rod under Steve’s stewardship is absolutely faultless for workmanship, understated elegance and performance. One of the best rod builders in America and still one of the best values in their class."

Carmine Lisella - New City, NY

Jenkins Signature Cane rod with Cutthroat Trout by Michael Simon.

In the Winter of 1976, The Angler's Club Bulletin of New York printed a newsletter titled, "A Look At Some New Bamboo Rods".  The publication evaluated the "technical aspects of bamboo rod construction" and the fishing ability of the cane fly rods available at the time. The scoring of the "field testing panel" organized to evaluate such at the time is reproduced here.  We are very proud of the fact that Tom Capstick, Jr. had the following to say.  "All the rods tested were interesting.  However, two really stood out; the C. W. Jenkins and the Sam Carlson Four Strip Rod.  It was a pleasure to find out that it is still possible today to buy a top-quality bamboo rod."

Perfect Score

300

60

60

60

60

60

600

 

Action

Finish

Handles

Balance

Ferrules

Appearance

Total

Carlson**

7' 0"  DT-4 

261

58

51

58

57

58

543

Clark*

6' 8"  DT-4

228

49

43

44

49

43

456

Hardy

6' 8"  DT-5

180

40

40

34

36

40

370

Jenkins

7' 0"  DT-3

277

51

50

53

47

52

530

 Leonard

7' 0"  DT-4

260

54

50

49

54

53

520

Orvis

7' 0"  DT-3

173

44

17

43

48

37

362

Pezon-Michel***

6' 10" DT-5

219

50

51

44

50

47

461

Phillipson

7' 0"  DT-5

186

33

30

34

30

27

340

Weir

7' 0"  DT-4

216

38

41

50

41

42

428

Winston

7' 0"  DT-4

241

49

46

53

49

47

485

1.  Action - The action of the rod is going to represent 50% of the total evaluation, therefore, please score from 0-50.

2.  Finish - Please score from 0-10 points on the general appearance of the rod, which includes the number and quality of the guides, the winds, whether or not it has a hook keeper, and the quality of the varnish in the case of those rods that are varnished.

3.  Handles - Please score from 0-10 points for the quality and comfort of the handle and reel seat.

4.  Balance - Please score from 0-10 points on the overall balance of the rod.

5.  Ferrules - Please score from 0-10 points for the type, quality and fit of the ferrules.

6.  General Appearance - Please score from 0-10 points on the general appearance.  This can include case, cloth bag that the rod was packed in, if any, any additional literature that might be included with the rod, and of course, the overall appearance of the rod.

* 5 Strip

** 4 Strip

*** Parabolic

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Listed here are some comments about the Jenkins rod  received from satisfied customers.  A few are from publications, but most are from unsolicited letters we have received from enthusiastic owners of our rods. Please remember that these are their words, not ours.  We certainly hope that reprinting them here will not offend any of the kind contributors.

"I went to the mountains yesterday with the GA75.  The rod is simply superb.  I’ve been fly fishing for nearly 47 years having learned from my father at roughly age 7.  I’ve been fishing ‘boo rods for the past five, or so, years.  Your rod is perhaps the smoothest casting rod I’ve experienced to date.  I used a Cortland Sylk DT4 and roughly 11 ft of leader terminating with either 5X or 6X tippet depending upon the fly.  Patterns ranged from a #12 Chernobyl  to a #20 Midge.  A stiff breeze, floating ice, and brutally spooky fish made the outing challenging and, thus, rewarding.  About and hour or so into the day, and no fish, I noticed that I had become unaware of the rod, which is as it should be.  Casting delicately and with accuracy was effortless and did not require any conscious effort on how to manipulate the rod – I was focusing on targets and drifts, and the fly went to its intended lie.  Mending for drift was easy.  It was as if the line moved by mere mental thought rather than any physical effort...It was the type of fishing that enthralls me and sears into memory.  The rod tip is soooo smooth and supple that I never feared breaking off the 6X."

B.C. - Gillette, WY

"My new GA 756 #15 is the best overall fly rod I have ever had the pleasure to fish! In a word "excellence" with a DT4F & TT4F.   It feels like a part of me & allows me to enjoy my trout fishing like never before!  Thank you folks."

M.D.C. - La Farge, WI

"The rod arrived early this week in perfect condition. You do beautiful work and I look forward to many years of pleasure with my new Jenkins."

J.B. - Garland, TX

"The rod has just arrived at my office. How brilliant and gorgeous it is !!  The action is smoooooth like a silk. I cannot tell this is a two piece rod.  Every detail is actually beyond my imagination. I think your rod now stands in a new dimension that is totally different from your father's rod (which is of course excellent). Bravo!!!! I am proud to own your rod Steve. Thank you."

T. N. - Japan

"The rod arrived on Monday.  What a work of art!!  It was worth the wait to own a Jenkins rod for sure! You must be proud to be carrying on the family tradition with such talent.  Once the dust settles on this end I would like to order a 4wt from you.  Hope this finds you well!  Thanks again for your efforts!  You certainly live up to your reputation!!"

D. Q - Webster, NY  

"Hello, Charlie. I was not going to fish the "Charlie Rod", but at the end of the season I broke down and went streamside with it. It fishes very well & has the same traits as the newer rods that you & Steve have crafted for me!  I have owned 30 rods over the years... and after all the road testing the Jenkins rods are my favorite. I must say the best traits of the Jenkins rod, show up while fishing them!  From the early rods crafted by yourself, to the rods crafted by you and Steve, and to the rods Steve crafts today they prove one thing to me.  Like father, like son.  You should be damn proud."

M.C. - The Kickapoo Valley

"The rod just arrived in good order.  It looks beautiful.  Amazing workmanship.  I look forward to fishing it this weekend."

R. W. - San Francisco, CA

"The bottom line is this.  The GA79 is simply the most beautiful fly rod I have ever owned, held or cast.  The action is insanely perfect for my style, the grip, perfection, what it does with a Phoenix DT5 silk line...indescribable.  Even down to the beautiful cherry seat.  Man, Steve, I'm sure you get a lot of letters gushing over your work, as it is very well deserved. But, I have loved fly fishing for 18 of my 32 years and never have owned a rod as fine as the one you and your father have crafted.  Please send your dad my highest regards and know that your craftsmanship has easily earned a customer for life.  I hope that you're both well and am already anticipating my next Jenkins fly rod."

 C. B. - Cheyenne, WY

"Had a chance to fish the rod on Saturday. Caught fifteen, plus, mixed bag of browns, rainbows and brookies in one of our "delayed harvest" stocked streams, most 12"-13". I'm not sure what my expectations were, but the rod exceeded them. For me it was like fishing a magic wand. I have been introduced to a whole new level of pleasure in fly fishing. It must be a great feeling to know that you can create a work of such beauty and superb function and bring hours of pleasure to folks all over the nation."

S. H. - Saluda, NC

"I just received my 7 ft. 9 inch Jenkins for 5 weight, and I believe it is the best taper you've developed so far. As you know, I have owned five Jenkins rods and this new, light dry fly rod is the best of the lot. It is just the ticket for Eastern fishing. It is extremely  light in the hand and casts beautifully. I believe it will become your most popular rod. I am thrilled with its appearance and its fishing ability."

M. M. - New London, CT

"If the line is lighter than a 6 I'm pretty sold on bamboo. Right now I am mighty happy with a 7 - foot (2.1 meter) C.W. Jenkins bamboo that takes a 5 line by choice. This one has the admired "bamboo feel", whatever that is. But Jenkins rods are a bit hard to come by these days, the builder is making very few of them." 

Charlie Waterman -  quote from his book Fishing World

"Favorite rods? Sure there were some, and they came from a variety of builders. The last two I remember him discussing were a C.W. Jenkins bamboo for a 5 line and a little glass Winston for a 4. I owned one of the little Winstons and my wife got a Jenkins on Dan's recommendation." 

Charlie Waterman - quote from his book Mist on the River (Remembrances of Dan Bailey)

"Your rod, sir, is outstanding and I think you will be delighted to see how it scored in the December issue of The Anglers' Club Bulletin. In fact, I am so impressed with it that I would like to have it for my personal collection.... Incidentally, this is one of the few rods I have fished that can really handle a No. 3 weight line with authority.... I would very much like to own a few of your exquisite fly rods, as I have been kicking myself for not picking up the one that was in the Anglers' Club Test."

 T. C. Jr. - New York Anglers Club Team Tester

"I only wish it were in my power to make things as lovely as you do. If it is anything like my GA70-47 it will be perfect. GA70-47 is one of the nicest rods I have ever fished with. It is delicate, properly balanced and throws just about the best controlled line of any rod I own or have fished. It casts precisely where I want it to and handles a double taper #5 beautifully." 

L. V. - New York Anglers Club Team Tester

"I picked up one of your used GA70Ls, I think #63, a few months back.  It was used but in near mint condition.  I have fished with a lot of rods during the past forty years and the two best rods I have ever used are my 204 Payne and your GA70L.  Your rod casts effortlessly.  It feels great close in and at a considerable distance, 60' easily.  I have caught several hundred fish on the rod from 18" to 4" with most being in the 10-12" range. The rod definitely feels best with fish under the 14" or so mark.  My point is that even after heavy fishing, the rod has not given the slightest hint of a set.  The rod is very well made and simplistically beautiful, not unlike the Paynes.  Thanks.

B.M - Durham, NC. - formerly of Colorado

"Just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my new GA70L-84.  As you know, I am not new to bamboo and own or have owned rods by several other very well known and respected rod makers. However, none of the rods combine their fine qualities to match the overall excellence of the Jenkins.  The meticulous workmanship and flawless handsome warm appearance of the bamboo with its color complemented cherry reel seat...are only rivaled by the action of the rod....an unbelievably sweet yet commanding and extremely accurate casting instrument that is a joy to use, which in my opinion is matchless. By far it is the finest rod I have ever owned and I am looking forward to my next Jenkins rod. The findings of the 1976 rod comparisons reported in the anglers Club Bulletin of NY are every bit as accurate in the year 2000! Thanks for a great rod. With Respect."

 R. R. - Newburgh, New York

"I absolutely love the rod…  Everything about the rod is exactly what I was looking for. And the action of the rod is superb! I don’t even have to think about where I want to cast – the fly just goes where I am looking! I bought the rod to fish hard with, not sit in my closet and show my friends. I’m sure I will be giving it a lot of action in the years ahead." 

J.F. - Carson City, Nevada

"Well, now you've done it - I picked up the rod this morning, took it out for a little test drive.  Now I've got a closet full of bamboo rods upstairs that I'm never gonna want to fish again!  You've ruined me! This is all your fault! The rod is absolutely breathtaking, fit and finish are superb - but it was only when I strung it up that I realized what a superb rod it really is.  You just "think" the cast; the rod does the rest, and with a beautiful graceful action, and finesse.  I don't know what else to say, except thanks. All the Best to you and Charlie."

P.P. - Arlington, VA.

"Thanks for the good relationship over the years. Your rods are the best we ever had."

D. B. - Livingston, Montana

"My 7' rod really got put through its paces this past year and it is in perfect shape. Absolutely no sign of any set, and I have not babied the rod a bit. I still love to use my GA70L, especially on spring creeks." 

G.A. - Yellowstone Angler, Livingston, Montana

"The fly rod I ordered arrived yesterday in good shape. It's a fine piece of craftsmanship and I could not be more pleased. I'm positively delighted that you and Steve are maintaining the tradition of craftsmanship and artistry related to the construction of fine cane rods. Thanks again for your workmanship and attention to detail." 

S. S. - Secaucus, New Jersey

"Received your rods last week. We are amazed with the casting ease and loop performance of your rods and even roll casting was easy, in spite of their short length. Just wanted to let you know that we are pleased with the rods and if you ever expand your line please keep us informed." 

B. V. - Rotterdam, Holland

"I have been charmed with your bamboo rod which I bought here in Japan three years ago. I am sure that the rod is real excellent to all fisherman in the world." 

T. F. - Japan

"You may be interested to know that my GA75-33 has caught fish from New York to North Carolina to Michigan and most places in between. I've used it on spring creeks and large rivers. I've never found it lacking in performance and I thank you for caring enough to build such a fine piece of equipment." 

S. W. - North Carolina

"I want to thank you for making me this exquisite cane rod. I have cast it a few times in the yard and it feels so delicate and sweet." 

M.L.L. - Richmond, Virginia

"Received my 7' for a #5 from Mr. Bailey today and certainly appreciate all the fine work that you put in it. Really casts beautifully. Am enclosing a copy of a Charlie Waterman article. Don't see how he could be as proud of his Jenkins as I am of mine."

R. B. - Henderson, Kentucky

"It handles a #4 and #5 line to perfection. The rod passes my fondest hopes of what it should be. It will be my favorite rod I'm sure." 

W. G. - Baltimore, Maryland

"I bought last spring one of your 7 1/2' rods from Mr. Udvary. I must admit it was a substitute for another rod. My never having heard about your rods before, I am very happy for that substitute. I am not trying to flatter you when I say it is my favorite rod. I have Leonards, Orvis, Winston, Howells, Uslans, Russ Peaks and Pezon Michels to compare with and still I'm dead honest in saying that your rod is the best there is." 

Dr. L. I.- Falun, Sweden

"The main reason for writing is to say how wonderful your 7 1/2' rod is. I've really only begun fishing it this year as I was devoted to my 7' and 8' Jenkins. It is a marvelous rod. I think it is the finest 6 weight rod I've cast. It throws streamers and big dries easily." 

M. S. - Richmond, Virginia

"I presently own two Jenkins rods, out of a collection of thirteen, and I fish almost exclusively with one or the other Jenkins rods. If you are going to produce rods for individuals, please build a GA70L for me, as this rod will fulfill what has become something of a dream." 

J. M. - Boise, Idaho

"Not long ago I had one of your rods in the shop to do some minor repairs on. I was impressed by the workmanship and action. You are doing a fine job in my opinion." 

T. M. - Twin Bridges, Montana

"I recently purchased an 8' Jenkins rod from Bud Lilly's Trout Shop in West Yellowstone. From what casting I have done with it so far, it seems far and away the most perfect rod I have ever used. I think that for every fisherman there is a rod that just seems to fit and I have high hopes that this is that rod." 

J. T. - Pocatello, Idaho

"I still think you make the finest rod, by far. The first time I cast my GA80 I thought I had died and gone to heaven, I want you to know that I consider it my most prize possession and have enjoyed using it immensely."

K.S. - Wichita, Kansas

"I wanted to take a minute of your time to tell you how pleased I am with the rod you built for me. The taper and action is very nice and the finish work top-rate. The rod fishes a #4 double taper with ease and extreme accuracy. I'm looking forward to owning another fine rod built by yourself. My 756-2 continues to be my favorite rod and I own a number of cane and graphite rods." 

J. C. - Groton, Connecticut

"The photo from your brochure is no match for the elegant beauty encountered on the first glimpse of my GA80-75. I've seen other cane rods, but was startled at the perfection of the finish and detail work... The only thing that exceeds the beauty of my GA80-75 is its casting performance... It's true that the rod almost casts itself... After casting the Jenkins, I now need only one more rod -- another Jenkins."  

B. S. - West St. Paul, Minnesota

"Thanks for the terrific rod, #GA75-78. Workmanship is super and the rod arrived in perfect shape. I have cast the rod and found it to be outstanding. The rod is delicate, very accurate, and sooo… smooth. I like it best with a DT#4. The fly went wherever I looked without any effort and without the rod even ‘breathing hard’. Thanks again for a great rod." 

R.L. -  Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

"While at his home on a mild January day I cast about a dozen rods. I hadn’t asked to see the Jenkins because I thought it would be too light, but after I liked the Garrison I couldn’t afford he urged me to try yours and drew a Garrison connection. I was sampling all the rods with a Hardy DT5F line, and liked yours instantly. This is my first bamboo rod. It is not likely to be my last, nor my last of yours." 

R.S. - New York, New York.

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Learn more about Jenkins rods, along with fifteen other, in-depth and personalized, interviews with contemporary bamboo rod builders in Ed Engle's book Splitting Cane.

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Back in 2005, I was asked to do a presentation on the history of Jenkins Fly Rods for the Colorado Rodmaker's Reunion.  A portion of the presentation was a thirty-eight minute interview I taped of Dad with the back porch of his house as the stage. The result was by no means professional, still the video turned out to be an enjoyable, honest and informative look into how the company got started and has evolved.  A copy of the DVD was donated to the American Museum of Fly Fishing upon their request.  It can be purchased by mailing a check payable to Steve Jenkins for $20.00 to cover costs.

“Thanks a lot. The fact that the DVD was not produced professionally is what gives it an authenticity that rings true.  Your dad is a remarkable guy and that really comes through. If you could send another copy to my home I'll deliver it to the museum at the beginning of September... Thanks again for allowing me to include the DVD in the Catskill presentation this year.” - D.R.

“I'm so glad you guys put this CD together. It was really great listening to your Dad speak about the history of Jenkins rods.  This is the kind of thing that is so easy to do with technology today but doesn't happen enough, especially from people who have something genuine to say from the heart.  I could listen to him for hours.” - K. L

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Current delivery time for Signature Cane rods is approximately 12 months. 

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Every effort is made to craft the finest rod possible. As a result, customers should expect to have to wait for their order to be completed. In fairness to anyone who would like to own a rod I have adopted the following policy:

If you would like to order a rod please contact me at rodmaker@sopris.net.  Orders are honored on a first received, first filled basis and require the receipt of a non-refundable $100.00 deposit. When your rod is near completion you will be notified and invoiced.  Shipping and insurance charges will be added to the final cost.  Payment is to be made by Certified Check or Postal Money Order. Personal checks require clearing the bank before shipping.  Upon receipt of payment the rod will be shipped to you. The rod will be registered to you and recorded. If, after trying every means possible to contact you, I do not receive a response after thirty days your rod will be offered to the next customer.

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