Oyster Bamboo handcrafted rods are made in the United States from a single culm of Tonkin bamboo, with duplicate tip sections made from the same culm position as the primary tip. Each rod is hand-split, planed, and engraved, with nickel silver reel seats and ferrules, plus agate stripping guides. Topped off with fine silk thread, Portuguese cork, and a powder-coated aluminum tube, these poles are ready to hit the river. The medium-taper rod loads easily for short distances but proves stiff enough for longer casts. No wonder they are the rod of choice of outdoorsman and former president Jimmy Carter (and plenty of other folks who know their damsels from their duns).
For the Master Series, additional options include 24-karat-gold inlay, a downlocking reel seat, a hand-engraved game scene or other specialty engraving, a rattan grip, and more. We recommend the 7-foot, 6-inch option with 4-weight fly line. These rods are heirloom-quality, but do not even think about saving them for future generations. They are made for angling now. If you really want your personal stamp on your fly rod, you can make your own with Bill Oyster. The six-day fly-rod-making classes book up almost a year in advance, so reserve early. ($4,600; oysterbamboo.com)