Personal History and Philosophy



Growing up, I enjoyed the legacy of an established family of flyfishermen. My cousin, Pete Hidy, in addition to being a noted fly tier, was also the author of many books. Among them is the now famous Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph. It details tying and fishing the wet fly according to the methods of the late, great Pennsylvania fisherman Jim Leisenring.

peteHidySized.jpg  artFlymphSmall.jpg

Pete Hidy, author of The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph



















It was this family history that ultimately led to meeting and subsequent mentoring by two great California rod makers, Mario Wojnicki and Jim Schaaf. California and the San Francisco Bay Area have a long standing reputation for their many talented and noted rod makers as well as world class casters and fishermen.




Jim Schaaf in his shop



















San Francisco is also home to the now legendary Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club (GGACC). I had the good fortune of living right next to this famous facility.  The GGACC has always had a substantial influence on the design and building of fine bamboo rods. From the “golden era” of bamboo (1930’s to l950’s) GGACC stood at the very center of the development of revolutionary methods and designs for building bamboo rods - rods which would be lighter and cast further than anything seen before.  The GGACC became the testing ground for cutting edge design for such makers as E.C. and Walton Powell, R.L. Winston, and many others.



Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club, San Francisco





aerial photograph of Yosemite

I cannot overstate the value of these prominent figures in my development as a rod maker and understanding of the bamboo rod. I was able to meet and build upon the expertise of some of the greatest casters in the world, such as Mel Kreiger, Andre Puyans, Chris Korich, and the Rajeffs. I met and was influenced by the many legendary individuals involved in the design and construction of some of the finest bamboo rods ever made, such as Doug Merrick, Walton Powell, Gary Howells, Per Brandin, Jim Schaaf and Mario Wojnicki. These distinguished casters and builders have greatly helped me to refine and improve the casting characteristics of my rods.






At the very core of a fishing rod’s action is its taper. The taper will determine the rod’s ability to transfer and dissipate the energy supplied by the caster, “the heart of the cast.” After development in the laboratory conditions of the casting ponds, my rods have been tested and tempered in the real world conditions of the prolific blue ribbon waters of California’s streams and rivers; such as the Klamath, Trinity, Sacramento, McCloud and Pitt Rivers. My rods have also been extensively tested and used in the beautiful lakes and streams of the Sierra, including the Merced River in Yosemite and the Golden Trout Wilderness. My rods reflect the challenges of these varied environments.



Flyfishing author Ed Engle with
Hidy rod and fastwater rainbow.


My rods are primarily progressive tapers with moderate actions, making them suitable for both wet and dry style fishing. The lower and middle sections start to function early in lengthening the line while allowing for a very powerful cast. This makes for a rod that is fun and effective to fish in close, yet able to deliver long casts with ease. Coupled with a process of hollow building well into the upper part of the rod, the result is a combination of lightness, quicker recovery (dampening) and pleasure of fishing.



Traditional and timeless, contemporary and classic. 3-piece Hidy rod and beautiful Alchemy reel




I agree with the late rod maker Lyle Dickerson who said; “The relationship between a man and his equipment is very personal.” That is why I am honored and grateful for the consistent comments from my customers that their Hidy rods deliver that intangible and elusive quality to which my efforts are devoted: the right “feel”.


Big fight in a ranch pond near Mount Shasta


6 weight Hidy Rod fights a 5 pound stillwater rainbow trout below Mount Shasta



-- Jim Hidy, August 2003




Split Bamboo Rods by Jim Hidy

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