The Makers

David Van Burgel and Kathy Scott share a life immersed in bamboo. So much so, that they received the Bellinger Award and were inducted together into the Catskills Rodmakers Gallery. In additional to their rodmaking and related program offerings, they were cited for their community outreach through SuperBoo, a popular public event designed to future knowledge of bamboo. 
Respected on a national level, David began making split cane fly rods in 1997 to help assure the continuance of a craft that has long roots in Maine; Kathy wrote her first book to document the process. By her third and fourth books, she was making fly rods, too. They’ve taught rod-making for the Catskills Fly Fishing Center and Museum in New York since the inception of the class in 2001, and have taught rodmaking for the DownEast Lakes Land Trust in Maine They speak about the history and craft of bamboo rodmaking at fly fishing shows and events across the country.
As anglers concerned about conservation, both are active in Trout Unlimited and the Atlantic Salmon Federation. Van Burgel signature fly rods raise funds for river restoration, including the Penobscot, Rapid River, and the Au Sable system, and he serves on the National Leadership Council for TU. Kathy Scott’s writings appear in a variety of angling and conservation magazines. Her work was highlighted as part of the “A Graceful Rise” exhibit at the American Museum of Fly Fishing. 
When not off exploring remote places, they can be found near their beaver ponds and forest home in Mercer, Maine. Michigan natives, they call the family farm near Cadillac home, too.

Frank Payne began building fiberglass and graphite rods in the early 1980’s and was introduced to bamboo by Dave Brandt (legendary fly tier and an illustrator of A Master’s Guide to Building A Bamboo Fly Rod by Everett Garrison & Hoagy B. Carmichael).   Frank began attending the Rodmakers Gatherings and filming Hoagy Carmichael demonstrating how to build a bamboo fly rod using Everett Garrison’s methods and equipment.  Clips were posted on Facebook periodically during that three year project.  Frank’s video of Hoagy’s detailed explanation of his donation (which includes Garrison’s tools) to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum can be viewed in the museum’s rod shop.  Frank enjoys innovative approaches to bamboo rod making such as using ceramic guides and alternative ferrule materials.  He designs his own tapers and most of his rods are hollow built.  He also enjoys creatively modifying heavy old low-cost bamboo rods into modern fishing tools (“Franknrods”).  Although strictly an amateur, he does occasional repair work in exchange for donations to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center.   Frank’s rods won the 2018 Hardy Cup (cast by Bryn Brode) and the 2018 Demarest Challenge.  Frank is frequently asked if he is related to the great rodmaker, Jim Payne.  Despite being counseled that, as a fisherman, he is obliged to lie, Frank normally confesses there is no known connection.  

Aaron Wiener has been trying to make a nice rod since about 2005. Each rod gets a little closer.
I live and work in Western North Carolina.  When I’m not making rods I work in a retail bakery in Asheville, NC. I enjoy fishing for trout on the tail waters in East Tennessee. Recently I’ve taken to Musky fishing in the ditch down the road from the house.

Tony DiCicco (The Tippet Boss):
I made my first fly rod – fiberglass – from a kit at age 14. Having had to rasp the cork without a turning machine, I somehow knew that would ultimately change! After the army, I wanted a fly shop, so I sold my first Harley to acquire the basic inventory. Had latest of everything – G.Loomis, Daiichi, Renzetti, etc., but decided that bamboo was the direction I wanted to take.
Ran into Grahame Maisey (Belvoirdale/Gaelic Supreme Hooks) again after a 25-year hiatus, and he has been dragging me, often kicking and screaming, to many of the shows I attend. I took an early retirement from Boilermakers in order to start over with producing reel seat hardware and ferrules, etc. and the occasional bamboo rod, but never lost interest in fly fishing.
I created The Tippet Boss as a personal solution for handling the mess of leader material (Chameleon) which was always unraveling from my vest pockets.  My girlfriend suggested I market it through social media, initially against my will, but that is what brought me into contact with so many of the people who would eventually become my close friends.
I tend to avoid crowds as much as possible – especially when fishing – but am thankful for having met so many good people and travelled to so many interesting places because of fly fishing. Now, with renewed interest, I plan on creating and producing the highest quality components for bamboo rod makers, maybe some rods and reels as well … and guitars! Photo Credit: