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New Zealand November 2011

I am not against golf.... It keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout.

Paul O'Neil



Welcome to My web site
I am in the process of building a web site for the first time. Be patient with me. This is harder than making rods. If you would like to reach me, use my e-mail jlbradleyrods@gmail.com or call me at 916-996-0020.



It was good to see so many old friends this last year on the river. Covid did change a lot of things.

Now let me bring you up to date with the Bradleys. The big news is that Diana, Sadie and I have moved to St. Anthony, Idaho. We are building a new garage and a shop for me. It should be completed soon. If you are fishing the Henry's Fork, give me a call and I will show you the rod shop. Do call first, I could be on the river.

Those of you that know me know that I have suffered with a bad back for more than thirty years. I had five vertebrae fused in my lower back in December. I am doing well, walking daily futher than I have walked in years.

I am sorry if I missed you at the Pleasanton show, that is just too far from Idaho. We have good friends there we will miss. The North West Fly tyer show in  Albany has been canceled again this year, we will miss our friend there too.

We will be at the Wasatch Intermountian Fly fishing show in Sandy Utah this year, April 7th-9th 2022. This is our first time there, if you are in the area stop by.




Hope to see you on the river.

Mike Lawson of Henry’s Fork Anglers, Last Chance, Idaho is now offering my rods.   

Mike's rod is a 8ft 4wt lite.

Check out Mike Lawsons website click here

Mike Lawson's Henery's Fork Anglers

I have a few photos of the rod you gave me. It is really a sweet rod and I did what you said, I really leaned on it with some very big trout. The best one was about 22”.  Mike


J. L. Bradley Bamboo Rod Company

Early in the 1970’s my fishing partner, Jim Chrisman, and I were convinced that we needed bamboo fly rods. Neither of us could afford any of the rods that were available, so we spent our weekend searching through garage sales in Paradise California looking for a great deal. We bought some nice rods, but none were made for the modern lines that were just starting to become available.  All the rods we could afford were long and heavy.

We were both handy and each of us had a shop. We were determined to make our own rods. We had a short chapter in McClane’s Standard Fishing Encyclopedia and Claude M. Kreider’s book The Bamboo Rod and How to Build It  to use as instructions. There were no dealers that sold bamboo rod making equipment as there is now, so we had to make our  own planing forms and gluing machine.

Walton Powell was making rods in Chico, and I had been buying flies from his wife, Erlene, for a couple of years.  I knew Walton had some of the components required, so off we went.

Walt would let us watch once in awhile and shared a few of his secrets but was not convinced that we were serious about our rod making.

Components were near impossible to find--especially bamboo. There had been an embargo against importing bamboo from China since 1951, and Walton was not going to part with any of his cane. I found a guy in Paradise that had some deep sea blanks that Walton had made years before but hadn’t finished.  I steamed these apart in the shower and used the strips to make my first rod. Walton realized that we were serious and began selling us some of his old style ferrules that he no longer used and some of his precious bamboo.

In the mid 1970’s a friend of mine took one of my rods to “Creative Sports,” Andre Puyans’ fly shop in Walnut Creek.  Andre wanted to meet me.  I took the only rod that was any good: a 7‘ 6’’, 6 weight; and drove the three hours to his shop.  He and Dave Inks, his partner, cast that rod for nearly two hours. Andy could throw the full line with EITHER hand. I had never seen anything like it.

I was getting ready to leave and Andy stopped me. “We need to talk.  Can you make these in other lengths? How many can I have?”  

Well, now I was in trouble. I answered “any length and all you want.”

“Well I want two 7’ 6”, two 7’9”, two 8’, and two 8’6”. When can I have them?”

“Soon” is all that I could think to say.

Ten years later I had made more that one hundred rods for Andy and had fished with him each year on the Henry’s Fork at Last Chance Idaho. He introduced me to a lot of great fisherman some that I had only read about. Andy was my constant critic of manufacturing technique and finish, and he never quit encouraging me. He even tried to improve my casting. I will miss him.

By 1985 I was burnt out, and returned to gunsmithing as my shop activity.

Twenty years later with all of the new interest in bamboo rods, I am now making rods again.