2019 Optimism, Rumination’s and “Savants” of the Bamboo Fly Rod Making Lifestyle



As I sit and write this, it’s January 2nd
As I sit and write this, it’s January 19th
As I sit and write this, it’s January 20th
As I sit and write this, it’s January 21st
As I sit and write this, it’s February 5th
As I sit and write this, it’s February 6th.
As I sit and write this, it’s February 10th.

As I sit and write this, it’s February 11th.

Is it too late to say Happy New Year and subsequently write a blog in it’s essence?



Great. I’ll continue assuming the end of January beginning of February is the line in the sand for new year musings.

2018 is WAY behind us

2019 feels different


Maybe because Oyster’s 20th anniversary was in 2018 and it felt like a short sprint towards some imaginary finish line milestone that forced us to ruminate for a moment resulting in genuine optimism. I’ll admit it…getting on the other side of 20 years in business was pretty cool…except that getting old thing. Boo on waking up and walking funny.

It’s almost as if turning 20 gave us the validation we needed to convince certain family members (no names mentioned) that we are NOT unemployed because we sign our own paychecks to dig in even harder and have a voice at the table.

We are full-time craftsmen.
This is not our hobby.
This is not our retirement business.
This is all we have known our entire adult life.
We are the American Dream.

Sorry…this is a bit out of context but PLEASE SEE BELOW…I just love watching Bill take command of a bunch of 4th graders…
I have “volunteered” Bill to teach the entire 4th grade STEM class fly fishing and how it relates to entomology…it’s only a couple times a month through May…yep…through May…the entire school year. This year’s program is called “BE THE FISH”. Don’t worry…I bring snacks help too!



Bamboo fly rod maker’s Widow STEM at WFESBill teaching WFES STEM – entomology and fly fishing

“I am now, and perhaps forever will be in AWE that we are able to EAT because we make bamboo fly rods.”

The bamboo fly rod business was NOT a substitution for the career that we once thought it was…we will call that “PLAN A”…

Behold “Plan B”…

While making Bamboo Fly Rods is part of a chosen fate that pays our bills, we prefer to think of ourselves as “savants of a very specific lifestyle” more than entrepreneurs.


So, with 20 long and arduous fulfilling and productive years behind us and the fact that I clearly cannot help myself, I will once again bestow the “internet world” with more unsolicited advice.

Below is a list of hard earned entrepreneurial “savant” ruminations spread out (not evenly) over the past 21 years:

-Stick and move – You can LOCK in on a goal and GO with the flow. What IS relevant and pressing today may not be your path for tomorrow all while heading towards the same end game.

-Struggling is the new sexy. 

-Children will always break through the fence and run loose just as you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner. Sorry…cowboy metaphor… see Bill’s father’s vocation in past blogs…

-Not all bad things are bad. This is where that door shutting and another opening trope has had serious traction in our lives. Bad things are simply an event and an opportunity. No truer cliche.

-Some bad things are just that…bad. Move on.

-Listen to your little voice. Seriously. Shut up and listen…she’s telling you something.

-It is never “just business”. It is personal. Do not concede to this this overused excuse for bad behavior. EVERYTHING is personal.

-Be fair in all respects. You owe this to yourself.

-Have your own standards and strive for them but do not impose these on others.

-Go with your strengths and go with the strengths of others around you.

-Never underestimate your client.

-Nothing of value comes easy. This may be the most overused yet misunderstood advice that is imperative to understand.

As I read that list for the inevitable spelling and grammar errors again, it feels as though I am speaking with a child …(specifically Cutter or Roni…speaking of GO with the FLOW but that is a book not a blog).  And, you know, there is a bit of truth in that considering the fact we “grew up” in this industry and learned to become an adult alongside the whole bamboo fly rod thing.


hand engraved bamboo fly rod by bill oyster bamboo fly rods - gold inlay rainbow trout
Us at 21 perhaps…Oyster’s best yet…photo by Jerry Mucklow

EMBRACE your competition – if you are the best, the heap is higher now
SHARE your knowledge whenever possible
CHERISH every bit off it – ALL of it…it’s all just a RIDE we are on….

As I sit and write this, it is February 12th, 2019.


The year is NEW.

2019 is different. Our experiences have culminated to this moment.

A moment that leaves us with mostly only optimism.