Video: Hoagy Carmichael on the Garrison Carmichael Bamboo Fly Rod Shop

My dad’s bamboo fly rod shop was always there, just out back. Some of my first memories are of the shop — the sounds of the compressor and the lathe, the smells of metal shavings and wood, the light angling in through the windows. As I grew older, I came to understand it had a time, and a provenance, all its own; it was from another age, and from the hands of two exceedingly talented bamboo fly rod makers: Everett Garrison and my dad, Hoagy B. Carmichael.

This past fall, my father gave the shop to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. It was generous of him, and very much like him: he cares about the history, and about the craft. He wants both to reach as many people as possible. I support this. But I also felt a sense of loss at not having the shop out back any more. I could sense he did too. (For past posts about the shop, read here and here.)

Before it was gone, I wanted to capture it, and its history. Over Thanksgiving, I shot a bunch of video of my dad talking about the shop, and have spent the past few months editing that video down to what you can see below. In my own way, it was my way of saying both how proud I am of my dad’s work, and of trying to help him fulfill his goal of making sure as many people as possible share an understanding of our beloved sport.

This one’s for you, Pops. For all that you’ve done: thank you.

(P.S. If you’re interested in a copy of the book, you can find used and new copies here.)

P.P.S. If you’re interested in the DVD,
you can find it here.)

Outtakes: Hoagy Carmichael Bamboo Rod Shop Interview

Photos of the Carmichael & Garrison bamboo fly rod shop before it was moved to CCFFCM.

fly fishing rod shop hoagy carmichael




graphite fly rod building lathe









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30 thoughts on “Video: Hoagy Carmichael on the Garrison Carmichael Bamboo Fly Rod Shop

  1. Excellent!!! I’m sure it will become part of the long history of fly fishing.
    Also enjoyed the out-takes.

  2. Ben,
    Thanks for the great videos. I was introduced to your dad’s and Mr. Garrison’s book by a fly fishing friend and bamboo rod builder back home in Sweden in the early 80’s, and have been intrigued by bamboo rods ever since. I bought the 2nd edition, but have yet(!) to plane strips and glue my own blanks. However, one day I will build that 212E…!

  3. I remember the room…the equipment…the hole in the wall when the rod was too long to fit on the table..and it got david started…..Wonderful work Ben…Best nick

    • Nick: Great to hear from you. And to hear you remember the room! Hope you’re well. Best, Ben

  4. As a former apprentice and ongoing friend and mentee, etc…I’m really delighted you captured this important place and time. Can’t wait for my kids to see it! Thanks Ben.

    • Barry! Thanks so much for writing. I miss fishing and talking with you. Let’s connect this summer?

  5. Dear Ben, I met you when you had just gotten home from being born. You were that tiny then. I was looking at some work your dad wanted to get done at the house. I was always deeply impressed with the deep reverence and integrity your dad had for his craft, and for the history and lore of rodmaking. His contribution will stand forever. Thanks for sharing this wonderful video.
    Bob Triggs
    Little Stone Flyfisher

  6. a wonderful story of time in history. Extremely enjoyed. Wood turned and planed meticulously as part of the craftsmen himself. a lesson for us all. it seems the more advanced we get the more we turn to the craftsmen whose work cannot be duplicated.

  7. Dear Ben
    Well done, thanks for sharing this moment with your father
    I enjoyed it very much
    Hope there something in preparation for his love of the Cascapedia river
    Marc Gauthier
    Founder President of the Cascapedia River Museum

  8. Members and visitors to the museum will be indebted to your fathers very generous donation to the museum. The Garrison / Carmichael legacy will be there for all to cherish.
    Thank-you !

  9. Benjamin,

    I have an anecdote non-fishing related that was memorable to me. Back in the early to mid 1960’s I caddied at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY. I had the pleasure of caddying a number of times for your father. He had a mop of hair a la Beatles and was easy going and kind to me. Being a fan of The Best Years of Our Lives in which Hoagy acted I reveled in the connection down through his son. Good days for me.
    Eddie- Littleton, CO- 2016

      • Ben,

        That’s awesome and appreciated. Not to be long-winded but a couple more factoids. Claude Harmon was Pro and Dave Marr was assistant for a period. Bob Carney was Club Manager- Art Carney’s brother, he of The Honeymooners fame. They were from Mt. Vernon right beside my town of North Pelham. Lots of celebrities would cruise through including Jackie Gleason and Mickey Mantle. For a teen caddy it was all pretty heady. Memory may be faulty but I seem to recall your father bringing me over by the sand traps to practice bunker shots before going out on a loop.

        No response expected. Thanks again for your response.


  10. Ben .. allow me please to sound like a squeaky hinge. I too found this video to be much more than merely an interesting view of a noted rod maker and history lesson. This was a masterful – and loving – work of Heritagekeeping. On that note, ‘Kudos, sir!’.

    I have cast and fished bamboo many times. I own one rod – an Orvis made in 1938 – that was my grandfathers and given to me by my closest fishing friend.. I fish it several times each year to ‘keep in touch’. I would own more but the expense is more than I can bear and I cannot make one due to negative affinity with the products of the process. However, I bathe regularly in the history and the memories of past and current masters of the sweetgrass venue.

    My sincere gratitude to you for making this film; sharing your father’s priceless memories; having a love for both – rich enough to create such an important connection to a priceless past. Thank YOU. – AOF

    • Arthur: Thanks for this kind note. Glad you liked it — and keep fishing that old Orvis bamboo! Best, Ben

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