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Pentalux® Rods

   This remarkable design combines the attributes of the quad, pent, and hex geometries found in traditional bamboo rods to produce a distinctly smooth and 

exceptionally accurate fly rod. Please inquire about an opportunity to cast one.

   We fly-fish for many reasons; the waters, the surroundings, the travel & time away, the fish, the friendships, the memories made, and those remembered. All part of it but if I had to reduce it to one thing; It's all about the fun. SMITH Pentalux® rods are made to further maximize that enjoyment in one of life's greatest pleasures.

   I strive to make the finest and smoothest casting bamboo fly rods possible. This site is intended to provide some general information on the rods offered and basic services provided but please feel free to contact me directly should you have any further inquiries. Thank you again for your interest in my Pentalux® rods.

"The Smoothest Action"

Stay up to date with the latest information on new builds and available SMITH Pentalux® rods, vintage rods & reels as well as upcoming events.

About The Maker:


Rob Smith began building bamboo fly rods in the late 1990s and his first original tapered rod in 2001. Having built a variety of traditional 4, 5, and 6 sided fly rods, he made the first Pentalux® rod in 2007 and has been evolving the design ever since.

Rob's taper preferences are directly influenced by the many classic rods he has had the opportunity to own over the years. Rods from such makers as Paul Young, F.E. Thomas, Jim Payne, Everett Garrison, Robert Crompton, and others. Those that were most pleasing to cast and use were well documented and added to an ever increasing private library of fly rod tapers.

His building style and continued development in the craft was greatly influenced by a gifted old three-ring binder that housed the rod making manuscript of noted rod maker Robert W. 

Crompton, the earliest known maker of 5-strip bamboo fly rods in America. Smith published a book on this extremely influential rod maker in 2018 that is titled: Robert W. Crompton: Father of the Five Strip Bamboo Fly Rod. Through the research on the book he became friends with Jim Uslan the son of famous rod maker Nat Uslan, the first to ever offer five-strip bamboo fly rods commercially. Jim shared many of his fathers original tapers as well as Lou Feierabend's modified taper charts along with those that Nat originally received from Robert Crompton himself. These taper charts have had a distinct influence on Rob's designs.

Currently finishing up a new book on The Uslan Rod, with the research for combined with owning all of Lou Feierabend's remaining bamboo rod stock, there are likely very few rodmakers who have spent more time studying pre-embargo built five-strip bamboo fly rods. There is undoubtedly even fewer who have a better understanding of classic and modern taper designs particularly as they relate to the asymmetrical fly rod.

More information can be found on the maker in the book Radical Rodmaking: Innovative Bamboo Fly Rods & Their Makers, with Chapter 6 on Rob Smith.

Tapers: C, R and T

They say regardless of the craft or form of art that we stand on the shoulders of the masters who came before us. It certainly applies to Pentalux® rods and tapers. Much of what goes into a Pentalux® is the direct influence of previous makers works with the internal tapers of many Pentalux® rods formulated from some of the more influential rods that I have had the pleasure to cast and fish. After decades of miking rods and documenting those most notable, I have several notebooks full of exceptional rods by: Gillum, Payne, Leonard, Powell, Edwards, Young, Crompton, Carlson and many others. These have all had there effect on my Pentalux® rod tapers and are often referred to when fulfilling a custom rod request.

At this stage, I find the majority of my Pentalux® rods fall into one of three general taper shapes or designs. They are the C, R and T shapes or tapers. These are the tapers used in the majority of Pentalux® rods and are noted in the model number of each one.

Variations of slope as well as dimensions are further modified in each rod depending on length of rod and specific action sought but these are the three general actions I work with. The R tapers are used most often and would be considered a progressive action with similar designs as those found in Paul Young rods. Having had the pleasure of miking Martha Marie's own Perfectionist and owning many others, original Paul H. Young rods have a direct influenced on the R series.

The more classic tip action or dry fly action is found in the T rods. This taper was derived from an F.E. Thomas fairy rod and generally only built up through 7' as prefer the overall action and abilities of the R series once any longer. With a small rods limited casting radius, these tapers excel in a short light-line rod. As a traditional dry fly rod this action certainly has its set of fans too.


The C taper is a convex design. I first noted it in a Sam Carlson 5-strip fly rod. This is a very capable action and although I've used it on rods as short as 7' it is what I mainly use for the heavier line weight rods. Similar tapers were used by Lou Feierabend when he made 5-strip rods. The action is generally credited to Robert Crompton but this taper has had many modern advances from those early charts. This is the taper I use for saltwater rods. It was first tested on Hawaiian bonefish. A short article about the rod can be found at bonefish on the brain.

These are the primary actions that I modify when making Pentalux® rods.

They are reflected in the model number of a rod as the first letter after the

numerical notation of rod length. The second letter references the

Pentalux® shape (see the About section). For example the 673TT is a

6' 7" 3 wt. (double taper) rod with T tapers and the T rod shape. 

Hollow-fluting has almost become standard with Pentalux® rods and

those models that have an H are so built. For example, the 804HRS is an

8' 4wt (double taper) rod that is hollow-fluted with progressive semi-

parabolic R rod tapers and built on the S Pentalux® shape. It should be

noted that varying degrees of wall thickness and internal taper are also

used when hollowing as so determined by the overall length of rod and

final action desired. Such subtleties, while impossible to represent in a

model number are retained in the serial number.

Every Pentalux® rod has a serial number stamped into the cane itself.

This is used to help in the building process and is also part of the

Pentalux® rod signature (as well as a notation of grade). A matching set of numbers can be found on the butt and both tips of all standard grade

Pentalux® rods. Serial numbers followed by an F represent Field Grade rods (also so marked on label and by tube grade). It should be noted that

rods without numbers or those only stamped TEST are just that and should not be considered a certified SMITH Pentalux® regardless of how well they may cast.


The other purpose of the serial number is for later reference as all taper variations are documented. Should someone want to have a rod replicated I can refer to the original taper and any variations found in that specific rods original build notes.

Pentalux® rods is a registered Trademark. The registered SMITH Pentalux® logo is stamped in the butt cap or base of every certified Pentalux® rod as well as in the brass collar of all Standard Grade rod tubes. I use a basic aluminum capped tube for most Field Grade rods with the stamp located on the top of the tube cap. Some of my earliest Pentalux® rods did not have a stamped tube but have a SMITH Pentalux™ logo of the same design in the butt cap or reel seat hardware. The only difference being the ™ marking used prior to the trademark being granted.

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