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Bamboo Fly Rods

Pentalux® Rod Models

SMITH Pentalux® rods are essentially an asymmetrical pentagon made up of five triangular strips of perfectly tapered bamboo. One 92˚, two 73.5˚ and two measuring 60.5˚ from the apex to the enamel or outside flat of each bamboo strip are combined to make a SMITH Pentalux®. There are two variations to the Pentalux® rod geometry that I make depending on the overall action desired. 

The Pentalux Shapes

The Pentalux® rod action cannot be emulated with traditional 6-strip hex, 5-strip pent or 4-strip quad bamboo rod designs. What makes the Pentalux® action so unique is the blended dynamics of the strips. As previously noted, there are three different triangular strip shapes that make up the five sides of a Pentalux® rod. When properly cut the inside walls of each triangular strip match up exactly, with identical tapers, but notably different and unique to the Pentalux® are the varying exterior flats with the 92˚ strip being the widest and quickest tapering having a greater rate of change relative to the other two, with the 60.5˚ strips the most narrow and relatively slowest taper of the three having a lower relative rate of change (slower taper). These differences in outside flat dimensions yield different bending characteristics and when combined in the Pentalux® rod, provide a taper complexity with a dynamic rod action that cannot be emulated with traditional rod shapes. These along with the traditional, P designated, five-strip pent are the rod shapes that I use in making Pentalux® rods.

Pentalux T Models

The first design, now referred to as the T shape, produces an improved strength-to-weight ratio to that of the traditional bamboo fly rod.

As the design has evolved, with most rods now hollow-fluted and with the effective ability to modify tapers, these T rods are generally made only in the largest 8/9wt rods and conversely with the lightest solid built 3/4 wt rods.

Pentalux S Model

The majority of Pentalux® rods are made on what I refer to as the S shape. This configuration is slightly wider than it is tall and has received many accolades as a trout rod. The Primary advantage to the design is in the practical geometry. The rod has a strong tendency or preference to only flex in the casting plane. Flexing evenly back and forth along the casting plane with tips that do not collapse or "roll over" as the sides are significantly stiffer.

If you have ever flexed and rolled a rod section to find its spine, the same technique will demonstrate that a Pentalux® does not want to roll off the guide plane or flat and once it does it will only settle on the back side of the rod - it will not sit or rest on the side flats of the rod. When properly tapered, this results in one of the smoothest casting fly rods that not only tracks exceptionally well but is extremely accurate too. These rods effectively have a front and and back, flexing evenly in both directions with a very fine edge that can be further used to advantage as one gains experience with the action and its expanded abilities as an angling instrument. This is true for both the T and S sections but it is most pronounced in the S.

This attention to detail as it relates to the flexing properties of rod shapes has also been applied to the finish. All Pentalux® rods are now oil finished using a blend of proprietary formulas beginning with Jim Payne's first coat formula and a combination of both phenolic resin and collodial based formulas to produce a water-shedding protective barrier that is exceptionally durable and beautiful - reminiscent of the finest English gun stocks. 

All Pentalux® rods are wrapped with 00 silk thread tipped with yellow kevlar and black 0000 silk thread. Guide feet are all double-wrapped at the edges. F.E. Thomas, Hardy Bros. and others double-wrapped the top or back edge of each foot, as this is where most guide wraps first fail, but I double-wrap the front edge of the foot as well - all with one piece of thread. I am the only maker in the world who takes the time to do this. These wraps, along with my original asymmetrical rod shapes and trademarked SMITH PENTALUX® logo stamped into the the hardware, are the makers mark found on all original PENTALUX® rods.

Popular Models-

These are some of the more popular Pentalux® fly rods I have made. Should there be a length and line weight not listed, it would be my pleasure make it for you. Please note all Pentalux® rod orders are delivered with a 5 day inspection period in which time the rod may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price.

- 673TT   6' 7" 3/4wt - Weighing just over 2 oz.'s complete, this has become a popular rod for yamame and brook trout. It fishes well with a dt3 or wf4 line. 

- 706CS   7' 6wt - Finished weight appx. 3 1/4 oz.'s Smooth, powerful and accurate. Derived from a Sam Carlson five-strip rod. Great rod for night fishing in tight quarters and big fish.

- 712TT   7' 1" 2wt. - Extremely fine tips - made to order only. Very light action

rod for the small fish.

- 733HRPS   7' 3" 3/4wt - Progressive action - very capable. Often offered as a

2/2/2 with matching tips and two butt sections - one an S and the other a T

with the T exhibiting a very dry fly action with the S being deeper flexing.

- 764RS   7' 6" 4wt - Initial tapers from Martha Marie Young's original

Perfectionist built by Paul in 1951. A legendary taper and rod action made as

a Pentalux®.

- 765RS & 765HRPS   7' 6" 5wt - Solid built weighs approx. 3.5 oz.'s and just

over 3 oz.'s when hollowed (765HRS). Initial tapers from a favorite Paul Young

built Martha Marie model rod. 

- 804HRPS   8' 0" 4wt - Hollow-fluted internal tapers. Standard Pent butt

section with S tips. Finished weight with nickel silver cap and ring hardware

approx 3 1/4 oz. (also known as 804HRS)

- 805RTS   8' 0" 5wt - Hollow-fluted R tapers with a T shape butt section and

S tips - this rod is made in several configurations depending on final action

desired: 805RPS, 805HRPS & 805HRTS.

- 807CT - 8' 0" 6/7wt Convex taper. The Maine Special, a great rod for

landlocked salmon and lake trout. Made in several configurations. 

 - 834HRPS   8' 3" 4/5 wt - Hollow-fluted with internal tapers and a traditional

pent butt section with S shape tips. Finished weight approx. 3 3/4 oz.'s w/ cap

and ring hardware.

- 868 HXPT   8' 6" 5.5oz. finished wt - A hollow-fluted version of the original

848XT with a traditional Pent butt and T tips.


Options: Finish, Grade & Series

There are several options available with SMITH Pentalux® rods. Rods are made both natural and flamed. Hardware is offered blued or bright. I offer a variety of wood options for reel seats with cherry, mahogany and 300+ year old chestnut from the floorboards of an early New England church are used most often with a variety of others available. Choice of phonelic resin varnish or several oil finishes. Rods come standard with a Fuji Torzite stripping guide and tip tops with fine agate stripping guides optional and in a variety                                                                                        of color choices. All SMITH Pentalux® rods are wrapped with brown 00 silk                                                                                              threads and your choice of tipping with Kevlar (yellow) and 0000 black silk as                                                                                          standard.

                                                                                       Standard Grade SMITH Pentalux® rods come with two tips and your choice of                                                                                          either flamed or a natural cane tone rod under either a varnish or an oil finish.                                                                                          Standard Grade rods come in a black powder-coated brass capped tube and                                                                                          a Pentalux® labeled rod sock w/ stiffener. Ferrule plugs are optional. 


                                                                                       Field Grade SMITH Pentalux® rods are generally offered when available. These                                                                                        rods are built on same tapers and designs as the Standard Grade rods but                                                                                              have minor blemishes or issues that prevent them from being completed as a                                                                                          Standard Grade rod. Field Grade rods are offered in both 2/1, 2/2 and 2/2/2                                                                                              configurations housed in an aluminum rod tube with a basic rod sock.

Signature Grade rods are also offered when available.  Please note that I am no longer offering a Ramapo Grade rod. These were 2/1 rods with orange/black variegated thread with a basic thread wrap at guides that were not double wrapped at the front and back edges of the guide feet and were not double tipped as the Standard and most Field Grade rods are.

The latest series of rods that will officially be made available in March of 2023 are the new SMITH-Feierabend rods that are being finished out on the original remaining stock of Lou Feierabend's 5-strip bamboo rod blanks. See the For Sale section for more details. 

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