Testimonials for Oyster's Bamboo Rod Making Class

Testimonials for Oyster's Bamboo Rod Making Class

"I, for one, recognize the incredible amount of time, refinement, and expertise to offer what you do so effortlessly. For me personally, to have a week away from it all with a singular creative goal, provided a mental and quite frankly, spiritual break from the rigors of the world."


  • "Shannen and Bill, I feel like I have known both of you my entire life! Thanks, thanks, and more thanks for all! These classes get better and mean more to me each time I come to Blue Ridge...thanks for all you have done and taught me through the years! You have spoiled me, and I am beyond grateful."

    -Jim K.

  • "At the end of our class week...I can now proudly fish with a rod I made...I feel a deep sense of accomplishment and pride."

    -Lee (2019)

  • "It was a magical week with memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you so much for the gifts and talents you've shared this week."


  • "Thank you so much for last week's rod building class. I was looking at my second rod yesterday after we got home (and I had dried out some) and was amazed again at how good it looks considering the poor craftsmanship that I possess."


  • "Thanks for your help and positive encouragement during this weeks rod making class."


  • "I thoroughly enjoyed your fly rod making class and style of instruction. You and your team are second to none and I am super proud of my saltwater bamboo rod."

    -Greg M.

"I am a high-end furniture builder and have taken classes from the best tradesmen and experts through my years. The Oyster fly rod class I completed ranks as the best instructional class I have ever taken."


"Thank you for a great week, an amazing bamboo fly rod and memories for a lifetime."


"As always, you are great hosts- a tough week, but more rewarding than the other 51. I am thinking about 2013 already"

-Dr. Alex (April 2012 - 10 class club member)

  • "I just wanted to share with you and the Oyster team that the fly rod class was truly one of the most significant and enjoyable things I've been a part of. The rod is fantastic, but what impressed me most was the way you have refined each process."

    -Bruce Z.

  • "Thank you for an experience that will last for generations...The feeling of accomplishment after seeing my fly rod with the first coat of varnish is beyond words."


  • "My father has not stopped showing off his fly rod he made in your class this year."

    -Brent D.

  • "Thank you for sharing your talent and expertise."

    -Max and Sandy

  • "Just a small thank you for a most interesting week."

    -Harry, Tom, Buddy, and Robert

  • "Thank you for an awesome experience! See you again in 2023!"

    -Jim C.

  • "Thank you, guys, for an amazing fly rod building class. I'm already trying to figure out when I can come back."

    -Josh C.

  • "Thank you for 'carrying' me in making the rod. It's beautiful. I have a new respect for rod makers. I'll use it in Abaco next spring."


  • "Thank you to everyone included at Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods for a fantastic and life affirming week."


  • "Thank you for a great week of rod building. I'm headed out to break in my bamboo rod this weekend."

    -Steve K.

  • "Thank you for another wonderful, enjoyable, and relaxing week. It is truly a special time and made more so by your easy-going manner, humor, and especially patience."
  • "The whole experience (rod making, Cast & Blast inn, other participants, your family, and Riley) was what I hoped it would be."

    -Steve H.

  • "Oyster's facility located behind their showroom is state of the art, equipped with an extensive collection of customized bamboo fly rod building tools."

  • "Instruction is comprehensive and virtually one-on-one."

  • "My Oyster bamboo fly rod casts like a dream. I have fished five fine graphite rods for years. I never understood the attraction to bamboo rods. Now I do."

  • "My wife gave me the Oyster Bamboo Fly Rod class as a birthday gift. This is easily the best gift I've ever been given. I will remember the week I spent at Oyster the rest of my life as one of my favorite times."

"Thank you again for the most memorable trip I've ever had with my son. The rods are absolutely amazing but the memories even better."

-Glenn G.

"The week I just spent in Blue Ridge was one of the most enjoyable since I retired.

The course is perfectly planned and adapted so that even a novice like me can complete a rod in six days.

I cannot conceive of anyone offering a better product."

-Jack H.

"I want to send a big thank you to you and Riley for helping me finish my rod during your class. I am really delighted with it, and last weekend our son, Jack, was up from Nashville so I was able to give it to him. He loves the rod, and he appreciates your lovely hand engraving on the reel."

-Carol A.

"I wanted to let you know how moved I was, not only by the Oyster fly rod but the unbelievable hand engraving on it. I admire your passion toward rod building, engraving and the sport of fly fishing."


"What a magnificent week that was extremely well spent. Every day was filled with special and critical techniques ending in masterpieces. The fact that I could make what appears to be a near perfect rod - is not so much a testament to our individual abilities as much as it was due to the abilities of Bill and Riley to unselfishly transmit their knowledge, skill, and experience to each of us. The class was truly a masterpiece in every way."


"In this fast-paced world of constant motion you have created a special place that slows everything down for six days. I truly appreciate the art of an old-world profession that delivers something modern technology cannot come close to in quality or satisfaction."


  • "Having been in manufacturing for over 20 years I appreciate process and quality. Thanks again for such a fantastic week crafting my new bamboo fly rod...a once in a lifetime experience."

    -Doug R.

  • "Thanks for a great experience! You have a great thing going there and it was awesome to be a part of it for a week."

    -Doug T.

  • "Every aspect of the week was so well done. Your process was fascinating and easy to follow. Your product is exquisite. The rod fishes like a dream! It is way beyond my imagination."

    -Pat M.

  • "I looked forward to the class for a year and it was beyond better the second time."


  • "I really believe that was the most fun-filled and rewarding week I can remember in a very long time."

    -Tom H.

  • "I have been several things in my life, but I have never thought of myself as either an artist or craftsman. I had some anxieties about being able to summon up the dexterity to produce anything precise and delicate as a bamboo fly rod. I was quite pleasantly surprised by the result. I won't say I will never fish graphite again, but I think I have been properly 'bamboozled.'"
    -Chris E. (2013)
  • "I have never had so much fun in all my life-period! I have a beautiful split bamboo rod to show my efforts... I loved the class and you all will forever have a warm place in my heart."

    -Steve M. (2013)

  • "You guys are wonderful teachers."

    -Mark & Morie

  • "I hope to create another rod with my son."

    -Pastor Steven

  • "My bamboo fly rod turned out amazing."

    -Terry (2022)

  • "My casts are better with bamboo."


  • "Many thanks for your time and expertise in the bamboo rod making process. My 2 sons and brother enjoyed the process and time together."

    -John, David, Stephen, and Jeff

  • "It was truly an amazing experience and a week I will never forget and always cherish. You are the best in the world for good reasons!"

    -Jack R.

  • "Thank you for an enjoyable week. I will think of you every time I use my bamboo rod....His fly rod is a piece of art that is not only beautiful but functional."

    -Jason and Jo

"I took several rods with me. Other than the first day of tight pocket water fishing on the Elk River, my bamboo rod was the only rod I used. It is simply amazing. It casts like a dream. It loads and unloads line amazingly. In a word, the rod is sublime.

Now it is hard to imagine when I would want to use anything other than the rod you showed me how to make...and it caught fish. A lot of fish.

I cannot think of anything more perfect than catching trout with a rod you built on a fly you tied."

-David M.

"Thanks to you and the entire team for a special week. I feel blessed to have met new friends and to spend a week with my great friend. The detail and intensity it takes to pull this off is impressive and it takes a special commitment from a great team. Well done!"

-Scott S.

"Finally got to try the rod today even in the rain. Wow! I even let Rob from Mountain Town try it. His words were "Awesome, I can't believe this. It loads like a 9 foot with no energy at all. Smooth as glass and lands quiet. Wow! I have to get me one of these."

I could not be more pleased."

-Marty S.

"Thanks guys!!! This is fucking awesome!"


"I can't get over how you gave us information that likely took years of trial and error to gain. You made us build a rod we would be proud of. I really enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere."


"I can't tell you how I get a really prideful feeling when I can show someone my rod, and say "I made it," and have them stop, look at that lovely thing, and say "no way!""


"Bill and Riley have ruined me. I no longer want to use my graphite rods. The bamboo rod I built at Oyster is much better than that."


  • "Thank you! Not just for the class, hospitality, or the beer but for truly putting your heart into all of it. I feel like the recipient of the benefit of decades of blood, sweat, tears, work, and passion. Those experiences are hard to come by & I feel they are getting even harder to find as the speed of life quickens and money takes a firmer grip on everything. My new bamboo rod is among my most prized possessions, but the experience you created, the craftsmanship, the artistry and the mastery that came with it might be my favorite part."

    -Aaron V.

  • "I very much enjoyed my time up there in class and the company. The only problem was it was too short. Time flies when you have fun."


  • "I had such a great time making my bamboo fly rod. How could it be otherwise with such warm helpful folks."

    -Brian G. (2020)

  • "We loved the Oyster rod making class experience. We are discussing our next class."

    -Josh and Frank

  • "Few things in life exceed expectations but the Oyster bamboo experience did for me!"

    -Carl (2016)

  • "Bill and family, I wanted to let you know that you run a top-notch program. I'm still amazed that someone with absolutely no experience making bamboo rods leaves with a complete, beautiful, functional rod. I looked forward to each day and had such disappointment when we had finished."
    -Mark S. (2008)
  • "The finished bamboo rod was simply unbelievable. I find myself taking my completed rod out of it's case just to look at it in amazement.

    As it is, I feel that I created a masterpiece and a family heirloom."

    -Thomas F. (2008)

  • 12-11-2016

    Noontootla Creek

    "It works good."

    -Randy P.

  • "Enclosed is a pic of my catch on my new bamboo rod. Thank you, guys, for sharing your knowledge."

    -Randy P.

"While I came away with a family heirloom, to me the journey was just as important. How we started, the milestones along the way, the daily diet of bluegrass music, the peanuts, and of course the beer all made the adventure worthwhile when I was presented with the finished fly rod at the Saturday night presentation. I have pride of ownership knowing that I completed your course and made a superb bamboo fly rod that was a result of your hard work and years spent honoring the craft."

-Steve F. (2022)

"Thanks again for patience, guidance and assistance in building my bamboo fly rod. Everyone I have shown it to has been truly amazed at the quality in which it is built. A few even said they would like to take a class. I told them thanks to Bill, everyone in the class went home with a piece of art."


"Bill and Shannen, I want to thank you for a great week building my bamboo rod. The experience exceeded my expectations. I got to meet nice classmates, build a super bamboo rod, stay at the 'Shannen Hilton' and catch fish with my new rod on the river Saturday."

-John Y. (2009)

"I was in the 3/4-3/9/2024 rod making class and want to thank you for the absolutely wonderful experience! The weather finally cooperated here in MN, and I decided to christen my fly rod on Monday. I loved it! Caught about a dozen brown trout on midge dry flies."

-David U.

"Thank you again for such a wonderful opportunity to build another fly rod. Susan has already promised it to my grandchildren...of course after I have caught many fish with it! Not only does one leave the experience with a beautiful fly rod, but they leave with new friendships and memorable times. Bill and Riley ensure that the most artistic inept of us leave with a beautiful bamboo rod. The family atmosphere created during and after the session cannot help but bring the most hardened of the students into the family. "

-RA (2011)

"Bill and Shannen, thank you for one of the most unforgettable weeks of my life. I'm so glad to have spent the past week with you two and your son. I gained an education in what a family should really be like. I found myself bragging to Val about "Bill and Shannen's commitment to their son and each other." Thank you for your patience with all of us during class! You were able to make us all feel at home and welcome. Please send us photos of your little girl when she arrives. Feel free to write and send us pictures any time the urge strikes you."

-BL (2009)

  • "I wanted to tell you how much my husband loved the bamboo fly rod class. Thank you for making his experience such a memorable one!"

    -Kimberly C.

  • "I came to your class to learn to make a bamboo fly rod. I left having learned about myself. I have pride of ownership knowing that I completed your course and made a superb bamboo fly rod that was a result of your hard work and years honing your craft."

  • "Thank you for such wonderful experiences that my husband keeps coming back to your fly rod making class (now I have the house to myself)."


  • "A great week of beer, sandwiches, & bamboo!" "Better than Disney world!"

    -April 4-9, 2022, students

  • "I wanted to thank you again for the most memorable trip I've ever had with my son. The fly rods are absolutely amazing, but the memories are even better. I would really like to return at the end of the summer 2024. I want to bring my best friend."

  • "I enjoyed the week immensley. It's nice to see another business that understands the concept of excellent customer service."


  • "Thank you, guys, for an awesome week crafting my new bamboo rod. The second time around was just as much fun as the first. I really appreciate your patience with me and my dad. It was a memorable time together for us. You have a great team there and provide a great experience."

    -Bart R. (2023)

  • "What an incredibly experience! Ten knuckleheads started at zero on Monday and left with a beautiful bamboo rod, ready to fish, on Saturday. My classmates and I couldn't stop talking about how awesome the class was. On the stuff side of things, there's the whole fly rod building process that is so well thought out and executed; the top notch facilities (workshop, Cast & Blast inn, the store, and its quality inventory); the tools both their quality and the way they were organized. Plus, the coffee, kegs, chess, and darts...everything was top notch. Making things run that smoothly and seem so easy takes a lot of thought, experience and hard work."

    -Scott B.

  • "Thanks so much for a great week of fly rod building. I am quite proud of my new rod."


  • "Bill, I had one of the best weeks of my life building my new fly rod. Thanks for an impactful, life changing week. You and Shannen have built something very special at Oyster...I hope you realize the impact you, your business and most importantly your family make on the students. The way you run the class, the people in Oyster, spouses and family related to the class, create a foundation and blueprint that made us all feel like kings...Seriously, you have a magical shop that I hope to enter again, but one thing for sure, I will never forget...thank you! Even though I was a long way from home, I felt at home all week."

    -Jim (2014)

"My sons and I thoroughly enjoyed your recent fly rod course. It was a great father-son experience, staying upstairs in the Cast & Blast Inn made it more enjoyable. Thanks again for a great week."

-Carl D. (2018)

"I wanted to express my gratitude for a wonderful experience in your bamboo rod making class. The class far exceeded my expectations and that is a rare thing these days. Besides creating a beautiful working piece of art, just as valuable were the memories created. The week spent in class was the longest uninterrupted time I've had with my son in several years and I can't put a price on that."

-Ken H. (2018)

"My dad has taken two of Bill Oyster's fly rod making classes over the past few years. His bamboo rods are nearly his most prized possessions and the classes, his most treasured experiences. As I am sure for many fly fishermen, being out on a river with nothing but a fly rod grants my dad peace and happiness."

-Kara S.

"Bill and Riley are incredible teachers. I was never worried about how my rod would turn out. Jonathan had told me that everyone would complete a beautiful bamboo fly rod, and Bill and Riley would make sure that happened. I am so proud of my rod! I am not afraid to take my gorgeous rod out in a boat. I made it, I am going to use it. It was also so refreshing and touching to see such a harmonious place of business."

-Priscilla V.

  • "Bill, I had an absolutely wonderful time at my rod making class. It was a special experience just watching you engrave and teach. You are a true example of a master craftsman and teacher."
    -Renno P.
  • "It was a week of hard work, but the sense of accomplishment to stand with this class holding the bamboo rod! Josh and I both hope we can experience this again someday."

    -Frank R.

  • "My new rod was a pure joy to cast. Your instruction over six days was again a proven positive experience."

    -Jim (7'6" 3wt)

  • "We want to express gratitude for everything during the March bamboo rod making class. Our relationship started as a business relationship but you all would never let it end there because that's not who you are...You all are at the apex of your chosen field of work and extremely talented, but more importantly, you are friendly, kind and caring."
    -T.K. & Viva
  • "Attending your classes are one of the most remembered activities I have experienced! Mark and Mick keep telling me they are glad I talked them into attending."

    -Boyce G. (2015)

  • "From beginning to end, the bamboo rod building process was refined, clean, and quite simply, just so much fun."

    -Matthew G.

  • "It's not just knowledge and bamboo rods. You guys build lasting friendships."

    -Jordan I. (2023)

  • "Thanks for coming up with a way to let all that goodness spill onto others. I'd pass the offering plate but, hey, it's your church."

    -John S. (8' 5wt 2015)