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Phil Johnson of Esko, who makes bamboo fly rods, signs each rod. This is a 7½-foot, 4-weight rod in two pieces. (Bob King / rking@duluthnews.com)

Craftsmen have a passion for bamboo fishing rods

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ESKO -- When Phil Johnson was in college, making $3 an hour working summers at the paper mill in Cloquet, he saved enough to buy himself a bamboo fly rod.

"I bought an Orvis Battenkill," says Johnson, of Esko, now 63. "I literally fished the death out of it."

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