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Saving a Bit of History

by Ed Vanover

On August 21st of 2005 while coming home from work, a car crossed center line and struck me head on at 60 miles an hour. The next 3 weeks I spent in the hospital going thru surgery after surgery.  This has a way of changing your outlook on life and how you deal with people and possessions.  My wife and I used to fly fish the Mad River when we lived in Ohio, but since moving to Missouri 11 years ago we just could not find the time to get out together. The accident changed all that and in May of 2006 I, my wife and our youngest daughter (who is 13) went to the Jim Roger’s Fly fishing school as a family. Since then my love for fly fishing has returned and their understanding of my love has increased.

 

 

 

My fascination with fly fishing and bamboo goes back to when I was a kid; in fact my first fly rod was a Japanese made bamboo fly rod which I thought it was the greatest rod there ever was. At the time everyone else was fishing fiberglass spinning and bait casting rods. I never thought this would start a life long love for bamboo. Well so much for the background information, now for the real reason of this article: the preservation of some of fly fishing’s history.

 

Specifically, I'd like to address restoring and fishing of split bamboo fly rods.  The rod I am going to talk about today was a basket case that I purchased on EBay back in February of this year.

 

I believe it was a Phillipson Pacemaker 38, 9 foot, 3/2, 6 weight, moderate action rod This is because of the telltale purplish glue lines on the tip sections that Phillipson rods are known for. It is hard to tell from the above picture but the butt section of the rod had fine cracks in the bamboo, but the mid and tips were in sound shape.  So this rod consisted of taking the mid and tips sections and creating a new rod which is fishable and looks great.

 

So the final rod turned into a 6'-0" 2 piece, 2 tip rod, 4 wt. - medium action fly rod great for fishing small streams.  Rebuilt using the mid and tip sections from the vintage rod. All the sections are of the same length, 36 1/2".  The rod was completely stripped down and received 3 coats of spar varnish.

 

 The rod was then built using new top quality components consisting of: a new Silver Leonard style Cap & Ring with a Rosewood wood insert reel seat and a reverse well cork grip. The rod received 6 new snake guides, 1 stripper guide, 1 hook keeper and 2 tip tops, the ferrules are the originals to the rod and are tight and "pop" when they are taken apart.

 

The guides were repositioned to handle the modern fly lines of today. Then the  rod was wrapped in Hunter Green and double tipped with Black and Goldenrod at the ferrules, hook keeper and the butt guides.

 

Now I own a piece of fly fishing history and a rod that can be passed down to my children. And all it cost me is a little less then 200 dollars and a lot of time and love.  So the next time you find yourself with time on your hands, think about saving some of fly fishing history.

 

 

 

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