Bamboo Rod, looking to find out what i have!

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by NeilZ, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. NeilZ

    NeilZ New Member

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    My dad received this rod some years ago as payment for some work. It has only left the aluminum case maybe 6 times in 15 years. (3 times today)

    I am posting here as the writing on the rod says Northwest Fly Anglers on it, and a persons name. It was obviously made in 1983. I would love to know if there was a way to find out who built it and the general value. It is in very good shape. I have had it looked at by local fly shops and they are all very impressed by it. It seems a little heavy for our local streams and rivers, so the fly shop guys suggested I find a forum closer to bigger fish.

    They estimate it at a 8-9wt, it is a 2pc 9' rod, with the second tip. All is in great shape. When my dad received it, it had one broken eyelet, but had it reparied and the local guys can't find which part was reparied. (so a good job).

    If you guys/gals have any idea on this, please let me know.

    Thank you.

    Neil
     
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Interesting rod. It's length suggests it was intended for big fish in big water (long bamboo rods are HEAVY and thus not a good fit for someone fishing for small trout all day). The ferrules look to be machined instead of drawn, suggesting it was not an inexpensive rod. Judging from the one photo that shows it, the reel seat appears to be uplocking, not the more usual downlocking design normally found on bamboo rods, especially heavy ones. Can you post the person's name written on the flats? Are there any other markings on the rod? A label on the tube? Any additional information would be helpful.

    K
     
  3. NeilZ

    NeilZ New Member

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    Thanks for the reply Kent,

    the attached pics show some more of the details. The persons name and town is there, as well as the # 415 marked right by the handle. There is no additional markings on the tube or the rod (it has nice foam bumpers in the cap though).

    Neil
     
  4. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Thanks for posting the additional pics. It seems clear to me that you have a custom built rod (as opposed to a production rod from a maker that builds hundreds or more rods every year.) The overall workmanship and general appearance of the rod points to it being made by a very competent craftsman.

    The Northwest Fly Anglers is still in operation in north Seattle so a great place to start sleuthing might be an email to the club to see if their records might indicate just who Trevor Gage was and why he was honored by the club. Further research might also determine who the club officers might have been in 1983 and if any are still living. A little more detective work to connect with them might shine some light on where they got the rod and who made it.

    One of the possible local makers that immediately comes to mind is Seattle's own Ray Gould. Ray built rods in the north Seattle/Shoreline area for years as well as wrote several books on bamboo rod building. Examples of his work are highly prized by collectors. Ray loved/s to fish the lakes in the Kamloops area so it's not too farfetched to imagine that one of his rods ended up in that part of the world. Some folks here might be able to connect you to Ray to see if he might recognize the workmanship and printing on the rod. Even if it's not his, he might have some suggestions about who may have made it. Ray's long since retired and I'm not sure if he has email these days or what the best way is to reach him.

    Hope this helps,

    K
     
  5. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    NeilZ,

    Your rod without a doubt is a #415 modified, designed by the late Dawn Holbrook of Seattle, WA. Dawn was a founding member of the Northwest Fly Anglers, and he was a bamboo rodmaker. It's difficult to say who made the rod. Dawn and Andy Hall held bamboo rod making classes every winter from the 1960s until I don't know how recently. And the first rod every amateur rod-making student built was usually a #415, a nine foot rod for a nine weight line, solid built. The taper is very similar to an E.C. Powell. Since the club's name is on the rod, I'd guess that they had the rod made by one of the members so they could present it to Trevor Gage.

    The value of the rod depends on its condition, if the sections are both straight and sound. And then it depends on who made it. Most were made by amateurs like me who made one or two rods, and the sentimental value is far greater than their worth in the bamboo marketplace. Some amateurs went on to make many rods and have established a reputation for their work, and those rods are worth more. Lastly, 9' 9 weights are not very popular, and that reduces the value. Beyond that I have no idea what your rod is worth.

    They are good casting fly rods, and the #415 is a good steelheading rod; that's what I used mine for.

    Sg
     
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I didn't know Dawn was involved with NWFA but he was definitely one of the founders of the Washington Fly Fishing Club (WFFC). I've just been reading 'Backcast', a book written about the first 50 years of WFFC, and he appears in many of the photos from the club's early days.

    K
     
  7. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Yes, Dawn also helped found NWFA in the early or mid-70s when the WFFC was having some growing pains. There was talk of limiting membership, but Dawn thought there should be a place for everyone interested in fly fishing, so he helped start NWFA.

    Sg
     
  8. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Interesting. As you likely know, WFFC does not allow women as members, a less-than-quaint anachronism which in this modern day has cost them more than a few prospective male members who wanted to join with their wives. It continues to be a sticking point with many members, some of whom vote with their feet and quit to join other, less restrictive clubs - like NWFA. I wonder if Dawn was one of those who found the club's male-only membership a bit too restrictive?

    K
     
  9. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Kent,

    I don't recall Dawn saying anything specific about the WFFC male only restriction, but he was quite open about NWFA being open to men and women and being inclusive of families. Dawn certainly wasn't radical, as I recall him approving greatly when I got a hair cut after growing out my sorta' Afro that was quite stylish at the time. Dawn was highly opinionated about very many things, and he never held back when it came to expressing them, even if they just didn't make sense. For example: "The worst bamboo rod is still better than the best fiberglass rod." That just didn't add up when you stack up those crummy Japanese cane rods that often weren't even Tonkin cane and a host of HB and Montegue sticks that weren't a fraction of the performers of the basic Fenwick series of the 1970s. Heck, Dawn even sold Fenwick FF85s out of the back of his truck at the club's fly casting classes (along with Pflueger 1495 reels and Ashaway lines) when he was instructing.

    He was an interesting personality to say the least, and his rod designs are wonderful, easy effort, casting machines.

    Sg
     

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