Just got a bamboo rod for free

Discussion in 'Bamboo, Fiberglass & Classic Reels' started by Matt Burke, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    Ok, this is how the story goes. I had an old Bell Boy 14' glass boat from the 60's, with trailer. It was in bad shape, but I used it to putt around on Martha Lake with a Min Kota. I also had a old Eveinrude 20 of the same era. It was in great shape and who ever had it, had tagged parts on the engine with part numbers, gear ratios, oil types, carb settings, etc. Probably a Mechanic or avid hobbist. Anyway, when I moved to these apartments, the landlord said, no recreational vehicles stored in the parking lot. Didn't know what to do and I was sitting around at school waiting for the kids to get out with several other weekend dads and got to telling this story about my boat. Turns out, one of the guys was in an old fiberglass boat club that rebuilt these boats. He had a friend who was looking to restore another. Boom, bang, they came and picked it up. Today I saw him again and he knew about my love of fly fishing. He said he had an old bamboo rod his dad had given him. He said he would never use it and gave it to me. His dad had picked it up in Japan right after the end of world war two. The handle is reversible from fly to spin. There are three different tips. Not sure about the order they go in for whatever type of fishing. It was in the box with what must have been an old type of drying agent. Anybody have a clue about this rod? Age, worth, what kind of line, reels that would match. I don't know dick about bamboo rods. Any help would be cool.
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    After WWII, the US occupation 'encouraged' Japanese industry to begin producing whatever products they could to generate badly needed cash flow. Given the abundance of bamboo growing there (not the highly-prized Tonkin cane from southern China preferred then and now by bamboo rod makers, but close enough) and cheap labor, the Japanese began cranking out bamboo fishing rods and boxed fishing outfits by the tens if not hundreds of thousands.

    How old is it? Who knows? It's most likely from the late 1940s to early 1960s. Their low prices made them attractive to buget-conscious fishers, but their quality and durability usually didn't encourage a second purchase. I suspect that many were given as gifts to young baby-boomer children by their veteran Dads. I didn't get a fly rod, but my Dad sent me a 4' long wooden motorboat in a similar box from Korea in about 1954.

    What's it worth? Probably not much. So many were made that eBay is choked with them. Most fail to make $10-$20, if they even get a single bid. Yours appears to be in minty condition, so it might be worth a bit more, perhaps as much as $35-$40.

    Will it fish? Well, technically, yes. But given the inferior quality bamboo and glues at that time, the lack of anything like a refined rod taper, and slam-bam construction techniques, it's probably not much of a caster. Even trying to cast it may result in damage to the old cane and glue from the stress of loading it. Even today's vastly-improved Asian bamboo rods are generally viewed with skepticism by caneiacs. In short, rods such as yours are mostly regarded as a curiosity than a practical fishing tool.

    Was me, I'd leave it as is and find the entire boxed set a place of honor in your redecorated living room. Might be a nice conversation starter with your next lady visitor ;)

  3. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    Thanks Kent. I was hoping to hear from you.
  4. I think it's neat! But I like old things.
  5. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

    That "high class" fishing logo is one of the coolest old-school designs I have seen in a while. Hilarious.
  6. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    I think the packaging and all that makes the thing worth it. It may not be a first class rod, but it would make a fantastic conversation piece. Something to show off to your buddies.
  7. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

    Actually, I think you should mount it on your wall as an "art piece". It would go well with the pontoon boat.
  8. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    I think I'm related to the logo.

  9. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    It is pretty cool, even if it isn't worth millions.
  10. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member


    Good thing it isn't a high quaility cane rod. You would be lost forever to the cane world. Best to stick to plastic rods. But if you do fall for cane there are plenty of us here that would take that old plastic crap off your hands for you.
  11. Mingo

    Mingo the Menehune stole my beer

    that's awesome bud..........I'll trade ya a bottle of sake for it ;)
  12. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member


    I had one of those when I was a teen. I wonder what happened to it. Not much of a fly rod, or spinning rod either, for that matter. Enjoy it for the cheap souvenier it is.


    Salmo g.
  13. Tim Lockhart

    Tim Lockhart Working late at The Office

    I agree..it's better off in your newly decorated living room than out on ebay fetching you a 10-spot. Whatever you do, don't fish smallies on the Cedar with it and don't let any meth whores near it...:ray1:
  14. Calvin1

    Calvin1 Member

    I would encourage you to fish it. I had one that I thought I'd hang on the wall. I didn't quite feel right about that, though. I did learn the hard lesson that you can't just leave them in the tube from one season to the next like a graphite rod. When I took my bamboo out the next season, it was destroyed. The little bit of moisture in the tube just ate the rod. So, fish it, but care for it as well.

    Great story, hope you enjoy the rod however you see fit.
  15. Davy

    Davy Active Member

    Cool story Matt, bet the boat is cool too

    While not worth much, these are what I first cast a fly with as a boy, my day shipped back several of these in the wooden boxes from Korea, I still have a few unopened. The cases are pretty cool when finished with a good varnish. I soon graduated to one of the old "True Temper" steel flyrods when my gramps came out from Missouri one of them years and gave me one of those, I too have the rusted broken pieces from that rod.
  16. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

    I get little doodads like this every once in a while. I just keep them. They mean as much to me as the rods I catch fish on.
  17. Rich Schager

    Rich Schager You should have been here yesterday...

    I caught my first steelhead on that same rod, and still have the rod case. My best friend's father in 1958 was a freighter captain making runs to Japan. He brought back 2 of these fly rods/boxes, one for his son and one for me. No fly reels though, so we stuck spinning reels on them. Baited the flies with worms & fished them until the rods warped too badly to cast any more...