advice for first time bamboo guy

I recently came across an old Montague Rapidan 8'6" labeled "medium trout" that i found on a local craigslist deal. I was pretty stoked as I know nothing about bamboo rods and it is in really good shape. It seems like alot of people are putting new guides on these old rods to cast modern lines. I know the Montague was a production rod, but i really like the way it feels and would like to fish it. The best part of the deal was the guy also had a bucket of old reels and line, including 2 Hardy LHR lightweights, the whole package only cost me 100 bucks including the rod, in the original sock and tube! The reels look to be pretty old, but in very good shape so i'd like to put the smaller one on the Rapidan and fish it, probably only for special occasions.
I think Cortland makes a synthetic silk line? or should i just put new guides on it? I know nothing about rod restoration, but i would like to do this myself. Are there any books out there that you guys can recommend? thanks alot.- Brian

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
If it really is in good shape, then leave it alone. The older guides won't adversely affect the rod's performance - I have a number of old cane rods with smaller guides and they cast modern lines just fine. On the other hand, the chances are excellent that a poorly done 'restoration' will significantly reduce the rod's value. Even though the Monty was a production rod (and nearly all old cane rods were), the beauty of old cane rods is that if it's in good to very good condition, you'll likely be able to fish it for years before selling it and more than recover your original investment. 'Restoring' it will only reduce it's value to a potential future buyer.



aka Dave Hoover
Here's a link to site that has a lot of info on bamboo rods. Nice score thought. You got a huge deal just with the Hardy Lightweights. Hopefully your Montague rod works out too. You know you'll need a floppy hat, tweed jacket and a pipe to fish with that rod now. Is your tour almost done in Jersey? Dave
Kent's advice is good, as always.

A good reference book for restoring old production roids is Michael Sinclair's "Bamboo Restoration Handbook." I checked my copy, and found that the Rapidan was one of Montague's better models. Take good care of the rod, keep it in its original condition, and you'll have a nice fishing rod and investment. One way to preserve the finish on a rod is to apply some carnuba wax (Birchwood-Casey gun stock wax works well) every year in the off-season.

A silk line or one of the new synthetic silk lines might be a good idea, since the tapers for many of the old rods were designed for lighter silk lines. You really have to try different lines on the old (and new) bamboo rods to see what works best for the kind of fishing you do.


Mike Monsos

AKA flyman219
Don't discount the "larger" reels that you may have got in the purchase. Balance to the rod is the key, try to find a reel and loaded line that puts the fulcrum point just at the front point of the grip. This will make casting much more of a pleasure with your new rod. let me know if I can help in any way.

thanks for the advice guys, i think i'll just have to try out some different line combos and see what works for it. I see now that keeping it in it's original condition is the way to go. I'll try to post some pics of the reels when i get home from work today. Dave- i still have another 1.5 years on my current assignment. I am taking my MKC SWE this may and hopefully i'll do well enough on it to make it, but with only 10 years in it will probably take me a few years of trying. I have my sights on jobs back in D-13 already for rotation year 2012. My number one would be EPO of Sta Q river, because most people don't want it anyways, and my wife's parents live in Forks. We also have our first child on the way, so it would be nice to have some family around, and i love that area. We'd be happy anywhere west of I-5 though. Recently we did a north patrol for fisheries and pulled into Portland Maine, which was a very cool little town. If we can't get back out west i'd like to try out the Northest. Selling that to her might be tricky though, but it's all "needs of the service" you know how that goes. Allright take care, thanks again guys- Brian