South Bend question

I have a South Bend bamboo Model 28-9 fly rod. Some where I think I read it is a double built rod. Other than that I have no information about the rod. Can anyone tell me anything about the rod. Line weight, when it was built, that sort of thing. I am in the process of rewrapping it with new guides. I was placing the guides in the same place as the originals. When I was about to put a new agate stripping guide on when I noticed the guide spacing seamed to be off. When I looked at several spacing guide charts I found the spacing to be way off particularly the lower half. I will finish the wrapping Sunday and put the finish on Monday or Tuesday.



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If you're looking at modern guide spacing charts the spacing will be quite different. I wouldn't rely on them. FWIW - I have a South Bend 323 9' / 3 piece rod - the stripping guide is 4" down from the top of the ferrule on the butt section. The rod will handle either a DT7 or DT6 line. I cast it against my Granger Favorite (GF9050) this summer and felt that I preferred the South Bend - that was a surprise. The Cross / South Bend double built rods were well regarded as I recall, I've never seen one myself. Ask this question to the Classic Fly Rod Forum, you should get a far more knowledgeable response.


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I've never heard of the "28" model before but SB made a lot of rods with a lot of confusing numbering systems. Those SB double builts are cool rods. I've owned two, a 8-1/2' model 266 and a 9' model 164 which I completely stripped and refinished using the original color wraps. Troutcreek very kindly turned a new cork handle to match the original cork grip which was in rough shape.

I sold the 266 but plan to hang onto the 164 which is a "dry fly" model and a real cannon. I used the original guide spacing and am happy to share if you are interested. Good luck in your project!



In Michael Sinclair's book, he shows 1942 model 28 as a Cross double-built, with medium brown cane, black "lite-lock" reel seat (up-locking with a plastic screw at the bottom), and 6" reverse half-wells grip. The 1936 version wasn't double-built, and had a thread-lock reel seat (down-locking) and a 7-1/2" grip.

I've had two South Bends, an 8-1/2' 323 and a 7-1/2' 290. Both were very well made. If you have a Cross, these were priced higher to compete with Granger, Edwards, Heddon, etc..

I recommend you re-do the guide spacing. On many old production rods, they saved money by skimping on guides. Adding the right number of guides and correctly placing them can really improve a rod.

Listen to Tom Jerry, this guy knows his stuff! The bamboo members on this forum are way nicer than Classicflyrodforum snobs! I saw your post there with one reply....
I would add guides too, you'll be happier with it's performance since it's a fishin stick.
Looks like I have the 1936 version with a 7 1/2 " cork grip with a down locking reel seat. The number of guides are the same as the newer spacing guides but the spacing is very different. I am adjusting the spacing a little on the lower half of the rod. I am using the original variegated thread but will probably change the color of the tipping. When I first acquired the rod it looked like it only needed one guide replaced but when I started to work on it the varnish started to flake off so I decided to do a complete rewrap. The only thing I lost was the patina of the darkened old varnish. Any Idea what line weight I should start with? Thanks guys for the information.

It wouldn't hurt to ask for input on the classic fly rod forum. My input is based on one book, and there may be more to the story. If the rod seems very stiff and heavy, it just might be a double built.

Usually, I start with a DT6 and WF6 on old bamboo rods, and then adjust up and down. Make sure you have a hook or piece of yarn at the end of your leader, and, if possible, cast over water rather than grass. If you plan on using the rod from a float tube or boat, bring a folding chair to sit in while you cast. Don't be disappointed if the rod casts better with a heavy line, as it will still bend more than many graphite rods do with lines 2-4 sizes smaller. If you like it for the fishing you do, then it's a good rod!



Active Member
I'd also suggest using a line designed for bamboo or fiberglass that will want to move in sync with the generally slower Fuller flexing rod. It will make a big difference in how the rod performs.

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