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Fishing/Bass (?) Casting Rod


I have a four (4) piece hexagonal bamboo casting rod (two tips, one agate.) It is in a felt covered holder that nestles the guides and once had a cotton canvas bag covering it that has deteriorated.  It was owned by my grandfather (born 1890, died 1967) who fished primarily Lake George, NY.  It is wrapped with what appears to be carmine silk thread.Reel seat, ferrules and butt cap are German nickel silver. The only markings are "Frost's Kelso" stamped at the base of the reel seat.  The only reference to Frost's Kelso I find is for automatic fly reels.  If you need pix I can furnish them.  Thanks for your help.

Hi Jamie,

According to the A.J. Cambell book, Classic and Antique Fly Fishing Tackle: Herbert J. Frost was the principal salesman for the U.S. Net & Twine company in 1896 when he started his own company...H.J. Frost & Co....using the "Kelso" trademark or brand name for his products.  Frost did not make rods and tackle; he had them made by other companies and labeled with the Kelso brand to sell from his business.  He sold both wholesale and retail from New England and his Boston stores.  He stayed in business until probably the 1920s.  Private label rods and tackle have always been, and are still today, the most common method of businesses getting items to sell.

Frost sold rods made by Fred Divine and Horrocks-Ibbotson, and he did sell reels and other tackle under the Kelso brand name.  These rods are not to be confused with the Forrest of Kelso rods made in Scotland.

Pictures would help.  Send to and I'll look them over.

Value will depend on condition and which of the original makers built this particular rod. The hardware is most certainly German Silver (nickel plated brass) and the wraps are probably what was called Chinese Red silk thread which is one of the most popular early colors.  Sight unseen, the rod likely dates from the 1910-1930 time period...could be a little earlier or later.

As long as this rod shows no signs of obvious damage, and the wraps are still good, you should be able to fish with it.  If it needs some touching up or a few new wraps, we can help you put it back into good shape for fishing.

Thanks,  Joe


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Joe Douglas


I can answer questions on custom rod building and rod restoration and rod repair for bamboo, graphite and fiberglass fishing rods. I also have experience in estimating the value of vintage rods and determining the original manufacturer.


I operate a custom rod building business providing fly rods, spey rods, casting and spinning rods in bamboo graphite and fiberglass. I also operate a custom rod building school where myself and other professional rod builders teach individuals to build custom rods. I have a personal interest in vintage rods and have a small collection of reference books and articles which often help shed light on the origins of the older rods.

Rod Builders International, Rod Builders Institute

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BS, Business Administration, University of Tulsa

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I have a large number of individual clients for whom I have designed and built custom fishing rods of all types. I also have two commercial clients for whom I build private label rods, one in the USA and one in Europe.

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