Fishing/Heddon Rod


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I've got a Heddon tempered split bamboo 3 piece fly rod with the following seemingly hand-written on it: #20, 8 1/2', 1 3/4 F, HDH or E, Bill Stanley's favorite, followed by Heddon, and written in script with black ink.  Original burgundy colored cloth sleeve, cork handle and what appears to be a reddish-brown phenolic real seat.  Metal case has James Heddons sons Dowagiac, MICH on it as well. The tube is probably aluminium with a chocolate brown mottled finish. The guides are wire snakes with appox 1/4" wide wrappings in a medium red. There appears to be no overall diameter change between the bamboo rod section and wrapped portion. Passed down a couple generations. The finish has become a little gooey due to poor storage,but otherwise it is in good shape.  
I've got a couple of questions;
a) Curious as to when it might have been made,
b)a guestimate of the the potential value because the finish needs some work and it would be nice to know if it's worth it.
c)what weight does this compare to these days?
d) What does the 1 3/4 refer to?

Answer:   Hi Jim,(from Marc Wisniewski)

Its probably from the mid 40's to the early 50's.  Its probably worth between $100-$200 depending on condition.

F is a 4 weight level line, E is a 5 weight level line, and HDH is a 6 weight DT line.  So I would say that it will cast something in the 5 wt class well.

This all said, I am not the expert in this subject.  Please forward this to Joe Douglas or Rich McGaughey on this site.  They will have more information.  Attach a photo if you can.  The wrappings will allow them to narrow down the dates better.  



Value depends on condition and length, as well as maker and model.

I am assuming your rod has flat nor round sides, is bamboo not fiberglass. If not then the following is equally wrong. Also I am assuming the reel seat is below the handle not above, is fly not spin rod.

Heddon made a decent rod - medium resale values and quality. I sold several unused ones for 300-500 3 years ago.

If Heddon is written across the flats than the dates are 1939 to 1950 , if the model name and Heddon is written on a single flat and has model name “Bill Stanley” then it is 1951- 1956. (Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook  by Michael Sinclair)

Price Book:
Antique & Collectible  Fishing Rods: Identification & Value Guide by Homel, Dan. 1997 (2nd edition 2000) add about 30% for age of book.
Homel gives the Heddon #20 "Bill Stanley" fly rod 8 1 /2'  with an extra tip, 3 sections the  value of  $70, 165 and $296 for poor, good, and excellent condition respectively.

I know what you mean by rod finish is bad but otherwise it is in good shape. I am hearing you say the metal and bamboo  is not discolored or broken. However it is in poor condition. I do refinish rods for 30 per section.

History  of Heddon Rod Company
with permission of the author  Michael Sinclair

The butt ferrule size is designated by "2F" or "2 ˝ F". The larger the number, the stiffer the rod. For three- piece rods, a 2F is usually a trout rod and 2 ˝ F is a bass rod. 1 3/4 is a lighter weight dry fly trout rod. Marc is correct about line , use a modern 5 or 6 weight. They started ferrule sizes in 1939.

Please provide feedback, nominations are appreciated.  


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Rich Mac McGaughey


I can answer questions on graphite fly rod building and bamboo rod restoration and making. I can guide people to restorers . I can guide people to rod building components on the internet as well as catalog. I can help them identify and value their bamboo fly rods with a picture .

If you are asking for the id of an old rod

please give a complete description send pictures especially labels or logos with detailed thorough description** to me and a complete including as much the following as you can: Is it? fly or casting rod ? Reel seat is below or above the cork handle ? Check metal for id and patents ? What is it made of; bamboo ( flat sided) fiberglass or graphite ( round)? Weight in oz? What is the diameter of the rod above the cork? Where was it purchased ? What type of metal nickel-silver, tin, or chrome platted brass? A complete description of any logos or labels. Length of rod per section and number of sections. Total rod length.

Please read the following if the rod has either of the following two labels

Montague or H-I (Horrocks-Ibbotson).

They are looked down upon by the collecting community and often they are justified. They were mass produced , rather heavy and very slow. They are not going to resale for very much.

Two books are available at larger libraries to get history and or value:
Antique & Collectable Fishing Rods: Identification & Value Guide Homel, Dan. 1997
Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook -Michael Sinclair

Commission Sales

Because of my knowledge I can help you sell and get a good price for your vintage bamboo fly rod. email email Mac


I have been restoring bamboo fly rods for 15 years and making graphite for 17 .

website = click home page

**example of a thorough description of a label: The Shakespeare decal is olive green ovals with gold foil banner bearing the word "Shakespeare" in script. The remainder of the of the lettering is block style reading on top Honor Built and on the bottom of oval , Made in USA. The writing is away from the grip.

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