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Fishing/Old Rod identification - Help required from the UK!!!!



Some 25 years ago, my father was given an old fishing rod by an elderly friend, Ralph - a local farmer had been a keen fisherman - in fact he used to take my father when HE was a boy! Ralph described it as 'a special rod'. My father put it away in his garage and over the years, forgot about it. Now my parents are moving house and sorting everything out - he has come across the rod again, and has asked me to try and find out about it. He and Ralph were great friends, but my father (in his 70’s) is not very IT confident, so has asked me to find out about it. I am hoping the internet (and especially this forum) can help provide some answers for him.

I have spent hours trawling through Google images, auction sites, eBay, fishing sites - but have nothing that resembles this rod. – It has however given me an overview of rods, their variety, the craftsmanship (and patience) of the makers, as well as leading to even more confusion. I am hoping forum members might be able to identify this rod and put some kind of history to it – in order to satisfy Dad’s curiosity (mine also, now – I have started to get hooked – is that a good thing?).  Having drawn a blank on UK sites, I am wondering if this is a US Rod, as early UK Split cane rods were based on US Manufacturing techniques.

I will apologise in advance for any incorrect terminology – some I am guessing at, some I think I have got right, some I am prepared to be laughed at for!

The rod is a split cane (I believe) fly rod of 9' 6" or 10' length (choice of ends). It has a pressed cork handle, with Nickel Silver fittings and an unusual short metal shaft on the handle. It is stamped on the metalwork with 'Eric W Bostock July 1903' but there does not appear to be any makers mark. The ‘whipping’ on the top sections is a ‘laced’ pattern, which seems unusual.

The ferrules are of a ‘locking’ type, with one pin on the male section (like one half of a ‘bayonet’ light fitting – although one male ferrule from a top section does not have a pin – but still fits perfectly.

The four sections are in a high quality Canvas/Linen sleeve with professional stitching and is a perfect fit – so obviously made for the rod at, I assume, the time of manufacture.  This is all stored in a 'Hardy Bros' Bamboo tube, which has an outer canvas cover for the bamboo tube (with Hardy's label). The serial # (if that is what it is) is B2039, written inside the leather cap of the tube, which would indicate (if my research is right) a 1916 year of manufacture. The rod does not look like any Hardy's rod I have been able to find - and the dates do not appear to match up.

If any further information is required, please ask

Any help/suggestion/information would be gratefully received. This is not about trying to value the rod, or offer it for sale – it is more about trying to establish a history.

I can provide further photos if this helps - the site seems to be limiting me to 2.



That is a nice rod.
It is just a little older than my knowledge and experience. The intermediate wraps (every 1-3 inch decorative thread wraps)indicate a date around and before 1930s.
I have a friend who knows all the bamboo rods.
Send the question to my rod history friend the Gnomme aka Jeff Hatton ( author of Rod Crafting A Full-Color Pictorial & Written History from 1843-1960
Jeffrey L. Hatton Softbound: 305 pp. Frank Amato Publications, $45
ISBN 1-57188-356-8, tell him Mac from Denver sent you.

Good Luck,
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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