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Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 430
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I was in central PA visiting my fiance's family, and I noticed an old fly rod sitting in a rod rack in her father's garage. I asked him about it, and he said some old guy had given it to him. I didn't know anything about fly fishing, so tried it once (he attached a swivel and was fishing worms from a treble hook!) and then it sat in his garage ever since. He told me I could keep it.

It has an old automatic reel on it - Ward's Sport King is what it says on the back of it. The fly line is old looking - some sort of early plastic line that is very dry rotted, and looks like it isn't even tapered.

I'd like to try to fish it, but I have no idea what weight line belongs on it - it's not written anywhere. Does anybody know anything about the rod or reel that would be helpful or interesting?

Here are some pictures:

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Posted on: 2013/5/11 21:33


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

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2006/9/16 15:52
From Bucks County
Posts: 625
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Jeremy the "HCH" or "C" usually means a seven weight line. The "47" suggests it is a bass rod. I hope this helps.

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:04
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Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

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2012/3/14 6:23
From Lancaster
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Jeremy,

Old bamboo rods are always neat to run across. You have a model #47 - 9' South Bend rod which is classified as a steelhead or bass rod. The letters HCH or C represent a rod built to fish a double taper 7 weight line or a level 7 weight line. The automatic reel that is on the rod probably has a level line on it from your description. I don't have any information about the reel other than automatic reels seemed to popular for some reason "back in the day".

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:07


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

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2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11425
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Model 47 denotes its a "bass taper" rod. It'll be a big, chunky rod that'll weigh a ton and crush your soul when you try and use it.

That said, don't let it ruin your opinion of bamboo rods, even cheap ones.

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:10
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Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

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2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
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Yea I thought it felt really heavy. I've never even held a bamboo rod, so I wondered at first if that's just how heavy those rods are. That kind of stinks. Lol. Idk when I'd ever use a 7 weight bass rod. The automatic reel is neat. Why did they go out of fashion? Seems really useful. This one still works.

Posted on: 2013/5/11 22:52


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

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2006/9/9 20:09
From Harrisburg
Posts: 2195
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Dear Jeremy,

If the rod is in your possession why not try it out?

Yes it's a 7 weight, and yes it is heavier than a graphite or fiberglass 7 weight but that doesn't mean it is useless. It might be awful or you might enjoy it, but you'll never know until you try.

When I started fly fishing 40 plus years ago the typical trout rod was at least a 5 weight and quite often a 6 weight. Lighter line weights are more of a modern invention.

Yes, there were a few oddball lightweight bamboo and fiberglass rods but for the most part an 8' or 8 1/2" 5 or 6 weight was what the average Joe fishing in the East used. Out West they used 6 or 7 weights.

Try it!

Regards,

Tim Murphy


Posted on: 2013/5/12 16:14
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Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5635
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if the line is dark brownish it could be an old silk line. I would be interested in it if you want to part with it...

Posted on: 2013/5/12 17:25
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Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 430
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Quote:

sandfly wrote:
if the line is dark brownish it could be an old silk line. I would be interested in it if you want to part with it...


No the line is definitely plastic. It looks a little like one of those plastic coated clotheslines. Clearish red plastic around the whitish core strands. It's cracked at several places too. Not worth anything, I don't think.

Posted on: 2013/5/13 13:22


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2006/9/13 22:36
From Tioga co. formerly of bucks co.
Posts: 5635
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well if you decide to toss it, send it to my addy on my website...I'll take it..

Posted on: 2013/5/13 13:47
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sandfly

So many Fish, So little time !!!
from the outer edge of nowhere
fly tying and fishing ghillie..
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Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2007/10/7 0:44
From philadelphia
Posts: 877
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i'd use the heck out of that rod.

Posted on: 2013/5/24 22:12


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 430
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I took the rod out yesterday to see how it cast. I put a 7 weight line on it since the line it had was in bad shape. I'm not sure what casting a bamboo rod is supposed to look like, but my loops were pretty wide. I'm thinking maybe the 7 weight line I put on it was a little heavy for the rod.

The rod itself was super heavy! Nothing like casting a graphite rod. I feel like I really had to slow down my casting stroke. Didn't care for the automatic reel much... Kind of a pain to use, and no adjustable drag.

I did catch a 10 inch trout on it. Also hooked another fish, which I'm assuming was a large stocked trout. I was really more focused on the rod when he took, so didn't really get much of a hook set. It ran downstream and then spit the hook. Lol. Oh well.

@sandfly: I'm planning to send you the line. It'll probably take me a while though. Need to find time to get to the post office. I don't know the first thing about the line. Not sure if it's silk or nylon, and even if it was silk I can't see myself taking the time to restore it.

Posted on: 2013/5/31 13:28


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10293
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Quote:

jeremymcon asked:
The automatic reel is neat. Why did they go out of fashion? Seems really useful. This one still works.


Quote:

jeremymcon answered himself:
Didn't care for the automatic reel much... Kind of a pain to use, and no adjustable drag.



Posted on: 2013/5/31 13:41


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 6560
Online
Yes it should cast slow. It's not graphite, and it shouldn't feel like graphite.

Posted on: 2013/5/31 13:44


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2012/12/9 15:03
From Lewistown, PA
Posts: 430
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Quote:

jdaddy wrote:
Quote:

jeremymcon asked:
The automatic reel is neat. Why did they go out of fashion? Seems really useful. This one still works.


Quote:

jeremymcon answered himself:
Didn't care for the automatic reel much... Kind of a pain to use, and no adjustable drag.




Yup. Answered my own question.

Posted on: 2013/5/31 14:51


Re: Old South Bend bamboo fly rod

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11425
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Quote:

jeremymcon wrote:
I'm thinking maybe the 7 weight line I put on it was a little heavy for the rod.


Its a South Bend Model 47, their "bass taper" rod. Its a big, heavy affair meant to throw big chunky lures to bass and other large fish. Believe it or not, but people fished for bass back in the '30s and '40s, too, even before Ranger jetboats.

Just because now the only people who use bamboo rods use dainty affairs and cast them to discerning sprung creek trouts doesn't mean that was always the case; at one point bamboo was the standard rod material.

I cannot imagine a 10" trout felt much more exciting than it would
on any other, significantly lighter line weight (and likely as stiff) rod, matter of fact I can't imagine it felt like much of anything or bent the rod at all. It wasn't designed for what you did.

Take it bass fishing, and throw poppers on it, like it was intended to be used.

Posted on: 2013/5/31 15:15
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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