A Picker At Heart

fiberglassFrom Guest Blogger: Jeff Price

No, not that type of picker!  Have you ever seen the show American Pickers?  I have, and I am a big fan.  Why?  Because I like the idea of rooting around trying to find something that no one has seen for quite a while and rescuing it, preserving it for others to enjoy.  My degree is in history.  As far back as I can remember, I have always loved history.  I always wanted to be an archaeologist because… well… let’s face it, I wanted to be Indiana Jones (still do, sometimes).  Later I came to realize that the idea of finding something and holding it for the first time in hundreds of years was thrilling to me. While not hundreds of years old, I feel the same way about vintage fiberglass fly rods. Two years ago, I made the switch to fiberglass rods and I haven’t looked back.

After collecting a few contemporary rods, I decided to set my sights on some of the vintage rods.  For me, this had meaning because it’s history.  I like the idea of throwing cork bodied poppers on vintage fiberglass rods for panfish and bass.  Why?  Because it just feels right.  Sometimes I think I was born during the wrong time period.  Of course, as my dear wife was quick to point out, it would not have been vintage or historic to do it back then so why bother?  History has and always will be a big part of my life and is part of the reason I decided to start collecting vintage fiberglass fly rods.

About a month ago, I was in a local fly shop speaking with the owner.  I happened to notice a fly rod on the wall.  A closer inspection revealed that the rod was fiberglass and probably around thirty or so years old.  Naturally, I had to ask if the rod was for sale but the owner said it was on loan to him from a friend.  I explained that I collected vintage fiberglass rods and that I would be interested in the rod if he ever decided to sell it.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love my contemporary fiberglass rods.  My Epic and Steffen Brothers are simply outstanding rods.  However, my heart belongs to those vintage rods I seek.

A few months back, a friend of mine was browsing Craig’s List when he came across a Cortland fiberglass fly rod for sale.  It was listed for $25.00.  For me Cortland is special.  They hold a special place in my heart because it was the first real fly rod I ever bought.  I bought a seven foot three weight which I used for everything.  I still have that rod and it has been broken and repaired twice.  I love it. Anyways, he offered to check it out for me and I agreed. Later that night he dropped by the house and surprised me with the rod.  He was able to get it for $20.00.  I couldn’t believe it!  Imagine, $20.00 for a 7’6 5/6 weight rod from around 1974 or so that looked like it really hadn’t been used much.  I was stoked to say the least.  This was my second vintage fiberglass fly rod and my collection was off to a great start.  Collection may equal addiction depending on who you ask.  For those interested, you can read about my first one here

Since that time, I have been scouring the internet to feed my vintage glass needs.  I have an eBay search dedicated to fiberglass fly rods and I routinely check Craig’s List.  I am also always checking the for sale threads on forums such as Fiberglass Fly Rodders.  For me the hunt to find that special vintage rod and get it at a great price is thrilling in itself but fishing with them will be even more so… once I can finally fish again.  I will be sharing my collection with you in various posts so sit back, relax, and enjoy the photos as they come.  These rods really are special and fishing with a piece of history can be both exciting and rewarding.

One thought on “A Picker At Heart

  1. Mike Cline

    Great story and you are right on about fiberglass, especially the rod from the heyday of glass. My first “real” flyrod was a Fenwick FF70 I got in 1969 when I returned from Viet Nam. I still have it. I caught my first Firehole trout in 1970 on that rod on an Iron Blue Dun wet fly. Every year I return at least once to the Firehole with that rod and some Iron Blue Duns to replicate that event. Like you, I’ve now got a least a dozen glass rods, some contemporary, some vintage. They all fish great and compare to graphite, they do a great job of making average fish into trophy fights.

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