Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Window Into the Past.

Last week brought an unexpected gift to my hands. My roommates father came to visit and brought with him his grandfather's fly fishing gear. He handed me an old ragged cloth bag and from within its tattered compartments came a bamboo fly rod. My first. Shocked, I carefully put the 3-pieces of cane together and held her out for a wiggle. He brought me over a map where he had carefully highlighted where his grandfather grew up and fished. I didn't have to turn the map around to recognize the highlighted area. The Catskills. The old man apparently practiced his craft along the fabled waters of the Beaverkill and Delaware rivers. That wasn't all. He had another bag and out came two reels, a leather fly wallet full of flies, some old Cortland leaders, and some more flies from a small plastic container. My Friday night plans went out the window and instead I spent my evening examining my new toys. The flies, rod, and reels offered me a window into the past, a past that I hardly understand.

He had only one request from me in return for his graciousness, travel to the Catskills, catch some fish, and take a bunch of photos for him. Until that moment, the bamboo rod will not come out. It has not been used in 49 years and won't be used until I set foot in the waters from whence it came.

I cannot wait.

Fresh Coat of Varnish From 1981.

Marble Plastic Reel Seat.


Out of All This, There Is Only One Clue To The Brand.

US Patent N.O. 1624052
Charles Heddon & Jack T. Welch

Sears Model 312.31130

South Bend Automatic No. 1180 Model A

Is it a Heddon Rod?

The Flies, Mostly Wet.
Some Used & Some "New".

Homemade Wading Staff.
Welded Copper Pipes & Leather Strap.

Catskills, Here I Come.

The only clue on the rod and cloth sack is the US Patent 1624052. It is a 3-piece rod that measures out at 8 feet. It is labeled with "Trout Master," but a quick search turns up nothing. On a thin piece of whats left of the label on the rod cloth is an 8 1/2 scribbled in blue ink. The tip of the rod was broken in the early 1960s and was not repaired until 1981 after the owner's passing. The repair may have led to the decreased length, that or its in a different cloth sack.

I think it may be a low grade Heddon rod. If you have any idea, let me know. I would like to ID the rod.


Unknown said...

I know close to nothing about fly fishing other than what I learned when you took me out. But that is awesome.

Mark said...

Word on the street (forum) is...

It's a Heddon Trade Rod named Pete's Troutmaster made for the Bay City Hardware Store in Michigan.