Old School

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Creek 1 year, 5 months ago.

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    Some of you know I like the old stuff. I hunt for elk and bear with an old Hawken muzzleloader. 1840 style with clothing and all the gear/ammo like was done back then.
    Well, i’m retired from hunting. I had a good run from late 40’s until this year. That’s enough! My passion is also fly fishing, but it always came 2nd after hunting. Even though I did fish everyday through the summer. Now, it doesn’t have to compete with hunting and will be my main focus. However, I still have the urge for old school and want to apply it to fly fishing. I was going to do this in the past but never got around to it.
    So, I thought about an era I can choose for fly fishing and came up with early 50’s. Not 1850’s but 1950’s. I lived it, so i’m more familiar with it. Being a retired auto mechanic and truck driver it’s safe to say i’m a blue collar worker. I should have blue collar gear as was used in the early 50’s. This obviously means bamboo. It also means one rod for everything. They didn’t have the luxury of more than one rod back then. They also needed a rod that would work on all waters. That was pretty much a 9’6wt in those times. Right or wrong that’s what they used. Not ideal for creeks, but with a med action it could still work. It will be good for rivers like the Arkansas which is 5 min away from me. It will also be good for ponds and lakes that I fish during runoff. I’ll use a Cortland Peach until I can afford a silk line. A small compromise because of a lack of funds. I’ll get it right eventually. No fancy Hardy Perfect reel. No blue collar worker had one. I’m thinking one of the bigger Young reels to balance the heavy 9′ rod. For a rod I decided n a Granger 9050 9’6wt. A heavy rod at 5 3/4oz, but all the old stuff is heavy. My Hawken was 11 pounds compared to a modern rifle at 7lbs. No reason for fishing gear to be any different. If you’re a wimp fish graphite. 😀

    So, that’s the new plan. I’ll work out the rest of the gear over the winter. Using just 50’s flies will be a challenge. I’ll also work on casting a heavy rod. I’ll need to slow down my tempo and let the rod do the work. Should be fun.


    Scotty MacFly

    That sounds pretty nostalgic creek. I have some questions though concerning what you said because I am curious. Now, when you read these questions I am being serious, though they may sound sarcastic, I’m not. I was born in 65, so I don’t know what they did in the 50’s, but I’d like to know because I like learning what and how things were before I was born, and your thread sounds interesting. So I’m curious.

    If bamboo was the blue collard man’s rod back then, was fiberglass the new thing for white collard people? Or did fiberglass come out later in the 60’s? I remember on the Andy Griffith show, Andy had a fiberglass rod.

    Flies of the 50’s. Wow, I never thought about that. Would that consist of flies like the Adams ( I’m sure ) the Royal Coachman, Renegade and such? I have no idea really what flies are that old. I know the Adams has been here a long time, and I remember seeing the Royal C. in my grandfathers box. He loved that fly, but that was around 1970 when I started fishing with him. In fact, I put the Royal C. on his Lapel of his jacket at his funeral.

    How much is silk line going for? I don’t use it, mainly because being a natural material it needs special care. I know it needs to dry completely before putting it away or it will rot away, and I can see me not doing that at times.

    Creek, I think that’s a good way to go for you. Will you wear a vest or use a fishing satchel? Hip waders instead of chest waders?

    But just for nostalgic sake, don’t forget your pipe. You don’t have to smoke it, but it would be a good to have clinched between your teeth. HA ha! Then again, it would complete the look, with a Fedora!!

    Now you got me thinking of grandpa again.

    Have fun with it creek, you deserve it.

    Oh, are you going to have the rod made, or buy one that’s available?



    Ok, you misunderstood some of it.

    There was only bamboo then. A working man’s bamboo would be like a Granger, Phillipson etc. Expensive white collar rods are like a Payne, Dickerson, Garrison etc.
    No modern replicas. The rod I get will be an original made in late 40’s early 50’s.

    Silk lines are expensive for the good ones. I like a Phonix which sells for around $240, but they last 20-30 years if taken care of. They have many advantages and since that’s all there was back then the rods made during that era seem to work better with silk. Yes, they require a little more maintenance, but i’ve got all the time in the world and I enjoy it. It’s easier with a line winder. Just wind the line off the reel on to the winder, let it dry over night, and in the morning wind it back on the reel as you apply floatant. Simple. It’s what Mucilin was made for.

    Yes, a vest, but that’s all i’ve ever worn anyway.

    Flies will be a challenge. For one thing they didn’t use small flies back then. #14 being tiny and few of those were used. Natural materials only, but I already do that. Actually, dry flies weren’t used all that much, but i’m making an exception on that one. They used a lot of wet flies and I might add that. They also used a lot of bait, but i’m ignoring that part. It’s understandable that a 6wt was consider a normal to light trout rod when the flies were a #10 on average. Tippet wasn’t as strong either, so it was bigger with 4x being the smallest and 2x normal. I can probably stay with 4X. Braided silk leaders were available, but gut was the most popular. I’ll stay with silk braided but had to find, so I might have to stay with furled silk leaders which is what I use now. I need to think and work on that.

    Probably hippers, because I don’t wade deep anymore.

    Not sure about a pipe. I think that’s more of a UK thing. I’m not going back to the early fly fishing era. Plus a pipe is more a snobbish deal. This is USA 50’s. What would a truck driver use?


    Scotty MacFly

    See? You again taught me something about the rods. I had no idea the different makers were, I don’t know how to put it. I guess different rods for different classes of society? Not too much different than today. There’s no way I can afford Dickerson or Payne. I have gathered guys like those built the Bentley of bamboo rods. Mike Clarke has some pre-owned rods for sale and they are way too pricey for me, some are like $5,000. I can’t do that.
    Where would Heddon be placed? I have seen their rods mentioned from time to time, but never paid attention to prices.

    The flies. You filled in a gap for me creek. My uncle used to fly fish, and wants to go with me next year, and when he and my aunt were here a while back I showed him the flies I tie, and he was impressed on how small they were. To me, they are not small, #16 – #18. He said back in the day they fished with bigger flies, especially on the Rio Grande. Size 10’s were common back then. I have to admit that that’s bigger than I care to go. But why so big back then? Was it because hooks weren’t as small?
    Thank you for the lesson on that. I find stuff like that very interesting.

    Yes, please ignore the bait. Might as well use a San Juan Worm. Yuck!

    I’m thinking of getting hip waders. I like the Dan Baily ones.

    But I have all winter to think about it.

    Creek, you are an interesting guy, and I mean that respectfully. I like learning from you very much, and I would like to learn more. You have opened my eyes to things I never would have know that was out there, and things I never would have learned because they were before my time.

    Thank you.



    Thanks for the compliments, but i’m nothing special. Just an old fly fisherman.

    As for the Heddon. It’s basically a production rod like Granger. However, just like Granger, Heddon had a couple of top models that were by one employee/maker instead of the production line. They were of a higher quality cane, more guides, and better components. They bring a lot of money today. Not as much as the custom builders like Payne, Garrison etc, but 3-4 times as much as the production rods from the same company. As an example. You could buy a Granger Victory in excellent condition or even completely refinish for around $350-$400. I even found a Heddon #20 for $400 that has never been fished and still has the plastic on the cork. A top of the line Granger like the Registered model will bring $1000-$1500. So, even in the working mans rods you still have some that are pricey.

    Now, you have another class of rods that are lower than the Granger-Heddons. Rods like South Bend and a few others that don’t draw much money. They were the real poor mans rods and not that good.

    As for the fly size back then. If you’re using tippet in size 2X-3X. You’re not going to tie on a size #18 fly to it, are you?

    Everything was bigger back then. 9′ rods weighing almost 6oz, big tippet, big flies, and the best part. Big fish. They fished for food. Fill the creel was the goal.



    Well, nuts! I just got a phone call telling me my bank card was hacked and the thieves drained my account. My SS check was just deposited too, so paying my bills this month will be tough.

    No concern of yours. I mentioned it, because it also means I can’t get the rod I was about to buy. Take a look at this rod. It’s a Heddon that was in an estate sale and never fished. That hurts to miss it. I’m not likely to find another unfished rod that was built 67 years ago. I’ll just have to save up for a rod now. Not so bad with winter coming.

    Take a look.



    Scotty MacFly

    Damn!!! 😤😡

    Creek, how long has that been on E-Bay? I have never bought anything on E-Bay so I don’t know how it works.

    I really want to help you out buddy, & chances are it will sell before I can. Or do you think there’s a chance it won’t?



    No no, Scotty. You keep your money. It will sell long before I get the money saved up. I’ll find something else when I get the money. What upsets me is I sold my muzzleloader and that was part of the money taken. It was going to go towards a bamboo rod. I’m mad because not only my whole SS check was taken, but the money I had saved up and the money I got for the muzzleloader too. It’s all I had.

    It’s sad that we live in such times and can’t trust people. The bank is going to issue me a new card. I’m not sure I want another one. If I just pay cash for everything and use money orders for online sales I can’t be robbed again. I’m not sure how they got my card info, but I can’t see why they can’t do it again.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Creek.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Creek.

    Scotty MacFly

    So back in the 50’s everything was bigger. The thicker leaders and tippet I guess wouldn’t work so well on an #18 fly. Stupid me.

    Now, you see, that’s why I don’t like things like E-bay, or Pay Pal, or anything like those. Today, that’s what thieves are looking for. I have sent cash, money orders, cashiers checks,in the mail many times and even though it takes longer, it gets there.
    I’m not the smartest guy on the block, but dang it, I have been saying for years, that the safest way these days is going back doing it like we did before all this technology came out. But nooooo! People want what’s convenient over anything else. Fools.
    They said the new cards with the chips are safer, yeah right, kiss my #*!. My wife has already been compromised three times since the new cards. Good thing the bank is on their toes.
    Some things are better the old way. Maybe fly fishing is one of them. I know since I went back to my beginnings I have been happier.
    Verything in this world is changing for the worse. Things are done differently, people act differently with less respect for others and so on. And I have to ask; why can’t more people see it, or at least admit it. Its in plain view! But sadly, people make excuses why. But no one has any good reasons why.
    I better stop there.

    No creek, you can’t trust a lot of folks these days. Everone is in it for themselves.



    This has made me think about what I was going to do. I have a good imagination and can put myself in the future to see how i’d enjoy a decision i’m about to make. I got to thinking about owning and casting an older 9′ rod. I’ve owned one in the past and didn’t really enjoy it all that much. I was younger and stronger then too.

    So, I have a better plan. I can’t afford one of the high end rods made back in the day, but I can afford the taper. My friend ray who builds really nice bamboo rods will build me a rod for $450 that should be selling for three times that much. He specializes in the Powell tapers and does a great job with them. Powell invented to hollow built rods and that’s what Ray builds. I can have him build an 8 1/2′ 5wt rod that will be sweet casting and still have the backbone for big fish. The weight of the rod will be more what an old fart like me should be using. Plus, it will have high end components and be good looking too. It’s actually a better rod than Powell could build due to better building materials not. Better glues, epoxy’s etc.

    I like this plan better. I should be able to get the money saved and the rod built for next fishing season. I can add a nice reel and silk line later. The important part is to get the rod built and get back to fishing.

    It’s too bad I had to lose all the money to realize I was making the wrong decision, but I think i’ll be happier in the long run. I’ll leave you this rod in my will Scotty. That way i’ll know the rod will still be loved by a friend who will appreciate it.


    Scotty MacFly

    Wait a minute!!

    Lets not be talking about leaving a will or anything yet buddy. I will tell you honestly creek, and please don’t think me selfish or anything, I appreciate that offer with every fiber of my being, and I would take care of that rod for the rest of my life and fish it because that’s what you’d want me to do with it. But lets not talk of wills just yet, please.

    It is funny, I was wondering about hollowed out rods the other day, but in no way could I ever afford one.
    And if that is truly what you want to do creek, like I said, I’ll accept it gladly, not because its a bamboo rod, but because it is yours.

    Damn, think I’m gonna drop a tear over this.

    Just do me a favor, will you creek? Fish the hell out of it!!!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Scotty MacFly.


    It will be well loved, but well used too when you get it. However, i’m the type that really takes care of his gear. I’m sure it will still look new. It might come with a nice Hardy reel too. 😀


    Scotty MacFly

    Creek, I am truly blessed to know you.

    I would like to meet you sometime, maybe next summer.



    Maybe, but wait until I get the rod. I want you to try it and see if you like the Powell B taper. I think they’re sweet. As do many others.

    Ray likes them so much it’s hard to get him to build anything else.


    Scotty MacFly

    That’s where my ignorance really comes into play with bamboo. I wouldn’t know a Powell B taper from any other taper. I think the name game is pretty funny, just because I don’t know one rod from another. Powell, Payne, Garrison, Ubetcha, right now, all the same to me. 😀

    But I suppose they are not to any different from Scott rods to Sage rods to Orvis and Winston. All have 9 foot rods in a 5wt., but not one are alike. Is this the same with bamboo? Graphite and fiberglass is man made, so I can see that they are able to do what they need to do to get the results they want. But bamboo is natural, God made. And knowing from working with wood of any kind, it’s not forgiving if you make a mistake.

    I bet I’d like it the rod. I have been able to conform to just about any rod except really fast graphite rods like the Sage One. I hate that thing. But mod/fast and moderate action rods, I can change what I need to fit the bill. Even slower rods are not a problem. But that CGR being a 4/5 at 7′, that just threw me off. If it was 8′, I’d think I’d like it better.

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