Casting Glass: The Underground's Wholly Biased Take on the Modern Fiberglass Fly Rod

Category:
fly fishing stuff
Added Date:
Wednesday, 23 Jan, 2008
Summary
It's hard to define the "rightness" of a fly rod, though once -- over a couple beers -- a few local fly fishermen delved into the subject at what amounted to the genetic level.
 
Content
They're obsolete. They're low tech. They're soooo 1960s. So why are fiberglass fly rods reappearing on rivers and streams?
[ed: This is Part I of the series; read Part II here, Part III here]

It's hard to define the "rightness" of a fly rod, though once -- over a couple beers -- a few local fly fishermen delved into the subject at what amounted to the genetic level.

Naturally, we didn't stumble on any real answers (none that we remember anyway), outside of the fact that technology is not necessarily the one true path to fly rod enlightenment.

That's why -- when fly fishers ask me if one rod is "better" than another -- I suggest they simply fish whatever fly rod feels best, and the hell with what the magazines want you to think

In this rare instance, I've taken my own advice; I fish fiberglass and bamboo fly rods almost exclusively, and not because I want to fire up fly fishing's natural/synthetic class wars.

The simple truth is this: fiberglass and bamboo fly rods feel "” to me anyway "” exactly how a fly rod is supposed to feel.

Steffen Brothers makes great fishing rods
The unsanded, retro-look Steffen rods don't appeal to everyone, but I like 'em.

They bend smoothly, and do so without the stiffness that sometimes leads me to drive my graphite fly rods.

During the casting stroke, I've got a pretty good idea exactly what's going on at the far end of my fiberglass fly rods, and glass inspires serious confidence when I've got a good fish going on a small fly or light tippet.

In simplest terms, they're unpretentious, durable, affordable, un-demanding, -- and just plain fun. All of those fit pretty neatly within the job description of your average fly rod, and as somebody once observed, "love is simply a compendium of needs."

Read More The Underground Picks the Dozen Best Fly Rods of All Time Period

The Modern Fiberglass Fly Rod

Shortly after WWII, fiberglass fly rods took over the industry; glass was the new glamour material, though after the market settled in a bit, hand-crafted bamboo rods still occupied the more rarefied upper strata of the fly rod world, with fiberglass largely ruling the rest of the market.

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Compared to bamboo, fiberglass fly rods offered lighter weight, less cost, and all the maintenance demands of your average doorstop.

Sadly, the fiberglass fly rod's heyday was short-lived; while it was on the fast track to the top of the heap by the late 1940s, by the mid-70s it was already headed for the sale bins, courtesy the flashier, lighter graphite fly rods.

In truth, rodmakers were only starting to unravel the mysteries of fiberglass when it fell from favor, and today, fiberglass fly rods occupy a tiny "” but growing "” corner of fly rod market.

A few larger fly rod manufacturers have stepped up with new (or re-issued) models, but sitting squarely at the center of the industry you'll find a handful of tiny fly rod companies "” people turning out what are probably the best-casting, most-advanced fiberglass fly rods of all time.

Today's fiberglass fly rods are light. They're strong. They're affordable (compared to high-end bamboo and graphite). And they offer a hard-to-define casting feel that higher modulus materials (like graphite) simply can't match.

They're also exceptional fishing tools for trout, good enough that a few of us have openly wondered if the best light trout rods in existence aren't currently being built from s-glass fiberglass.

The Bamboo Connection
While you'll find modern fiberglass fly rods in the hands of cranks and misfits everywhere, they're also finding a toehold among bamboo rod fanatics -- bamboo fiends who can't keep up with spiraling bamboo rod costs, or want more-replaceable travel rods that still retain bamboo's smooth "feel."

After all, estimates for bamboo's modulus average around 10 million "” the same modulus offered by e-glass fiberglass.

S-glass fiberglass ranks slightly higher at 12 million modulus, but all three offer ratings far below carbon fiber (graphite) fly rod materials, which typically start above 30 million modulus and go higher from there.

A Diamondglass 8' 5wt: Smooooth
A custom-built 8' 5wt Diamondglass fly rod; even bamboo hounds like the way it casts.

Modulus is hardly the whole story, but it's not a stretch to say that fiberglass rods cast and fish more like bamboo than they do graphite.

In fact, its sweet casting "feel" is probably driving renewed interest in fiberglass; the rods can cast and fish like fine bamboo rods, but do so at a fraction of the price, a fraction of the weight, and without any special maintenance demands.

Contemporary vs Vintage Fiberglass Rods
I'm not going to spend much time on vintage fiberglass; unraveling the brands would take many, many pages. I will say there is a lot of vintage glass out there, and many of the rods are exceptional (Phillipsons, Scotts, Winstons, Fishers, Hardys, etc).

Sadly, many are also un-exceptional, and many of the fiberglass fly rods from the Golden Era also exhibit what you'd charitably say were the gaudiest finishes ever conceived by a fly rod manufacturer.

Mylar underwraps and spiral wraps might seem refreshingly nostalgic to some, but not me.

If you're truly interested in vintage glass rods, buy a copy of the Fiberglass Fly Rod by the Johnsons (a father and son team). For vintage glass freaks, it's the bible.

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The focus of this article are the exemplary glass rods produced by today's makers "” rods that enjoy the benefit of fiberglass technologies unknown (or not practiced) during the "Golden Age" of fiberglass.

What's New In An Old Technology
During the industry transition from bamboo to fiberglass, glass rods were designed to replicate the slower action of bamboo rods. It took designers more than a few years to truly get the feel of the material, which is when the race for faster-action rods (a race carried over into today's graphite rods) took place.

Fortunately, today's fiberglass rod builders don't have to build rods that replicate bamboo's feel, or satisfy the cravings of a mass market bent on ever-steeper "parking lot" tapers.

Instead, they're free to build right to the sweet spot of the material. As a result, the majority of modern glass rods are smooth and progressive, and though some makers (like McFarland) are experimenting with steep "dry fly" tapers and even parabolic tapers, most modern glass rods fall nicely into the middle of the action spectrum.

Frankly, that makes sense; as a rod-building material, fiberglass doesn't typically fabricate into a stellar fast-action rod as well as high modulus graphite, but it does a wonderful job in smooth-flexing progressive and slower tapers.

The Weight Question
While today's fiberglass fly rods aren't as light as the latest high-modulus graphite rods, I'd suggest they're plenty light enough, especially in the sub-9' lengths (which is almost all of them).

Excising a quarter of an ounce from a fly rod never seems as significant to me as it does to rodmakers trying sell expensive new fly rods, and if that's your criteria for rod selection, then fiberglass probably isn't for you.

These aren't thundersticks after all, and the users of modern fiberglass aren't typically bent on world casting domination.

Rather -- if you believe casting "feel" is an integral part of the fly fishing experience -- then fiberglass is worth consideration, especially on smaller streams and rivers.

That's where short-range accuracy and "fun" (fly fishing's oft-forgotten legacy) are key.

In Part II of the Underground's fiberglass fly rod series, we look at who's building fiberglass rods and why you may -- or may not -- want one.
[ed: This is Part I of the series; read Part II here, Part III here]
 
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Destinations
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This is a small town with a big heart, a veritable fisherman’s paradise. Located near the fish-filled Madison River, and surrounded by the waters of Ennis Lake, the Ruby River, Hebgen ... moreLake, Quake Lake, Henry’s Lake, the Big Hole River and scores of smaller streams, the town boasts what many consider the best trout fishing in the world. As well known for its wranglers as its anglers, Ennis has succeeded in maintaining the look and feel of its original, gold town roots. Warm and hospitable, the area offers a wide variety of accommodations ranging from simple campsites, rustic motels and gracious hotels, to full-service, luxury resorts. Fly shops are numerous, stocked by local experts ready to advise and assist, while guides can be booked for trips throughout the area.

Boredom is the only thing unavailable in Ennis. Throughout the summer season the city hosts a series of events, including its renowned 4th of July Celebration Parade and a genuine, old-fashioned rodeo. In August, fly-fishing luminaries from around the US, flock to Montana to compete in the Madison Fly Fishing Festival. Athletes also find their way to Ennis to compete in the city’s Madison Trifecta, two shorter races followed by a full Marathon at 9000 feet, the highest elevation run in America. For the true sportsman, October falls in with the annual Hunter’s Feed. What’s caught, typically elk, moose deer, pheasant and bobcat, gets cooked on the streets and served up to hungry spectators.

Flanked by three grand mountain ranges, The Tobacco Root, Gravelly and Madison, Ennis is scenic and entertaining – truly an authentic, fly fisher’s haven.
Fishing Waters
Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park. The lake is 7,732 feet above sea level and covers 136 square miles with 110 miles of shoreline. While the ... moreaverage depth of the lake is 139 ft, its greatest depth is at least 390 ft. Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 ft in North America.

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Yellowstone Lake has native Cutthroat Trout and non-native lake trout. The strict regulations have improved the sizes and numbers of these trout. 

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Game Fish Opportunities:
 (3)
The Big Hole River starts in the Beaverhead Mountains south of Jackson, Montana and flows on for about 156 miles. Beginning as a slight stream, it picks up muscle as it joins with ... morethe North Fork, and draws more volume as it passes through the Wise River basin. At the Continental Divide it changes its northeasterly direction and heads southeast until it joins the Beaverhead and forms the Jefferson River close to the town of Twin Bridges, Montana. It hosts one of the last known habitat for the native fluvial artic grayling but is best known to fly fishers for its trout.

Like so many Montana rivers, the Big Hole is as full of history as it is of water. When Lewis and Clark stumbled upon it, the river was providing a buffer zone between rival Indian tribes vying for land as they sagely anticipated the westward push of European miners, furriers and settlers. Fifty years later, a significant number of the Nez Percé, a tribe that had initially befriended the Expedition, refused to accept life on a reservation and were nearly wiped out by U.S. troops in the Battle of the Big Hole. Today’s battles consist of quarrels between ranchers who desire water for irrigation and recreational users who wish to see the water preserved.

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Fishing the river can be basically divided into three sections. From the headwaters at Skinner Lake to Fish Trap, the river meanders slowly through high meadowlands. This is where the few remaining artic grayling can be found, although browns and rainbows are in abundance here. In the second section, Fish Trap to Melrose, you will find boulders and pocket water rushing through a narrow canyon; here rainbows outnumber the browns with an estimated 3000 fish per mile. The final section, Melrose to Twin Bridges, is lined with cottonwood bottoms, braided channels and long, slow pools. In contrast to the second link, browns outnumber rainbows 2 to 1 with approximately 3000 fish per mile.
 (4)
If fly wranglers were gossips, the “Blue Ribbon” Madison River would likely be their primary object of attention. Arguably it’s the most talked over, written up and frequented river ... morein the entire state of Montana – and that’s saying something. What’s more, no one has anything bad to say about it and that’s for a good reason. There’s nothing bad to say. Its scenic journey begins in Yellowstone National Park at the convergence of the Gibbon and Firehole rivers and continues for 19 miles through parkland. Within the Park, fishing rules apply: no live bait and sorry to disappoint, but it’s catch and release only. Once outside the Park the river meanders past working ranches, stately conifer forests and cottonwood lined banks, interrupted by riffles and quiet runs that contain large rainbow and trophy brown trout. Flowing alongside Yellowstone’s West entrance road, the river enters the Hebgen Lake, created by Hebgen dam, until it reaches Quake Lake, a bit downstream from the dam. At this point the river is commonly called either the Upper Madison or the Lower Madison, although in fact, they are one and the same.

Upper Madison – Quake Lake to Ennis Lake
Directly below Quake Lake the river roars into 5 long miles of Class V whitewater with steep gradients and large boulders along the way. As the rapids decline, the magic begins. For the next 53 miles, often referred to as the 50 Mile Riffle, the cold river runs north and the fish jump high. Annual runs of spawning trout make their way from Hebgen Lake, rainbows in the spring and browns in the fall. Known the world over for its “hard fighting” trout, it’s not unusual to pull a 25” brown from these upper waters. In deference to the purists and fly-fishing enthusiasts, it’s wading only from Quake Lake to Lyons Bridge. Boats may be used to access the river, but if you’re going to fish, your feet must be on the riverbed. Fortunately, the Hegman releases water throughout the year, leveling its flows and relieving it of spring runoff issues and summer shrinkage.

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Lower Madison – Ennis Lakes to Three Forks
A short section of the river between Ennis Dam and the power station maintain relatively low water levels and provide wonderful opportunities for wading. Past the power station the river regains its muscle and for 7 miles winds through Bear Trap Canyon. Hiking trails offer the only entry, great for those that like to walk and seek the solitude of a designated wilderness area. Floating is permitted but requires a lengthy shuttle and the ability to work through Class III-IV whitewater. Once out of the canyon the river flows in shallow riffles until it reaches Three Forks and joins the Missouri. From Warm Springs to Greycliff, the river is easily accessible for drifters and wading.
Trips
$
1,625
-
$
1,925
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
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Duration:
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 (1)
Experience the Madison River Like Never Before Learn the best spots on the Madison River with 5 great fishing days with Red Mountain Adventures. Eric Shores, with over 35 years of ... moreexperiencing guiding on the Madison River will take you down a journey of the best places to fish.

The journey starts on the Upper Madison River on a guided float trip covering about 8-11 miles of premier fly fishing water. The following day includes a recipe (location flies, and technique) on a do it yourself wade location near the fly fishing town of Ennis. The third day moves you on to where the Madison River dumps into Ennis Lake for a full float day stalking the giants. The following day provides instructions again for a do it yourself wade day. Location will depend on the hot locations during your visit. The final day is another full day float day on the lower Madison River. All together, you will experience the Madison River like never before by true expert.

Note: The order or location may change based on where the best spots are at the time.
$
550
/ Boat
Capacity:
2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
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We specialize in guiding on the Big Hole river. We cater to anglers of all skill levels, from beginner fly fishermen looking to catch that first trout on a fly, to the seasoned angler ... moreseeking a veteran Montana fishing guide who knows these waters like the back of their hand. Our experienced guides will work hard to help you have a first-rate Montana fly fishing experience.
$
575
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Days:
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Duration:
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Full day float trip with lunch and flies provided.
Outfitters
 (3)
Ennis Montana Premier Fly Fishing Outfitter and Fly Shop on the Madison River Trout Stalkers is a fly fishing outfitter that specializes in Montana and Madison River Fly Fishing Trips. ... moreWe are located in Downtown Ennis and just three blocks from some of the best fly fishing in Montana, on the Upper Madison River. Our fly shop is staffed with experienced and welcoming fly fishermen who enjoy sharing their knowledge.

Trout Stalkers fly shop and online store features a diverse collection of the finest fly fishing gear, clothing, fly fishing gifts, fly rods, reels, flies, rental gear, boats and accessories. Our carefully curated fly selection is focused on proven fly patterns for the Madison River and other major southwest Montana rivers.

We have a variety of watercrafts and rafts for rent and for sale, including inflatable rafts equipped with fishing frames, drift boats, kayaks and SUPs. We also have an ever-changing fleet of new and used rafts and drift boats for sale. Need a Madison River shuttle service? We can help with that too.

Our extensive knowledge of fly fishing the Madison River stems from many years and countless days spent “driftin’ and dreamin'" on this great river from top to bottom. We strive to make every visitor to Ennis, Montana feel comfortable and welcome in our fly shop. We want you to have a great Montana fly fishing experience and our top-notch, seasoned guide staff will work hard to make sure of it! Our motto at Trout Stalkers is simple: The first time you fish with us you're a client. The second time you're a friend!
55 comments
[#8230;] [#8230;]
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It takes a lot to wear out chromed guides, so I'd make real sure the stickiness is due to the guides and not something like a dirty fly line. In any case, you're confronting the quandry of anyone who fishes a collectible; is it a fishing rod or an object to be preserved? Good luck...
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I am torn between putting new guides onto my Winston 8.5 5wt late San Fransisco era fiberglass rod or leaving it in it's original state...any suggestions? It is getting a little sticky when casting and I can see the guides are worn some. I thought of selling it to a collector...but the sweet heart is fun to use. Juan
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I must say that I found this article very interesting indeed. I have been fishing since I was four years old (almost 50 years) and I have worked my way through most of the different types of fishing by now. I got firmly hooked on fly fishing over 20 years ago and it has since been my absolute favourite version of our great sport. I was a 1996 UK Trout Master an achievement of which I am proud (I still ... more have the badge on my vest). The reason I found this article so interesting is that I have for years exclusively used graphite rods for my fly fishing. As was suggested here, I always found fibre glass rods to be heavy and unwieldy particularly when I used them as a child. These rods, of course, came into play in the 1950's in the States and created a renewed interest in fly fishing at that time (previously the 1920's was regarded as the peak of the sport in the US). Whilst I don't think I will ever make a return to fibreglass, I find graphite just the best and love my Sage w7 and my Orvis w8, it was great to hear that it is still out there and seemingly much improved. :-)
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this article reminds me of fishing for steelhead with my dad 15 years ago with huge fiberglass rods... man that was a blast when a screaming steelhead had the rod bent over.
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Nathan, You sound like me many years ago. If you like a more relaxed casting stroke, then fiberglass or bamboo is definitely the way to go. Don't let sticker shock on new rods scare you either. With a little research and patience spending time on ebay, you can get your hands on a very serviceable fiberglass or even bamboo rod for a fraction of what the new ones cost. My favorite fiberglass rod is ... more an old Shakespeare Wonderod in a 7'9" configuration, and I paid something like 40 bucks for it on ebay. My favorite bamboo rod is an 8'6" Wright amp; McGill Granger Victory that I paid about 175 bucks for on ebay. The main thing to remember is that a lot of what you see out there is the top-end stuff and often that's only for cosmetic reasons.
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Gotta agree with you there MB... fiberglass, cashews, cheese, and merlot... Tough to find a better diet... However, I personally like to spice it up with some classic bamboo...
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We all need more fibre in our diet. Bring back the hollow fibreglass rods en masse....they are great...and cheap.
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[...] August 12, 2009 middot; Leave a Comment Reprinted from the TroutUndergound.com [...]
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Thanks Bob, Life is too short to play crummy guitars, drink cheap coffee and boast about "never fished" fly rods.
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...nice one Arlan... reminds me of an 'ol Billy Joel lyric... "every year is a souvenir that slowly fades away"...... I too keep an old Fenwick 605 in the back of the car along with an equally old, worn, Pflueger... great fun for small mountain streams, bushy flies and hungry brookies...
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Sun light through the low hangers, casting itself on my vintage Fenwick Feralite glass fly rod's finish. That deep reddish brown and it's distinctive wraps. It brings back youth, fishing the trout streams of the U.P Michigan. I still use a Fenwick Feralite with a Quick 55 reel. And I keep a Fenwick FS74-4 in my trunk, it's a 4 piece glass 7 Ft Fly/Spin rod that received some bad press about the time ... more of the Nixon era for being a less than stellar compromise in rod design, I love it! It has a 24" aluminum tube and a plaid green rod cloth. It brings back fond images of the old "Hamms of the sky blue waters" adds and brings in both trout and small mouth better or as good as anything I have used. My ultra-light, a Fenwick FS55 with a Quick Microlite. Who needs anything more? Some things are better left unchanged especially if they are things of art and fishing function. Memories are what makes our senses come alive. Making good memories every day is a good goal. You can find great vintage glass rods all over. Glass is good! Wonderful article.
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...duh, what was I thinking?... schming is a good thing!...
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Swing weight, schming weight. Damnit - the Underground Rod Corporation LLC, Esq's products might be heavy and overlong, but we'll be marketing primarily to the Manly Fly Fisherman (hey, Sage sold the TCR). Frankly, it's a business plan that can't possibly fail.
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...Good point Tom... By the way, did anyone consider the rod length's which Carina referenced?... 3.6 m, 4.5m and 5.4m (metric unit meter ?) are pretty darn long, particularly for fiberglass... I'd be somewhat concerned with the swing weight, but more so with trying to fit the 5.4m rod in my VW Beetle!... that's nearly a meter longer than any spey rod I've encountered... Bob
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Alistair: When I receive an offer that good, I'm tempted to put the Underground's Considerable Financial Resources to work, but my charitable impulses prevent me. After all - given my considerable marketig prowess - what chance would the American Fly Rod industry have? How could they withstand the Underground's engagement marketing onslaught?Short answer: they couldn't.
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Do it Tom - Do IT! I dare you !
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Dear Sirs, Happy new year! I see your web page that you are online shop offers fishing rods and other fishing accessories.Here I take the liberty to ask wether you have interest in our fishing products.Our company which located in Weihai (China)is a comprehensive company which produces, processes and sells various kinds of fishing rods, fishing reels and accessories in different materials, such as ... more carbon fiber and glass fiber . we have many different types with various lengths,like the fresh water ones( 3.6m , 4.5m , 5.4m ...), salt water ones,hand ones;sea rods,carp rods,shrimp rods,fly rods,rock rods,etc. All our fishing productions are scientifically designed and well-practised, so their quality is secure and 100% reliable. because most of our productions are produced in carbon fiber and glass fiber,they are very beautiful in style and easy to use,which make them also popular among children an ladies. We have created a wide abroad market, such as America , Europe, East-South Asia, and South Africa and get a good reputation from our customers both on quality and competitive prices. If you need any futher information please don't hesitate to contact me,when it is necessary, we would like to send some samples of our productions to you or produce items according to your desire. Carina is always here: MSN:carina522008@yahoo.cn; Skype:Carina Zheng (China). So we can contact directly online. Look forward to your early reply! Yours faithfully, Carina Zheng
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...oops again, i meant i thought it was fiberglass, not graphite (whatever that is)... bob
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...ooops, i thought the gfl476 was a fiberglass rod rather than glass... sorry all......... uhh, graphite?... what's that?... Bob
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Good luck, but I think an early Sage glass rod would be more likely to appreciate than a Sage graphite rod. I hope it goes well, but prepared for disappointment.
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Hey everyone! Just wanted to follow up. I contacted Sage directly, and it turns out the graphite rod was made in the early 1980's, and way back then it retailed for $300. They said that although they can only estimate the appreciation value (including inflation), your estimate of $400+/$500 was pretty accurate. I have listed it on ebay, hoping to sell it to a good owner. The auction can be visited ... more here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItemamp;item=270311517419 I started it low to attract buyers, hopefully it will reach the value it's worth! Thanks again for your help!
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...you're most welcome..... i'm curious what happens too..... i'd go after it, but i'm afraid if i brought another rod home my wife would bury me in the basement and use them all for tomato stakes.... ;-) bob
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Bob: Thanks for handling this one while I was away. Josh: Come back and let us know what happens with the rod.
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Bob- thanks so much for the very thorough and helpful advice! I will post in the fiberglassflyrodders forum right now.
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...hello josh, i suggest you place a post on the fiberglassflyrodders forum... they have a "rods for sale" classified section for that purpose... as for a price, I'm a little rusty with latest range for various rods... however, based upon past experience, I would guesstimate $400+ range... be aware that the recent rough economy has negatively impacted the selling price of equipment... you can query ... more the members on that forum for a better estimate... i suggest using the "rod collecting" section initially to obtain an appropriate price range prior to posting (with pics) in the for sale section... i'm confident you will have no problem selling it... ...good luck, Bob
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I have a mint condition (never used) sage gfl 476 two piece, line 4, 7'6", 2 3/8 oz. fly rod, and I'm wondering if anyone here could tell me what it was worth, and (since I am not an avid fly fisherman), where a good place to sell it would be? Thanks for any advice you can give!
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Great read as always Tom!
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Here is the response I got from Sage: Hello, I just got the word from our engineer and he told me that Sage built these rods from about 1980 to 1983. The suggested retail price for this rod was $ 88.00 according to the Catalog from 1983. After 1983 we no longer built Fiberglass rods and started to offer rods built from graphite. I hope this information will be helpful to you. Best regards, Birgit ... more Birgit Richardson Sage Warranty Dept Customer Service Sage Manufacturing 8500 NE Day Rd Bainbridge Island WA 98110 Toll Free US/Canada: 1-888-848-7243 Direct: 1-206-780-8754 Fax: 1-206-780-8796 E-mail: repair@sageflyfish.com Website: www.sageflyfish.com
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Thanks for all the advice. If anyone else has any input on this rod, I'd love to hear it. The folks at Sage couldn't tell me much, other than it was one of the first rods they ever made with "Sage" on it, and that it was valuable. And that it retailed for $88.00 in 1981.
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Fly: Tom advice is good... there are a many highly knowledgeable folks on the fiberglass forum that can assist you... and check out Clarks board as well... I was considering a mint Sage SFL recently that was selling for a bit over 500 there... I think 1200 is a bit steep, but ya never know how the market responds, particularly with glass becoming very popular lately... Hey, maybe the rod manufacturers ... more have accomplished all they can with graphite... so it's time to go retro!...
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Fly: Check at the fiberglass fly rod forum. They'll probably know more.
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Can anyone else confirm the value of the Sage 789 SFL? Thanks.
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Thanks. Unfortunately, I just sold it for $300 to a guy who saw it listed on another site. I guess I should've done more research before I quoted him a price. Ouch.
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Fly Man Whoa, that Sage SFL 789 #7 weight in 8'9" is worth like $1200 brand new....AWESOME.....I would ask for at least $ 1,000 at auction..... who cares what it is worth....go cast it, go fish with it....$ value is irrelevant....don't be a weiner...weiner.
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I have a Sage SFL 789 #7 weight 2-piece rod, 8'9". Does anyone know the history of the SFL series? What is this rod worth? Thanks.
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Tom: Yes, that is true for me too. I believe that characteristic often proves positive for many doubting graphite users. I've seen similar positive results when a graphite fan is given "a bit faster" bamboo rod to test drive. More often than not they respond favorably. It's always fun to observe. Yes, I too was once amongst the "doubting". Bob
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Bob: The Scott F series have a reputation for being a bit faster actioned than most glass rods. that seem true to you?
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...just spent a few days at the Somerset, NJ show... was suprised to find that the two reps at the Scott booth were clueless about their glass (F-series) rods and did not realize that they had three on the rod rack... fortunately I was able to test cast them after an accidental encounter... Bottom line: ...great glass rods, poorly prepared reps...
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Smith: Given that Sage has spent years trying to kill off the ghost of their exceptional LL series (and essentially brought it back, only with a $600-$700 price tag), ask your friend how much he enjoys being the marketing department's bitch.
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Amen, Tom. I was recently chatting with a friend of mine and mentioned I'd just bought a Diamondglass 4wt, and thought it was a really sweet rod, and his "response was, I don't mess around with anything other than modern materials anymore - graphite and boron." When I said that I thought this was rod was totally "modern," he just didn't seem to get it. Looking forward to Pt.II.
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...great article Tom... I fish glass and bamboo exclusively... great challenge which is half the fun... thanks for enlightening more folks... Bob
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I have an old Fenwick glass that my grandfather was given as a gift at his "Retirement" party, it was state of the art then, its now "Obsolete" but mine... not only does it cast nicely, but it brings back great memories.
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Alistair: Yesterday's high-end glass rods (the Scotts, Winstons, etc) are now worth far more than they were when new. As for liking softer rods, it would be worth a try. Look for specific recommendations when I start talking about rods in the next part. Hawg: The Lami blanks seem to be the most like bamboo, though I'm not a huge fan of them. If you really want something that cast like an older, smoother ... more cane rod, find an 8' 5wt Diamondglass (now sadly discontinued). Wow. gg: You can always use a short excerpt if you link back. As for rods for beginners, well, stay tuned. Thanks for all the comments folks. More to come.
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I too have a Steffen Bros. rod built from one of their blanks. Simply stated, it is a GREAT rod. Luckily it's a three weight, otherwise, a few of my prized bamboo rods would be collecting dust like my graphite rods do. By the way, I fished my 8'4" semi-hollow Walton Powell 7 weight on the Lower Sac yesterday. I suggest you grab a buddy or two and head on down the hill, the fishing was excellent -- ... more if you can abide bobicating (not something I care to do often).
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Great article! Interesting that California glass builders like Calstar, Seeker and Tru-line dominate the saltwater scene, and have been improving glass all along, while graphite was being oversold to fly fishermen. What do those saltwater guys know.
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Well, I fish grass, glass, and graphite, and like them all. Most of mine are home-made, and have been for many years. But there are a couple of graphite offerings out there that you might enjoy. Within the last year or so, I've built on both Winston Boron IIt and Lamiglas Appalachian Travel series blanks, and they are very sweet and smooth. (So, of course, is the one I built on a vintage Conolon glass ... more blank.) The feel isn't exactly the same as that of a good glass or bamboo rod, but much closer than I thought would be possible in graphite.
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Wow, what a great article. I am looking forward to part two and scheming pondering over how I can get you to let me post an excerpt at my blog with a link back to your series... Wondering also what your top three recommendations for beginners would be?
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Tom, It's about time! I've been waiting on you to post this thing ever since you first mentioned it. I hope I don't have to wait as long for part 2. Keep your adoring public happy! I also am itching to get into bamboo, but I just can't afford it right now. Fiberglass seems like a logical alternate/stepping stone. Out of my current rods (all graphite), my favorites to cast are the cheap, slow ones. ... more I love feeling them load up, and, not surprisingly, I cast better with them. I've noticed my shoulder tires out less quickly as well. I'm looking to build a rod on the Lami Spring Creek 7.5' 4 wt blank. Anyone ever used that blank? Another question: anyone ever cast a silk line with your fiberglass rod? Take care, Nathan
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A very good article. I fish graphite and glass, but find myself going to glass more often. On small streams it offers rod lengths and line weights that aren't available in graphite or, if available, require casting skills and focus that diminish much of the enjoyment of fishing in my opinion. They also "preserve tippet" and a sudden move by the fish or fisher is less likely to result in a premature ... more release of the fish. Plus, top of the line glass is, today, less expensive than its equivalent in boo or graphite and will take more abuse. A material and generation of rods not to be ignored.
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Good Morning TC, The casting ability of the rods of your that I have had the pleasure of casting is outstanding, and what the modern builders are doing is great. Going away from all that fancy wraps. I am waiting on part 2, want to know more about the para rods. David
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Very interesting read Tom, thanks for posting. I'm really interested in trying out a fibreglass rod. I've been quietly dreaming about a good quality bamboo rod for a while, but it simply isn't going to happen at the moment. What sort of price does a decent modern rod come in at? Looking forward to part 2. cheers, mike
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It is funny (not ha ha) that you mention this as I always wonder what happens to all those fiberglass rods that have been sold over the years - I never see any of the yesteryears top end fibreglass rods come up for sale on ebay - do people just hold on to them or have they simply been binned - I would love to fish with one to see how it compares. I like slow rods maybe fibreglass is the way to go ... more ?
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Fiberglass fly rods are alive and well. Just visit http://p099.ezboard.com/bfiberglassflyrodders I have a Steffen Bros. rod I built on a blank a couple of years ago, and it has become my favorite rod to fish. I have a couple more Steffen and McFarland blanks awaiting completion, not to mention a Lamiglas honey colored glass blank and even an older Fenwick glass blank. I still fish a few graphite rods, ... more but glass is a gas!
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Eloquent and sorely needed viewpoint. A fine fly rod is simply that - regardless of material used. Despite all of the advances in fly fishing and rod science, only disrepair can make an old rod obsolete.
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