"When I Die, Bury Me With My Phillipson Bamboo Fly Rods." Part One.

Category:
bamboo fly rods, fly fishing stuff, Underground's Best
Added Date:
Tuesday, 20 Mar, 2007
Summary
Lately I've been looking hard at all the bamboo fly rods in my rod closet, trying to mentally define why I fish them and how I apply value to them--values that often differ markedly from the marketplace.
 
Content
Lately I've been looking hard at all the bamboo fly rods in my rod closet, trying to mentally define why I fish them and how I apply value to them--values that often differ markedly from the marketplace.

Then that crafty bunch over at MidCurrent went and excerpted a chapter from Casting a Spell by George Black, a book about craftsmanship and its survival in the face of the industrial revolution.

I found it interest because it paralleled my thoughts about Bill Phillipson's fly rod company, which tells a similar story about craftsmanship in the face of growing corporatism.

From MidCurrent:

George Black's fascination with bamboo rod-craft pivots on Eustis Edwards, whose personal history speaks volumes about the survival of craftsmanship in American culture. This excerpt looks at the final disillusioning and yet productive years of Edwards's life, and at the rods which exemplified his obsession with perfection.

Black focuses on Edwards rods, using the rods and their makers to illustrate the changes rapidly overtaking society post WWI.

I place Bill Phillipson's rod company in a similar context; his small, individually owned company thrived for years before it was bought in 1972 by a large corporation which--immediately and somewhat inexplicably--folded the company.

Phillipson rod picture

His bamboo trade--like most others--had foundered with the appearance of fiberglass and the bamboo embargo of the cold war years, but unlike so many other production companies, he was innovating and building what were probably the best fiberglass rods available.

I'm sure there's an answer to be found at the bottom of a spreadsheet in a file cabinet somewhere, but it's hardly possible to overlook the larger trend at work: the corporatization of business in the USA.

That's why the George Black excerpt at MidCurrent dovetails so nicely with the post I was already writing in my head.

I love it when the Universe writes my lead for me.

What's Desirable in Bamboo?
In the weird, overlapping hierarchy that defines "desirability" in modern bamboo fly rod collecting, it's possible that the Edwards rods were among the best, least-appreciated models--at least until Black's book was released.

Longtime bamboo rod collectors will be reminded of the release of Michael Sinclair's "Heddon: The Rod With The Fighting Heart" book.

It had an immediate (and galvanizing) effect on the price of used Heddon rods, which--until the book's release--crowded the used rod lists at relatively low prices.
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Still, the Edwards rods were never as plentiful as the Heddons, and I know I ignored the Edwards creations simply because there weren't enough of them available to interest me.

Yet, equally true is the fact that the rods I owned and fished weren't really considered desirable among the majority of collectors.

If I could have afforded it, I might have made an exception for the fishable, consistently excellent Paynes, but the Garrisons, Gillums and others were too rare (and expensive) to even contemplate buying, and the time I spent with their tapers (as represented by modern builders) was underwhelming.

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In my case at least, the need to "collect" simply didn't exist, at least not in the sense that I was looking to assemble (or could afford) a quiver of rods whose makers and tapers would impress when casually dropped in bamboo-savvy company.

Bill Phillipson & His Fly Rods
When I first grew interested in older bamboo rods, I focused on the Western rods, and soon fixated on Bill Phillipson's creations.

Phillipson was foreman of the Granger shop starting in the mid 1930s and owner the "Phillipson Rod Company" until the early 70s.

It's likely my interest was fostered by what I learned about Phillipson himself; a sometimes gruff man, he valued function over form, and his goal was to build rods that cast and fished as well as the most expensive models, yet at a price anyone could afford.

It's likely that tapped into the populist vein that runs through me, and clearly, Phillipson was no huckster.

He was, in fact, an expert caster and a fine fisherman, who right up until his death could be found fishing Colorado's waters, including the South Platte.

John Gierach cops to sometimes fishing an 8.5' Phillipson on the South Platte not just because he sometimes ran into Bill Phillipson there, but because the rod's perfectly suited to fishing that river.

Fishing Rods, Not Toys.
If day-to-day fishability defined collectability, the Phillipsons would occupy a place on the food chain far above many more expensive rods, perhaps only one rung below the vaunted Paynes and one above the currently hot Grangers (most of which were also Bill Phillipson's children).

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Still, though I own an even dozen Phillipson rods, I never became what you'd call a "collector," and because I like talking to rod builders, I'm wholly interested in what today's bamboo rod craftsmen are doing in the now century-old bamboo rod trade.

Still, after years of use, a couple of my favorite Phillipsons require some ferrule work, so I need to ship them to a rod repairer (the true downside of bamboo rods).

I fish a couple of the rods often, and wonder if that means I value them so much as fishing tools that I overlook the fact that another Phillipson will never be made.

In fact, the rods fish so well, I could--in a fit of Thoreau-esque simplification--surplus all my other cane and end up a perfectly happy camper (for most trout situations anyway).

Still, let's face it; I'm not going to do it.

What I am going to do is split this post over a couple days. So tomorrow, more on Phillipson fly rods--the models I actually like to fish.

Click to read Part II of "Bury Me With My Phillipsons." 
See you at the rod closet, Tom Chandler.

 
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Destinations
Find Fort Collins on the Cache La Poudre River along the Colorado Front Range. Fort Collins is situated about 65 miles north of Denver. With a population just shy of 160,000, it is ... morethe fourth most populous city in Colorado Fort Collins is a midsize college town and home to Colorado State University. In and around Fort Collins are many experienced guide services that will introduce visitors to the Cache La Poudre and the many creeks and rivers within easy driving distance.

To locals in Fort Collins Flyfishing is a lifestyle. Within easy reach are the Big Thompson River, Estes Park, and Rocky Mountain Nation Park.
Fishing Waters
Southwest of Denver, the South Platte River is formed by the convergence of the South Fork and Middle Fork rivers. Its drainage basin, on the eastern side of the Front Range Rocky ... moreMountains, is quite substantial covering large parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. Together with the North Platte, they form the Platte River that winds through Nebraska and eventually joins the Missouri River. There are three main areas along the South Platte that are known for great trout fishing, each a unique and worthwhile adventure: Cheesman Canyon, Dream Stream and Eleven Mile Canyon.

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Cheesman Canyon has the rarified distinction of being ranked as both a Wild trout and a Gold Medal stretch of water. Known for its huge boulders, arid clime and towering Ponderosas, the river is also considered to be one of the most technically difficult tailwater fisheries in the state. It is also known for rewarding anglers with large rainbows (average 14-16 inches and many over 20) and sizeable browns. Throughout the canyon you can expect to find deep pocket water, rifles and small pools. Fishing is possible year round although it is catch and release only.

Open to the public, the Gold Medal Dream Stream runs from the Spinney Mountain Reservoir to Elevenmile Canyon. Famous for it trophy rainbows, cutthroats and browns, the Dream Stream is also known for its Kokanee salmon that arrive during their fall spawning season. Trout weighing 2-3 pounds are commonplace, while larger fish, including monster 20+ inchers, are also possible. Fish here tend to be skilled at avoiding detection and prepared to put up a good fight, humbling even the most experienced anglers. This 3-mile section is strictly catch and release, artificial lures only.

Between the Elevenmile Reservoir and Lake George, the South Platte flows through a gorgeous canyon with riffles, runs and pocket water. Steep canyon walls protect from wind and offer shade during summer months. Largely a rainbow fishery, browns and cutthroats are also here. Most fish measure over a foot long but much bigger fish can be found. The top two, Gold Medal miles of the canyon have the highest concentration of trout; catch and release only here. Public access to the canyon is excellent, and this year-round fishery can be crowded. Miraculously, the fish seem oblivious, easier to catch here than on other parts of the river.
The St. Vrain Creek or St. Vrain river as it is sometimes referred to is still a place where a flyfisher can find solitude. Simply put, it's a small stream fishing paradise. The St. ... moreVrain is a beautifyl creek that holds browns and rainbows in its lower reaches. The upper parts have good poplulations of brook trout and cutthroat trout.

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Three main forks form the St. Vrain Creek. Highway 7 and Old St. Vrain Road follow the South Fork of the St. Vrain
Creek for 10 miles or so. Park and fish along the road. On County Road 96, just off Highway 72 you will find a trailhead for the South Fork which will take you back into the high country.

The Middle St. Vrain Creek rises along the continental divide, west of St. Vrain Mountain. It descends into a canyon to flow along State Highway 7 and past Raymond and joins the shorter South St. Vrain Creek about two miles below Raymond. Access the middle fork from a trailhead in the Peaceful valley.

North St. Vrain Creek rises northeast of St. Vrain Mountain near Allenspark and descends in a canyon to the east along U.S. Highway 36. The two branches join at Lyons, at the mouth of the canyon. Use the trainhead at Wild Basin to take you into the high country of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The St. Vrain is a tributary of the South Platte River.
Game Fish Opportunities:
The Big Thompson is one of Colorado's finest streams. It flows from Forest Canyon Pass through Forest Canyon where it picks up volume as it is fed my numerous mountain creeks. It becomes ... morefishable at Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park, about six miles below its headwaters. From Moraine Park wade and explore the many braids and channels. Delightful trails up and down river lead to fantastic flyfishing experiences.

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With its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Big Thompson river just below the town of Estes Park is a classic canyon trout river. This 30-foot-wide trout stream is best described as pocket water and riffles, which makes for great walk-wading fly-fishing. Between Estes Park and Drake the Big Thomson is special regulation water. You'll find wild rainbow trout in the 10-14 inch categories (stocking by the state stopped in 1994) and some brown trout. Below Lake Estes at Estes Park classic tailwater flows are well controlled with fairy stable discharge except for the annual runoff between March and April. From Estes Park the stream flows down to Loveland. The tailwater operates very stable for a dam.

The North Fork Big Thompson River also begins in Rocky Mountain National Park from where it flows along highway 43 east, through the town of Glen Haven and merges with the Big Thompson River in the town of Drake, in the Big Thompson Canyon.

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Trout on the Big Thomson can be fincky and will not just take any dry fly you present. Light leaders, tippets and good presentation is called for. Flies should match the surprisingly large number of insects in the Big Thompson or aproximate what's about to hatch. The Big Thomson flows along the busy highway 34 which can make parking a bit crowded at time. However, this water should be well worth your time. On the Big Thomson it pays to visit with a guide the first few times. Local experts will provide you insight to the local hatch and provide instruction for how to fish the Big Thomson for a most productive experience.
Game Fish Opportunities:
Trips
$
135
-
$
290
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
With its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Big Thompson River just below the town of Estes Park is a classic canyon trout river. The personality of this 30-foot-wide ... moretrout stream is best described as pocket water and riffles.

Because of the diversity of water and abundance of trout, the Big Thompson provides a remarkable walk-wading fly-fishing experience for the never-ever or the well-fished angler. The 10-12 inch rainbow or brown trout will take dry flies or nymphs. Big Thompson River fly fishing is an exerpience that is second to none.
$
275
-
$
450
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Addictive Angling Colorado Guide Trips take place on the South Platte River. The South Platte is one of the most well known trout rivers in the United States. The South Platte begins ... morewest of Denver as a small, meandering mountain meadow stream. As the South Platte flows east, it pours into a series of Reservoirs. Starting with Antero Reservoir and flowing into Spinney Reservoir, the Upper South Platte River located in South Park, Colorado, provides anglers with ample opportunities to catch Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Snake River Cutthroats. From Spinney Reservoir the South Platte flows for 5 1/2 miles before it meets Elevenmile Reservoir. This stretch is known as the Dream Stream due to the large trout that call this section of the river home. Below Elevenmile Reservoir the South Platte River flows through Elevenmile Canyon. This beautiful boulder filled canyon offers amazing fly fishing for anglers looking to wet a fly close to Colorado Springs. Eventually, the South Platte flows further downstream into Cheesman Reservoir. Below Cheesman Reservoir exists another beautiful Canyon. Cheesman Canyon Trout are some of the smartest and most beautifully colored fish in Colorado and will test the skill levels of even the most experienced fly fishermen. Downstream of Cheesman Canyon is one of the most popular stretches of the South Platte River. The Deckers area provides easy access and many miles of Public Water fly fishing full of trout eager to take a fly. Below Deckers, the river continues into Strontia Springs Reservoir before it once again flows through yet another beautiful canyon and finds itself flowing into Chatfield Reservoir on the South West Corner of the Denver Metro Area. After the South Platte leaves Chatfield it continues is journey North East until it eventually meets up with the North Platte River. Whatever stretch you decide to fish, the South Platte River offers some of the best fly fishing in the country.
$
325
-
$
425
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Destination:
Undoubtedly our most popular and productive trip type, a Wyoming fly fishing float trip allows for the ability to fish miles upon miles of blue ribbon trout water accessible only by ... moreboat. Our private boat ramps on the North Platte River allow our guides for our Grey Reef float trips, to put in ahead of those using public boat ramps. This will help your guide stay ahead of any crowd to keep your experience private.

Our guided float trips are 7-8 hours on the water for a full day, or 3-4 hours on the water for a half day. We’ll pick you up or meet you at a convenient location with everything you need to have a successful day on the river. Our clean, comfortable boats seat two anglers and your experienced guide. Your guide will use his knowledge to put you in position on the best holes and runs on the river, making sure you’ve got the right flies at the right depth, and giving you tips on casting and keeping a proper drift. All you’ve got to worry about is having fun catching trout- no experience necessary! Full day trips will take a break halfway through the day for a riverside lunch on us!

Included: All fishing gear (rods, reels, tippet, flies, etc.), instruction, non-alcoholic beverages, and lunch for full day trips (Mar.16th-Nov.15th). Lunch’s can be added to winter trips(Nov.16th-Mar.15th) for $10 each. You are welcome to bring your own rods, we’ll rig ’em up to be trout slaying machines.
Outfitters
Since 1993, Rocky Mountain Adventures has been helping people have fun. We offer whitewater rafting outings, kayaking classes and fly-fishing classes and guided outings. In addition, ... morewe have a full rental program for those of you wanting to venture on your own. Whether you're an outdoors enthusiast or are a little outdoors timid, we can help you find an experience that's just your speed.

If you're coming to Colorado on vacation, or you live here and are looking for a fun experience for your visiting friends or relatives, an adventure from Rocky Mountain Adventures may be just what you need.

LOCATION

We have four locations to serve you. Our main retail store and offices are located in Fort Collins at the corner of U.S. Highway 287 and Shields Street, just north of Fort Collins. This site is within easy reach of one of our most popular rivers, the Cache la Poudre River. It is from here that we shuttle you to and from your Cache la Poudre rafting trip. If you fish or kayak with us, we often have you assemble here as well.

Here you'll find convenient parking, bathrooms, a place to change into your river clothes, and an opportunity to purchase those last minute items like sunglasses, hats, film and sunscreen. We also have some great t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other casual outdoor wear. You can also meet our Pigeon Express™ pigeons and see how they live in their comfy loft.

Our Fort Collins store is also a full-service paddling shop, complete with several lines of kayaks and associated paddling gear. We specialize in whitewater, touring and lake kayaking. For rafting and kayaking, we stock gear for rent or purchase: life jackets, paddles, wet suits, booties, and helmets. We also carry kayaks, rafts, rescue equipment, dry bags, repair supplies, books and many other items.

We have another office in Estes Park where we meet for many of our fly fishing and lake kayak outings. The Clear Creek trips run out of our Downieville office. Downieville is situated near Idaho Spring which is just 30 minutes west of Denver. The town of Kremmling located within 45 - 55 minutes of Winter Park, Grand Lake and Steamboat Springs is the river office for all of our Colorado trips. The Downieville and Kremmling offices are run under our Mad Adventures company name so don't be confused by the different name.
33 comments
I have what looks like a brand new, 9' bamboo rod that has written on the but, Ed M. Hunter "approved". The rod has two tips and has no other identifying information. If anyone has information, would love to hear. Thanks.
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It's not high for a collector looking to add a relatively rare 7' Phillipson in mint condition to his collection, but probably a bit much for someone who fishes the things. Good luck.
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I have a Phillipson Premium Bamboo 7' 3 oz. Hamp;H w/2 tips in a original steel case. The rod has never been used and is in absolute mint condition. I had it appraised by Charlie's Sporting Goods in Albuquerque, NM where I currently live. They said it was worth between $1250 to $1400 which I felt was high. I'am interested in selling it, anyone interested please contact me.
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I have a Phillipson Paragon 86 5HDH w/2 tips and a 31/4" round wind up silver colored reel also has the cloth bag. It is in very good condition, I am interested in selling this rod and reel. I have no idea what the value is of the rod, anyone interested please contact me.
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I just got a phillipson paragon 8 1/2-5 A8 ADH can you give some history on it and value of it
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Hey friends: recently I bougth a Headwaters bamboo rod Model "The Rogue" 7' 6'' #5 medium fast with Phillipson Peerless taper (its my first bamboo rod) can you explain me what its the meaning of Phillipson Peerless taper?. Other question: What do you think its the best line for this rod? Thanks
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[...] Re: Can you tell me anything about this Bamboo rod? Found this article. quot;When I Die, Bury Me With My Phillipson Bamboo Fly Rods.quot; Part One. | The Trout Undergroun... [...]
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Father left me a beautiful Phillipson Paramount 51, Hamp;H 8 foot 4 and 1/4 It has a great finish, no wear as I think he bought just to admire. Since it was my fathers, who purchased at Cook's Sporting Goods in Lakewood CO in early 50's. I don't plan selling but would like to know what the value is and how to properly store? Thanks
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Without digging back into my stash of Phillipson catalogs (can't remember when the Dry Fly Special was added to the lineup), I'll suggest your Pacemaker Dry Fly Special was built in the late 40s or (less likely) early 50s. In truly unused condition, it's probably worth a fair amount for a Phillipson. I've seen dealers trying to sell the things for over a grand, though in this climate, I doubt you'd ... more get that. Just saw a couple "standard" Phillipson 8.5' rods on rod list; one was $650, the other was $425.
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I was looking through my stuff, and tucked away in a safe place, I've always wanted to know more about my Phillipson Pacemaker "Dry Fly Special" 8 1/2' - 5 1/2 bamboo rod. My grandfather gave it to me 25 years ago before he passed away. He said he bought it for a fishing trip and never made the trip, so it's unused. Handle still with original plastic wrapper that says "remove before using". Has the ... more case, extra tip, cloth wrap and full tube case. Any idea when this was manufactured and value? Just curious. Thanks
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Louis, I tried to reply to your earlier email, but you left the wrong email address. In essence, this is not an "ebonite" but probably an "eponite" fiberglass rod. The eponite rods were often nice, though I'm not conversant with the current values of them. You'd do well to check on eBay or on the fiberglass fly rod board: http://fiberglassflyrodders.yuku.com/
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Louis Longo: I have a Phillipson Fly Rod. The model # is P90 GBG -5oz. Also says Ebonite Blank. Comes with the original steel tube. The rod is in very good condition. The ferrules seem to be brass and the windings are all wound tight. The cork handle is very good. It has a butterscotch color and distict pattern to the material. The rod is 9′ long. Could you give me some info to its value and history. ... more This rod was found in my grandfathers attic. I am 71 and don't ever remember him fishing. Thank you for you reply. Louis Longonbsp;nbsp;(Quote)
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I have a Phillipson Fly Rod. The model # is P90 GBG -5oz. Also says Ebonite Blank. Comes with the original steel tube. The rod is in very good condition. The ferrules seem to be brass and the windings are all wound tight. The cork handle is very good. It has a butterscotch color and distict pattern to the material. The rod is 9' long. Could you give me some info to its value and history. This rod ... more was found in my grandfathers attic. I am 71 and don't ever remember him fishing. Thank you for you reply. Louis Longo
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I certainly agree with the desire to not use and industrial rod. Sure, they work great. What a lot of people do not realize is they wear out just like bamboo, break like bamboo, now cost like bamboo. It is a system of line, reel, and rod integrated to a great fly that mkes the optimum. I fish with a John Betts. He dsigned the fly you are porbably using. John has a closet filled with Paynes, Garrisons, ... more Gillums, all the best bamboo rods. He made his own rod, reel, and line. Yeah, he makes the line to fit the combo. Same with the reel. How may guys do you know do that. Lefty even aint that good. John taught me how to make all the gear. I am making my own synthetic line like he taught now, better than Cortland, 3m, what ever, cast better than silk, tough as nails. My daughter will get thsi line when I am dead. Oh, you didn't knwo there is built-in obsolescence in your equipment! So I will stay with his system. Material cost; rod 19$, reel 14$, line 11$.
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Here's the problem. There is no rod between 8.5' and 8' long, so you're either mis-measuring yours, or the tip is down 1.75", or a ferrule's been re-set. None of those quite square with the "never been used." That said, an 8.5' long, near-mint 8.5' Pacemaker (4.5 oz) is worth way more than $200. If it's really in near-mint condition, probably more like $450-$600. If both tips are short, the varnish ... more has some problems, and there's a ferrule issue, then $200 is probably fair. I hesitate to say much more because I've seen rods that were described as "never been fished" before that were pretty hammered. Good luck.
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Have a pacemaker bamboo fly rod, 8'4 1/2" long, 4 1/2 oz., heh line. Rod has never, to my knowledge, has ever been used. However noticed small nicks on rod. Also has extra tip section. Can you give me an idea as to its worth. Have been offered $200.00. Irv.
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Chris: i just found and picked up a phillipson paragon fly rod 9 ft 3 pc 4 or 5 wt# just want to know what it is worth its in very good condition I doubt it's a 4 or 5 wt. The 9' Phillipsons usually cast 6 or 7 wt lines, and they're not all that valuable - probably $250-$400 (if truly in very good condition, which few are).
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i just found and picked up a phillipson paragon fly rod 9 ft 3 pc 4 or 5 wt# just want to know what it is worth its in very good condition
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i love bamboo and it's great to see it in your work
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Enjoyed your Phillipson blogs. I was wondering about the Ed M Hunter rods. I have one and the only marking on it are the Ed M Hunter "approved". It has a reelseat with the starburst on the end and is varnished but that is all. What level of regular Phillipson rod are these rods equal to in taper and line weight? Any reply with information on the Hunter rods would be appreciated.
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philipson fly rods seem to be great i dont really know to much about fly rods i found the one i have it is a mity-lite w/ a shakespeare wonderspin reel i really had fun cleaning this reel and rod i cant wait to try it out not gonna put any load on it would not want to bust it up i would really just kick myself really hard and probly come home and have my son kick me too ..its a one piece fiberglass ... more if any body knows about mity -lites drop me a email i cant seem to find one anywhere on the internet thats even similar is it a rare rod any help would be great thanks john..
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I have purchase my first Phillipson...8.5 ft Paragon..casts well...50 ft without pushing...The reel seat and grip seem heavy..it would make a long day of fishing...is that typical..Sam
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I bought me a pacemaker from ebay about 4 years ago. it really is a buet!
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Chris: Without more information, it's hard to be sure. By the early 50s, Phillipson wasn't making a whole lot of bamboo fly rods, so odds are your 8'6" Pacemaker was made between 1946 and 1950. The Pacemakers were extremely popular rods -- they fished wonderfully, but cost next to nothing. Great stuff.
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My son was given a 8'5" or 8'6" Phillipson Pacemaker three piece (with two tip sections. How can we determine its age and history? thx-
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[...] (Click to read #8220;Bury Me With My Phillipson Bamboo Fly Rods,#8221; Part I) [...]
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New to your website. Enjoyed your article on Phillipson rods and I'm waiting for part 2. I own 4 Phillipsons, 8' Paramount, 7'amp; a 9' Premium, and an 8 1/2' Preferred, and I enjoy them all. Personally I think the Paramount is the nicest looking, its my favorite. IMHO, the Preferred is the "faster" action rod. Havent tried the Peerless though, maybe one of these days I will own one. Bruce
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Kevin: The Paragon was the lowest-priced Phillipson, but you're in luck. The low-end Phillipsons offered the same tapers, but lesser real seats and cosmetically less-attractive cane. Reed: The shorter Phillipsons are the least refined of the lot. My 8' Premium is assuredly not a fast rod (my 8' Peerless Impregnated rods are stronger, but still the same medium taper). The 8.5 tapers? I'd hesitate to ... more suggest the tapers were steep, and they respond poorly to being pushed. As for Phillipson starving, it wasn't part of the story. He was an innovator in fiberglass rod production (he invented the technique whereby blanks were cured in a pressurized chamber to minimize voids). I think -- unlike so many of the other bamboo rodmakers -- Phillipson wasn't wondering how to survive retirement.
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Tom, Aren't Phillipson rods an acquired taste? I bought a 7' Peerless 5wt back in 1992 for my ten year old son. However, being accustomed to the slower (sweeter?) action of F.E. Thomas, Edwards, and other Eastern makers, I moved Dan over to a Thomas instead; believing that the more mellow action might be easier for him. [It didn't matter, he was casting better than me in a week anyway.] Phillipsons ... more are fast! The cosmetics take some getting accustomed to, as well; the copper colored reelseats make one look for a fly reel in Harvest Gold or Avocado Green. I certainly admire Bill Phillipson for staying (and probably starving) in the trade for so long. We owe much to Bill P., Bill and Gene Edwards, and their like who kept turning out quality work in the face of an increasingly cost-conscious - above-all-else - consumer attitude. I had the good fortune to live close to Sam Carlson for many years. We sat in his shop many Tuesday nights as he told of the Edwards brothers and old man Edwards. It was a different time. Thankfully, craftsmanship is returning with the high quality available from so many rodmakers today. Best regards, overmywaders
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Or maybe Part 3. I may do Phillipson stories in Part 2.
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rriver: I'll go over some of the models in Part 2. They're wonderful rods -- more so when you grok Bill Phillipson's history.
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I have a Phillipson Paragon 5wt, I think an 8'6", which was my grandfather's, has both tips and is in the original tube in excellent condition. It is my first and only bamboo, a joy to fish, and something I've know very little about until this post. Looking forward to hearing more about it in the coming days. PS: The new regs meant I fished it on a tiny American River trib last weekend for wild bows ... more and a few browns. No trails, no trash, no people, and bear tracks every time I go.
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Interesting post TC. I have almost bought a Phillipson on many occasions, but never pulled the trigger. The "Peerless dry fly special" always sounded intriging. - rriver
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