So I have been thinking it would be cool to have a bamboo rod, just for some fun light duty use, small to med trout streams. I see quite a few on e-bay that are definitely not expensive (wouldn't have to worry about fidhing a true antique), Primarily South Bend, Montigue, and Hoorocks & Ibbotson. Any one have any experience with these rods, I know they are not high end cane, but I am looking for something cheap but fishable?
I have a South Bend, an H-I, and a no name Japanese cane. They're all fishable but some are better than others, quality wise.
In my opinion if you can find most any rod of 8 foot or less you're going to enjoy it more. Longer = heavier
If you're interested in rebuilding a rod, it's also possible to convert a 9' rod into a 6' "banty".
When purchasing, all sections should be of the same length or at least very close. A rod that has a "set" can be straightened and splits between strips can be re-glued. Cracked ferrules can be fairly easily replaced, but lateral cracks or rot in the cane should be avoided.
Cane rods are easily refinished
I bought a refurbished Montague from Ed Beck off E-Bay awhile back. I am very pleased with it, but it takes some getting used to if your using a fast graphite. He usually has a few listed and they are not too expensive, around $150 or less, depends. Give him a look.
---------- Post added at 03:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:11 PM ----------
Yes, I just checked. He has a few listed now. Check out the L.L. Bean $155
I would ask where you live & what type of streams will you use the cane rod on? The tips and info given already are all good but knowing what you intend to use the rod for would help. I have had quite a few rods and some were better than others. I can handle a heavy rod if it casts well, by well I mean very little effort in laying a line to where I want it. Some of the better rods that show up on eBay are the Heddon rods. I have always wanted one of their Black Beauty models but have yet to get one. If you really have a hankering for cane then I would advise holding on to your money until you have accumulated enough to purchase a rod that has the reputation of being a 'good one'. When compared to the price of; let's say a Sage Z Axis new on the shelf, you can find a fine bamboo rod on the after market. I have watched many a nice old Orvis Madison grade rod sell for 400 or less and the occasional Battenkill (with 2 tips) for between 4 & 5 hundred. Another interesting make that gets little attention are the Edwards Quad rods. These are four spline rods and generally go at reasonable prices. A friend back east had several and I was able to use one on occasion. They are a bit heavy but cast well.
So where are you and how large of waters will you be using a cane rod on?
I can't argue with Ard and Randy. My fishing partner buys and sell cane rods and one day "forced me" to fish an Orvis Battenkill he'd bought. It was one of the most fun rods I ever tried.
The experience was pretty much lost on me though as I was constantly worried that I would break it. I'm much more comfortable swinging something a little less valuable. I won't even lawn cast his Leonard.
I live in NM, and I am really a newbie to fly fishing for the most part. I would say 90% of where I fish is for trout in smaller rivers and streams, in a lot of cases you really dont cast as much as you kinda just flip the line out. I would like to do some more pontoon or drift boat fishing on some of the smaller lakes we have here as well. I do get up to the San Juan River occasionally. My primary fly rod is a Cabela's Three Forks Rod 5 wt with a Ross Fly Start reel. This has been a decent set up to learn on and I have caught fish on it all the way from jacks up to 20"+ Rainbows. I have Winston Vapor 4wt fast action rod coming in (Ebay), so although still an entry level rod, it seemed like an upgrade and I thought it was a good deal at $140, oops sorry to get off topic. Any way, I would probably be using the cane rod only occasionally and probably not on the bigger rivers or on the lakes, but I really just want to try one out just to see how I like it, I kinda like vintage stuff. As you and Randy are suggesting maybe it would be worth saving up to buy a decent used Orvis or Heddon, but as you can see even a used one of those would be more than I have tied up into my current rig, which was why I was kinda leaning towards a South Bend or HI. I am begining to upgrade my equipment as I really start doing more Fly fishing than spin cast (I know I am not a purist, yet ) I do have an older Orvis Madison Reel Coming in as well it has two spools, so I wouildn't mind finding a decent compatable cane rod for that real. Ideas?
Garage sales, yard sales and ebay and see what you can find, the one mounted on my wall cost $5 bucks at a garage sale, it is a Jorgensen, most likely a cheap one when it was new, but it came with two tips and with a little elbow grease and some thread wraps it is fishable in small streams. As the guys said the more expensive rods will probably cast better. I will say a cheap rod that does not cast well may turn you off on Bamboo if you are seriously considering this as a primary rod someday. but, if you are just looking to be nostalgic, then a garage sale rod might be the ticket. Sometimes you have to ask the garage saler - hey, do you have any old fly fishing rods? the one I have was not out front, but when asked the guy said, yeah, I do, hang on a sec, he went out to his shed, and came out with a couple, $5 bucks each.