Can anyone direct me to information on the rod I picked at an auction today. It's nothing special, but it's in really good shape other than a dirty grip. It is a Shakespeare Wonder Rod, Kwik Taper, No.A-818. I'm pretty sure it is an 8wt. It was manufactured in Sept of '63 according to the three letter code on the rod. All the wraps are good, the reel seat is anodized aluminum, copper colored and down locking with a few scratches. It's in the original cardboard rod tube with the model designation stamped on the cap. I paid $20 for it.
I also picked up a gold colored Perrine #101 metal fly box that has metal clips on one side and a magnetic sheet on the other, plus the original "Knots all fly fishermen use" sticker on outside. Again, it looks like it was made yesterday. It has about 25 flies in it. I paid $15 for that.
Did I do okay? I can't wait to get out and cast it, but it's stinkin' hot out there.
The A-818 came in 4 lengths. 7'9", 8', 8'6" and 9" and they all had the Kwik-Taper action described as;
"Semi-enlarged butt diameter size with less extreme tapering of blade to provide power with action for general purpose fresh and salt water fishing."
They handled 7/8 floating lines. (HCH)
The 3 shorter rods were good for a WF9S and the 9' rod could handle a WF10S
20 bucks is a good price.... but only if you use it.
I had and sadly got rid of one that is darn similar. Their action does not compare well with today's graphites however you can still do fine. They do have backbone for bass in brush.
I would suggest using a Bass Bug/Salt Water taper to help load the rod quick. If you think it's an 8wt try a 9wt, might have some guys at your local club who could let you try. Keep your cast to bass distances and all wil be good. Won't throw like a 9' fast graphite though.
If you don't like it send me a PM as I have a heart for those old Wonder Rods.
I agree Pete, they are very different from today's graphite, and in some ways better. Fiberglass is just very different. I have another old glass rod, originally a Berkeley Buckaneer 8'6" 8wt from the earlier '70s that was not in great shape. I stripped that one down to the reddish brown blank (it was a bright yellow) and rebuilt it with new guides, grip, and reelseat. All told I have $38 in that one, and it has become a favorite to fish. It has a slow but smooth casting action that will reward you when you relax and let the rod do it's job at the speed it wants to. Push it and it will punish you swiftly. It will never be my double-haulin' distance rod, but when distance isn't the issue, I'll take that cheap glass rod any day.
This rod, I'll fish as is. There is nothing that needs to be done to this one, which makes it my only box stock fly rod.
One of my more recent acquisitions is an early LLBean branded glass rod that i got off Craig's list
Due to the description, I was excited to believe that I was getting an unused Phillipson made rod, but it instead turned out to be a rebuilt Wright & McGill. I was disappointed to say the least, but I bought it anyway as part of a package.
I never put a line on it, tried it out, or even looked at it until the other day when I happened to have it in the truck and had an hour to kill. I had assumed that the rod was a 7wt but as I didn't have a 7wt line on a reel, I tried an 8.
Casting in a close riffle at about 25-30' all I could think was "what a dog this rod is". As I worked my way down to below the island where I was, the river opened up and I was able to lengthen my casts and had a change of heart.
I had no problem casting the 8wt line 85 - 90 ft.
Needless to say, I now have a better opinion of the rod and the next time out I'm trying a 9wt line to see how it does with that.
I took her out tonight for a quick outing to see how she casts. It was glaringly obvious from the get-go that failure to slow down equals failure to cast. It is far slower than my rebuilt Berkeley B40, yet seems to cast better the farther out you go. I need a few trips to figure this rod out. The stripping guide is so small, it really seems to hurt the ability to cast. I need to find the right line to minimize that negative.
At the auction I spoke with the late previous owner's niece, and told her I intended to use her uncle's rod and keep it as nice as he did. I will keep this promise. Oh yes, and I caught a nice rock bass on it, in his honor.
All in all, fishing old rods is like taking a '65 Malibu for a drive...you don't do it for the handling or the speed...you do it because it's just fun to do.