Help identifying a rod?

Rodslinger.23

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Here’s what I know: Shakespeare Graflite (correct spelling) FY1000 8’ 0” and the recommended line weight is too scuffed to see anymore.

Does anyone know anything? Thanks in advance for help!

Chris76BE4EE1-E81D-4E28-9C86-DE780AE581A1.jpg98296350-E14E-4593-A9B2-F74F31628F32.jpg98296350-E14E-4593-A9B2-F74F31628F32.jpg35250C76-91E8-4962-9BD4-BA288DA9A157.jpg
 

sweetandsalt

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This is a question for Lewis Cheesman but this is possibly a 1975ish rod from the era Shakespeare was building early graphite blanks for Orvis. An 8' rod from that time is likely a #5 or 6-weight.
 

trev

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I'm not a Shakespeare historian but recalled reading this;
. At a tackle show in Chicago, Shakespeare and Fenwick both introduced a graphite rod with a name spelled the same- GRAFLITE. You can imagine the concern on both sides. After much deliberation it was determined that Shakespeare had secured the name first and Fenwick had to destroy all the catalogs in print and come up with another name.
The Ugly Stick and the story behind the naming of the best selling rod of all time

!973 IIRC Fenwick got into the stores faster with HMG and I've read that Graflite II was in the '75 Shakespeare catalog. So the rod might be as early as '73 but if if not a "II" before '75. I think that it being 7/8wt is just as likely as it being 6wt. but that is kinda subject to the user.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, rodslinger.23. That's an interesting early rod. If you can post a pic or two showing the ferules, the handle & reel seat plus an eye or two I'd be grateful.
As sweetandsalt says, the rod first came to market in 1975. There's an ad for them here in a 1976 Field and Stream which mentions the Howald Process, an early method of adding hoop strength to carbon rods, then notorious for snapping. It gives rod lengths but not their line weights, sadly.

Interestingly, a poster on the Washington forum said:
Shakespeare graflite. This is not a misprint... 8 ft... i love this rod. ..it’s so similar to my early Orvis 3 wt graphite.. from what I could find it’s a 6 wt ?? But feels like a 3
It's interesting because, unbeknownst to the poster, Shakespeare were supplying Orvis with their blanks prior to Orvis establishing their own rolling plant. So the chap is probably spot on regarding similarities.
Possibly his rod is missing its line rating too, as he seems to be guessing #6, but that feels overlined to him. He doesn't mention the model number, just the length.
I also found this ref. to an FY1001 8' #7

I don't think I have a '70 Shakey catalogue to refer to but will look tomorrow.
I can't figure out the model number. FY? Why? 1000/1? 8 foot is 96" so that doesn't fit.
As for the line rating, well we know that the 8' 1001 is a #7 and that the second 8' felt over-lined with a #6.
I have an early 9 ft #6 Fenwick which feels extremely wobbly by today's standards and better with a WF#5. It wouldn't surprise me if the Graflite is similar.
I'd be tempted to try a #4 to begin with and expect it'll feel light. I suspect a #5 will feel better and that a #6 will overload your rod - but I'm guessing. Still, if you start light and work your way up in line weights you'll soon find what feels right without risking any damage.
I hope you enjoy it and have some great times together on the water.
 

Lewis Chessman

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That's smashing, rodslinger.23, thanks.
The most obvious similarity between this and the '70s/'80s Orvis Graphite fly rods is the reinforced female ferule on the top section. Early Fenwick HMGs had a similar rff on the top section and both the Orvis and HMGs have a plain male spigot on the butt sections - as opposed to an 'applied spigot' which is a separate carbon rod inserted into the blank. I suspect your rod has the former? I.e. it just tapers to an end and the tip slips over tightly.
I don't know if this is using the same ferule patent (Jim Green's, I think?). They're very similar to the eye. Yours and the Orvis' have a longer graduation towards the blank at the upper end than HMGs but that could just be dressing.

Here's my 1st Gen HMG 12' 6" for comparison.

1-P1050314.jpg

The early Orvis Graphites were unsanded and have wrap-ridges running up their length, example here, while your rod, presumably the same blank as in Orvis' very early carbon rods (prob. '75/'76 only), has been sanded smooth. Other than that (and the hardware) I believe your rod and the early Orvis Graphites share the same blank.

Is there a bit of writing on the hood of the reel seat (or is it just a scratch?). I'm wondering if it says 'Varmac' but would imagine Shakespeare were making/using their own products back then.

You'll have gathered that I'm a bit nerdy on these early carbon rods. The long and the short of it is that I think you'll find you have a perfectly usable fly rod which is rather soft-actioned by today's standards. Rather than focus on the potential for faster, stiffer rods most early graphite-adopters tried to emulate bamboo action, Loomis/Lamiglas being an exception. I think that if you over-line the rod it will react poorly, become slow to recover giving a lot of 'bounce' and struggle to lift a decent head of line off the water. Start with a light floating line if you can, work your way up the weights and you may find the rod comes alive again with one. It'll never be anything other than 'an old graphite rod' but there is a joy to be found in learning to adapt to these older rods, in slowing down the cast and feeling the rod work right into the cork. If it makes you feel better about it, consider it 'The Original Orvis' Older Brother' :) but I've a long respect for Shakey tackle and would be proud to fish it for what it is, a ground-breaking, pioneering rod of its day.
Also, bouncy as they can be, little fish are far more fun than on a stiff, modern cue.
 

brownbass

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I have a Pflueger rod marked, X481 Graphite 6-7, that I purchased in the late '70s that I have been unable to find any information on The reel seat looks exactly like the one in the op. It is a moderate action rod that I used with seven weight line and it actually cast decently even for all the wiggle. The bottom of the reel seat has a rubberized pad for setting the rod on. Some of you may have more information on these earlier blanks than I have been able to find. Looking at the picture even the handle has a cigar grip similar to the one pictured.

Bill
 
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sweetandsalt

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Yes, Lewis, that appears to be the two-piece female ferrule as used by Orvis as opposed to the tip-over design devised by Fenwick. One of your Rodon's has both a tip over and internal (solid boron) spigot on the same rod. Can you look into the 1st. gen. Leonard "Grafteck(SP?)" light grey colored rod of the late 70's, please?
 

Rip Tide

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There's an illustration of one with a cork grip in Dr Schwibert's book Trout Tackle ~ Two
No text though
Right next to a Leonard Graftex....
There is a couple of pages on those rods
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, s&s. The Leonard Graflex are rather enigmatic, not least because they were notorious for breaking, I've read!
Here's a picture of one by planettrout (post #5). Check the female ferule out. ;)
Those few models I've seen have all been grey blanks. One went through eBayUK last year fetching just under £100. A collector's piece, I think. I'd be too scared to cast it!

As cooutlaw says in his op, these were Winston's first supplied graphite blanks, c. late '73 - early '74 (verified by Winston from his own notes), putting the blanks' manufacture pretty damned parallel to Fenwick, perhaps even pipping them to the post for the 'first commercial graphite rod' - but no one seems to have been recording such silliness.

I'm not sure where Leonard bought their carbon cloth from, but Great Lakes springs to mind for some reason. I'm afraid that's all I know about the Grafteks.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks, trev. That list has the FY1000/1/2 Graflite Fly rods as first sold in 1978 - at least two years later than I thought.

Other than the glass/graphite fusion that was the Ugly Stik,what then was Shakespeare's first 'all graphite' rod and when?
If the report about the ownership of the Graflite name is correct (but undated) then it means they must have sat on the project for some time - and it scuppers your Graflite II in '75 recollection. However, the comment about the cost of cf tow does suggest very early '70s before production really took off in the States and the price plummeted. I'm inclined to doubt that list, trev, tbh.
 

trev

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I didn't think the list was accurate either, and don't know the origins, just saw it on another forum and bookmarked it; thought it might be of some help to you, but it is just a list. It did seem that all the FY models were fly rods rather than boat or casting rods.
We also know that the tackle companies produced a lot of stuff that never got put in the catalogs. My assumption is that from the 1973 entry of Fenwick and the name story from a Shakespeare employ (I may have seen another version of that from a different source, but memory is vague) that the show in question had to be earlier than '73. Also guess that Shakespeare might have been making some Graflite that didn't cataloged.
I don't know and and have only passing interest; I'm sure your knowledge exceeds mine and your memory is probably better.
FWIW, the FY prefix was also used on 'glass rods (more my interest) starting ~1966 and continuing into the '80s per this list; Shakespeare - Fiberglass Flyrodders Wiki
Making me think perhaps just designation for fly rod similar to Fenwick's "FF".
 

Lewis Chessman

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Morn'n', trev. Yes, I'm sure you're right and, like Fenwick's 'FF' fly rod designation, 'FY' was Shakey's - but why 'FY'?
Fenwick's 'FF' was 'Fiberglass Fly'.
'GFF' 'Graphite Fly F?' where I think the last 'F' stands for 'Factory'. Blanks were sold as 'GFL' but the 'L' evades me, as does any rational behind Shakespeare's 'Y'.

I know Gary Loomis has spoken of first seeing the Fenwick graphite rods at the Chicago trade fair in 1973 (though these were not fly but spin & bait) and to the best of my knowledge these were the first graphite rods to market, but we know that several blank-making companies were simultaneously experimenting.
Hardy, first to research carbon fibre in rods, had a close relationship with J.K. Fisher.
JKF helped Hardy set up their Fibatube glass fibre rolling factory in Alnwick in the late '60s, exactly the time Dick Walker's group was researching graphite composites there.

What is more, champion caster John E. Tarantino who was associated with JKF was in the UK designing the Hardy Jet c. 1966 and no doubt would have been aware of Walker et al.'s work. J.E.T. also designed tapers for Winston and Winston later bought their pre-IM6 blanks from JKF .... Sorry, I'm rambling with my own thoughts, but J.E.T. could have been instrumental in carrying word of Hardy's progress with carbon composites back to the States and possibly designing the first JKF graphite fly rods? It warrants further research some time.

Right .... I'm off to dig through old catalogues .....
 

Lewis Chessman

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Regrettably, the earliest Shakey cat. I have is '91, so no good here.
I've dug on line a bit and found this FFRF post from 2010 by gaddis (which I'm sure you've seen too, trev):
I have not studied the Shakespeare graphite rods very much but I can tell you that the Graflite II series first appears in the 1975 catalog - an 8'0" 6-weight model. In 1976 they added 7'6" (5-wt), 8'6" (8 wt.) and 9'0" (9 wt.) models
I have seen no other ref. to a 'Graflite II' and Field & Stream ads from 1976 refer only to the 'Graflite' series. Furthermore, if the Graflite was released in 1974, the same year as the Fenwick HMG fly rods, then it's understandable that they did not appear in a catalogue until 1975. So, I wonder if the poster got the ''II'' wrong?

For comparison, I noticed this ref. to brown HMGs here in F&S, Nov. 76.:
The Fenwick range of HMG rods take on a distinctive chameleon brown colouring this year, and will see the addition of four piece 'Voyager' fly rods ....
I mention this not only because it is the earliest ref. to a 4-pc. fly rod I've seen but also because it records the year Fenwick introduced the brown 'Second Gen' HMGs.
So, it took Fenwick until the end of '76 to remodel the HMG. I find it hard to believe that Shakespeare had a remodelled 'Graflite II' by 1975, about one year after the Graflite's release.

Another post of note is by The Purist here:
IF the Graflite has the original labeled tube and correct bag, AND is one of the early ones with the gray/white wraps, it could be a $100.
Again, here the owner says his 8' #6 feels more like a #3 which may be relevant to the op's original question, as may the grey/white wrap info, suggesting his may be a later run, if correct.
 

trev

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I always thought the FF was Feralite Flyrod for the Feralite patented ferrule and that GFF was Graphite Feralite Flyrod; because prior to the patent ferrule the Fenwicks had three digits with no letters. But that is just supposition, for several years the blanks were marked FL, again possibly Feralite and perhaps level meaning blank or perhaps just a random letter set?
Yeah, that Gaddis post would be the one I remembered, probably and it may have been his mistake or a typo if that doesn't show up else where. I read a bunch of the older Shakespeare post a year or so ago trying to figure out which Wonderrods ny mentor used back in the "70s, In late '70s to mid '80 I was using St Croix and At Croix made 'glass sticks so any recall of carbon stuff is marginal, although in my opinion that time was the best for carbon fiber fly rods.
 

Rip Tide

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Fenwick's 'FF' was 'Fiberglass Fly'.
'GFF' 'Graphite Fly F?' where I think the last 'F' stands for 'Factory'. Blanks were sold as 'GFL' but the 'L' evades me, as does any rational behind Shakespeare's 'Y'..
Fenwick prefix "FF" = Fenwick Feralite
"GFF" = Graphite Fenwick Fly

The "L" in the "GFL" or "FFL" prefix stands for "Length" (in inches)
In other words my FFL102-7 is a 8'6", 7wt

As for Shakespeare, the FY prefix stands for "fly"



.
 
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Rodslinger.23

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Thank you so much for your time and info! I do look forward to getting this rod out on the water. Any thoughts on relative value? I'm not interested in selling but I just wonder what it might be worth, out of curiosity, not that I'd expect it to be worth much. I'll update when I use my 4wt and 5wt lines on it this coming weekend.
 

Rip Tide

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Any thoughts on relative value? I'm not interested in selling but I just wonder what it might be worth, out of curiosity, not that I'd expect it to be worth much. I'll update when I use my 4wt and 5wt lines on it this coming weekend.
$10 - $25, Not much more
sorry
 
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