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  1. #11
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis Chessman View Post
    Hi, Rip Tide. After editing the op following your post, I found a quote by Vic Cutter, ex-manager at Fenwick, saying USA blank production ended in 1985 and edited that in instead. There's quite a gap between 1985 and your 1998 CoFi. Was it new when you bought it?
    I took a look at my Iron Feather yesterday but did not see a country of manufacture on the rod decal so that doesn't help.
    Yes I did buy it new but it was a close-out, which is how I know that it was one of the last USA rods produced.
    In a quick perusal of my collection of Fly Fisherman magazines I found a full page ad for the Fenwick Cofi 57 in the September 1996 issue. Page 25

    Theses American made rods feature our exclusive 57 million modulas.....

    ...backed by Fenwick's Lifetime Limited Warranty and are priced from around $400 - $480
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  2. #12
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    Nov 2009
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    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    Thank you, Rip Tide, that's not very helpful of you.
    There's obviously a contradiction here so I'll edit the doubt into the op.

    One possible scenario I can imagine is that the blanks were foreign Fenwick-designed imports but the rods were built in the USA, so warranting 'American-made' - but I really don't know how US law works regarding this. More research required .....

  3. #13
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    I suspect that you'll find that Fenwick stopped producing fiberglass rods sometime in the mid '80s
    The second generation E-glass Feralites ended production in 1988

    The Fenglass rod line started up again around 2000
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

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  5. #14
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    Apr 2014
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    Columbia, MO
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    Good discussion, Lewis. I have a Fenwick Eagle Graphite E80-6F. Not sure where it falls in the history or quality level of Fenwick rods. I believe I bought it late 80s-early 90s. I doubt it was an expensive rod, as I didn't have a lot of discretionary money, back then.

    Edit: My wife drove over it in her car. Broke the plastic tube, but didn't hurt the rod.

    Thanks,
    steve
    "As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler" ...Izaak Walton

    "Nothing is as bad as something that is not so bad"...Sr. Percival Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel

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  7. #15
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    Nov 2009
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    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    511

    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
    Here is a lead for you to follow; back in the 70's Fenwick had a School just south of West Yellowstone, Montana on Rt. 20 with casting ponds and guest cabins. The likes of Jim Green, Bob Jacklin (a great caster/angler) and David "Dutch" Schultz were instructors. To this day, Dutch sometimes fishes a prototype Jim Green rod that, sit down, Lewis, is solid Boron. It is slow, slender and dense and one-of-a-kind. The school is long gone but the buildings and ponds remain as a condo of some sort.
    I have found a 1976 Field and Stream article about fishing schools by Ken Schultz (any relation to 'Dutch'?) which mentions that Fenwick, in '76, were running 49 schools in 21 locations nationwide! West Yellowstone is mentioned along with Spruce Creek, PA., and Gold Beach on the river Rogue, OR. It's essentially an advert for the schools and even includes prices but does say that they don't push Fenwick tackle on their clients.

    An Orvis school gets a mention, as does the Leonard Rod Co. and Garcia Corp who may have owned ABU by then? I mention ABU as they are the only UK school from the '70s I can recall, and were based in Aviemore, Scotland, near the Spey.*

    This earlier, '73 F&S article more gives locations - Fenwick at Gallatin Gateway and at Fenwick, MT. Orvis at Manchester, Vermont. Garcia's schools, supervised by Joan and Lee Wulff, were held in Fishkill, NY.
    ''For a few years Cortland Line also ran a fly fishing school .....", it reads.

    Nice work if you could get it!

    * I've since remembered that Hugh Falkus and Arthur Oglseby ran a Spey-casting school in Grantown on Spey in the '70s, but they were writers rather than tackle companies.
    Last edited by Lewis Chessman; 11-30-2018 at 04:50 PM.

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  9. #16
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    Nov 2009
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    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    My homebuilt HMG GFL 108-5 has arrived. 'Custom' would be a little grand for it but it is actually better made than I expected. It has lost the keeper ring and the varnish is showing its age but I may just replace the k/r then leave it as it is/for what it is. The cork handle shape and whipping colours differ from a factory rod's but I bought it to see how HMG feels compared to later rods, not for the cosmetics.

    I've yet to put a line on it but first impressions are that it is crazily soft compared to modern rods - I wouldn't even say 'medium action' as this must be amongst the deepest flexing graphite I have held. The 'wiggle test' demonstrated a fair amount of reverb reminiscent of a Mexican wave!
    Compared to this the LCI Striker II (8' 6'', #6), '96% Graphite' (Loomis circa '81, pre-IM6) feels positively pokeresque!

    I'll post a shot of the curve under stress another day and have a grass-cast when its dry(ish) out but for now, a few shots.

    .......................1-P1030104.JPG

    .................................................. .......1-P1030103.JPG

    .......................1-P1030102.JPG

  10. #17
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    Nov 2009
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    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    I haven't cast this rod yet but did a decidedly unscientific stress test today - handheld camera with a wide angle, didn't mark the ladder feet with deads, inaccurate scales ..... but the rods were held at the same angle and with equal weight applied.
    I decided to compare it to an LCI Striker II, 8' 6'', #6 made circa 1981 from Loomis's '96% Graphite', the same cloth as that which made his earlier Lamiglas graphite rods, '74 on, and contemporary with the HMG. Both rods are two piece. It might interest someone else and I'd be pleased to know what, if anything, others make of it.

    1st Gen Fenwick GFL (custom) 9 ft, #5, with approx. 4 oz on the tip + 1 oz on the line.

    ..........................1-HMG 905 with 5 oz c.JPG

    LCI Striker II 8 ft 6'', #6, with approx. 4 oz on the tip + 1 oz on the line.
    ...........................1-LCI Striker II 8.5 ft 6 wt with 5 oz a.JPG

    On the Fenwick home-built rod - that's quite a flat spot on the reinforced joint (which narked Ard back in the day, I've read!) and it looks like there's a bridge between 4 & 5 (counting butt up) that Brunel would have been proud of. Moving 4 up half an inch might help even things out.

    The LCI is 6'' shorter and one weight heavier and demonstrates much more rigidity in the middle third as well as in the tip.

    I have a #7 Ironfeather which might make an interesting 3rd comparison .....
    I fished this LCI a fair bit in '16, often with a sinking line, and it's still a pleasant rod to use. It has enough backbone to lift a sunk line to the surface easily and yet is sufficiently responsive in the tip for bite detection and reasonable accuracy. I'm looking forward to trying that with the Fenwick!

  11. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Central Texas
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    231

    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    Back in like 1978 to 1980 I worked all summer and saved all my money and finally had enough to buy Fenwick 905T
    The “T” stood for traditional. It was advertised as the graphite rod with the traditional bamboo feel.
    I got to fish it one summer and then it was stolen.

    I loved that rod and I would love to find another. I’ve watched eBay for years and can never find one.

    Anybody remember this line of rods?

  12. #19
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    Nov 2009
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    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    I think that's the 'HMG Woodstream Traditional' series, with a decal designation such as 'GFF-806T', as mentioned in the o.p., Mike.
    Your dates are interesting as I've not accurately pinpointed the Woodstream take over. Late '70s and before '81 is the the ball park and your purchase is right on that mark.
    Good luck finding a replacement. They were a short-lived species, I read. May be worth your while looking for a 'normal' 2nd Gen brown HMG 905 as they'll be more common. After all these years you may not notice the difference in softness, especially if you are now used to stiffer modern graphite - the original 1st Gen HMG feels incredibly whippy to me, for instance.

    Btw, on closer inspection my top section is noticeably crooked. I've read this was not uncommon on these early rods.

  13. #20
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    Sep 2013
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    North Central Montana
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    1,047

    Default Re: On Vintage Fenwick HMG Fly Rods

    In 1979 I was living in New Jersey and decided to get back into fly fishing. My only fly rod back then was a four piece Eagle Claw Trailmaster 7 1/2 foot six weight fly rod that I used in the Sierras and shad fishing around Sacramento in the 60s when I was a kid. A guy I knew where I lived in Jersey shared a Cabelas catalog with me and I bought a kit to build an 8' 6 weight HMG fly rod, GFF 806. I finished this rod in 1981. By then, I was living in Elko, Nevada. The following year, I built a 9' 6wt. HMG for my dad, GFF 906. He never fished with it, and I got it back following his death. I haven't fished with it either -- but I'm glad I have it -- it was the prettiest wrap job I ever did. So, with these dates in mind, and following this discussion, these must be original Fenwick HMG blanks. They are a rich brown.

    I've got a fishing story about the 8 foot rod. I moved to Montana in 1994. In Dec of 1999 my RPL six weight broke and I had to send it in for repair. In Jan of 2000, I was invited to do a float on the Missouri with a couple of friends. My only other six weight at the time was the HMG 806. I hadn't fished it for years. I had grown accustomed to the actions of the Winston IM6, Orvis Western, and Sage RPL rods that I regularly fished with at the time. The HMG felt like a noodle. I was okay nymphing with it until I had hooked a fat rainbow in an run with a strong current. The rod was almost bent double and I still could barely move the fish. I had to move downstream and find some slower water to land the trout. One of my friends was unamused by my difficulty in landing the heavier fish and wanted to know what I was doing on the river with a rod like that. I admit, I was happy when my RPL was repaired and returned to me. I haven't attempted to fish the 8 foot HMG since -- and I really should take the nine foot 6 weight I built for my dad and see how it casts.
    Last edited by mtbusman; 12-11-2018 at 03:16 PM.
    "Sometimes the least important thing about fishing is fishing." --Roderick Haig-Brown

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