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The Cane Rod Fix
By Ray Gould

Often times there seems to be a question as to whether or not to fix up an old cane rod and fish with it. This article is aimed at providing some guidelines to the reader as to how to go about making the decision.

First of all is the issue of the value of the rod. Some rods are heirlooms handed down through family generations and as such may be priceless for their sentimental value regardless of the true market value of the rod. In these cases it may be most appropriate to figure out some way to display the rod rather than to fix it up and fish with it. Perhaps a shadow box or even a wall hanging in the family recreation room or in a workshop could be devised to show off the rod.

If the bamboo rod is a very old and rare model it could well be quite valuable perhaps worth as much as several thousand dollars. In that case the owner might decide to sell the rod as is or donate it to a museum such as the one operated by the Federation of Fly Fishers. In any case if the rod is to be fixed up the work should be done by a professional. Amateur repair work on this type of rod usually reduces the value substantially. There are some books available to help in determining the value of such a rod but the best thing is to have a local cane rod expert examine the rod for you.

Now mind you, many bamboo rods were mass produced in the 1920's, 30's, 40's and 50's. Most old cane rods seen today are in this general category and although inexpensive are still fun with which to fish. These are rods that are fairly easy to repair and refinish so that they are once again usable. With basic instruction some people could recondition their own rod while others may elect to have a local expert do the work for them at a nominal cost. Yet be aware that there was a great deal of quality variation among these mass produced rods and some are popular among collectors.

In general a rod that has been reconditioned and is fishable will be of more value in resale. If the original rod bag and case are available be sure to save them as they add to the value. ~ Ray Gould

Stay tuned, Ray has promised to explain how to recondition or repair that old rod!


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