Bamboo Fly Rods

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Part of the allure of flyfishing lies in honoring its roots. That is why many fishermen have taken to collecting vintage bamboo fly rods along with vintage reels. Steve Ellis, collector of all-things flyfishing, talks about what to look for in a bamboo rod and what goes into determining the value.

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  1. Marlene Meech says:

    I have a bamboo fly rod just wanted to see if its value. It has a trade mark that has a circle k on has 3 tips . has black lacor.

  2. steve ellis says:

    It is impossible to give you the value of something without a more in depth desription. Most bamboo rods were three piece and came with an extra tip. Circle K is not a premium rod. If it is more than 8 foot long the value is decreased. The shorter the better.
    All sections should be the same length and all guides should be wrapped on and have the same color wrappings. If it doesn’t have the original rod tube and rod bag, the value is decreased. The tip section should have at leas t five guides on it if it is a three piece rod.
    Chances are it is worth less than $50.00. If there are any Japanese symbols on the rod it is not worth a heck of a lot.
    I hope I have been a little informative and helpful to you, but just because it is bamboo doesn’t mean it is waorth a bunch.

    • Mary Brenneman says:

      To find the value of an item or just to check out what it is worth, try clicking the Research Your Items button on the WorthPoint home page. You’ll find it on the brown bar near the top of the page. If you click on it you will find the Worthopedia (price guide) with millions of items of prices and pictures.
      You’ll also find a second link for Ask a Worthologist, if you want an expert evaluation of an item.

      Ask a Worthologist is an online service where, for $19.95, registered WorthPoint members may request an unbiased, expert opinion of a collectible or antique. Based on details and photos you provide, a WorthPoint Worthologist will return a detailed evaluation of your item which includes an estimated range of its fair market value.

      I hope that is helpful.

  3. fred connor says:

    hi i have hardy two peice bambo fly rod i think the top halve has bean repaired it is 4 inches shorter than the bottom it has a number on the handle and a small plate saying hardy,my brother give me this rod about 25 years ago , he thought it was pre war.would it be worth any thing if it has bean damged it still has its own cloth bag witch is starting to rip.
    please oblige
    fred connor

  4. Chris Hughes says:


    A very informative video.

    When I was growing up, my neighbor used to practice his fly fishing cast in his front yard with bamboo fly rods. Cars would always drive by and ask if he’d caught anything!

    He passed away last year and I miss all the good times we spent talking about fishing, his military service in WWII, and being an Eagle Scout in the 1930’s.

    He actually inspired me to be an Eagle Scout and I remember how proud I was to compare my award with his.

    I wonder where all his bamboo fly rods are now…


  5. Steve Ellis says:

    Hi Fred;
    Even though it may be a better rod, the fact that it has been broken greatly reduces the value of the rod, and it is probably just a wall hanger or a parts rod. Condition of the bag appears poor as well. The butt section, if it is all intact has some value, but without knowing condition, length, how old the rod is and what it is made of (bamboo or green hart), it is hard to determine value. But it is not too much.

  6. Steve Ellis says:

    Hi Chris;
    Thanks for looking at my video! I love hearing stories like that. One of my customers told me a story that he was one of Bing Crosby’s accountants and he would end up practice casting with him, occasionally, on the lawn of whatever studio he was working out of.

  7. fred connor says:

    Hi steve i thank you for your information im on holliday at the moment and as far as i can remeber the handle is in good condition and i would be sure that it is bambo,the reasion i would b sure,my brother was in to fishing and seam to no his rods.I thank you steve for your help.
    from fred

  8. Taco Nolf says:

    Hi Steve,

    I have a ONE piece rod. This one is marked: “Lee Wulff “Ultimate”; #1726, 5’10 1/4″, 1 5/8 ozs Armour Cane; Made by Farlow’s in Aberdeen, Scotland”. All of this is hand-written in black ink – there is no printed label.

    The rod is in its original blue cloth cover which has a wooden dowel in it as well, the same length as the rod. There is a woven label on the cover “Farlow’s London England; Established 1840”.

    Is this worth anything?

    Taco Nolf

  9. Noel Drayton says:

    Hi Steve
    A very useful and informative video. I have a Fosters of Ashbourne seven foot cane rod which I still use sometimes.
    I have had it about forty years.



  10. Susan Lichty says:

    Hello Steve,
    A friend has asked me to research the value of a bamboo fly rod that they have. When placed together, the three pieces measure 10′ 7.5″, there is an additional fourth piece which seems to be an extra (thin version) of the tip. I’ve found that the celluloid handle, patent dec 13 1881, was made by the Pritchard Brothers. There is also a patent Jan 10, 1888, double beveled wedge device for holding the reel in place. I have photos which I’m sure would help you, if you let me know where to send them.
    Thanks in advance for your help,

  11. doug says:

    Hi Steve, I was helping a friend move one day when he told me to throw out that old canister. Well long story short I kept it and it is a bamboo fly rod and case is also bamboo. The two ends appear to be maybe brass I’m not sure. Anyway on one of the brass ends are the words Turner Brothers “Delight”. And then I believe there is a patten #.
    Any insight would be greatly appreciated I can’t seem to be able to find any info on this? FYI it is 4piece fly rod and short less than 8 ft I’m sure.

  12. steve ellis says:

    Hi Susan;
    Usually long rods have a lower value and are usually not highly collctable. The problem with your rod is that all the sections are not of equal length. I haven’t heard of Pritchard Bros and pictures would be most helpful. Remember condition is very important. All the sections should be of equal length and all the wrappings should match in color and all the hardware should match.

  13. steve ellis says:

    Hi Doug;
    It is virtually impossible to give you any help without seeing pictures of what you have. I haven’t any knowledge about Turner Bros. and would have to investigate it further under guidelines from WorthPoint.

  14. fred connor says:

    Hi steve i sent you an email about a bambo fly rod,sorry steve its split cane Hardy is it worth any thing.I explained in my other email,that i thought the top had bean broken its a two peice rod and the top half is about 4 inces shorter than the bottom,its a very hevy rod when i was learning to fly fish i could not use it be cause of the weight.thank you.
    please oblige
    fred connor

  15. fred connor says:

    Hi steve is split cane different from bambo

  16. Susan Lichty says:

    Hi again Steve,
    Here is info on the Pritchard (Prichard) brothers and their patents:

    If you find anything else, please let me know!

    • JohnMD1022 says:

      The last Lee Wulff Ultimate one piece I saw for sale was in 1991 or 1992.

      The asking price was $1250.

      I have one myself.


  17. Taco Nolf says:

    I wrote to you on 17 April about a one-piece rod. Did that ring any bells, and can I have a response, please?

  18. fred connor says:

    Hi Steve i was asking you was split cane different from bambo
    please oblige
    fred connor

  19. valarie says:

    hi – i just aquired a vintage bamboo fishing kit. it says: Stellar 43 piece fishing kit (made in Japan). it has 5 pieces (2 flyrod tips, one regular tip) it has the wooden box, the cardboard outer box, and all of the pieces it came with. it was used maybe once. all of the pieces are in excellent shape, the varnish is really good, all of the eyes and threads are intact and the same color. it even has all of the flys (albeit a little disentegrated). any help with its’ age and or value? thanks so much!

  20. James F. says:

    I have an antique bamboo fly rod made in Japan by the Idarisho Ueda Co LTD. It is a type CS-R split bamboo rod that comes with a spin casting tip. The butt of the rod unscrews and can be turned around to make a spin casting rod feet 5 inches long. The fly rod is 8 feet long. It was professionally restored before I bought it. Could you give me an estimate on the price and age of this rod? Thanks

  21. gerald says:

    I have a heddon 100 and 200 casting rods in ex condition. would you be interested in them. i can send some pictures. i’m asking 75.00 each.

  22. It would be a good to keep various fishing equipment to target different angling circumstances. The most significant factor for this is always that it can help you catch far more fish. If the completely wrong fishing gear has been chosen, hits will be even more challenging to feel, and for that reason a lesser amount of fish are caught

    • Steve Ellis says:

      Hi Norris;
      Having the right equipment for all the various fishing methods is preferable, but with older bamboo, it is a little more challenging than with modern methods. But as long as you are using the proper line weights and proper lures, flies, etc., you have a better chance

  23. Steve Ellis says:

    Sorry, we are not interested.

  24. That is a lot of assistance to be able to come to a decision just what exactly to use in selected situations,all the rods i use are likely much less nice for instance the kinds stated here regarding they may be much better put together although the fishing reels are usually better due to the fact they are out of the seventies when producers crafted items which will last. Certainly most of these fishing rods are usually more receptive although I am not really very confident concerning the particular stability part,I may come back in this article regarding extra information and facts at a later point. thx

  25. Steve Ellis says:

    The comment of not interested was referring to #23 and the Heddon rods.

  26. During the past several years we happen to be by making use of this kind of angling products plus it’s tough to turn to the latest alternative make when you’re very much accustomed to one thing,the very level of responsiveness of that brand will make me personally snatch much more fish, nonetheless I dispise to shell out more money now,costs really should be dropping as a result of this scary current economic climate we have been existing at the present. I can continue checking back on to notice if there is actually further information that you might be publishing right here at your primary webpage. cheers

    • Steve Ellis says:

      If you are referring to today’s bamboo rods, they are very labor intensive to get a fine product produced and only a few a year are made from each bamboo builder. As you know, labor isn’t cheap today, regardless of the economic conditions. It take so many hours to construct and finish a quality bamboo item and there are waiting list that stretch into years to purchase a rod from the best builders today. If you break it down into hours/cost you would then see that a millionare it maketh not. But the pride in ownership for those gems is priceless.
      Having said that, there are all kinds of different quality items out there, be it bamboo, graphite and yes, even fiberglass. There are new space age, light weight, nano technologey products developed for use in rod building.
      Are you going to catch more fish because ot his new equipment? Well, no if you still don’t understand the fundamentals of fly fishing. But, will a person who understands rod construction and rod casting fundamentals understand the new tecnology put to use in their rod, get better results from that rod, well yes, it will help you do what you want to do based on the choice of rod and rod taper. Then again maybe less than 5% of the fishing world understands the technical aspects of the sport. And, most fishermen don’t fish more than a few days a year.
      The expensive technical equipment of today will be the reasonably priced entry level equipment of the future. That is the way it has been over the last couple of decades. With the exception of the natural world of bamboo, todays product’s are so much more improved over those of the past and the lower prices paid today for that entry level equipment reflects that.

  27. Doing some fishing is definitely the best-loved sports activity,could there be an abundance of areas to be able to reel in many perch throughout the area besides that consider utilising this kind of technique, folks I do know in this general vicinity haven?t brought up this thing so i have to be looking for a better way to snatch much more. The types of fish in these estuaries and rivers close to here appear to hit even a bare hook occasionally but its possibly not the fish im looking to get. Thank you with the info and will likely be eager for the following page…

  28. shaun bailey says:

    hello , I have a split cane fly rod , all sections are equal length and I has an extra tip and sleeve. only markings on the rod say ” midwest 225 ” . Ever heard of anything like that . its in amazing condition . Where can I send pics ? thanks

  29. john janesik says:

    I have a Wright & McGill trailmaster 6 1/2′ no. 4tms bamboo fly rod. Its a 4 piece rod in new condition and never used. It has a cloth case and aluminum case. I inherited it from my grandfather. Do you have any idea of the value of this fly rod?

  30. larry wright says:

    Dear Sir,
    I inherited an orvis 9′ salmon fly rod. i had it restored by orvis last year. It is in mint condition. It has a removable fighting butt and is in mint condition. It has all the original tube, sock, and spare tip. Are you interested in buying it or do you know and collectors who would be interested.

    Larry Wright

  31. JWTrout says:

    I have an Angle fish Bamboo fly rod – looking for the name of the maker – can anyone help?