Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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April 12, 2012

    Well... I finally got around to starting the restoration on the old cane fly-rod my neighbor gave me. It is a Montague Rapidian model. It was originally nine feet in length but it looks like it has a couple inches missing from the tip. The Montague Rod Company was a very prolific manufacturer in the thirties, forties and fifties. They made tens of thousands of rods, so this one is no valuable collector’s item. The other thing that puts this rod well out of the collector’s market is its condition. First thing to do is take some pictures so I can refer back to them for placement of wraps and such.

     As you can see in these photos, it has very few of the original guides and the finish has been subjected to some fairly extreme heat which has caused it to soften and take on impressions of the rod sock.

     The label is somewhat readable but not complete. I will have to do a pretty deep strip to get all the bad finish off so I will probably not be able to save it. Not a big deal, again… not a collector’s item.

     My plan is to pull off all the guides and completely strip the finish. If I can get the ferrules and the reel seat/handle off I will do that as well. I would love to put all new cork on in a Full-Wells configuration. It’s my favorite shape for a handle on a long fly-rod. As you can see, the reel seat is “blackened”. The ferrules are as well. This is original from the factory (about the only “original” left on the whole rod). I have read about the compound used to do this, but will wait until I get the rod nearly done to see if the black will look good or if it will look better with polished metal on the rod. Once more, I’m not looking to go back original. I just want to get it sound and fishable.

 

     I do like the small ring-style hook keeper and plan to go back with the same style. I also plan to do similar wraps along the rod. It looks like the original wraps were red and yellow silk. Still haven’t decided on a color scheme as yet. I want to see how dark/light the cane comes out after I put the finish back on.

     As I make progress on the project I will post pictures. I have never tried restoring a cane rod before. I have stripped fiberglass and graphite rods and rewrapped them, but the cane will be an experiment for me.

     Once I’m done, and the rod is fishable (hopefully!) I will of course record its first fishing trip and its first fish, which of course should be… A BIG BLUE GILL!

Best Fishes,

Keith

 

  

 

 

 

April 13, 2012

     I thought I would add a few more pictures of the cane rod I am trying to restore:

     In this photo you can see the neat little ring-style hook keeper wound on just above the handle.

     You can also see the different colored check windings of red and yellow silk. I will do something similar on the restored rod.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     These windings go from the handle all the way up to the end of the middle section. To be honest, I don't know if the are just decorative, serve to strengthen the blank in the heavier sections or are a cool looking way to include a measuring tape on the rod. They were planning on catching some seriously BIG fish seeing as how they run nearly sixty inches!

 

 

 

 

  

 

     This photo is a little grainy, but you can see the color of the cane under all the dark finish. Not as blonde as I was hopeing but it might lighten-up after I strip it. Still looks good to me though...

     I am still amazed at the idea that this fishing tool is made out of GRASS!

 

 

     This may be the only original guide left on the rod. Wrapping silk matches the windings at the rod base.

     I have read quite a bit of material about these rods not having enough guides for them to cast and fish properly.

I think I will go with one stripping guide, eight snake guides and a tip-top. I'm looking at agate for the stripper guide matching the wrap colors (see photo below).

Just LOOK at the finish on that rod!

 


The plan is to pull all the guides and HOPEFULLY the ferrules, reel seat and handle off this weekend and strip the rod blank. I will post photos of my progress as soon as possible.

Best Fishes,

Keith

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Comment by jim cosgrove on April 13, 2012 at 1:15pm

thanks for sharing keith-will be looking forward to following your progress

Comment by Keith Owen on April 13, 2012 at 12:38pm

Well Leo... I hope my work on this rod comes out half as good as the rod in that last picture. I swipped it from the internet. :)

Keith

Comment by Leo Nguyen on April 13, 2012 at 12:10pm

Beautiful..just beautiful job. All my cane rods long from self-destructed due to all the moving in the old days.

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