I began buying, selling and trading in fine
fishing tackle and collectible sporting items way back in the mid 60's
when collecting fishing tackle was actually regarded as a rather weird
pastime. And, by the way, since there were no other recognized
legitimate tackle dealers active in the marketplace, someone actually
having a business involved in these endeavors truly raised some
I loved every
minute of that!
I've been a fisherman for almost 70 years and fly fishing for 60 of
those. Tied my first trout fly in 1948, at the tender age of 8. Built my
first glass fly rod in 1955 and hand-planed my
first bamboo fly rod in 1966.
Anglers Den, a fly fishing catalog house and fly shop Carol and I
operated out of world famous Linden, NJ, in the late 60's and early
70's. Following the demise of William Mills in the early
1970's, we were the largest single dealer in
L. Leonard bamboo fly rods in the world; selling nearly 60 per cent
of the Leonard Company's total rod production each year, in 1972, 1973
Our advertisements seeking Used and Collector Tackle
appeared in the very first issues of
Fisherman Magazine, all those many years ago, in 1969.
Some of my personal collection of fine bamboo fly rods
was used to illustrate the subject chapters in Ernest Schwiebert's two
Happily enjoyed my years as Partner, President,
Buyer, Catalog Publisher, Rod
Designer, Sales Manager and often, Head Janitor, at Thomas &
Thomas Rodmakers from 1975 until 1991. During those years, I also
(T&T’s Used Tackle business) and ran the world spanning Fly
Fishing Travel business that helped grow T&T and make it world
famous. Sold the
& Thomas Rod Making Company in 1991 and took my
true second love, (Yummy, High Quality, Collectible Stuff), and
enthusiastically returned to those early roots.
and family are first!)
authored numerous pieces on fly fishing and collecting Classic Tackle published
in books, magazines, international newspapers and the like.
lots more, but that’s enough for now. If you've been around fly
any length of
time, chances are we've done business together and are still
If you are just
coming on board, the object of all the above was simply to let you know
whom you're dealing with, not to bore you with my resume!
to Sporting Collectibles,
home of some of the world's finest and most desirable sporting gear and
fly fishing tackle.
and I look forward to doing business with you.
guess its no secret that I love bamboo rods and everything about them. A
lifetime of working with
people” all over the world is a constant source of joy and pleasure
Almost two decades
of ownership at the helm of Thomas & Thomas during its bamboo heyday
has cemented forever my affinity for things bamboo and for the people
that craft these lovely things.
rod making is more than simply skill at craft. For the truly dedicated,
it is art.
Yet some of the
very best practicing the craft don’t think of themselves as artists at
all. That seems almost unreasonable; it is certainly ironic, and it is
definitely true. Indeed, talent is a weird and wonderful thing.
Each day that I’ve worked with, handled and looked at antique
and collectible bamboo rods during the past thirty plus years has
demonstrated to me how talented one must be in order to become a truly
great rod maker.
a devotee closely studies the individual work of Jim Payne,
Fred Divine, Goodwin Granger,
Mitchell or Eustis Edwards, Fred Thomas, Wesley Jordan or Harold Steele
Gillum, or any one of the myriad of other gifted rod makers, he begins
to see a certain similarity of direction, a certain cohesion of purpose;
yes, even a sameness of mentality. The more things appear to be
different… the more they remain the same. Bamboo rod making seems to
filter down to an essence… a concentrate… an elixir… a complex
extract, if you will, that is at once shared by all these great
builders… and those attempting to be great.
look at the body of work representing the effort of today’s builders
reveals that nearly all of that tincture is still discernible. You’ll
find this quintessential substance in the work of men like Bernard
Ramanauskas, Gary Lacy, Bob Summers, Walt Carpenter, Ted Simroe, Tom Dorsey, Tom
Moran, Bob Taylor, Nick Taransky, Glenn Brackett, Mike Clark, Bob
Lancaster, A. J.
Thramer, and so many other great contemporary builders.
these are very exciting times for the world of bamboo. At first blush,
graphite rods seemed to daily erode the bamboo base, winning convert
after convert among the newly indoctrinated fly fishers after A River Ran
Through us. But, it seems as these followers mature, those seeking
additional enrichment in their sport find their way to bamboo. Happily
too, there continues a mainstream effort on the part of an increasing
number of contemporary builders who are turning their efforts toward
building bamboo rods. These people are continuing participants in the
active development and nurturing of the art. Some of these contemporary
craftsmen have clearly mastered the requirements for fellowship in the
guild devoted to the fashioning of finely made fly rods from the
“lovely reed”, Arundinaria Amabalis.
work has already earned them a place on the roster of the future where
the work of today’s artisans will be revered and venerated by
generations of fly fishermen yet unborn.
list here is based solely on those modern and contemporary makers who have
called on us to represent their building efforts by offering their rods
through us when they are available. It is by no means a complete list,
nor do I ever expect that it will be. We hope this list of builders will
grow, as in time, we add the work of others to our offerings.
from the list is not to be construed as any sort of tacit condemnation
of any unmentioned craftsman. That person simply has not as yet asked us
to work with him. Please be assured, however, that inclusion in this
list is an understood endorsement of the work of that builder.
following is a listing of modern, currently active rod makers, who from
time to time, favor us with a rod or two which are always
listed and offered in the Classic Bamboo Rod
page of this website...
Rod Co. -- Bill Critchfield
C. Jenkins Rod Co. – Steve Jenkins
Jennings Rod Co – Homer Jennings
R. W. Lancaster Rods – R. W.
Simroe Rods – Ted W. Simroe
Taylor Rods – R. W. Taylor
Thramer Bamboo Rod Co. – A. J.
Winston Rod Co
- Annette McLean
Chris Raine Rods - Chris Raine
PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY NEW
RODS WE ARE CURRENTLY OFFERING FOR SALE FROM ANY OF THESE MAKERS WILL
FOUND LISTED IN THE
OF THIS WEBSITE UNDER THE NAME OF THAT MAKER.