This is a bit of a departure…. My friend Wayne, who very generously takes me out fishing in his boat a couple of time a year, has in his possession this old wooden fishing pole… (see the pics below) The rod is very long, has two tips, one of which looks like it was repaired at some point. It was stored in a cloth bag.
He stands about 6′ 4″, so you can see the length… and he’s about sixty, so his grandfather is long gone, I’m afraid. His grandfather was originally from England, but was a butcher in Fergus, Ontario… being a prime fishing area, it’s possible someone down on their luck may have traded this to him for some reason, but who knows?
Follow up: After posting on some forums, we have had a few insights….
“Looks like an old salmon rod from around or before the turn of the last century, nice wooden rod, possibly greenheart or lancewood, looks British or Scottish.”
“Nice looking 2-handed rod. My guesstimate would be 1860s – 1870s. Most rods were that size at the time. This was made before there was casting in the modern sense. This was more what we think of as a fishing pole. Old paintings and engravings show these rods with a tiny 1″-2″ reel used to store the line. You basically needed line length about twice the length of the rod. No telling who the maker was, but the rod maker was of English background. The cross-hatched reel seat band reminds me of the Mitchells, but it was clearly hand-made. The spacing is very irregular.”
“Looks like an old roach pole. Used a tiny reel like level wind. They were very long 13-16 ft with simplistic ferrules like that and guides because they weren’t used for casting. Just dapping. Looks like greenheart.”
“Not being marked by the maker isn’t unusual for a wood rod, I have a few wood rods and only 2 or 3 are marked. As others have said, these rods are often made up of diff. types of wood, with lancewood being the norm for tips and greenheart often used for mids.
I have a big rod in my shop that is marked (its English) that I may get to one of these days. It is a dbl. hander, 3/2, with a total length of a bit over 16′. You have to think of this rod, not in ounces but in pounds, not something you would want to fish, day in and day out. And once finished, I have no idea what I’ll do with it, but fishing it is out of the question.”