Herter's classic fly rods [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Herter's classic fly rods

04-03-2003, 02:43 PM
i am looking for any info anyone can provide about Herter's fly rods...

While cleaning up come of my Grandfather's old gear, i came upon what seems to be a 5wt. fiberglass herter's 7' moderate action rod. After re-winding a couple of eyes and softening the cork handle, i strung it up and headed to the backyard...the rod still casts fine, although you have to finese it a bit for a long cast.

now i am assuming this is the Herter's company founded by jacque and george. i have several first editons of some of thier books and even an old catalog, but nowhere can i find anything about this rod.

does anyone have any info that may help me to narrow my search. the only info on the rod is the brand name and what i am assuming is a make and/or model number...RB6YB456

i also have pieces of tonkin cane rods from the Herter's co. any info on these rods would be greatly appreciated

04-03-2003, 11:20 PM
Herter's did not make completed rods. Thus the RB in the model number on the rod, which stood for rod blank. The blanks I think were made for them by Conolin (sp), the same company that Russ Peak did some design work for. These blanks work best with a line one size smaller than the rod's rating.

The one you have is actually what Herter's said could be used with 4, 5, or 6 weight lines (that is what the 456 at the end of the blank number means). I know several people who made very serviceable rods our of the Herter's blanks.

04-03-2003, 11:33 PM
after i made my post, i finally realized exactly what you said...the 456 came to me like an epiphany...the rb took a minute longer....felt kinda silly, but i guess we all do sometimes. I was pretty sure the old guy had assembled these rods himself or his father had , as they liked to customize thier own rods for different waters, i'm just sorry i didn't have the opportunity to learn the skill from him.

please, anyone who can share more, don't hesitate. I am curious to learn if there are more of these custom kit rods still floating around out there.

04-04-2003, 09:38 PM
Herter's did make flyrods, at least they are listed in an old 1973 catalog I have. Prices ran from$12.27 to 15.87 including the 10% federal excise tax.
Two,and three piece tonkin bamboo fishing poles also listed. 9-10',11-12',and 13-14' for from $1.10 to 1.75. with nickel plated ferrules. I think there is a new Herter's store opened somewhere in the mid west. If so I will bet there is a big difference in price.

Nooksack Mac
04-05-2003, 06:59 PM
My first fly rod was a Herter's, and I still have it: fibreglass, 8-foot, 3-piece, rated for #6 and 7 lines. With its metal ferrules, it's as heavy as bamboo, and about as slow. I bought it around 1961 for about what a medium pizza would cost today.
I also have a 6-foot, 5-weight, two piece model, with double sliding rings. It weighs 1-3/4 oz., and has the backbone of a grass stem. Trying to work out a medium length cast was the hardest fly-casting I've ever done (and I fish spey rods to 16 feet).
Herter's was the Cabela's of its day, and more. The catalog copy reads like it was written by the Iraqi Minister of Information, as performed by Monty Python.

04-05-2003, 08:40 PM
By the way..on E-bay.. there are some great books for a steel... Flyfishing by Joe brooks..a couple of them and they are under $10..one is autographed... i have all his fist editions so I will not bid... but My point is that there is a Herters Catalogue in the sale list... go to "Book".. then type in Fishing... and there are over 200 items.....R Brown one also.... and I am sure a bunch for every taste.

04-07-2003, 11:15 PM
Nooksack Mac,

I still miss the winter ritual of the new Herter's catalog. They was allays full of sech good stoff. An the riten were'nt to bad neether.

I bought a lot of stuff from them when they were in business, some of it poor quality, most of it at least as good as what others were selling, and some of it was very high quality. What I really miss were the shear amount of ourdoors stuff the carried, and the B.S. sprinkled througout about how there stuff was best, bar none.

Nooksack Mac
04-08-2003, 02:35 AM
Right on both points. Herter's merchandise was often basic, and unique to them. In addition to hooks, fly materials, and a skinning knife, I still have their cheap flytying scissors, going strong after about 30 years without resharpening.
And that catalog, all 400+ pages! Anybody who loves florid hyperbole, like The Whole Earth Catalog as P. T. Barnum would have written it, should try to get hold of a copy. I've read product descriptions to friends who fell out of their chairs laughing.

04-09-2003, 12:55 AM
Nooksack Mac,

Some of George Leonard Herter's books (no longer in print unfortunately) had some of the best humor I've ever read in them simply because he was such a master with hyperbole. He defintely paid attention to old P.T. Barnum.

04-11-2003, 01:14 PM
I still get the Hearter's catalog, is mainly for duck hunters.