Frank Hacking Fly and Casting Rod [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Frank Hacking Fly and Casting Rod

06-20-2004, 03:41 PM
In my quest for vintage fly fishing tackle while we were touring antique shops in Maine last week, I came across a four-piece bamboo rod in a wooden case. The rod has a removable/reversible butt section allowing it to be used as a fly rod or casting rod, there is a tip section for using the rod for casting and two sections for using it to fly fish. Wraps are green and black with red accents, all guides and wraps are in superb condition, the only thing about the rod that could be improved is that the ferrules and reel seat could stand to be cleaned (I hope that someone will be kind enough to give me some pointers on doing that safely), and the cork grip is slightly chewed at the front edge (other than that, the cork is clean and in great condition). There is a sticker on the blank down near the grip that reads, "Gold Tiger", which I assume refers to the bamboo used on this rod. The ferrules fit snugly and the blank has a slight defelection to the left. The finish on the bamboo is a nice rich honey color with a few light spots here and there. I can't find any information about this rod on-line; does anyone have some idea as to when it might have been made?

06-21-2004, 09:49 PM
99% of rods that are as you described are Japanese-made rods pumped out by the hundreds of thousands from about 1930 to 1960. Service men returning from WW2 and Korean war brought these things home like they were going out of style. The wooden box is the giveaway. The "Golden Tiger" moniker a second clue as it has a vaguely asiatic name (though the trade name "Grampus" is probably the most often seen.) I can't say 100% for sure without seeing pictures, but I'd bet money on it.

The light spots are called watermarks and are a marque of lower-quality cane. Well, not really lower in any functional quality, but lower in AESTHETIC quality. The very best cane went to France, England, Germany, and mainly the US.

Non-offensive brutal honesty to follow--
These rods are not valuable, not particularly well-made and often not great casters. To get $75 for one in all of it's boxed and reversible handled regalia would be excellent and charitable of the buyer. These are rods are not very collectible nor rare. They are the Walmart special of older cane fly rods.

This is the cane rod collector's perspective.

I've not got the resource to be one, but I have cast a great deal of cane rods from Garrisons on down to Grampus' and can tell you that the ENJOYABILITY of a fly rod is in the hand of the beholder. One of my favorite casting rods for the money was a crappy grade of Montague. the Garrison I cast was a pretty aesthetically poor (by today's overblown standards of cosmetics) and not my favorite caster. A NICE rod, but not my very favorite.

Remember, also, that the old Montague mill is used to make the T&T cane rods.

If you enjoy it as a functional fishing rod, rock on and enjoy! Of you don't, it makes a lovely wall-hanger.


The practical stuff.

Your rod has a set to the left. Fire up your toaster and hold the area where the bend occurs over the toaster--- consider that you shouldn't need to heat the rod any hotter than your fingers can take. Don't hold it too close. Rotate the set-ed area over the toaster's heat source and then bend it the opposite way of the set. You'll need to bend it further than dead straight. Hold it about 20deg past dead straight for45 seconds and then set it aside to fully cool. Check the straightness. If not straight, carefully heat it again and just nudge it until it look straight. Then set aside and let cool.

If your ferrule fit snugly, don't mess with them. Removing oxidation form the inside of the female could ruin the fit. Once ruined, you're looking at having to use a coating of wax to snug the fit. Worse, the ferrule coudl develop a click if the fit is improper. Seeing that new ferrules would be about $50 plus labor, be careful.

If the exterior of the female ferrule is dirty, buy some "Noxon" metal polish and VERY gently clean the exterior with that. The ferrules are most likely plated brass. Very thinly plated at that. Gentle Don't mess with the inside of the female or the male ferrule. Clean the rod with mild dilute window cleaner. Wax the rod with Pledge (Butcher's Alley Wax is the best)


Joe West

06-21-2004, 09:52 PM
What is frank Hacking? That doesn't ring a bell? Was it a hardware store or sporting good shop in the area you bought the rod?

Post some pictures and I/we can make a better determination!



06-22-2004, 05:28 AM
Great and much appreciated information! The rod was $28, and as you say the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I've been looking for a "display" bamboo fly rod for a few months... well, more like every time we go up to Maine and visit the antique stores. This one looked to be in the best overall condition in comparison with those that I've seen in most places, so home it came.

I'll post some pics of the rod once I'm back from travelling these next two weeks (leaving for Maine again today, then off to Milwaukee, then to Atlanta). I'll try the toaster-fix then, also. Now all I need is an old reel!

Thanks Joe, great info!

06-22-2004, 10:14 PM
Heck, $28 aint bad!!! I'd take the thing fishing once before I hung it on the wall, though... you might, gasp, like it.