I have a facsincation with the old wooden handled jetty and pier fishing rods that would be bought at discount stores, hardware stores, fishing and sporting goods stores from at least the 1940's until about the 1980's. Mine are all made of fiberglass (or Fibreglass, as my good friend Paul, Canadian custom TEMPUS Fibreglass Drum builder would say http://www.tempusdrums.com/ ).
Most of my fiberglass rods have been very durable, catching fish over the years. I inherited a group of rods from my grandpa, actually quite a bit of very cool tackle. 4 tackle boxes full of fresh and salt lures and rigs, as well as boxes full of "stuff" like fishing rod holders, snelled hook holders and the like. Stuff he couldn't cram in the boxes he already had.
And all kinds of reels. Johnsons. Garcia Abu. Shakespeare. Pleuger. Heddon. Several Ocean City reels, a medium duty saltwater Penn like saltwater reel. And a couple of very unique French spinning reels that were made in the postwar boom in fishing as recreation. I even have a book that talks about these unique reels.
When I was a kid in the 60's and 70's, we would often buy our fishing tackle in Houston at locations that offered more reasonable prices. Places like Sage, K-Mart and on the outskirts of Houston, Gibson's Discount Center. Oshman's Sporting Goods had all kinds of cool stuff but was a little pricey in most cases for my dad. We bought stuff we had to buy at Oshman's, like cleats and pads and things I needed for the various sports that I played in as a kid.
Sears and Wards also had large fishing and boating supply stock back then. I bought many a cool fishing item at Wards in Sharpstown Mall back in the day.
These rods are different from cork handled rods. For jetting fishing, if you jam the rod down between some rock cracks you don't have to worry about tearing the rod handle.
I also like the way wood feels in my hands. We weren't fighting super big fish, so it wasn't a big deal to be holding on to the wooden handles comfort wise. But the inherent grime and dirt and sand and all the things that go along with saltwater fishing, particularly bait fishing, can be easily wiped off the wooden handled rod but soak into a handle made of cork.
Does anyone else miss the fact that inexpensive saltwater rods are not made with wooden handles anymore? Are they being sold somewhere that I've missed?