Mrs. El Fisho got me a great gift under the tree this year, a vintage fishing rod that came at a bargain price. I had never heard of these before, but it's exactly, and I mean exactly, what I've been looking for.
Information is scarce about these rods. I've found a few for sale at astronomical prices, 10 to 20 times what was paid for my example. Truly a bargain.
And as I've rambled on time and time again about, just what I was looking for. An ultralight fly rod about 5 foot long for fishing the brushy creeks and rivers in Central Texas and the Hill Country. It's a bonus that it has sliding reel rings and can be used as a micro ultralight fishing rig as well.
If anyone has any information regarding these rods, I'd appreciate knowing what you know. What I know has been gleaned off a couple of fishing discussion forums and a few high end auction sites and thus has no cites to verify reliability.
Here's one thread at Fiberglass Fly Rodders that talks about the rod and has some great pics, a couple of which I've posted with attribution. The owner there says it's made by a company called Phillipson.
I'm ashamed to say, after years of fishing with both fiberglass and composite rods and still owning and using both to this day, that I can't tell what this rod is made of. Perhaps fiberglass since the post at the forum above is a fiberglass fishing rod group, but maybe not.
I'll be contacting A and F to seek information on this rod but frankly, have little hope in product archives there unless there is some little old man or woman who has been working there forever with a photographic memory of products gone by or access to old catalogs. I could be wrong. A and F sold lots of sporting goods in earlier times, and some of the stuff I've seen is quite high end.
I'll also contact Dr. Todd Larson, whose website on fishing history is featured in my blogroll. Perhaps he knows something of this rod and it's history.
WHAT LINE TO USE?
I've tried it out in the yard with a one weight forward line that seems like it was made for the rod. The reel, a Redington 2/3 (the smallest they make and the smallest I own) works very well and weighs in at 3.5 ounces, which works well with the rod, but the reel is a bit big (with the small grip) to allow my hand to totally fit the grip. The diameter of this reel is 2.6".
I did find mention on a thread that a 2" j. austin forbes avon reel would be a good fit, and I'll be looking for a deal on one of those. I looked at the company website and the reel weighs in at 1.5 oz, which is perfect for this size of rod and so I'll be looking for a bargain on one of these and looking for similar weight reels that would fit the rod well.
No problem there. The Redington reel will work fine and feels great and balances well on the rod.
I ordered some grip cork spacers from a rod building company. One or two spaces properly cut and slid onto the first section of rod that abuts the handle instantly extends the handle length. I've used this method before.
In the past, I've taken a small piece of rawhide thong run underneath the cork spacers as they are being slid onto the rod will keep them firmly seated if the hole is properly sized.
So the grip problem is solved. Until I get the spacers in the mail, I've wrapped some of the camo fabric self-adhesive tape that's 2" wide that El Fisho Jr. wraps around his airsoft guns. It doesn't leave a mark and it works well. And it's cushy on the thumb, which is the part of my hand contacting the grip extension.
One of the forum folks who has one of these said he used a WF4 weight line and was happy with it. I just happen to have a WF4 wt. Orvis line on a lightweight but larger reel I'll try as well.
I was able to get distance of 25 feet or so with the 1 weight line, in a pretty good side wind, and that's awesome with a rod that is 4'8" long. The action is surprisingly good, particularly for having so many ferrules.
Most of the fishing done with this rod wouldn't be for distance but short range casts. The windy conditions kept me from checking out how accurate it was a pinpoint spots but it was largely accurate for my first time out with it and being such a unique rod.
WHAT SPINNING REEL TO USE?
I had just as much fun and far more distance throwing spinning casting weights with a couple of different reels.
In testing. it cast well with up to 8 lb. test but really seemed to like the 6 lb. Of course, 4 lb is appropriate as well but I like that extra heft, such that it is, of 6 lb mono or some kind of Spiderwire type line in the 6 lb size, rather than a 4 lb. I suppose the same would hold true if you used one of the braided lines in 4 lb size but a larger strength.
Most of the places I'd fish such a rod would likely have surface or subsurface vegetation to fish through as well as some abrasive rocks to run over. Thus, the more the better, I think, within ultralight limits.
I have a teeny tiny Pflueger spinning reel I bought for $20 with an extra spool at Wallyworld a few years ago for a Llano River fishing trip. It's significantly smaller and lighter than either of my other favorite ultralight spinning reels, the venerable Shakespeare 2052 and a Garcia Mitchell 308. It's a great reel and has a great drag, a necessity using lines this light where larger fish are a possibility.
But the Pflueger is sorta big for the Passport. Not so much size wise but weight wise, coming in a 6 ounces. It's such a lightweight rod, which is amazing for how ever old it is, so the weight really stands out.
I have several of the Zebco closed face underspin trigger reels and they are a much better fit with the Passport rod size wise and but weight wise it's up there at 5.7 oz. and is spun with 4 lb test. It's not a bad reel, but I'd get far more distance with an open face reel.
Still, the Zebco will see duty with the Passport because the Zebco is not so delicate as a spinning reel with a bail, and will thus travel better. Zebco does make a spinning reel about this size but I have not seen it in person to judge the size myself and I couldn't find out the weight online.
One thought is to find a Daiwa Microspin travel combo to look at and see how much those reels weigh. I have the Microcast system version of the travel rod and that reel is about as small as the Zebco above.
I'd like to get some kind of reel going for about 3 ounces. That might be a pipe dream for a micro ultra light spinning reel. What I don't want is one of the super gimmicky micro spinning reels that come on the "pen rods" that telescope and are certainly of low end Chinese manufacture. The reel body is more or less the size of a quarter. I'm not talking that small.
So I've got two reels to use right now, the Pflueger and the Zebco. But I'd like to find a REALLY ultra lightweight reel for this rod. I don't know if anyone makes ultralight spinning reels significantly lighter than what I've already got, but there always seems to be products out there to surprise me.
I've seen something called the Micron Tundra, probably Chinese, but it weighs in a 4-4/5 ounces, which is 1-1/5 ounce less than the Pflueger and only once ounce less than the Zebco.
I'm not looking for a high end reel either for this rig, although I'd like to know who makes any high end reels that are really small, either fly or spinning. So if you know of any, give a holler.
Any ideas, fisher folks, on a tiny but highly functional micro spinning reel weighing in about 3 ounces?
WHEN WAS IT MADE?
It looks like it might have been made in the 1960's to 1970's, although one forum poster guessed from the 1950's to the 1960's. My reason for later dating is that, apart from the rod section that plugs into the handle, the ferrules are the more modern type. Older style travel rods, and I have a few, with metal ferrules are heavier.
These ferrules might be metal, but they are covered with some durable material and to me appear to be more similar to the composite ferrules that have been common for 25 or 30 years.
The rod itself weighs 1.5 oz. and some other stats according to the poster on this thread are that there were less than 100 made and that the case dimensions are 6-1/2" x 3-1/4" x 7/8". It's a compact package for sure.
I'll post more on this rod and my search for a good match in a spinning reel for it later.
WHAT IT'S GOOD FOR
For me, this rod will be perfect to have in a shoulder bag while fishing with other rods, in case small fish or brushy shore cover is an issue. The whole deal can be carried in a small bag, and I found that a small padded shoulder bag once made for carrying the old portable CD "walkman" and some extra CD's fits the rod case, a couple of reels and some appropriate flys and lures.
I was thinking that a cheap and well used repo flap holster that abound at my LGS might be the right size to make into a "reel on rod" case. Simply line the barrel portion with some cordura cloth and then enclose what the flap doesn't cover with some leather or heavy cordura, secured by a velcro flap and you could have a reel on rod carrier that fits on a belt. A reel on rod carrier also allows the rod to be carried with line rigged through the guides and a fly or lure attached and you just assemble the rod and go to town.
I could see this being a primary rod in some of the places I fish. For smaller fish or for brushy shore conditions fishing for larger fish. A 3 lb. bass would be a hoot on this rod, and a 5 lb catfish (I've had many catfish hit flies and spinners under shade trees in the summer) would be a challenge.