Favorite cane wet fly rod

Any and everything bamboo...
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Eperous
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:20 pm
Location: Catskills

Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by Eperous »

Inspired by a response to another thread on this board, I had to ask this question. What’s your favorite cane wet fly rod?

Without any doubt, or hesitation at all, mine is a #17 Heddon Black Beauty, an 8½ foot, 3/2, 2f, 6 weight. To complement this old bamboo fly rod I picked up a Pflueger Medalist 1494 One-Pfoot reel and a classic Cortland DT6F Sylk line, to glide through these old, small cane rod guides, while fishing this piece of Americana. From late June through September, there is no place in the Catskills I’d rather be than swinging wets with this old Heddon than on the Esopus, catching wild 9 inch to foot long wild rainbows, when conditions are right. I’d never want for anything else at all under these ideal circumstances.

Here's the rod with a couple Jennings Iso's on the long end of the tippet:

Image

And here's the rod with a small silver bullet that succumb to an oversized wet Jackass:

Image

And finally, here is a wild bow I took on a dry fly, all on the Heddon Black Beauty:

Image

It took me several years of research on Heddons before I ended at this point; I posted many a question on Clarks Classic Fly Rod Forum about these old bamboo rods. I read plenty about issues of rods breaking cleanly at the ferrules, probably the result of a manufacturing flaw. And, I talked to several bamboo rod builders about this problem; however, after years of lying in the bushes stalking, lusting a Heddon Black Beauty, I pulled the trigger in early 2010.

I love that damn cane rod. The first trout that I ever landed on it was a wild 21½” brown in April of 2010, on the Esopus just above the Trestle that has since succumb to Irene. I prayed that fish to the beach before releasing it, all the time concerned about the rod’s delicate tip. Late that afternoon the Heddon and I were successful, but in future days in the 2010 season, not so. Both tips cleanly broke on me while casting.

I’ve since had the original ferrules reset, with both tips identical in length – an inch and a half short. Still, I love that Heddon Black Beauty as my favorite wet fly cane rod; on streams a cast of 30 feet would not put one’s offerings in streamside vegetation.

So what’s your favorite cane wet fly rod?

Ed

redietz
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Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by redietz »

No pics with fish. I don't often take a camera with me to the stream; it's bad luck.

Here's my 9' 2f Black Beauty; my favorite wet fly rod:

Image

Not only did I my shoe into the picture, I managed to sit on my glasses as I was taking it, breaking them. Cameras are bad mojo.

BTW, your 8 1/2 2F is my dry fly rod; I use it with a 5 weight and it could probably cast a 4:

Image

As you can see, it's a much later period rod.
Bob

roycestearns
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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:50 pm

Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by roycestearns »

Bob, I love that early 9' 2f BB with the orange tipping. I have a newer 9' BB that was poorly refurbed by a previous owner and it's getting a work over this winter so it can be used for some sinking line work ;-). I fish it with a Heddon 125. I'd love to get my hands on a Heddon 65 Deluxe (I've only seen pictures of one).

What makes it your favorite wet fly rod ... the slower action and heavier tip? When you swing your wets are you fishing the classic 2-3 fly set up, and no extra weight correct?

I have 5 modern cane rods (1) that I would only fish dry, the others on top and bottom and the majority of the fishing is for trout 12-20", bass and steelhead.

Vintage Cane that I currently own.
2 FET - thirties
1 Edwards late twenties.
1 H leonard early 1900's
2 WM Grangers
1 orvis shooting star 1957 (selling)
1 orvis battenkill 1964
1 heddon bb late

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Eperous
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Location: Catskills

Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by Eperous »

Good looking rod Bob, and great book... I'm been bugging Sinclair - whom I don't know, but occasionally trade Emails with - whenever I get the opportunity to republish the darn thing; it's sells for an arm & a leg used, more than I'll plunk down... I have 2 of his other books though...

Roy - nice selection of cane, I also have a WM Granger Victory 9053, towards the bottom of what WM produced, per Sinclair's book... it's a real cannon and suits my purposes just great for chucking BIG streamers, that intermediate shooting head, and some weight in ponds and lakes... it's a work-out to fish by today's standards at 5 3/4 oz., but such a pleasure to use under the right circumstances, that I never even notice it...

Have either of you folks heard about, or experiences personally, issues with Heddon ferrules breaking cleanly? I'm tol;d it has to do with the way Heddon manufactured rods for a time being, dipping the tips in hot sand to shrink the cane so ferrules coud be applied... in some cases, the cane was damaged and later failed in use... in both my cases, I was simply casting the rod -- I guess I must have thought for a minute, or two, I was casting the Granger 9053, and really over powered it... :P :oops:

When I had the ferrules reset, I was told that they were set properly the first time, on an angle, that cut into the cane with continued use... still, I love that rod for swinging wets in big water...

Ed

redietz
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Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by redietz »

roycestearns wrote: What makes it your favorite wet fly rod ... the slower action and heavier tip? When you swing your wets are you fishing the classic 2-3 fly set up, and no extra weight correct?
Several factors combine to make it my fave:

1) It's long enough that it:
a) handles line on the water very nicely
b) roll casts very well

2) It's comfortable to cast all day. It's nicely balanced (the tip doesn't feel especially heavy), relatively light for a 9 foot 6 weight, and I never seem to need more than one backcast so I'm not overworking my shoulder

3) I can cast it easily with my off hand, something which is not always true for faster rods.

4) It casts nice wide open loops, which is a good thing if you're casting a multi-fly rig. To answer your other questions, I always fish 2 flies, which is the maximum that Maryland regs allow. They're unweighted. I'm not always swinging the fly, however -- I fish upstream quite a bit. Even if I'm fishing downstream< I'm usually trying to keep movement across the stream to a minimum. That's where the longer rod helps.

5) It puts out a long line very easily.

6) This is the real deal closer for me - I seem to get more hookups with it than with any other rod I own. There are other rods that I own that I like a lot, but with which I seem to fail to set the hook on a downstream presentation. I could write a whole thread on that subject (and maybe I will later) but rod speed is part of that equation.
Bob

redietz
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Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:23 am
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Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by redietz »

Eperous wrote: Have either of you folks heard about, or experiences personally, issues with Heddon ferrules breaking cleanly?
Ed
I think that everyone who fishes Heddons has heard that. I haven't had it happen to me personally, but I do own a 9' #14 that's now a 8'1" rod because at sometime in its history the mid-section broke at the ferrule. It doesn't affect the rods performance one iota. (The only problem with that rod is that I can't pry it away from better half long enough to fish it myself.)

I also bought a 2 1/2 F BB off flea bay with the intentions of using it as a bass rod. Every single ferrule on the rod is loose. I haven't attempted to cast it. At some point I'll reset them, but I hate to ruin all those original wraps.

OTOH, look at all the Heddons that are still around, unbroken after 60-70 years. It obviously doesn't happen to every rod.
Bob

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ewpeper
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Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by ewpeper »

What is this "wet fly" of which you speak?? ;) A fly that is fished beneath the surface??? :o

Don't fish 'em all that often, but when I am swinging softhackles or flicking flymphs, it's the Granger 8642 that most often gets that call. The rod is such a pleasure to fish with anything on the end of the leader, but it really excels when roll casts are called for. I fish it with a DT5 on a Hardy Cascapedia Mk II 5/6/7, and with that balanced setup it's an easy all-day choice.

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

corlay
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Location: Binghamton, NY

Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by corlay »

Ed,

I've got the same taper: Heddon 8.5' 2F #6.
Love it for swinging wets when I'm on big water (like the WB...).
I also use the 8.5' 1-3/4F #5 under similar conditions...

I'm working on finishing a shorter/lighter "wet fly" rod right now,
that B.Carter made me a blank based upon an FET stress-curve.
It's 7'9" 2/2 #5, and vvvery slow...

Also have an 8' #5 D.Menscer parabolic taper that is aces for fishing wets.

There is a Garrison 209e blank in my future, as well.

tried fishing wets on W+M/Granger 8' and 7.5' last season,
and found them bit too light for that work, compared to other rods I like better;
but absolutely love these rods for fishing dries...

Regarding wet fly rods: I've always wanted to try a 8.5' Fred Divine.

@redietz: Interesting that you mention "off-hand" casting with your 9'. My two 8.5' Heddons were new to me this season, and my first bamboo over 8'.
I found that for long outings (2hrs. or more) my casting hand would tend to "go numb" from casting that heavier-than-i'm-used-to bamboo.
Needed to, at the very least, take periodic breaks and hold the rod in my off-hand, and shake-out my casting hand.
Can see how casting right, and switching left to fight fish with a RHW reel could be beneficial.

Slate_Drake_9
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:38 pm
Location: Potter County, Pennsylvania

Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by Slate_Drake_9 »

On mid-sized streams it is almost always my Heddon 8.5' 1 3/4 F model 125 with a Pflueger 1394 and a 5 weight line. It just has a wonderfully medium-slow action that roll casts by itself and is just a pleasure to fight a fish on.

On small streams I fish my Chuck Neuner 7.5' 3/4 weight with an early all brass Shakespeare Kazoo. It is a wonderfully slow, full flexing rod with a 4 weight line. Smaller fish feel great on it, but it does have the backbone to land 20" wild Spring Creek browns (done it twice on that rod :D ) without harming the fish or the rod.

I've been in the market for a Heddon 9' 2F for some time now as I expect it will have the same action as the 8.5' 1 3/4 F that I enjoy so much, but just haven't found the right one.
Fishing with bait is like swearing in church.

redietz
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Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Central MD

Re: Favorite cane wet fly rod

Post by redietz »

corlay wrote:
@redietz: Interesting that you mention "off-hand" casting with your 9'. My two 8.5' Heddons were new to me this season, and my first bamboo over 8'.
I found that for long outings (2hrs. or more) my casting hand would tend to "go numb" from casting that heavier-than-i'm-used-to bamboo.
Needed to, at the very least, take periodic breaks and hold the rod in my off-hand, and shake-out my casting hand.
Can see how casting right, and switching left to fight fish with a RHW reel could be beneficial.

There's several more advantages to being able to cast with both hands. They stem from the fact that you don't need to do cross-body casting (i.e. backhanded casting over the opposite shoulder.) One is that you can get a better reach mend by extending your casting arm out to the side rather than across your body. It's also less tiring than backhanded casting -- that's what usually gives me a sore shoulder. And of course, it can make casting in tight spots a lot easier.
Bob

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