Cane Pole Vintage Fishing Rods

Vintage Cane Fishing Rods

While most modern anglers have abandoned traditional cane fishing rods in favor of fiberglass and carbon fiber, some still appreciate the natural feel of a cane pole. Vintage cane fishing rods are still widely available and some fishing equipment manufacturers still produce new models, so they are made in numbers by companies like Orvis, Palakona and Heddon. Cane rods are used for many different fishing disciplines, but are especially common for fly fishing in freshwater streams and rivers.

How Are Vintage Cane Poles Made?

Vintage rods are made using a unique and very effective construction technique that makes them perform in a unique way. Fly fishermen especially see real advantages from using bamboo over fiberglass.

  • These vintage poles are made from Tonkin bamboo, which is treated, split, and glued back together to make it extremely strong. The number of strips of bamboo used varies, but six is common. The poles are usually made by hand to get the right taper.
  • Hollow built cane fishing rods are hollowed out to make the pole lighter and allow it to rebound more quickly. Shaping the hollow space correctly means that it will remain almost as strong as a solid bamboo rod.
  • Cane poles are often made in several pieces, typically two or three, held together with metal ferrules. Longer poles are usually made in more sections than shorter rods. While you wont get the telescoping function of some modern synthetic designs, this still makes them easier to transport.
  • The reel seat and rings provide secure mountings for the reel and line. Cane fishing rods almost always come as blanks, so you can choose your own reel.

Why Use a Vintage Cane Pole?

Cane poles arent only made to look attractive, they also have some unique performance characteristics compared to fiberglass or graphite rods.

  • Bamboos weight and ability to bend give you a lot of control when casting over short to medium distances. If you want to make sure that your fly or other lure lands exactly where you want it to, a bamboo pole will help. Getting your hook into the right place is more difficult with a stiffer graphite pole.
  • If a graphite rod breaks, that is the end of that rod. A bamboo cane pole can be repaired if necessary.
  • While bamboo rods have a reputation for having a slow cast, the precise taper of a rod can have a huge impact on its performance. You can use a bamboo rod successfully whether you prefer a fast or slow action, and they also come in a range of different line weights.
  • Fishing with a handcrafted cane fishing pole is a uniquely satisfying experience. While modern rod materials might have a big advantage when landing heavyweight saltwater game fish, a responsive bamboo cane fishing pole is perfect for a long sunny day at the river trying to reel in panfish like crappie or bream.

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