Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Smuggler

Down here in the Driftless, slower rod tapers are becoming popular, especially in fiberglass or bamboo. I’ve been thinking about both of these materials for some time now. I’ve also been looking for a vintage glass rod to use for spin-casting. There is a river really close to my house that gets stocked with brown trout every year, but is completely choked with alders. It is impossible to get a fly on the water. But I’ve thought that an ultalight-spinning rod might be a nice way to catch a few fish and put dinner on the table.

I communicated this to someone I know who collects fiberglass rods, both spinning and fly. Yesterday he dropped something interesting off at my office. A rod likely made in the 1960’s for Ambercrombie and Fitch, called the “smuggler 3 in 1”.

This is a neat rod with the following features: Completely set up, it comes as an 8 foot fly rod, probably casts a 6 or 7 wt line. It is a noodle. But it comes with a second handle (as you can see in the photo). This reduces the rod down to 6’10” and it casts a 4 wt line ok. It is probably better with a 5wt line, but I don’t currently have one. This configuration can also be used as a spinning rod. But wait, there is more. Pull the last section of rod off and you have a 4’9’’ ultralight-spinning rod, perfect for a small alder choked trout stream.

I recieved the following from a very knowledgeable glass rod expert:

"I have not seen this outfit before. That is kind of cool. The reelseat on the spinning rod grip appears to be a Phillipson design. The rest of the rod looks much more like Silaflex. My guess is this rod was built for A&F by a small shop with parts they felt were the best available. From the components used, I think your rod is about 45-50 years old. Those ferrules were used in the early 60s, as were the reelseats. While it has a spinning rod reelseat, the tip section is set up as a fly rod. The 8 foot length indicates that it was originally designed as a fly rod too.

The primary value of this outfit is as a fishing rod (I don't think it will get much notice on eBay). Rods get in this condition because the owner loved fishing with it. A lot. The outfit is in fair, used condition, complete with the original rod bag and tube (in the background). The grips are dirty, gouged, and dented. The tip section is missing a guide. There are paint scuffs and label chips. Noble battle scars one and all. However, the ferrules look good, the majority of the wraps and guide look good, and the rod looks usable. I think you are best off cleaning it up and taking it to the water. The rod obviously has been there before.

Joint it up as a fly rod and try it with a 6 or 7 weight line. Then try it with some light spinning lures and light mono line. You may be surprised at how it casts and fishes."

Here is a link to the history of Silaflex rods:

1 comment:

  1. I also now own one of these rods and am interested in how it fished for you!