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Martinez & Bird 8ft #5 Split Cane Rod

Martinez & Bird 8ft #5 Split Cane Rod

Following on from an earlier post about split cane rods I was interested in the development of Tonkin cane rods and those rods that state Neo cane.

I have seen recently a Hardy Goldcrest Neo cane rod for sale and was interested to see that the Neo cane rods are much lighter in colour. It has also been noted that the darker the cane the stiffer the rod will be, how true this is I have to admit I don’t know.

Hardy JJH Triumph #6 Split Cane Rod

Hardy JJH Triumph #6 Split Cane Rod circa 1970’s

Both my Hardy Palakona fly rods are light blonde in colour but my Sharpe’s and a recently acquired Martinez & Bird are much darker honey colour. My thought was much of the colour came from the finishing of the rod. Most of my coarse fishing split cane rods are a dark honey colour and more recently some rods made by Chris Clemes are also much darker than my Hardy JJH Triumph split cane rod.

Last summer I visited the workshop of R Champans over in Ware in Hertfordshire to see them tempering the cane over burners. This seem to add colour to the made up blanks. I guess older cane rods will darken with age. A telephone call to the Chapmans is in order as i wish to understand more about split cane rods.

With the re-introduction of cane rods finding their way back into the Hardy range and for those traditionalist who wouldn’t fish with anything else there are now a growing list of traditional cane rod makers to supply demand.

Luke Bannister who is based in Cornwall makes beautiful split cane rods his 7ft #4 is a wonderful tool. As Luke quotes on his website ‘No other material looks like cane.
Bamboo, cork and nickel silver combine to make a stunning object; a well finished cane rod is often referred to as a work of art, it is not. Ultimately it is “just” a fishing rod, a highly effective and beautiful tool that will give many years of satisfaction and pleasure.’

Other makers such as Edward Barder seems to make a rod with a lighter coloured cane, this gentleman is a master of his trade.

The is however a good supply of quality cane rods on the second had market but buyers should be aware of the pitfalls of not being able to pick a cane rod up and check it out before purchase. Not all rods behave the same and if not in good condition or properly looked after you could be in for a disappointment. I have detailed on my blog under Fishing Friends And Other Useful Links a list of reputable suppliers and dealers of vintage tackle.

Hardy Cane Rods

Hardy Cane Rods

I guess it’s a bit like restoring a classic or vintage car, there is something romantic about giving something a second lease of life. So maybe before you’re tempted to buy a new split cane rod, give a thought to giving a previously loved rod a new home, I promise you once you’ve fished with cane it’s very difficult not to continue.

Split cane rods are the ideal partner when fishing steams and rivers.