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I recently acquired a bottom rod, The Stort, made by Chapman of Ware, a producer of fine cane rods since 1957. The workshop in Bowling Road in Ware, Hertfordshire finally shut in 2016.

The Stort was one of a range of coarse rods that were made, the more widely know were the Chapman 500 and 550 Deluxe 2 piece Avon rods and the Dennis Pye 700 3 piece Pike Rod. There were a couple of other bottom rods produced, the Peter Stone 600, a 3 piece ledger rod and a 2 piece Peter Stone Ledgerstrike.

The bottom rods produce by Chapman consisted of The Stort, The Shelford, The Amwell and later edition Amwell SP of the 60’s and two sizes of The Hunter, a 12ft and 14ft version. Finally there was the F. J Taylor, roach rod a 12’6” 3 piece but these are hard to find.

The Stort was made from between the 1950’s – 1970’s, made of a straight tapered blank of six strips of dark honey coloured cane. The butt section was 42” with cock handle and aluminium sliding rings, the middle section 42” and the tip another 42” section. The butt ring was porcelain lined, the same for the tip. Early rods were whipped in red and the later ones in green tread.

I was lucky to come across this straight and untouched rod, purely by chance as I was picking up a Hardy fly rod at the time at the seller mentioned he had a few old cane rod. A bundle of rods in varying coloured cotton bags in different sizes, what appeared was a small collection of some of the best names in the business. To view as an Aspindales Dalesman, A Dawson’s of Bromley Burley pike rod, a Marco Elasticane, what looked like an Allcocks Wizard but with no markings plus a nice 7ft light spinning rod that has been renovated, possibly a Hardy Wanless but renamed with restorers name Barrie Willcocks, Westbrook, Kent and dated 1972 , plug & spinning rod. Out of this bundle I decided to acquire The Stort, it was straight and in original condition with the typical light corrosion to the guides. Having purchase a couple of period 50’s-60’s reels I will look to take this to the river before I decide if to have it restored or just leave as is.

Recent acquisitions, on the left the Hardy #7 fly rod and in the right the Chapman Stort.

There sends to be a glut of vintage tackle of the market at the moment and going for reasonable money, I saw another find Hardy Graphite #8/9 rod with an early Sunbeam reel go for £100, as you can imagine that sold pretty quickly.

The Stort by Chapman of Ware