What line for grandad's old cane rod

2391aje

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Hi,

My first post!

I have been given my late grandfathers fly rod, a 9ft split cane "Firecrest" made by Forshaws of Liverpool and a JW Youngs condex reel. I know my grandad used these when he took my dad fishing as a boy so they must be both over 50 years old. It would be quite nice to bring these back into active service after all these years.

I have done a fair bit of course fishing as a youngster and even caught a few trout but I have never done any fly fishing. There is no line weight marking on the rod, can anyone recommend what Line I would be best getting to start off?

Thanks.
 

falsecast

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Nice to hear your grandfathers rod and reel are going to get a new lease of life. If no one knows the rod model and can't give any info here's a link that is normally given for finding the rods rating
The Common Cents System
 

2391aje

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Thanks for the replies.

Fredaevans - There are no marking on the rod unfortunately

Falsecast - I'll take a look at the pdf, doesn't look like a simple calculation!

Am I correct to assume given the length and vintage a WF5 or 6 would be roughly in the right area. If so is it better to err with a heavier line if you are a beginner i.e go for a 6 over a 5 or vice versa?
 
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I'd go for a DT 5 silk line, Cortland Silk or similar. The first being quite expensive, I'd try to borrow some 5 and 6 lines from anyone you know kind enough to let you try them. Once you've established the correct line weight for the rod stick with the DT choice of your preferred weight. Your rod will probably be of the slower (full flex) kind so shooting a WF won't do it justice.

Check your (precious) rod for any cracks or fouls in the varnish. If there are any it would be a good thing to dry it thoroughly (ideally against a chimney wall), carefully sand it and give it a new coating with boat varnish or similar. Your rod will be like new and ready to begin it's second life.

Tight lines:thumbs:!
 

guest21

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Going back a long way, but my father and father in law fished with a collection of cane and greenheart rods in the 8', 9', range. I think the lines they used were level silk, treated to either float or sink as required. The lines were usually 2# or 3# on the old scale, which I think equates to 5# or 6#. Unless someone comes up, with experience of that particular rod, it's going to be trial and error.
 

2391aje

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There is actually line on the reel, it is green with a woven waxy appearance like a shoe lace - is this likely to be silk? As it's probably 50 years old I'd assumed it would need replacing, but maybe it would be ok? I just tried casting with it in the garden and could cast around 38ft which I'm sure is pretty poor, but I am a total beginner and don't really know what I'm doing.

I also got my grandfathers Sharpes "Scottie" salmon rod and a Sharpes "The Gordon" 3.75" reel. After I tried the fly reel I switched to the salmon reel on the fly rod and could get a bit further up to 45ft, but again I'm a total beginner. I'm guessing the salmon reel has heavier line - it is certainly a bit thicker and appears not to be woven - more like a modern line. I think both lines are DT rather than WF. One thing I noticed is I could get 55-60ft of line in the air but when it fell to the ground it bunched up in the last 10ft so the actual distance was 10-15ft less - is this just a technique issue?
 

Mark Morton

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I would firstly either use a line you already have or borrow one in the #4 #5 range and see if that suits the rod. The suggestion to give the rod a good looking over for any wear and tear is also sound. If you refurb or have it refurbed remember to retain any markings on the rod. MOST IMPORTANT !!! hang the rod in its bag on a hook when storing with the handle and heavier end in the downward position to prevent it setting in a curve. NEVER leave it leaning against a wall.
When you decide on the line size then have a look at the Cortland Sylk line. I have one in #2 and it goes very well on my small cane rod. Split cane is till the most enjoyable material to fish with. Enjoy.

If you want distance, then go buy a modern rod. Cane rods are for finesse at relatively short range, stalking your fish and accurately placing the fly on the button. Accuracy is far more important than distance.
 
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2391aje

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Thanks for the tips - I have just gone and rescued both rods from the garage and hung them up properly as suggested!

If I go with say a #5 what characteristics should I be watching out for to decide if this is the correct weight or too heavy/light - I'm a total beginner so not sure what to look for.
 

Mark Morton

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Believe me it will feel right. Don't try and get a ton of line out. One and a half times the length of the rod will start to feel balanced, not stressing you or the rod. Pull a couple more yards off and cast again. If the line is too big it will start to stress the rod and feel heavy. If the line is too light, which I doubt with a #5 then you will have great difficulty in creating any sort of cast, getting any sort of balanced loop. Unless you are on serious big rivers, then 30 feet is about as far as you need to cast and in my experience that would include the length of the rod.

Apologies ...welcome to the mad house.
Which part of the country are you because I am certain there will be someone near who could advise on the spot.
 
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2391aje

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Thanks Hbbug, think I'll stick with the old line for the time being while I'm practing a lot on the lawn. When I have honed my skills and have a better idea what I'm doing I'll maybe go for the cortland silk line previously recommended. I'm based near Reading close to Pangbourne by the way.

So far I've just been casting the line with a bit of bright wool on the end in the garden so I can see it, should I really get a leader or doesn't it make much difference while I'm learning?
 

TFC

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When you decide on the line size then have a look at the Cortland Sylk line. I have one in #2 and it goes very well on my small cane rod. Split cane is till the most enjoyable material to fish with. Enjoy.

+1 for the Cortland Sylk lines. Have a #5 for my 9' cane rod, lovely line that should have seasons & seasons in it (Esp. if you get a DT), very supple & memory free. Just needs a gentle clean from time to time :)
 

TFC

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So far I've just been casting the line with a bit of bright wool on the end in the garden so I can see it, should I really get a leader or doesn't it make much difference while I'm learning?

A leader won't make much difference at this stage IMHO. Just, say, an 8' length of straight monofilament from the end of your fly line to your piece of wool should see you right while you practice your timings and pauses :thumbs:

A fair few don't even use leaders at all and fish mono / fluro straight through - although the majority of them will be fishing still-waters I would suggest.

Welcome to the forum btw :thumbs:

ATVB

Jon :)
 

2391aje

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Thanks for all the great advice everyone.

I just popped down to Sportfish in Theale to get a few flies and look at lines. I took the rod and reel with me and they were really helpful - they thought the rod was in very good condition but the old 50 year old silk line would be pretty useless and looked far too thin to be able to cast any distance.

They tried it with a #6 line outside which they thought it cast really well. I really wanted to at least 1 more fish on grandad's silk line for old times sake before I binned it and thought it would be better to keep it a while longer for practice in the garden so I don't damage a new line. They seemed pretty skeptical I'd be able to cast it and though it might put me off learning so kindly offered to try it out for me. They were totally blown away by how well it cast and they were able to cast the full line down to the backing with ease and advised me to keep it as long as I could! I'm now even thinking of getting a new line to practice on so I can preserve the silk line as long as possible.

Thanks again everyone.
 

TFC

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Thanks for all the great advice everyone.

I just popped down to Sportfish in Theale to get a few flies and look at lines. I took the rod and reel with me and they were really helpful - they thought the rod was in very good condition but the old 50 year old silk line would be pretty useless and looked far too thin to be able to cast any distance.

They tried it with a #6 line outside which they thought it cast really well. I really wanted to at least 1 more fish on grandad's silk line for old times sake before I binned it and thought it would be better to keep it a while longer for practice in the garden so I don't damage a new line. They seemed pretty skeptical I'd be able to cast it and though it might put me off learning so kindly offered to try it out for me. They were totally blown away by how well it cast and they were able to cast the full line down to the backing with ease and advised me to keep it as long as I could! I'm now even thinking of getting a new line to practice on so I can preserve the silk line as long as possible.

Thanks again everyone.

Hope you don't mind me asking - did they try it with a #5 as well ?
 

2391aje

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No, actually when they first looked at the rod they even suggested a #7 as they thought the rod was fairly heavy, but then tried with a #6 which they had on hand.
 

TFC

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The reason me asking is I have a couple of cane rods of my great grandfathers and grandfathers (which I don't use) as well as a new Tim Harris 9' #5. Whilst Im sure the TH rod would cope with 'over lining' to a #6 I wouldn't be so sure if I took one of my grandfathers #5's off the wall and put a #6 through it. Pound to a penny it would throw the line out but I wouldn't want to chance my arm by over lining it especially for long lift offs etc on a regular basis.

Those rods are pretty sacred to me as yours,Im sure, is to you. I was asking in case they had actually over lined the rod - which is a 'trick' some people use to 'improve' casting distance, I m sure the guys at the shop know a million times more than I do but I'd've hoped they would have tried a lower line weight 'to be sure' .... if that makes sense ?!

Hey, Im no way an expert and you did the right thing by taking it in - glad they gave it the thumbs up and given you the extra confidence it will have done.... too many times folk get handed down tackle (coarse and fly) and hope it may be worth something more than just sentimental value and actually find out its not what you had hoped it to be :eek:

Hope to hear of your first capture with it, tight lines :thumbs:

Jon :)
 

jada0406

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Hi',
When cane rods were in fashion, back in 1953, I fished with a mate's rod for a season on a little river in Northern Ireland. the first fly fishing I had ever done, and found casting with an easy-action cane rod relatively easy to pick up.
It was1959 by the time I got around to fly fishing again, and I picked a typical river rod of the day, which was a 9ft two-piece Sharpe's Scottie built cane rod.
The matching line was a Kingfisher Number 2 DT silk line; and all the many lads that I knew fished the same combination for brown trout on the river, and on the lake, Ullswater.
The actual weight of the rod does not give a guide to the weight of the matching line. So, your friendly tackle shop helpers were probably not very familiar with cane rods. With any rod, it is better to err on the lighter side when trying to make a match, and increase until the rod feels right with about 10 metres of line aerialised. That should be the right weght of line for your rod. The modern 5wt DT matches pretty well the old Number 2 silk lines. The old Number 3 silk lines, and correspondingly heavier rods, were more the choice of sea trout fishers when I was learning to fish; but the Scottie old Number 2/modern 5DT landed a lot of sea trout for me -- nothing big though, about 3lb max from Eden and the Border and Galloway rivers.
The advice to put the sections in the rod bag, thin end first is sound. I see too many people these days doing it the wrong way round. When you do it correctly, with a properly designed bag, the heavy ends are nearer the floor when you hang up the bag by its loop. If the bag falls from your hand, the shock of hitting the floor or the ground should be taken mainly by the rod butt cap: and I would also recommend that you try to find a stopper for the female ends of your rod sections. The tackle trade these days is either too mean or too lacking in common-sense to supply stoppers as a matter of course. Every rod should have them fitted when not in use.
Cheers, and enjoy casting with ''a work of art''. jadaTC
 

TFC

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The actual weight of the rod does not give a guide to the weight of the matching line. So, your friendly tackle shop helpers were probably not very familiar with cane rods. With any rod, it is better to err on the lighter side when trying to make a match, and increase until the rod feels right with about 10 metres of line aerialised.

Thanks Terry, beats my 'kack handed' way of trying to explain it :thumbs:
 
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