Vintage & Classic Rods & Reels by Orvis and Other Great Makers
Vintage and Classic Fly Rods
We offer vintage and classic fly fishing rods, specializing in bamboo rods produced by Orvis but also offering rods by other quality manufacturers including Phillipson, Hardy, Granger, Leonard, and Wright & McGill. These are beautiful, quality classic fly rods that do not cost a fortune. You can fish with them just like your father or grandfather did, or use them as period furnishings in your home, cabin or restaurant. These are classic, functional rods from an earlier era.
Why vintage and classic fishing rods? New fly anglers are usually not aware of one fact; the graphite rods their friends fish with behave differently than bamboo or fiberglass rods. Both bamboo and fiberglass rods have slower actions than graphite, with bamboo being the slowest. A graphite angler will tell you how bad bamboo and fiberglass rods are, while anyone who has fished with all three will sing the praises of those older style rods. There is a reason why Orvis has been making bamboo rods continuously for over 120 years and recently started offering fiberglass rods again.
With all of the graphite fly rods available these days, why do we specialize in vintage and classic bamboo rods? Why, after the introduction of fiberglass, steel, boron, and graphite rods, are bamboo rods still so popular? Partly due to nostalgia for sure. Did your father or grandfather fish with a bamboo rod? Many people purchase vintage and classic bamboo rods because they remember them from their youth.
Maybe due to their uniqueness. Go out fishing with a bamboo rod and you will definitely attract attention.
Partly due to aesthetics. No rod looks nicer than a dark colored bamboo with colorful windings. Similar to a fine wood desk that has taken on a patina after years of use, an heirloom bamboo rod has character. Graphite or fiberglass cannot reproduce the warmth and depth of bamboo, particularly on a rod that has been used and cherished for many years.
And partly due to the way bamboo fishes. Bamboo rods are slower. They make you relax and enjoy the experience.
But there is something else at play here. Unlike all other rod types bamboo was once a living organism. It begins life as a stalk of grass, growing rapidly until it is harvested, dried, split, and glued into a fine fishing instrument. Sure, graphite rods can be produced faster and in greater quantities, but doesn't something go missing in the process?
Some people believe that the bamboo in a rod is still alive, that it carries with it the soul of its maker, just like a finely-crafted Samurai sword. They believe that if the craftsman of a fine sword goes into battle with the soldier, then the spirit of a bamboo rod maker must accompany the angler to the river.
Others believe that a bamboo rod communicates with them. No other rod type gives feedback to the angler quite like bamboo. Cast a good bamboo rod and you can feel every bit of pressure that the line exerts on the backcast, and every slight strike on the fly. You know exactly when to bring the rod forward, and you cast better as a result. Plus, you will land more fish due to bamboo's sensitivity to strikes.
Why are many fly anglers choosing to fish with fiberglass rods, a material that dates from the 1940's, when graphite rods dominate the market? For the same reasons they did in the past.
Up until the 1960's many people still considered fiberglass rods to be less desirable than bamboo when it came to performance. Bamboo rods were more expensive but serious anglers often chose to swallow the extra cost for a better rod. Then, something happened; rod builders improved their fiberglass offerings and the market for fiberglass rods began to grow.
So what makes fiberglass more desirable in many anglers eyes?
First, fiberglass rods are less expensive than bamboo, often around half the cost for a comparable rod. Second, fiberglass rods are more durable than both bamboo and graphite. They can take abuse without damage. And third, the rod's action. Fiberglass rods are great in lengths under 8 feet, having a medium action that allows you to feel what the rod is doing.
Fiberglass rods have become so popular in the last few years that major rod manufacturers, including Orvis, have begun offering them again after years of not having them in their stock, and prices are on the rise.
Our vintage and classic fly fishing tackle also includes flies, fly boxes, fly wallets, fly tying kits, and landing nets. These classic offerings can complement your vintage and classic rods and be the perfect addition to your fly fishing collection or furnishings in your home, office or restaurant. They are great conversation starters!
Many people own vintage and classic fly fishing rods that need restoration. Don't let your father's treasured bamboo rod deteriorate in the garage. Whether it needs a complete restoration or just a few replacement windings or guides, let us bring your rod back to its original beauty and functionality. Send us your rod for an analysis of its condition and cost for restoration.
We can also appraise your vintage and classic fly fishing rods and reels to determine their history, age and approximate value. This is useful if you are considering restoring or selling them but can also be quite interesting if you just want know more about them. Find out if you have a $50 wall hanger or a $5000 treasure!
We charge a small fee for appraisals. If we purchase your tackle from you we will credit the appraisal cost back to you.
Founded by Craig Haney in 2017 after a career in architecture, Colorado Vintage Fly Fishing represents a longtime dream for him; preserving and sharing vintage and classic fly fishing tackle while still allowing time for fishing! Craig is also a volunteer naturalist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, teaching fly fishing and leading nature hikes at nearby Mueller State Park.
Growing up in Colorado, fishing with his father and grandfather, he was exposed early in his life to the sport of fly fishing. His background in architecture gave him an appreciation for history and well-designed objects. The logical result of these influences is his desire to collect, restore and share these beautiful vintage and classic bamboo and fiberglass fly rods and other tackle.