Fishing Rods

With roots in ancient Egypt and China, fishing has a rich history in human culture for both sport and survival. The fishing rod itself is part of that history, beginning with a simple wooden pole designed to hold a line and a hook. Over the centuries, vast modifications in weight, design, and durability have created a diverse manufacturing industry that continues to improve the rod’s performance.

Rod material is thought to have changed from heavy to light wood during the Industrial Revolution, with England being noted for its rod making. Around 1946, American Sam Phillippe invented the first split-bamboo fishing rod, and in 1854, Charles de Saxe obtained the first U.S. rod patent. Following these milestones, fishing rod manufacturing diversified in the U.S., with dozens of craftsmen designing rods that are today considered some of the most collectible in the industry.

Most antique fishing rods are made of bamboo along with cork, wrapped cane, or wood on the grips. Something particular to note is that a pre-20th century rod often has a metal band just above the hand grip, and the real seat will not contain screws. When reviewing a rod, look for insignia, as manufacturers often engraved a name and a date of origin on the rod’s butt cap.


Quick Facts

  • One of the earliest written guides about fishing and its equipment dates back to 1662 when Robert Venables published "The Experienced Angler"
  • A fly rod made by influential American fly fisher Thaddeus Norris sold at a 2007 Lang’s auction for $16,000
  • The American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont has a collection of more than 1,400 rods, some from the likes of Babe Ruth, Ernest Hemingway, and Dwight Eisenhower

Recommended Items at Auction

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Group of Fishing Rods, Reels and Miscellaneous Equipment
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Group of Fishing Rods, Reels and Miscellaneous Equipment
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$904 Bids
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FIBLINK SUPER MONSTER FISHING ROD
Oct 24, 12:00 PM EDT
FIBLINK SUPER MONSTER FISHING ROD
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$11 Bid
SCHLUNEGGER RING AND ROD TRICK. PITTSBURGH: RUDOLPH SCHLUNE...
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
SCHLUNEGGER RING AND ROD TRICK. PITTSBURGH: RUDOLPH SCHLUNE...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$7500 Bids
2 FLY FISHING RODS AND FISHING RELATED SHADOW BOX
Oct 27, 10:00 AM EDT
2 FLY FISHING RODS AND FISHING RELATED SHADOW BOX
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $100- $200
$600 Bids
Antique Joseph Boivin Fly Fishing Rod
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Antique Joseph Boivin Fly Fishing Rod
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$1000 Bids
S. Allcock Antique Fly Fishing Rod
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
S. Allcock Antique Fly Fishing Rod
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$1000 Bids
Sage 890-4 Motive Saltwater Fly Rod In Case
Oct 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Sage 890-4 Motive Saltwater Fly Rod In Case
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $500- $625
$3000 Bids
Antique Joseph Boivin Fly Fishing Rod
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
Antique Joseph Boivin Fly Fishing Rod
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$1000 Bids
A 20th-century oriental fishing rod engraved bamboo walking stick with metal cap (L. cm 96)...
Oct 21, 10:00 AM CEST
A 20th-century oriental fishing rod engraved bamboo walking stick with metal cap (L. cm 96)...
by Il Ponte Auction House
Est: €120- €150
€1000 Bids
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OLD CEDAR 12 ROD FISHING ROD FLOORING RACK
Oct 24, 12:00 PM EDT
OLD CEDAR 12 ROD FISHING ROD FLOORING RACK
by Aether Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$10 Bids
Orvis 7.5ft Impregnated Fishing Rod
Nov 07, 10:00 AM EDT
Orvis 7.5ft Impregnated Fishing Rod
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
Vintage The Horton MFG. Co. Fishing Pole
Nov 07, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage The Horton MFG. Co. Fishing Pole
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
***WITHDRAWN***J.A. HACKETT The Day's Catch with Rods and Reels Oil on canvas, 41 x 55cm Signed
Oct 19, 11:00 AM IST
***WITHDRAWN***J.A. HACKETT The Day's Catch with Rods and Reels Oil on canvas, 41 x 55cm Signed
by Adam's
Est: €2,000- €3,000
€1,4000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Fishing Rods


Kavanagh Auctions

Kavanagh Auctions

Aether Auctions

Aether Auctions

Adam's

Adam's