November 15, 2012
Vintage Tackle Contest: Dragon Bamboo Fly Kit (Plus, New Prizes from Berkley!)
By Joe Cermele
We've had bamboo fly rods in the vintage tackle contest before, but this is the first complete kit with line, rod, and flies I've seen yet. It was entered by Chuck Rogers, who writes that he found it in an old farm house his son-in-law purchased. On a side note, I've never found anything cool in any places I've moved in to. Let's see if Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and "Fishing For History" blog says you've stumbled on some gold.
Dr. Todd says:
"You have an interesting piece of fishing history on your hands. Following their defeat in World War II, the Japanese economy was in ruins. One of the first industries to begin the difficult task of retooling was the tackle industry -- it wasn't to make traditional Japanese rods, but rather to make inexpensive fishing kits for American G.I.s during the occupation from 1945-1952. There were at least seven major makers of such kits, which had colorful names like Dragon or Eagle. Most kits allowed the user to make a variety of rods. The quality varied, from extremely poor ("Tomato Stakes") to moderate, but it seems like every G.I. purchased one at the Post Exchange and brought it home. They are fairly common, but in the past few years have inched up in price. They regularly sell for $50-$150 depending on quality, condition, and whether they are complete or not. To see a dozen different Japanese kit rod labels, click here."
Excellent find, Chuck. Unless you need the spending money, I'd suggest you try fishing it. As a man who just recently fell in love with fishing bamboo, it's worth trying it just a few times for the nostalgic feel. Keep an eye on your mailbox, because there's a set of Berkley Aluminum Pliers headed your way. Special thanks to Berkley for these new prizes!
If you've already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven't and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to email@example.com, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a pair of Berkley Aluminum Pliers (above) worth $50.