Featuring a rod in our vintage tackle contest is long overdue. Though quite a few bamboo fly rod photos have hit my inbox, the vast majority are custom-made or feature no manufacturer info, making them difficult to price. But leave it to regular reader Roy Dorman (aka rdorman on F& to finally send us a rod worthy of appraisal. Roy wrote:

Not sure how old this is, but my dad passed it down to me when he moved to Florida last year. He picked it up at an auction some time ago. I’ve never fished with it, and I have no intentions of doing so either. It is a Montague Sunbeam bamboo fly rod.


Maybe you don’t intend to fish this rod, Mr. Dorman, but Dr. Todd Larson of The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog suggests you reconsider. Dr. Todd says:



within.cmd%3Fform_state%3Ddefault_state%26searchWithin%3Dtrue%26N%3D0%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3D50th%26search%3D50th%26nttWithin%3Dknife%26x%3D0%26y%3D0&Ntt=50th&WTz_l=Unknown)“You have a bamboo fly rod manufactured by one of the most prolific of all rod companies–the Montague Rod & Reel Company of Montague City, Massachusetts. The firm was formed in the 1880s and expanded in 1891 with the purchase of Thos. H. Chubb’s rod factory in Post Mills, Vermont. They ran Chubb as a separate division until the early 1930s, when the firm was purchased by Paul Johnson’s Ocean City Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia. They made millions of inexpensive to moderately priced rods, and lately people have come to appreciate the qualities of fly rods like your Sunbeam. Your Sunbeam is a late 1930s model, and was made in four lengths between 8 and 9.5 feet. They range in value from around $150-$175 for a nice condition (two piece, two tips) 8 footer to less than $100 for a nice condition 9 1/2 footer. And I suggest you think about taking this rod fishing. Nothing–and I mean NOTHING–beats the feel of a bamboo fly rod in your hands. For a 1940 catalog cut of your Sunbeam rod, click here.”

I’ve only fished with bamboo a few times, and while it takes some getting used to, I agree that the feel of a cane pole is something every flycaster should experience. Nice find, Roy. Enjoy the new Cabelas’ 50th Anniversary Fillet Knife headed your way.

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, 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 limited edition Cabelas’ 50th Anniversary Fillet Knife made by Buck Knives (left, $80).