These days just about every rod company on the planet is making a travel rod. Not only can you find about any length/weight of fly, spinner, and baitcaster in travel form, I even have a stand-up rod that could beat a 500-pound marlin and easily breaks down to fit in a backpack. What you don’t see much anymore are travel rods that can be paired with a spinning reel, baitcaster, or fly reel, like this 8-piece Trailmaster entered into our ongoing vintage tackle contest by Daniel Votaw.
Daniel received this rod from his grandfather when he was very young. And wouldn’t you know it, Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog is literally writing the book on old glass fly rods! Dr. Todd says:
“As someone who is currently researching and writing a history of the fiberglass fly rod, how could I not love your Eagle Claw Trailmaster? Travel or pack rods were around since the 1880s, but really only became popular with the advent of fiberglass. The South Bend Outdoorsman, Fenwick Voyageur, True Temper Traveller, Berkley Buccaneer, and the Abercrombie & Fitch Safari all fought with Eagle Claw for pack rod market share in the 1950s – 1980s. The Trailmaster was an eight piece set that could be configured into a spinning, casting, or fly rod. They were quite popular and came in a variety of models, and having fished one before, I can attest to the fact that their fishability is better than you might expect. Eagle Claw believed so strongly in their many Trailmaster models that they all came with a “lifetime guarantee” of repair or replacement. Vintage Trailmasters are still popular today, and yours would sell for $40-$50 in excellent condition (it appears, however, that you may be missing a section). To view a June 1969 two-page centerfold ad for Eagle Claw Trailmaster rods run in Field & Stream, click here.”
Excellent find, Daniel. Thanks for sending and enjoy the Berkley Digital Tournament Scale that’s 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 Berkley Digital Tournament Scale (left, $40).