Fishing Rods photo

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This week in our vintage tackle contest we’ve got an old combo with nostalgic story to match. This photo was sent in by Cale Canter, who writes: This was my grandfather’s. He left it to me in his will a few years back. He was a big trout guy out in New Mexico during the 50’s, and said this was his “Old Reliable.” Just looking for some info and value concerning the pieces.


Cale, I think Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog can accommodate that request. Dr. Todd says:

“You’ve got a great fishing combination — although it’s a bit mismatched when it comes to age. You have a nifty Howald Wonderod, one of the most important developments in modern fishing as the first widely available hollow fiberglass rod. Although it was first offered in 1947, your model dates from the late 1950s. I wasn’t sure about the reel so I called my friend Dick “Mr. Zebco” Braun who told me it is a Zebco XLR 35 spinning reel with full bail and reversible handle, sold by the company from 1972-1978. I’m sure this rig has caught a lot of fish. As a collectible, the rod is worth $10-$20 and the Zebco reel about $15 in current condition. But as a piece of family fishing history it is priceless. Rig that baby up with some new line and take it out, and I’m sure this “old reliable” will continue catching fish just like it did for your grandfather.”

Terrific find, and I agree that this rod and reel deserve the chance to get back on the water. Let us know what you catch! 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, 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).