Albert R. Mann Library
Various kinds of rods

Early fly rods were made of wood. John Dennys, in his 1613 Secrets of Angling, describes making a rod from a hazel shoot. Later, greenheart, a fine-textured, extremely strong wood imported from British Guinea, became the rod-making material of choice. In the 19th century, the split-cane bamboo rod was developed; many anglers still feel that nothing can compare to a fine split-cane bamboo rod. In the 1940’s, the Shakespeare company introduced the first fiberglass fly rods. Less expensive than bamboo rods, and easier to care for, fiberglass rods were very popular. Today, most anglers use rods made of graphite composites.

Yet the split-cane rod is alive, flexing gracefully in its response to the touch and will of its owner. It has its own singular character, yet it fully accommodates itself to the character and moods of anyone who fishes it. The favorite trout rod is a constant friend.

Ernest Schwiebert, Trout, Volume II, 1984