Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The First Fairy Wand?

The First Fairy Wand?

I am a nut for the small fly rods, referred to as Fairy Wands by many. Lots of speculation floats around the rod community about who made the first short sticks--Fairy Wands around 7 to 7 1/2 feet long. Of course they became popular for the first time in the 1920s, so one can imagine my surprise when I saw this notice in the November 1892 American Angler for the following rod:

For sale: unique rod. The lightest and shortest fly rod made. It is a split bamboo and only seven feet in length, and weighs three ounces; designed for small stream work when open and brush fishing alternate. It will cast forty to fifty feet with ease, and, owing to length, has sufficient backbone to kill a three-pound trout. By chance I have two of these rods, and will sell one, for want of use, at $7.50; cost $15 at first hands. Can be seen at office of AMERICAN ANGLER. Address J. W. H., care of this magazine.

I believe the gentleman selling the rod was J.W. Hoxie of Rhode Island, who ran a large trout farm and advertised in the magazine regularly. But the question still remains: who was making 7 foot, three ounce split bamboo rods in 1892? Any speculation? By the way, it is the equivalent of a $350 rod in today's monetary terms. Regardless, it is neat to know that a few people saw the merits in the Fairy Wand long before they became popular.

-- Dr. Todd

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