How to Identify Antique Fishing Poles

How to Identify Antique Fishing Poles

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Antique fishing rods can provide monetary, aesthetic and sentimental value. Identifying antique rods requires a keen eye and attention to detail. There are numerous old rods available from a variety of sources. This makes it difficult to discern value when looking at old rods. Learning to separate the antiques requires you to learn about the different brands and their identifying features. It is helpful if you have access to a collection and can practice identifying the rods.

Look for rods built using traditional materials. You can rule out graphite and fiberglass rods quickly. Rods built from wood and bamboo require a closer look.

Look for rods with silver fittings and wedding bands near the grip. These represent high-end rods built before the 20th century.

Look for rods of considerable length. Traditional rods were built for reach because advanced casting reels did not exist. Rods between 10 and 20 feet may be collectibles.

Inspect the reel seat. Screw-style seats are much newer and may represent a rod from the 20th or 21st centuries. Reel seats with one set band and one moving band are found on older rods with antique potential.

Know the brand names. There are too many to list, but the brand can make the difference between a rare fishing rod and a mass-produced rod. If you see a brand that you do not recognize, it may be unique and should be researched further.


  • The condition of the rod will affect the value. Rods that have been abused can have a significant decrease in value.


  • Search for antique fishing rods at garage sales, second-hand stores, estate sales and at Internet auctions.
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