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Post 11 Jul 2010, 04:03 • #1 
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Fenwick made some really wonderful rods in I think the 70's. The rods I am refering to where made from graphite. Those I have seen have no particular makers "signature", I think any or all where made up from blanks by individual rod makers. I do not know if Fenwick or any maker had a specific line of rods and finish as per a Fenwick range of rods.
Many of these blanks where 9'3" for #2, #3, #4. They also made a Spey rod series that are really wonderful casting/fishing rods.
The West Yellowstone/Henry's Fork area has quite a few of these rods still seeing daylight on a regular basis.
I would like to hear from anyone who can share some of the history of these rods/blanks.
If anyone has any of these rods for sale or trade, I would appreciate them contacting me offline.
Thanks,
Dewardian.


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Post 12 Jul 2010, 02:29 • #2 
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Dewardian, do you have a copy of the Fenwick book? This book seems to cover the Fenwick brand thoroughly, when I get home from work I'll take a look and see whats said on the original graphite by Fenwick.

Tim


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Post 13 Jul 2010, 01:04 • #3 
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Thanks for the idea. I will look for a copy of the Fenwick book ... In the meantime if anyone knows anything about these rods/blanks, please chime in.

Peter



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Post 14 Jul 2010, 03:24 • #4 
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Peter, I have the book in front of me now. What rods are talking about, the HMG series? Graflite? Give me a little more info about what your looking for and I'll copy part of this book and send it to you if you'd like? Let me know. The section in the book that discusses custom rods mentions custom blanks produced in 1967, the blank number was FF112-5 9 ft 3 ", 5 piece. But this was a 9-10 wt rod. What color were the blanks?

Tim


Last edited by oldschoolcane on 15 Jul 2010, 02:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 14 Jul 2010, 20:04 • #5 
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Fenwick started making graphites around 1974, and 2,3 and 4 wts. were not part of that original lineup. I think what you're referring to are the brown World Class rods made much later and designed by Paul Brown of West Yellowstone after Jimmy Green had left Fenwick. They were slow and, in my opinion, very out of character for Fenwick rods. Some people like them, but they weren't very popular, so very few were made. They CAN be cast by good casters, but are very slow, lousy in the wind and require some getting used to. Definitely not my favorite rods.


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Post 17 Jul 2010, 06:12 • #6 
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AH HA! ... Caught yas talking about grrrraphite! ... STOP IT! ... DON'T DO THAT!. .. NO, NO NO!


The Retro Grouch has spoken (err, written)! ...


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Post 18 Jul 2010, 10:18 • #7 
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[b wrote:
16[/b] pmd]Fenwick started making graphites around 1974, and 2, 3 and 4 wts. were not part of that original lineup.
This concurs with what I recall from the early '70s at the Long Beach Casting Club, which (along with the Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club) saw many of the Fenwick prototypes and rods from that era. I do not remember Fenwick making any rods less than 5 wt. or longer than 9' (except for the limited fiberglass FF83 4wt., and the 9' 3" FF112 / FF9310 10 wt. and FF116 / FF9311 11 wt.). The Fenwick graphite HMG series with brown blank where 8' 6" and less in 6 wt. and below, such as a 7' 8" - 4 wt. I do not recall Fenwick making 2 - 4 wt. or 9' or longer rods.


Last edited by rewynd on 18 Jul 2010, 10:23, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 20 Jul 2010, 05:37 • #8 
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The original Fenwick graphites, made in the early 70's, were gray in color. The brown rods in question here are almost certainly the Fenwick World Class rods of about 20 years later. In the light line weights (2-4) and long lengths, they were designed to be very slow for graphite by the late Paul Brown of W. Yellowstone, who favored that action. There was a small group of very good anglers and casters, especially in the West Yellowstone area, who were also fans of those rods. Some of those guys and rods are still around, but there weren't many of those rods made and those who have them aren't eager to let go of them. They enjoy that slow action and feel and, being skilled casters, can get the most out of it, but the rods are very specialized in use. I have cast them and can make them work, but to me they lack accuracy and do not perform well except with small flies at modest distances and pretty calm conditions.


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Post 20 Jul 2010, 15:03 • #9 
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I just found some "buried treasure" in an old rod case I had stashed in the back of a closet. I remembered that in the late 1970s, I had ordered a Fenwick graphite "Traditional" blank for a friend who never paid me for it. Well, I found the two piece, 8 foot, 6 weight blank where I had put it so many years ago. I think it will make a fine, slow actioned rod, and I am anxious to get it built up. The "Traditional" series of blanks were applarently short lived in Fenwick's history, and were touted as having a "bamboo like action". Anyone remember these?


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Post 20 Jul 2010, 18:29 • #10 
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wb4tjh, I think you answered a question of mine. To confirm, would a 9' 8 wt. Fenwick HMG factory rod labeled 908T and "Bamboo Action" be one of these "Traditional" series? (Up to now, I hadn't been able to find any information on Fenwick HMGs with the "T" in the model number.)


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Post 21 Jul 2010, 02:25 • #11 
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BINGO! ... that would be the "traditional" blank, all right. The blanks have a smooth, gradual, progressive taper that you can feel bending down into the corks. It's very much like the original "Orvis action" that the original Orvis graphite rods exhibited. The more power you apply to the cast, the farther down the blank you will feel the bend. I always liked that kind of action, and I have several older Orvis graphites that have it. I don't think it lasted that long with Fenwick, because the trend in graphite was always toward faster and faster actioned rods. Your nine foot T blank should be a lot like my 1979 made Orvis Limestone Special 8.5 footer for a 6 weight line, only for the heavier 8 weight. It should make a spendid rod for bushy, air resistant bass bugs, where you really need to build line speed progressively. But you'll notice a distinct difference between it and the present day graphite rods. It might take some getting used to, having to conciously slow down your casting stroke, but I love the power the action has. It really is a lot like bamboo, in that the casting stroke is much slower. I think it makes for a stronger blank, too, because the bending stress is well distributed along the entire rod shaft, rather than concentrated in the upper part like in a fast actioned rod. I just ordered some original Fenwick cork grips off that "inernet site" and once I find a reel seat I like, I'm going to build up my blank. It has been sitting patiently awaiting rediscovery in a rod tube for 30 years. I have only seen and cast a couple of factory made Fenwick Traditional rods, and that was many years ago. I have a more recent Fenwick graphite rod, called a "Streamer", which has a very similar, slow action. It might be that Fenwick resurrected the "traditional" taper for that series. I know my Fenwick "Streamer", 8.5 foot for a 6 weight, is very similar to my Orvis Limestone Special in feel. The Streamer rods can still be found on that "internet site", in 8.5 and 9 footers. They are very inexpensive and you might call them an undiscovered "sleeper". My 6 weight version handles a 5 weight quite well also. I have seen them for about $60 or so. It's hard to buy a bare blank these days for that, much less a factory built rod.


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Post 22 Jul 2010, 05:48 • #12 
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Thank you for the explanation.
I am sure that you are correct in identifying the blanks/rods as the Fenwick World Class series.
I have cast the #2 and the #3 versions, and they are "slow" by any comparison, and amongst some of the cognoscente of W Yellowstone and Island Park they are indeed prized.
The casting attributes are as such that you mentioned; the fish fighting, leader protecting qualities are what makes them work for thier fans.
The only version of these rods/blanks that I have is a 16' #9-10. A nice versatile casting rod.

On a side note, thinking about glass rods, I have re-discovered an old friend, a Fenwick 7'6" #6. A wonderful rod for a lot of my fishing. It is out of the dark and into the light, and will be staying ready.

My thanks to you, and others who responded.

Peter


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Post 27 Sep 2010, 12:19 • #13 
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Hello,

Being one of the West Yellowstone/Island Park “boys” who uses these rods, I thought I would be able to add some information to the thread. As PMD16 mentioned, the rods in question are the Fenwick World Class graphite 9 foot 2, 3, and 4 weight models. As mentioned, they were designed by the late Paul Brown of West Yellowstone, Montana and built by Tim Grennan and the late Jim Green. Paul was probably one if not the best angler to ever grace the waters of the Henry’s Fork. He was also an incredible caster.

These 3 models were produced from 1985 to 1991 with the 902 coming in the equation somewhere around 1988 (if I remember correctly). Being very slow, the rods were not well received as they are on the other end of the spectrum of what most anglers are used to casting. They were not well received, and Fenwick did not do the best job marketing them. Once Fenwick moved production overseas in 91, the models were discontinued.

These are specialized rods designed for difficult hatch matching situations to large fish similar to what is encountered on the Henry’s Fork. In that respect, I think they excel. They can be cast accurately and into the wind in the hands of good caster. It is interesting that most guys (myself included) using these rods overline them by one line size. If any of you have watched “Fishing Yellowstone Hatches,” John Juracek uses these rods routinely in the DVD.


Last edited by ffftroutbum on 09 Aug 2012, 23:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 15 Apr 2011, 12:56 • #14 
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Paul Brown worked for the Fenwick Casting school in the early 80's. Fenwick produced the Tradition line and Paul had no input to it. I slept on Paul's floor in his trailer he shared with Dave Schultz for two seasons. Paul was a ski instuctor in Steamboat in the winter, and since Paul and Dave had no running water in their farm house in Strawberry Park and Paul would come over to shower at my place. Paul was probably one of the best dry fly fisherman ever to fish the Henry's Fork. One day he was all excited about the new rods Fenwick was coming out with so we ran up to the school to give them a wing. Paul was in love with the 904 from the 1st round of lawn casts. The 3 piece 105 was also a favorite for gulper fishing in August, this is before it became popular, Schultz was esp. fond of it, he is 69 years old this year. In the winter Paul ordered a pile of 904 and 105 blanks. The Steamboat crew that would go up to the Fork for 2-4 weeks every year was busy wrapping these up all winter. Everybody was fishing these and we all used Chalkstream lines which I still use and they performed beautifully with these rods. Another favorite blank was a 8'8" boron graphite that Ted Simroe from Rodon produced, these were even slower and softer than the Traditionalists. Ordering in bulk was one of Paul's knacks, ordering ten thousand plus Partridge hooks from Alan Bramely in England, we would all put in our orders we were like kids at a birthday party. Imagine paying $3.25 to $4.00 per hundred hooks! I bought so many I am still using them but supply is getting low.

Just a bit of Paul Brown History,
Arkriver


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Post 10 Aug 2012, 09:47 • #15 
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With all the talk about the new slow Sage rod and the older thread about the fiberglass like graphite rods, I thought I would post this old review of the Fenwick 902 to this old thread. You might find it interesting. The review was not positive. Oh well. I still think they are fabulous rods. It is interesting that most guys using these rods will overline the 902 with a 3 weight line.

Image


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Post 10 Aug 2012, 12:26 • #16 
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I have three old fenwick blanks; one a graphite HMG 6 weight and an old brown fiberglass blank and a yellow fiberglass blank. I'll have to find them to get some numbers off em and find out the exact color; finding them will take some time as theyre"somewhere in the rod closet"-p-


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Post 17 Sep 2018, 14:47 • #17 
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I just purchased a Sage 389 LL built by Paul Brown.


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Post 18 Sep 2018, 09:23 • #18 
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Enjoy the rod, E! It’s looks pretty nice. That build was a bit different than many of the rods he built. Must have been a special request from a customer as that rod has a cigar grip and a Struble seat. Paul would usually put on a wells or half wells style grip with REC hardware. Thought the below info might interest you.

Image


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Post 28 Sep 2018, 15:03 • #19 
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awesome and thanks!


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Post 13 Oct 2018, 01:00 • #20 
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I have one of those Fenwick traditional rods. Called a 908 T. 9 foot for an 8 wt. I have used it in saltwater and it has brought many, many Bonito to the boat (King Harbor in Redondo Beach, CA), when the sea lions didn't bite them off. And back then in the early 70's all we used were yellow feathers tied on a hook for flies. And if I close my eyes when I cast it now, it feels just like a bamboo action. The slow action is sorta like the first J. Kennedy-Fisher blank I built a rod from.

I feel like the first graphite rods/blanks didn't really have much action at all. If you got a good one great, and if you bought another blank just like it, it usually turned out some what different. I think the first graphites were just something light, although I don't think many of the earlier ones were less heavy that my Fenwick glass rods. Think "New and Improved!" You come up with something new and improved, somebody's just gotta have it! And I am a perfect example of that phrase being true!


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Post 14 Oct 2018, 09:52 • #21 
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Duckman, the 902, 903, and 904 World Class mentioned above where a bit of a different animal than the Ts. They bend much more in the butt and are softer overall comparatively speaking. Paul and Dave Shultz used to sand down the butts on the traditionals to get them to bend more. They broke more than a few rods doing that :)

Thought this thread might interest you. viewtopic.php?f=32&t=50243


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Post 25 Feb 2021, 00:12 • #22 
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Another refresh of this old thread. My friend Charlie has had us going through his vast collection of fly rods in bamboo, glass, and graphite. Some of his favorite rods were the old Fenwick World Class. He has the 9' 3 weight rod, and while it's fun to cast, it does take a little practice, and I would agree with the article above about the 2 weight rod. It is a bit wobbly, and like Gierach stated, the fish would need to hold onto the fly for a bit while you attempt to set the hook. I was recently offered a trade for a ********* YS glass rod in 9' 3 weight, and while I was intrigued, I was afraid the rod might be too much like the Fenwick.

Larry


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Post 25 Feb 2021, 11:45 • #23 
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These rods certainly will not be for everyone. Heck, when I started fishing with a 902 that Paul built me, I thought to myself, what am I doing fishing this rod. It was so different than anything else I had. But, after a few outings I grew to love it. They are specialized dry fly rods for spring creek types of fishing. They were designed for hatch matching situations for large trout and fine tippets. I would have to disagree with some of the reviewers above in the article. It does not take much pressure to sink a #16 dry fly into a trout’s soft mouth. They can also be used to catch large trout. I have taken 1 trout in the 7 pound class and another in the 8 pound class on my 903 (used with a 4 wt) on the Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork. My brother has also taken several HFork trout in the 6 pound class on a 902 (used with a 3wt). He once even caught a trout on the Frying Pan on his 902 that scared me. It looked more like a bass than a trout! These rods can be fish catching and fighting (as one can place the bend in the butt during the fight) monsters. When I get some time, I will post some photos of some of Paul’s rods. We was a incredible rod builder. You guys might enjoy seeing them.


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Post 26 Feb 2021, 03:20 • #24 
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A noodle with sufficient mass is quite a burden for a fish to move. Soft butted rods can tire fish very quickly provided they have some weight in the mid and tip.


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Post 27 Feb 2021, 10:17 • #25 
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I was the Director of Fenwick’s Montana Fly Fishing Schools back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and Paul Brown, Gary LaFontaine, and Dave Schultz were my Casting Instructors at the Fenwick Schools. I personally hired them. Anyway, please allow me to first discuss Paul Brown, and then make a few comments about the early days designing the 902, 903, and 904 rods.

Paul Brown was the greatest fly caster that I have ever seen, and I have had the honor and pleasure of seeing many great fly casters over the past 50 years. Paul accomplished fly casts on a stream that I have never seen duplicated. Moreover, Paul’s casting grace and beauty remain unequaled to this day.

Each summer, on a day the Schools were not in session, Jim Green would stop by and Jim and I would cast his rods for hours...yes far, far better than being a kid in a candy store. And during those casting days, once Jim Green met Paul Brown, saw him cast, and they discussed fly rod design, we started discussing a more delicate fly rod for light 2, 3, and 4 weight lines. These first discussions started in 1980, along with Jim Green regularly sending Paul numerous (think 10 to 12 each per line weight) test rod blanks that Jim kept track of with a numbering system. Paul would tape guides and push a grip on the test rods which we would both cast, and then we would each call Jim and discuss our thoughts. I kept 3 wonderful rods that Paul Brown built for me from these Jim Green brown blanks. Obviously, since I retired from the Fenwick Schools in the early to mid 1980s, I wasn’t around for Fenwick’s actual production of the World Class 902, 903, and 904 rods, and I can’t add any information about these rods.

Finally, and perhaps saving the best for last, I sincerely thank Dan (ffftroutbum) for providing his history of these rods. One thing I have learned over the past many years is that when either Dan or his brother are discussing the fishing and casting characteristics of a fly rod, I LISTEN! I haven’t run across anyone with more skill and ability in this area. Dan, thanks for the memories.

Best, Bob


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