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Post 18 Jan 2006, 16:30 • #1 
Master Guide
Joined: 01/03/06
Posts: 655
Location: US-VA
My background is more Fenwick, but I am curious as to why you think that Phillipson Glass rods are so distinctive? Actions, finish, history? I admit that Bill Phillipson was an interesting figure, and I have one of his boo rods. But as for his glass lines - again, why are they valued so much?
Enjoy..


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Post 18 Jan 2006, 17:18 • #2 
Sport
Joined: 06/12/05
Posts: 68
I like them mostly because of their action. I haven't fished any above a 6 line, but loved the ones I did fish. They are light in the hand, nice ferrule design, attractive shafts, and not overly geeked-out on the wraps. They seem closer in action to cane than the Fenwicks.
I like the lighter line Fenwicks almost as much as the Phillipsons, but for different reasons. To me the Phillipsons were the next step from cane, and the Fenwicks the next step toward graphite.
Of course all of the above is just my opinion.


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Post 19 Jan 2006, 12:29 • #3 
Guide
Joined: 06/08/05
Posts: 307
I have a million reasons why I love most Phillipsons.
If you read the Fiberglass rod book by Johnson and Johnson you get a very high regard for Bill Phillipson as one of the key innovators in early glass development. Phillipson's history with Granger and Phillipson, high quality in production volume bamboo rods was a sound basis for his great glass rods at moderate prices. All in all it's a reverence for the history of fly rod development, the short period of great glass and his key part in it.

The eponite concept of curing blanks under high pressure, Unidirectional glass, and his own style of tip over butt glass ferrules are noteworthy advances. His colored anodized "no-rock" reelseats are pretty gaudy by today's standards but I like them for looks and function. Reels never get stuck in them and they are very secure, even though they look like they barely cover the end of the reel foot. The plain dark caramel color of the raw glass blank on his early rods and the eponites looks very good to me, reminiscent of bamboo.

There are some of his rods I don't like. I don't have much use for the 6' Mitey lites and I am guess he was going along with what the market wanted back when Lee Wulff was hyping these for salmon.

But most of them, in the normal sizes such as 7-1/2 to 8-1/2 are very nice, crisp and powerful enough without being stiff or clunky. I find most of them cast well with a medium progressive action that works well at reasonable distances and can still push a fly into the wind. Just about any of the 8' HDH marked early models are very nice for an all around trout rod.

His last and highest regarded models, the Epoxites, may seem expensive and I am used to seeing them around $200, but that's not expensive at all compared to Orvis Golden Eagles, which were the same technology level and made by Phillipson. Most of his other rods go for around $100 and that may seem expensive compared to similar Conolons or Silafleses or high end Heddons. Many of these are also superb rods but just don't seem as aesthetically pleasing to me, probably biased from a reverence for classic bamboo.

Last week a mint condition RED GREEN 8' 80R rod went for only $79. If I wasn't in the mode of paying down my credit card I would have bid about twice that. I paid $100 for one that was pretty well worn seven years ago and after refinishing it twice I still think it was a great bargain. It's my favorite trout rod for fishing but also because of the accidental significance of the Red Green show, what more can I ask for. With about a hundred rods to choose from, it best does what I want without any fear of breakage or thought of ruining collectibility. Nothing is worse than a rod you're afraid to fish.

I like that he got out before everything went to hell with graphite, so I don't hold the whole movement from $50 to $500 rods, lifetime warranties because graphite is brittle, cast a mile in the parking lot but impossible to roll cast, all those terrible directions that most rod makers went, against him.

I like too that nobody who only got into flyfishing since A River Runs Through It or other trendiness ever even heard of him, unless they have developed an interest in bamboo or classic tackle. Nobody else I run into is fishing with Phil.

-Vinnie in Juneau


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Post 19 Jan 2006, 15:51 • #4 
Sport
Joined: 06/12/05
Posts: 50
Location: US-MT
My first quality bamboo rod, which I still have and use, was a Phillipson 7.5 Peerless purchased in 1964. In 1969 or 70 I sent the rod to Bill to have it rewrapped. He returned it with a personal letter and a whopping bill of $7.00 for the complete job including shipping!

Those were the good old days,
Winglas


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Post 24 Jan 2006, 06:25 • #5 
Master Guide
Joined: 01/03/06
Posts: 655
Location: US-VA
Never thought of it that way - but Fenwicks are a little faster, more towards graphite. While the few Phil glass models that I have cast were all for 6 weight lines and were full flexing - more like traditional cane.

Ya know, what we have in our hand on the stream matters, also, to me. A sense of history and tradition makes allows me to enjoy a day astream more. I have a Phil 8.5 cane that seems natural in my hand on my infrequent trips west - just adds a layer to my smile that his shop fashioned that fine casting rod. Have not cast the high end Phil glass, but was pleasantly pleased with a 7.5 Master - very smooth with a 6 weight and a nicely colored blank - and real nickle silver ferrules. In golf, one plays with a club that fits your eye ... makes sense ... Phil fits my eye and hand and heart ... great tradition as he sounded like a master innovator and craftsman ...


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