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Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 06:06 • #1 
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I see an Abu Feralite glass fly rod for sale on a certain website’s U.K. variant. Anyone know if they were built on Fenwick blanks?

Or maybe even Fenwick built? Reel seat looks US made.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 09:06 • #2 
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Location: South of Joplin
On this page of reproduced Tightlines Catalogs, http://realsreels.com/RecordABUrodlists ... alogs.html ; for 1969, the collector's comments "The standout release for the year has to be the new ABU Feralite series of fly rods. These revolutionary glass to glass jointed rods come in the form of the self explained line weight 856, 878, 889 and 8910"
It doesn't refer to Fenwick at all, that I see.
But under "Tight Lines 1972" it says "Feralite glass to glass jointed rods were first introduced to ABU's fine stable of rods, courtesy of Fenwick"


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 09:52 • #3 
Sport
Joined: 07/16/18
Posts: 86
Location: USA
Hey Mahseer and Trev,

I don’t have a clear cut answer to this question. I do have some background information to share.

From Fiberglass Fly Rods by the Johnson’s, in the 1970’s (nothing more specific than that) Dick Barnes of Conolon helped ABU setup a rod blank factory in Svangsta, Sweden.

The 1971 ABU catalog (sort of) announces their new wrapping factory (in Ireland). Kudos to Wayne Real for his collecting work and site.
http://realsreels.com/rods/1971Anniversaryp98.jpg

Based on the history of ABU importing rod blanks from Narmco Conolon from the 1950’s on and then wrapping/assembling rods (with their own distinctive spinning and casting handles), I would venture it is highly likely the rod in question was assembled/wrapped by ABU. Import tariffs played a role in this. If a product was assembled in country from largely imported components, that product was still considered a domestic product (just like in the US).

Was the blank supplied by Fenwick? I don’t know.

John


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 12:34 • #4 
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There might be further clues in the patent and/or trademark history, searchable at the US Patent Office website. Possibly Fenwick licensed the design type to ABU or use of the name for a similar design--either way for their own manufacture. I'm thinking their markets in fly rods didn't cross/overlap much at that time so it might have been a good way to expand recognition of Feralite without causing market confusion of Fenwick and ABU. Complete guess that study at the patent office site might confirm or eliminate.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 16:31 • #5 
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Just to clarify, the phrase 'eBay' is allowed here. You can also link to an eBay auction if we are discussing a 'collectible' aspect of the item for sale, such as whether it was produced by Fenwick or ABU.

What we don't wish to do is speculate about the price of an eBay item while the auction is ongoing. That could be interpreted as price manipulation.

Was this the auction in question? I realize this is a match rod, not a fly rod. But I only found ABU Feralite flyrods on the Malaysian eBay site. Please link the appropriate auction and I will try to copy some photos into this thread.


Tom


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 16:41 • #6 
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Joined: 08/19/16
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If you go to the ebay UK vintage fly rod website and type "Abu Feralite fibreglass fly rod" in their search function, it should show a few options.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 18:35 • #7 
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Thanks for the clarification Tom. It is here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ABU-FERALITE ... Sw3jxe11u5


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 20 Jun 2020, 21:10 • #8 
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Location: South of Joplin
There are three listings on US eBay for Abu Feralite fly rods, all located in Malaysia, all same seller.
My thought was that Fenwick licensed Abu to make these, the catalogs I looked at specified they were only available in Scandinavia and UK at that time.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 21 Jun 2020, 17:31 • #9 
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I borrowed and cropped two photos from the eBay listing (shown below). The first shows the "Twist On - Twist Off" label often applied to US built Fenwick rods. The second photo shows the ABU rod label. I must admit, I like the wrapping style on these Zoom rods!

Vic Johnson's Fenwick book mentions that Fenwick "had representation" in Sweden (page 72). Fenwick had a production facility in Canada that ran from blanks shipped from Bainbridge, WA. I don't see any reason to believe these ABU blanks were not sourced from Fenwick. The informative web pages that Trev linked above show Fenwick blanks used for fly rods.

As to the ABU relationship with Conolon and the resulting rod blank factory, I'm sure ABU sold far more 'fishing rods' than 'fly rods'. A quick look at eBay shows 'fishing rod' listings outnumber 'fly rod' listings 10:1. Fly rods get the prime catalog spots and draw all the attention at our forum. But most anglers out there use different gear. ABU would have been best served using their in house capacity for their most commonly sold products.


Tom




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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 22 Jun 2020, 09:42 • #10 
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Thanks everyone for your input. It seems to be case closed on these rods being based on Fenwick blanks. Would be nice to see an example of the tube they were supplied in (maybe the Fenwick 3 sided plastic?) - rod tubes were rare in Europe back then.

Although I bought a lot of Abu tackle in the 1970s it was all for saltwater and I never came across their fly tackle until 1983, by which time the Feralite range had gone and most people wanted carbon. I'd like to try using a Feralite Safari for coho, if the SARS-CoV-2 virus ever lets us travel to Alaska again. I have the Abu Scandia Safari telescopic fly rod that replaced it from 1981 but it is more of a neat looking gimmick than a serious fishing tool.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 30 Jun 2020, 02:07 • #11 
Sport
Joined: 07/16/18
Posts: 86
Location: USA
Mahseer,

Respectfully, I would really like to see something definite that states/demonstrates ABU Zoom Feralite rods used Fenwick blanks. As whrlpool and Trev suggested above, I feel it is equally possible that Fenwick licensed the Feralite patent and trademark to ABU, without providing any Fenwick blanks.

The ABU Feralite “All England” 13’ match rods made me wonder. Thirteen-foot match rods aren’t a Fenwick thing – are they? Indeed, it looks like those blanks were either made in Great Britain by ABU GB or possibly still by Lerc in France. See what Tony Perrin of ABU in Great Britain wrote at Wayne Real’s site:
Quote:
4: It would be 1967 that the very first Abu GB rod was produced ... We named the rod ‘Mark 5 Zoom’ …

5: The Mark 5 success spawned the Feralite Mark 6 (ex-Fenwick produced reverse ferrule was used)…

So you see Abu rod production was by sub-contract until I joined the company in 1969 and eventually we set up our own ‘in-house’ production with Svangsta’s help.

whrlpool,

Just for fun. I checked Espacenet and did not see any references of ABU patents to Fenwick’s US patent. If you view the Fenwick US patent specimen (a rod decal) from the USPTO linked below, you see that the Feralite mark design is the same as pictured on the ABU Zoom rod above. Fenwick did register the Feralite mark in Sweden and the UK (plus some other countries, like Malaysia).

John

US patent 3,186,122 Sectional Fly Casting Rod
filed: March 23, 1962
patented: June 1, 1965

US trademark 846,993 Feralite
click “registration certificate” and “specimen” (direct links don’t work)
first use in commerce: December 6, 1961
filed: May 17, 1967
registered: April 2, 1968

Sweden trademark 124357 Feralite
registered: July 26, 1968

UK trade mark 00000991379 Feralite
registered: May 1, 1972


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 30 Jun 2020, 09:17 • #12 
Sport
Joined: 04/27/20
Posts: 26
Location: Germany
I do own a ABU Feralite Safari Zoom, 8 1/2 foot, Aftma 7-8
It has the same "twiston - twist off" sticker as shown above.
But this sticker is different to the one on my FF706-4.

The rod comes in a typically ABU sock and a black round plastic tube with red rubber caps on both ends. On one cap is the Modell name ect., so it should be the original rod tube.

What is different to all of my Fenwicks is the color. My FF706-4 is a lighter "seethrough" brown, all the other ( later FF XXX) are not seethrough and a bit darker.
The ABU has a even darker "pure" brown with no "red" in it like the Fenwicks.
My rod is darker and "purer" brown than the ABU pictured above.

I know, that ABU sold coarse fishing rods, that based on glass blanks made in England.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 01 Jul 2020, 17:40 • #13 
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interesting, was an Abu fan back then, never saw Abu Feralite before..

my guess is the Feralite designation is specifically for the ferrule. It's hard to be sure as I don't read legalese well, but that seems to be the burden of the patent in the US, as per Fishcat's link - see the 'we claim' section on page 3 at the end.

so these are Abu rods built using the Feralite ferrule design, but most likely not Fenwick blanks.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 01 Jul 2020, 21:02 • #14 
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Location: Holly Springs, NC
doug in co wrote:
so these are Abu rods built using the Feralite ferrule design, but most likely not Fenwick blanks.

Sorry, I don't buy that. I can't think of a time when Fenwick licensed their products. Fenwick did sell blanks to other companies. So why would Fenwick license their technology this time? If ABU bought the technology rights, why didn't they use them in all of their rods? That would be a substantial marketing benefit in Europe. Instead, ABU stayed with metal ferrules until 1979, when they adopted tip over butt ferrules across the line up (and then they didn't call them Feralite). Finally, those ABU Feralite blanks look like Fenwick blanks. Even in their best day Conolon technology never achieved that look. Of course, without corporate records we will never know for sure. But to me the licensing concept doesn't fit.

J Fishkat, Fenwick didn't produce match rods, but they did make long mooching rods and surf rods. They could easily produce match blanks with their equipment. The ABU Feralite match rods have style.


Tom


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 02 Jul 2020, 05:42 • #15 
Sport
Joined: 07/16/18
Posts: 86
Location: USA
Tom,

Sorry, I'm not understanding what you just wrote about the ABU Feralite match rods.

From what Tony Perrin wrote, the ABU match rod blanks were either made by Lerc or ABU. Are you saying he forgot to mention Fenwick supplied their blanks? Observe he used the term "ex-Fenwick produced reverse ferrule" - not "Fenwick produced". Observe how Tony Perrin uses the term "ex":
Quote:
...eventually lead to the establishment of our own GB Clydebank rod production (ex Svangtsa) unit which went on to produce many tens of thousands of premium priced Abu rods...

Warm regards,
John


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 02 Jul 2020, 14:15 • #16 
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John, I'm saying that Fenwick could have produced the blanks. It was well within their capacity. Based on the entire ABU 70s product line described on the realsreels pages, I feel the simplest explanation is ABU purchased blanks from Fenwick for the very few products labeled Feralite.

To me, the text of paragraph 5 isn't entirely clear. The writer, Mr. Tony Perrin assumes the reader is very familiar with the ABU match rod history. The full quote is, "The Mark 5 success spawned the Feralite Mark 6 (ex-Fenwick produced reverse ferrule was used)…and of course Sweden took note of 505 failings and, following our promptings eventually came up with 506." We could parse Perrin's use of ex- in the underlined phrase as an abbreviation for exclave. This is reasonable considering Perrin later wrote a similar phrase (ex Svangtsa) meaning just that. But in that latter context he wrote the ex without a dash. In the quote, Perrin used ex- with a dash, perhaps again meaning exclave or perhaps instead as a prefix meaning out of, or from. Also, there is an ellipsis in paragraph 5, indicating Mr. Real may have left out part of the original conversation. We can't tell from context if Perrin's uses of ex- and ex were meant to be different or the same. We can only assume.

Perhaps Mr. Real could shed additional light on the ABU Feralite history?


Tom


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 03 Jul 2020, 06:57 • #17 
Sport
Joined: 07/16/18
Posts: 86
Location: USA
Tom,

I have enormous respect for your fly fishing knowledge/experience. I love this forum; it’s: highly active; well moderated; and a marvelous resource for reliable information.

On the topic of ABU Feralite match rods, I respectfully disagree with your analysis. That is not to say I disagree with your analysis of ABU Feralite fly rods. Your arguments have a high probability of being correct, however, facts on the ground (so to speak) are needed to verify them. There are alternatives that also have a reasonable probability of being correct.

Before I leave this thread peaceably (teehee), I request the opportunity to reply to a few of your comments.

1) “Fenwick could have produced the blanks”.

Possibly.

Tony Perrin: “We named the rod ‘Mark 5 Zoom’ (after all it did take 5 attempts by Lerc!).”

Match rods are a highly specialized, competitive fishing tool. As an American, I only know a little about match fishing because I purchased from a company in the late 80s that ultimately failed in importing match items to the US. I used my match rod in a superficial way to catch panfish.

Match fishing drew huge crowds. I recall several photos; enjoy the image below.

2) “Fenwick didn't produce match rods, but they did make long mooching rods and surf rods. They could easily produce match blanks with their equipment.”

No to easily (see 1 above). Mooching and surf rods are not at all like match rods.

3) “I feel the simplest explanation is ABU purchased blanks from Fenwick.”

It’s not always about easy. There are other considerations, such as profit and longterm/geographical market.

But then considering our licensing discussion, is there something easier than royalties going to an actor in TV reruns?

Warm regards,
John



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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 03 Jul 2020, 14:51 • #18 
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John, I think we agree on much of this. At this point we need more information. I emailed a question to the owner of the RealReels website. Hopefully he will have something additional to tell us.

We agree that Fenwick may have made the rod blanks. We agree getting the correct rod taper for a match blank would be difficult. My point about the Fenwick making long salmon rods is they had the manufacturing facility, ovens, rolling tables, mandrels, etc. to make very long rod blanks. Unfortunately, all Tony Perrin said about the Mark 6 blank was "Sweden took note of 505 failings and, following our promptings eventually came up with 506.". I think we can both agree there isn't much in that statement. [Edit: oops, that wasn't about a rod blank after all. See below. Tom]

Finally, my point about the simplest explanation is a reference to Occam's Razor - in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is most likely. We don't have any direct evidence that Fenwick and ABU had a technology/trademark licensing agreement. That's all.

Hopefully I will get a response from Mr. Real.


Tom


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 03 Jul 2020, 15:13 • #19 
Sport
Joined: 07/16/18
Posts: 86
Location: USA
Tom,

Just a minor clarification that flyfishers very likely wouldn't have known about, 505 and 506 are fishing reels made by ABU. Please forgive me for choosing to omit that from discussion for simplicity.

John


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 03 Jul 2020, 15:56 • #20 
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John, I didn't realize either. I thought the 505 and 506 numbers were referring to the Mark 5 and Mark 6 rods. Whoops.


Tom

Here's a link to RealReels 500 series reel page. I never paid much attention to these as they weren't baitcasters or fly reels.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 03 Jul 2020, 20:50 • #21 
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Occam's Razor ! "Entities should not be multiplied without necessity," said the Friar. Do not see complexity where simplicity is in evidence. That's the same as "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, . . . . " What we need in the evidence pond is two ducks. Two rods side by side: one Abu Feralite and one Fenwick of the same configuration except hardware. Then the blanks could be compared closely.

A hypothesis that is spare in its assumptions may have an edge on another, but sparseness alone doesn't necessarily identify the best hypothesis if the conclusions are different. I don't know how they said that at the corner store. I'm stumped.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 04 Jul 2020, 00:54 • #22 
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I come back to the 'only available in UK and Scandinavia' bit as indicating they were made in one of those places, that to me is much simpler than ABU sending specs (and a description of use) to Fenwick and Fenwick building rods they were unfamiliar with and shipping them to only those outlets, maybe finding them unsuitable and starting over; it's simpler business in my mind to license the patent ferrule system than for them to tool up, design, produce and ship a handful of blanks or rods for a niche market overseas; I'm thinking 30 minutes work for a para legal and postage versus engineers, machinists, fiberglass workers, packers and shippers for weeks. If ABU were importing the blanks or rods why not put them in every market they had?
Of course it's just guessing and how I would have done it. I think it is established that ABU did outsource many things and it's just as possible that they bought finished rods from Fenwick.
Quote:
I do own a ABU Feralite Safari Zoom, 8 1/2 foot, Aftma 7-8
It has the same "twiston - twist off" sticker as shown above.
But this sticker is different to the one on my FF706-4.

So if Fenwick did supply these as blanks or finished rods why not use the same decal?
Not that it will keep me awake wondering who did what, but perspective of simplicity seems to vary.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 04 Jul 2020, 05:30 • #23 
Sport
Joined: 04/27/20
Posts: 26
Location: Germany
Could it be that also Fenwick changed their decals over the years?

The disscussion about where the blanks for the Abu match rods ( and other coarse fishing rods) are from.
As I wrote before that I heard, that Abu used blanks made in England.

And for the Abu feralite fly rods: I think these are Fenwick made blanks made up by Abu in Sweden. Like the match rods and other coarse fishing rods.
There are a lot of different companys/shops in England that offered glass match/coarse fishing rod under their name.
But not to many of them, I think, produced the blanks themself.
I don´t know, how many companys produced blanks in the UK, but it might be like with fly lines.
How many fly line labels are there in the world and how many companys (others than far east) are producing them?

By the way: The name for the Abu match rods were not only "Mark 5 / Mark 6 " but " Mark 5/6 All England "


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 04 Jul 2020, 07:38 • #24 
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I reckon 'only available in UK and Scandinavia' relates to a marketing deal between Abu and Fenwick, restricting where Abu could sell the rods, presumably to avoid competition in Fenwick's established markets.


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Re: Abu Feralite
Post 04 Jul 2020, 09:42 • #25 
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Mahseer wrote:
I reckon 'only available in UK and Scandinavia' relates to a marketing deal between Abu and Fenwick, restricting where Abu could sell the rods, presumably to avoid competition in Fenwick's established markets.

So Fenwick had established markets in all of Europe except the English speaking country? The question then is why let another company use the patent ferrule at all?
I don't think Fenwick ever established a market even in the Ozarks and there has been tailwater trout on the White since the late '50s. I never saw a Fenwick in southern New England in the '70s; so it never occurred to me that they had a global market in the '60s, I'm learning here, because I had thought Fenwick rather regional.


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