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Classic Cane History: Heddon & Sons

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  • Classic Cane History: Heddon & Sons

    This is the twelth installment in the NGTO classic cane history series. This week, we go back to Michigan take a look at the company that built bamboo rods "with a fighting heart"; James Heddon and Son. .

    The below article contains some information originally written by Dick Spurr and has been maintained on Fishnbajo's site for those who wish to learn more about bamboo rods and their makers. Some information for this article was also obtained from Michael Sinclair's book "Heddon; the Rod with the Fighting Heart"

    Heddon Rod Co.

    James Heddons & Sons of Dowagiac, Michigan, was an innovative fishing tackle company famous for its production of fishing lures and bamboo fishing rods. From its beginning in 1911 until the end of production in 1956 the company produced some of the finest moderately priced bamboo fly rods ever manufactured. The variety of styles, sizes and models has fascinated both fly fishermen and collectors for most of this century. It is estimated that the 1930' s through the 1940' s, Heddon produced as many as 100,000 rods. The remarkable feature of all Heddon rods is the tremendously high quality standards that were consistently maintained. No other maker of so many rods was able to match this achievement.

    Rods made by Heddon were marked differently in various eras of production. For example, rods prior to 1933 had Heddon written straight along the shaft rather than spiraling around the rod; rods made prior to 1939 did not have the model name on the shaft, only the model number; rods after 1939 had the model name and additional information on the shaft such as the ferrule size and line designation.

    Heddon's first involvement with rod making was in the manufacture of bait rods back around 1911. The first Heddon Fly Rod was introduced in 1924. It was made in one grade only "the finest" and sold for $35. It was appropriately called the No.35 for that reason. With the introduction of the fly rods, Heddon began using its famous brown- toned Tempered Cane. Heddon not only made rods for their own catalog, but supplied many other companies with rods to sell under their private label. Among the more common sellers of Heddon-made rods were Shakespeare, Weber, E.K. Tryon (Jay Harvey Rods and Kingfisher Rods) and Lyon & Coulson.

    FYI: Tons of additional information and details about Heddon rods and the company that produced them can be obtained from Michael Sinclair's awesome book, "Heddon; the Rod with the Fighting Heart".
    Last edited by Buck Henry; 05-11-08, 10:16 AM.
    Message sent from your mom's bedroom during pillow talk

    Buck Henry
    Simple Goat Herder
    Former NGTO President
    Hall of Fame Member

  • #2
    Thanks again Buck for these articles. They are great to read. Keep 'em coming.


    • #3
      I agree Buck, I love reading these every Sunday, very informative.

      Thanks again
      "Fish hard or go home!!!"