Fishing with Effective Vintage Fly Tackle

Words and images from Partridge Ambassador Fred Klein. 

In this blog post, Fred Klein discusses vintage fly tackle and the evolution and innovations that have brought us to today.


A collectors piece of vintage fly tackle, the Bronson "Royalist" 370 cage reel.

The evolution of fly rods from early Great Britain to modern times is an interesting aspect of angling History. A short journey takes you alongside hallowed anglers such as Izaak Walton, Blacker, Thaddeau Norris, Orvis and onto Ray Bergman.
I find that fly tackle from the post WWII era to be a particular sweet spot in functionality, finesse and beauty.

Following the allied victory and soldiers return home, the great outdoors and fly fishing became increasingly popular. Wartime advancements in the manufacture of materials such as nylon began replacing silk fly line and lightweight aluminium reels flooded the market. Split bamboo rod manufacturers began to offer new models of “glass fiber” rods. Favourite tackle companies were building bamboo and fibreglass fly rods by the millions, many of which can be

found today in restored and near-mint condition. Their hearty design, functionality and beauty are a pleasure on the water even for the contemporary angler. They cast and mend wet flies and streamers with finesse, and are heralded for their delicate dry fly presentation.

This is a functional a functional and balanced example of vintage tackle from the late 1940’s:

FlyRod: South Bend 8’6″ model 359 with “Comficient” cork thumb groove, popular for swingling wet flies and streamers of the day.

Fly Reel: Broson 360 Single action manufactured in Bronson Michigan. Mechanically smooth and resillient under hard use. A personal favourite model that I’ve fished for many years in all seasons. Regular touch of grese and they’ll keep on ticking. With a classic clicker and drag, these reels handle small native brook trout to large brown trout.

Fly Line: Silk fly line had been the mainstay before the development of nylon during the war. This is and example of early braided nylon, most likely woven on a silk line machine. The logo on the packaging has an image of a WWII bomber.

Fred Klein

Partridge of Redditch Ambassador

Fred is a fly-fishing historian, author and speaker. Professional fly tyer and fisher of early traditional flies and tackle.

"My journey in the pursuit of trout with the fly began over 40 years ago with a new fly rod and instructions to cast and drift a fly. What a gift it was. The woods and waters of Pennsylvania, the Appalachian Mountains and beyond have brought a life of admiration for the wildernessm forestsm wildlife and a thirst for what lies beyond the next bend in the stream and over the mountain".

Every day I find myself involved in fly fishing, trapping and hunting.
My endeavor is to pass on the techniques of traditional fly angling and dressings to the generations to come.
For tutorials, articles, video and classic fly galleries visit:

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