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Custom made Wes Jordan bamboo fly rod


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I have an oppurtuntiy to purchase a custom made bamboo fly rod built by wes jordan him self. wes jordan was on of orvis top rod builders and is a staple in the fly fishing/rod building community. the rod was sent to flordia to be appraised by a well known guy and he says its legitimate.


a little history behind the bamboo fly rod: my dad works with a lady who husband passed away, her husband was giving the rod from his wealthy friend that wes Jordan built for him. the rod is in excellent condition and has the original leather rod tube and clothe. the rod tube is signed by wes Jordan and everything is legitimate. like I said before, everything was sent to a guy in florida who appraises vintage fishing rods. I cant remember his name.


a little history behind Wes Jordan, he was one of the first 3 employees to work at the Orvis company. He owned his own rod building company called south bend but then went to work at Orvis. some say he alone saved the orvis company. during his time at south bend he produced 5,000 rods per week and that was during the great depression. He self taught him self everything and invented the impregnated process of bamboo rod building. also has patens on reel seats. He passed away in 1975? or 1971?


The rod is dated 1944. its an 8 foot 3 inch rod. attached are a few photos I have, I am waiting on photos of the reel seat etc...


don't ask me how much she is asking for the rod, I'm not saying. just wanted to share this with you guys. when I get it I will post pictures and then will be locked in gun safe for my daughter to hopefully enjoy when she is much much much older.



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Wesley Jordan, legendary rod builder, takes over Orvis rod production.

The construction of a properly balanced split bamboo rod for fly casting is a work of art and the art maker should be an expert fly fisher and a man of mechanical accuracy. --- 

Charles Orvis, 1900

Wesley D. Jordon was born in Massachusetts in 1894. As a young boy, Wes fished the streams and ponds around Lynn, initially using a safety pin and linen thread. Soon, however, he bought his first cane pole and was catching brook trout. 

Wes caught his first brook trout when he was 10 years old, in a brook that was a 12 mile walk from home on the old gravel toll road traveled by horse and wagon. Wes was fishing a worm when he caught his first brookie, but it was good enough to land a 13" trout. "He was the most beautiful fish I ever caught," Wes said. "I half ran and half walked all the way back with that one fish."

After short stints at GE and as a carpenter, Wes joined the army in 1917, where he was a dispatch rider on motorcycle. 

1919 saw him home again and returning to his love of fishing. That year, he won a Field and Stream prize for landing a seven pound, 25 3/4" trout on a lancewood rod. Soon after, he went to work for the Cross Rod Company

During a successful career at Cross, Wes invented a milling machine and a gluing machine for bamboo rods, some rods consisting of up to 12 strips. He received a patent for a reel seat he constructed. He also built a custom eight foot, three inch, three piece rod for George LaBranche, author of The Dry Fly and Fast Water. Personally, Wes continued to improve his fishing technique. At one point he cast 132 feet to win a tournament. He also discovered for himself the double haul cast, long before he'd heard of it. 

In the 1930s, South Bend Bait Company bought out Cross Rod Company with the condition that Wes would remain at least long enough to train new rod makers. Wes relocated to Indiana, but soon found that South Bend had no interest in quality rods, but were interested in mass manufacturing. "I made a machine that would split thousands of segments [of bamboo] a day," Wes said, "I made rods for $.83 for Sears and Roebuck. After ten years at South Bend, Wes left for his hometown of Lynn, Massachusetts. 

Shortly afterward, Duckie Corkran easily convinced Wes to work for Orvis in Manchester, VT, where he took over rod production. Within a year, Wes had created a screw-locking reel seat that was used in various models for many years. Most importantly, Wes rejuvenated the rod shop by rebuilding the milling machine, shopping for quality cane, and starting a plan to improve the finish and durability of fly rods. 

Though other manufacturers had explored the process of impregnating bamboo rods with resin to make them more durable than the current varnished rods, Wes developed the process. At first he worked with the Bakelite Company, who impregnated strips of bamboo in their test labs. However, when Wes glued and assembled the strips into a rod, the bamboo performed poorly. It was clear this process was a failure. 

Wes pushed on, as determined as ever to pursue his passion of manufacturing quality rods. Eventually, through experimentation and a few years of inspired hard work, Wes discovered a process that worked to achieve his end. Through trial and error, Wes settled on a process that slit bamboo cane in half. These halves were dried and tempered over an open gas flame, then split into several strips which Wes glued back together with a phenolic resin-based cement. The reconstructed cane was then impregnated under controlled heat with a Bakelite phenolic resin. Following this stage, the stick was then cured in a temperature-controlled oven which allowed the pores of the wood to be filled completely with resin, rendering the wood moisture proof, color fast and unaffected by extreme cold and heat. This entire process also darkened the bamboo cane to a handsome mahogany color. To further this distinctive look a series of sanding and buffing produced a beautiful luster.

The result was just what Duckie Corkran and Wes had wanted. A better fly rod was born. For his rigorous research and inventive experiments, Wes Jordan had Patent Application No. 2,532,814, Serial No. 662,086, dated April 13, 1946, named after him. The patent itself, dated December 15, 1950, was assigned to the Orvis Company. By 1954 all Orvis rods were impregnated.

For years, Orvis rods were put to the test and commonly applauded by the likes of Joe Brooks, who used them for bonefish in the South; and Lee Wulff, who landed many large Atlantic salmon with a six and a half foot Deluxe model. 

Ever the purist and perfectionist, Wes knew that impregnation was not the sole characteristic of a quality fly rod and continued to work to better the Orvis rod. He conceived and built a two-ton milling machine capable of holding tolerances of a thousandth of an inch and to slice hair-thin slivers of bamboo. Twice, Wes redesigned the Orvis ferrule until it lived up to his and Orvis standards. 

Wes Jordan possessed one of the most creative, visionary minds in Orvis history. When the rod named after him debuted in the 1966 Orvis catalog, Wes Jordan was one of the elder statesmen of fly fishing. By the 1970s, most of the rod makers of his time were gone. In 1975, at the age of eighty-one, Wes Jordan died. In a local paper's tribute to Wes, it was said that, when Wes Jordan was asked not long before his death to name the last of the old rod makers, he reflected for a moment, then said: "I guess I'm it."


Ephesians Chapter 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Joshua Chapter 1:9  
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

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I see one from the 1980's for about $1500 and the ones with his wifes name on them about $800.....so depends   on age and yours being 1944.....its gotta be up  there Ill guess at $3000 or more.....


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I see one from the 1980's for about $1500 and the ones with his wifes name on them about $800.....so depends   on age and yours being 1944.....its gotta be up  there Ill guess at $3000 or more.....


not saying!!! not cheap!

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I use a great framing guy in Madison....probably could frame it up and it would look cool hanging on the wall.....if you dont intend on ever fishin it.....


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Nice rod.  At one stage of my life I was spending all my free time and weekends up in the Catskills fishing the famed rivers with my brother.  I was also infatuated with bamboo rods and owned more then I care to remember, including a few of Wes’s rods.  I sold all but one Leonard as life caught up and took over…LOL.  Does the rod have Wes’s signature or is just attributed to his tenure at Orvis?  His rods were typically a darker color.


If you’re a fly fisherman I recommend you fish the rod and enjoy it.  It’s not really a collectible in any condition.  Orvis rods, including Wes’s are typically not sought after by collectors, exception might be the short

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I have the same rod, w/ one tip.  This posting has prompted me to consider selling it.  Both section equal, good used condition.  The only defect is on the tip I dabbed a drop of glue on a chip that did not require a repair wrap.  The rod a very fish-able, smooth-casting rod.  If interested, please respond.  Thanks.

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  • 8 months later...


I have been collecting Orvis Battenkill fly rods for some time...

I have used Orvis products since 1968 when I got my first car and could drive to the stream....My motto is even...Orvis till I die...I love their products and their policies so much....I have complete faith in Orvis.....I have had a lot of their rods thru the yrs.....

Recently I have purchased some Wes Jordan rods that are marked "by Wes Jordan" which I believe are made by him, darker flame-coloured, than the more recent ones which are made as per his specifications...

When I see an ad for a Wes Jordan rod...it makes my blood boil...it is exciting to find one....but they are around....

The hand indentations in the cork handle are a typical characteristic also, for left hand or right handed casters...

With regard to the value of your rod.....I have paid recently from $600. US to $800 US....for 8 ft 2 pc. 2 tip Battenkills BY Wes Jordan....

I like the older darker rods and this is the price they are going for...The more modern ones, a lighter colour may go for possible $1350 to $1500 US...or I have seen some marked down to $995. US..at dealers....

I also like to see a person's name on the rod or on the butt cap, as Orvis did by special order...it is interesting to know the history of the rod...I will never know how many places the owner has taken the rod to fish...and what waters the old rod has seen...that is part of the mystique and the GRACE of the rod..when you hold one you will know....

These rods are still affordable and come up for sale occasionally on Ebay or via other venues....


The rods I have purchased, some are well-used and the cork is only maybe 60 % and a couple are so mint, I feel like they have just been made...The bakelite impregnation process has a distinctive smell...like an old cigar....when you slide the rod from its case....

It is reassuring to know that in the event of breakage, you can send your rod to Orvis and they will fix it or make a new piece..it may not exactly match the colour of the butt of your rod, but it will be as good as new....that is why I love Orvis...!!!

I do have one Wes Jordan like that, with a new tip, it must have been very heavily used..but when I cast with it...SWEET doesn't even come close to the feel...with either tip.....

The way to abuse these rods, or any rod for that matter is to smash it carelessly in a car or trunk door, or reef on it to free a snag on a rock or tree, or the worst is to grab the rod halfway up the butt when you have on a fish, or a snag, and change the arc of the bend...I have seen fisherman hold their rod at the mid point and virtually point the rest of the rod at a large fish and you know what happens...the big snap, that terrible, sharp noise...but that is the noise with graphite when it snaps....I never broke a bamboo rod and I never will.....I use my cane rods with the respect that is due them and they have never let me down....  


The last thing you should do is frame the rod...or store it away....Don't waste your rod and its capabilities....It is virtually indestructible and made to be used...Take it out..If you put it away in a safe, it may get mould or the leather case will deteriorate and dry out...Look after the rod and USE IT....you won't break it....

The bamboo cane has a "live" feel in your hand that you will never get with graphite or the modern materials...

SO DON'T put it away..

Take your rod out on the stream and use it to catch trout..It will not break and it will feel alive in your hands like nothing else...


I take all of mine out from time to time and use them..it is just a problem of deciding which one is the lucky one to go to the stream today, like taking one of your kids fishing....They are my babies....


Edited by grousetracks
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