My first Wonderod


I stumbled over this photo the other day. I think it was taken by Morten Valeur sometime back in the 90’s. The scene is Lapplandia in Northern Sweden. The fish is a pike, and the white fly rod is my first Wonderod. The image of that rod sent me on a trip down Memory Lane.

I guess it was around the start of the 90’s. One of my friends, Niels, loaned me a bunch of old VHS fishing films. It was in midwinter and most of my local streams and lakes were frozen, so a bit of fishing dreams were better than no fishing at all. There were some contemporary films with Gary Borger and some episodes of Fly Fishing Video Magazine. But the one film that really turned my head… and shook my world, was an old promotion film for Shakespeare’s Wonderods.

For the first time ever I saw fishermen casting and fighting anything from tarpon to trout on these white fiberglass rods. Especially some scenes with streamer fishing for monster trout in South America got me all wound up.

Suddenly my brand new jet black graphite rods from G. Loomis, Orvis, Berkley, Fenwick and lots of other brands didn’t seem right. They were top of the pop back then (some of them still are), but they weren’t white… they weren’t fiberglass – and they sure as hell wasn’t Wonderods.

I started looking for the old rods, but had no luck. Nobody had really heard about the internet, and eBay was decades away. And living in Denmark did not do much good for my new found addiction. Finally a couple of years later I found a Wonderod for sale at an auction in Dansk Grejsamler Klub (a Danish club for vintage fishing tackle collectors). That was a milestone… and a nice find. The problem was that another friend, Flemming, had seen the Wonderod movie as well and wanted the rod pretty bad, too. So we fought a rather bloody battle over this first white rod. Finally I got the winning bid. I probably paid far too much for the beautiful fly rod with the classic red and black windings. Anyway that was the start of my Shakespeare Wonderod collection, and I still own that rod.

I have brought it to battles with trout, sea trout, cod, pike, perch and other fish – and have traveled most of Scandinavia with it. It has appeared in quite a lot of my fishing books, and it continues to bring me joy and action. Not bad for a rod produced in 1961.

Since then my Wonderod collection has grown, but there is one thing I haven’t been able to find again: The film that started the whole thing. Well… I will just keep on searching. You never know… one day… it might happen.