Our earlier post on expensive fly rods led me to eBay, it’s one of those places folks warn you about like CostCo; impossible to stick to your budget, the sizes are huge, and you walk out with 6 weeks worth of Tootsie Rolls, only because that’s the only size they had…
The eBay phenomenon is legend, tales of sundered marriages, accumulation of worthless stuff in hidden corners of the garage, and the arrival of little cardboard boxes – punctuated by you being thrown off the computer because some auction is expiring.
It’s still home to the occasional bargain, and beats paying $750 for a rod – assuming you can find what you need. My mission was to replace a 7 weight with a stress crack without giving up the kid’s college fund or skipping a mortgage payment.
Everything I remembered still holds true, nothing matters but the last minute of the auction and the professionals (those with garages full of crap) outnumber us amateurs handily.
Using the simplest query “fly rod” yielded 2500 rods, and I perused all of them. Think marathon, not sprint – I saw old, new, bizarre, and busted, with retailers providing the bulk of the inventory, not individuals with treasure in the attic.
Leland Outfitters in San Francisco sells all their trade-in rods on eBay, as do a number of shops. It’s also a fertile field for the wholesalers that sell “cosmetic seconds” from vendors like Orvis, Sage, and the Powell Rod Co.
My first attempt was for an Orvis 9ft 7 weight, tip flex – 2 piece, no case. I knew better than to think I was going to get this beast, I just needed practice on how to throw elbows on that critical last minute of auction. That rod went for $127.50, with about 9 bids landing in the last 45 seconds.
The rod I was really after was an Orvis T3, 10 ft #7 line, 2 piece, no case, a discontinued model that will replace my float tube “bass rod.” The extra length is handy when you’re low to the water, and I can always make a tube with PVC pipe and some adhesive. It was $90 going into the final minute, I gave it a $160 maximum offer, and waited for the ensuing carnage.
Six other lads had the same idea, but I offered 50 cents more and am the proud owner – at $150 it’s fairly priced. ($162.50 after shipping)
EBay is the “elephant graveyard” of the 4 piece flyrod, it’s obvious that both owners and shops have trouble unloading these specialized travel rods – if you’re contemplating such a purchase, it won’t hurt to take a “look see” – I must have seen 50-75 of them, mostly new – and in every line size possible.
As always, caveat emptor, but don’t take prisoners.