Vendor Spotlight: Classic Tackle Dealers

Robert “Bob” Selb of The Classic Fly Fisherman: maybe you have seen me at the major Fly Fishing Shows. I am a dealer and buyer of Classic and Collectable Books, Rods, Reels and Tackle.

Just to tell you a little about myself, I first started fishing when I was five years old.  Started fly fishing at fourteen. Started collecting Tackle around 22, and have been dealing in tackle for the last 30 years. I fished with my first cane rod (Hardy) in 1974.  It has been “Cane” ever since.  I enjoy traveling from coast to coast, talking and meeting and trading stories with many of the top rod builders.  I have fished from Chile to Alaska, all over the states.

I am an agent for J. D. Wagner, Bill Harms, Rick Robbins, Bobby Taylor, John Gallas, Jim Beasley, Don Schroeder, Jim Downes and deal in many Classic and Collectable Cane Rods. We also carry Ron Kusse, and Dennis Menscer, Dana Gray, Marc Aroner and others.

I hope you make much time to enjoy the sport – it is a lot of fun! And yes!!  Please fish these fine cane rods!!  A lot of people ask me: “Do you fish with these cane rods? There is no finer thing in life than catching a nice trout with a fine cane rod and a Classic Trout Reel


Dean Smith of Tackle Treasures: I got hooked on collecting old tackle as a teenager, when my father gave me his childhood tackle box, which was stuffed with treasures. The first vintage tackle show I attended was Ben Clark’s “Northeast Antique Anglers Show” in Marlborough, Massachusetts. That was back in 1981 and on that day, I met Hoagy Carmichael, Fred Grafeld, Dana Gray, Marty Keane and many other folks who became good friends. My favorite fishing collectibles are what I like to call “Vest Pocket Collectibles”, a term I coined when writing for Fishing Collectibles Magazine to categorize the fishing related gizmos, gadgets and doohickeys found in angler’s pockets. Later I created a website,, which has pages of early fishing related bottles, boxes, gadgets, pins, medals, advertising items, early fly-tying vises, knives and fly reels. I am privileged to have been included in Steve Woit’s marvelous tome “Fly Fishing Treasures”, which profiles thirty collectors, makers, and historians of fly-fishing tackle and its heritage. I mostly fish the small streams and ponds of my hometown of Ridgefield, Connecticut and occasionally fish the Mianus River in Stamford, close to the riverfront home my father grew up in. While he was not a fly fisherman, his stepdad, who had a camp at the meadows on the Housatonic River, introduced me to the wonderful world of fly fishing.

Wayne Grauer, sole owner of Grauer’s Fine Fly Tackle:  I am the founder of the Maryland Fly Fishing and Collectible Tackle Show and have been in the fly fishing business for thirty five plus years and have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at the various fly fishing shows on the East Coast that I have participated in over the years.

I was the oldest R.L. Winston dealer in the country.  Other companies I’ve represented were: Charlie & Steve Jenkins, Jon Parker, John Zimny, Hardy, Ross and Cortland.  I presently sell:  Hardy, Douglas, Cortland, Wulff, Chota and Pure Fishing products.

Over these many years,  I have had pass through my hands many of the classic and modern bamboo rods,  fiberglass rods and reels.  I’ve learned a lot about vintage tackle from persons such as Joe Garman, Fred Grafeld, Bob Selb, Tom Clark, Jack Coyle, Hoagy Carmichael, John Shaner and rod builders Per Brandin, Glenn Brackett, Tom Morgan, Jerry Kustich, Marc Aroner, Dana Gray, Domenic Croce, Charles and Steve Jenkins, Jon Parker, John Zimny and others.  These gentlemen were more than generous with their help and have become cherished friends and I am eternally grateful to them.

Ever cast a bamboo rod?  If you would like to try one, why not attend the show..  There are many misconceptions about bamboo rods.  For instance-you have probably heard that they break easy or cannot hold a heavy fish, they cost thousands of dollars and you have to treat them with kid gloves.  First, any rod can be broken if the owner is careless in it’s’ use.  I once saw a demonstration by Bill Cairns of Orvis where he took a butt section of a bamboo rod and the butt sections of a glass and graphite rod.  He struck all three with equal force on the edge of a counter.  The bamboo rod had no fractures or breaks, where both the glass and graphite sections broke!  Granted you will not be slapping your rods on corners of tables!  The demonstration merely showed the actual strength of a bamboo rod. As far as landing heavy fish-Joe Brooks, the pioneer of salt-water fly-fishing landed a 100 lb. tarpon on a bamboo fly rod with no damage to the rod!  The last misconception is price.  Yes, many highly collectable cane rods are expensive but many can be purchased for under $300-much less than a high quality graphite.

It is not my intention to tell people they should own a bamboo rod, as I fish many excellent graphite and glass rods.  I just want fly anglers to know that cane rods are a viable alternative and truly connects us to the sport of fly-fishing.

Please come to the show, look at some bamboo rods, take the next step, and cast one-you might be delightfully surprised! Of course, in addition to the bamboo rods, there will be many excellent new and used glass and graphite rods for you to consider.

Owing to a fascination with bamboo fly rods in the early 1970s, Fred Grafeld founded the original VINTAGE TACKLE in 1979. Primarily collecting and selling fly rods, his interest turned to vintage reels manufactured by Hardy Brothers, Alnwick, England, and he began traveling to the major English auction houses for tackle auctions, importing a large number of rare Hardy items to the US.

In 2001, Fred decided it was time to take a rest from VINTAGE TACKLE and resume fishing and traveling. Continuing as a consultant-type resource, Fred maintained his contacts with collectors and regularly could be found lending a hand at Grauer’s Fine Fly Tackle as well as joining the Crossroads Angling Auction staff as Auction Manager and later Rod Cataloger prior to the initial auction in October 2012.

The year 2020 will be the first time Vintage Tackle has exhibited since 2001.  Although not primarily featuring rods and reels, there will be an incredible selection of fly tying hooks, both salmon and trout, ranging from the 19th century through the mid 20th century.  Also featured will be vintage fly tying tools, flies, wallets and other accoutrements related to fly fishing. Keeping alive the history of our sport is Fred’s priority these days.

Hoagy Carmichael is an author, producer, and builder of bamboo fly rods. He has written 5 books on fly fishing including, A Master’s Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod. Growing up as the son of one of America’s most cherished songwriters, Hoagy is no stranger to the pressures of passing on legacies. In 1968, he met bamboo rod builder Edmund Everett Garrison, where he would eventually chronicle the work of one of fly fishing’s greats. A copy of the Master’s Guide sits on practically every builder’s bookshelf.


Joe Pacacha of “The Angler’s Cane”:  I have been restoring and repairing bamboo fly rods for the past 30 years. I converted from graphite rods because of the  intrinsic “feel” of cane. My repair business started by refurbishing a bamboo rod for each of my 3 sons. It gave me so much satisfaction and prompted me to continue an almost lost art. I love seeing every “tomato stake” returned to its rightful place- in someone’s hand catching fish! As of December 2022, I have refurbished over 365 bamboo fly rods! It is a passion of mine and I will continue into my retired years with the same commitment as those first ones I resurrected!

Here’s a great opportunity to have your bamboo rod evaluated and repaired by Joe!


After discussing and developing ideas about line design with many people for the last 30 years, Grahame Maisey, owner of Bel Voirdale , has developed his own range of lines based on experience and most anglers’ wish list. We now offer a range of handmade silk fly lines that outperform all previous fly line systems. The lines are available in half sizes because we have found that a rod labelled a certain weight will often perform optimally for a particular owner who casts in a particular way, with a line a half weight different to the label. Accurately matching a line to a particular rod brings the rod “alive” and allows the angler to get the best performance from each and every rod.



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