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Heddon Rod Company

Heddon was a long established tackle company with a history of producing good split cane rods. Heddon started making glass around 1950.  Production continued into the 80s. Over the years, Heddon produced a range of glass rods—some good, some bad, and some gaudy.

The First Heddon Fiberglass

The earliest Heddon glass rods were painted to resemble split cane. The reelseat hardware is the same as the Heddon split cane of the time. Guides were wrapped in a reddish brown silk with black tipping. The ferrule is nickel silver. I have little to no model number information for this line of rods.

1954 Fiberglass Models

The next line of fly rods were the first given the name "Pal". These rods were clear coated brown phenolic glass with a very slow, deep flexing, almost cane-like, action. As near as I can tell, all rods of a given length and action (Standard or Bass) were made on the same blank with the same ferrules. The Standard action 7½ foot rods were marked for HEH lines, the 8 footers for HDH, and the 8½ foot rods were marked for HCH.  The 7' Black Beauty #75 - Trout was marked E - HEH.  The Bass action rods were a little stiffer for one line weight heavier.  The Standard action rods usually have a long cigar style rod grip and the Bass action rods usually have a half Wells rod grip.

The Superlative Pal rods were the highest grade, with gold plated hardware. The Black Beauty Pal rods were wrapped in the same colors of the Black Beauty cane rods, black with orange tipping. The reelseat was a chrome plated downlock with a black spacer or an all black reelseat like those seen on Black Beauty cane rods. The Deluxe Pal rods had a reddish brown plastic reelseat similar the Pyralin reelseats of the cane rods. The Deluxe rods were wrapped with dark red silk with ?? tipping. The Standard grade rods had a mottled plastic reelseat and wraps of alternating brown and tan colored silk.  The Thorobred rods had a black Pyralin reelseat with a red butt cap and wraps of red silk tipped in black.

1954 Heddon Fiberglass Fly Rods

NumberModel NamePiecesLengths
770Superlative Pal27'6" to 9'
880Superlative Pal38' to 9'
75Black Beauty Pal27' to 9'
85Black Beauty Pal38' to 9'
86Black Beauty Pal39' Salmon
70Deluxe Pal27'6" to 9'
80Deluxe Pal38' to 9'
30Standard Pal27'6" to 9'
40Standard Pal38' to 9'
55Thorobred27'6" (E HEH)

1960s Fiberglass Models

By the mid 60s, Heddon made a wide range of fly rods. They sold the Pal, Pal Mark I, II, III, and IV rods, as well as the Pro Weight, Mark I Custom, and Lifetime Pal Stainless Steel models. Like the earlier rods, the various models may have been made on the same blanks with the variations in price simply due to the cosmetics and hardware.

The Pal rods were the economy models, with with olive painted blanks, black wraps over a white backing, nickel silver ferrules, and an anodized black reelseat with silver hoods.

  • The Mark I Pal rods had brown blanks, black wraps over a white backing, nickel silver ferrules, and an anodized silver reelseat with black hoods.
  • The Mark I Custom rods had yellow blanks, maroon wraps over a mylar backing, nickel silver ferrules, and a maroon anodized reelseat with silver hoods.
  • The Mark II rods had an olive blank, all black hardware (reelseat and guides, and ferrules), and black wraps over a dark red backing.
  • The Pro Weight rods were advertised as 1/3 lighter than other rods. They had an yellow or translucent brown blank, maroon anodized reelseat, maroon Sizematic O-ring ferrules with reddish silk wraps and black tipping.
  • The Lifetime Pal rods had an bronze blank, silver anodized reelseat with black hoods, burnt cork grips, black nickel silver ferrules, and stainless steel wraps over a black backing.
  • The Mark III rods had an olive blank, gold anodized reelseat and Sizematic O-ring ferrules with reddish silk wraps and black tipping.
  • The Mark IV rods had an yellowish blank, silver anodized reelseat, walnut-trimmed cork grip, silver Sizematic O-ring ferrules, and dark maroon silk wraps over a white thread background.

Prices are from the 1966 catalog.

Model LineNumberLengthLinePiecesComment/ActionPrice
Pal81458'6/72Universal Action$13.95
Pal81478'6"7/82Universal Action$13.95
Mark I83037'6"62Controlled Flex Action$17.95
Mark I83058'6/72Controlled Flex Action$17.95
Mark I83068'3"7/82Power Plus Action$17.95
Mark I83078'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$17.95
Mark I83099'82Controlled Flex Action$17.95
Mark I Custom83258'6/72Controlled Flex Action$19.95
Mark I Custom83278'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$19.95
Mark I Custom83299'82Controlled Flex Action$19.95
Mark II83537'6"62Controlled Flex Action$22.95
Mark II83558'6/72Controlled Flex Action$22.95
Mark II83568'3"7/82Power Plus Action$22.95
Mark II83578'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$22.95
Mark II83599'82Controlled Flex Action$22.95
Pro Weight83817'52Controlled Flex Action$27.95
Pro Weight83837'6"62Controlled Flex Action$27.95
Pro Weight83858'6/72Controlled Flex Action$27.95
Pro Weight83878'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$27.95
Pro Weight83899'82Controlled Flex Action$27.95
Lifetime Pal82458'6/72Controlled Flex Action$32.95
Lifetime Pal82468'3"7/82Power Plus Action$32.95
Lifetime Pal82478'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$32.95
Mark III84037'6"62Controlled Flex Action$32.95
Mark III84058'6/72Controlled Flex Action$32.95
Mark III84068'3"7/82Power Plus Action$32.95
Mark III84078'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$32.95
Mark III84099'82Controlled Flex Action$32.95
Mark IV84537'6"62Controlled Flex Action$40.00
Mark IV84558'6/72Controlled Flex Action$40.00
Mark IV84568'3"7/82Power Plus Action$40.00
Mark IV84578'6"7/82Controlled Flex Action$40.00
Mark IV84599'82Controlled Flex Action$40.00

There are a few other model numbers reported/found on eBay, but without other information

Model Number/Length

8251 7'

8252 7'6"

8253 8'

8255 8'6"

A series of glass sleeve ferruled rods with the sleeve on the rod butt section.  Painted yellow blanks and cosmetics like a ProWeight.  "Dry Fly Action", these rods run a line weight or so heavier than expected for the length.

8651 7' for a 6 weight line

8652 7'6" for a 7 weight line

8653 8'

8655 8'6"

GOLDEN MARK 50 (MARK GOLDEN 50?), glass sleeve ferruled rods with the sleeve on the rod butt section.  Translucent blanks.

1978 8'6" for 7 weight ?

8948 8' 4 piece rod for 7 weight line

3985 8'6" for ? weight line.  Green/silver painted blank with metal ferrules and discount fittings.

Additional references

  1. 1966 Heddon Catalog (Gregg B.)
  2. Personal rod collections (Gregg B. and Tom)