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Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 2:31 pm 
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Hey California folks. Any of you familiar with a Murphy hickory saltwater rod? I have been reading Zane Grey books and he refers to them several times. He seemed to pair them with his Cox reels and Ashaway line. I checked the usual avenues and found very little information on them. I would love to see a recent photo of one in someone’s collection! They have to be out there.

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Randy McConnell


Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:25 pm 
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Charles F. Murphy is credited in the classic fly rod forum link below with being the first to make hexagonal rods of split bamboo. Is this the same Murphy? He is also mentioned in A.J. Campbell’s book on classic rods,

http://classicflyrodforum.com/forum/vie ... 742#p49365

Mike N


Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:47 am 
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I think this may be a different Murphy. According to Zane Grey, his Murphy Rods, of which he had at least several, were made of hickory and were varying weights and sizes for his different saltwater fishing. In his book “Tales of Swordfish and Tunas” he was using these Murphy rods in 1919 off the coast of Nova Scotia for tuna. He had brought the rods with him from California. He remarks often of the strength of these rods and his concern about breaking them on fish, as if they were expensive or hard to replace or maybe just some of his favorites. I have not heard of them before.
Thanks, Mike, for your time and trouble.


Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:18 pm 
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Randy,

I was also curious about Murphy rods for all the same reasons. I have never seen one. I asked some of the old timers who were at my BBQ, guys who had been serious big game tackle collectors dating back to the late 70's/80's, and none of them had ever seen one, or knew how to distinguish one, should an unmarked Murphy surface. Odd, because we know Zane Grey bought rods by the hundreds, including Hardy's and Shaver's. And his endorsement of Murphy's would have had other's scrambling to use them. You would think some of those rods would have survived and filtered out into the collecting community and been shared. I would love to learn more about Murphy and his rods.

John


Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:42 am 
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I will have to go back and read what he said about them, but it may indicate he indeed had Charles Murphy rods...which would have been antiques/classics even in ZGs day. That would explain his concerns about breaking them!


Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:51 am 
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It's hard to understand why ZG would use such an old Charles Murphy rod (if indeed he made it), when there were so many other fine rods on the market by 1919. From all that I've read about Murphy, there's no mention that he ever produced Tuna rods, or even salt water hickory rods of any description. Mainly fly, bass and salmon rods of bamboo. After his death in 1887, his son Joseph continued the rod making business as "C.F. Murphy's Son", producing rods until at least 1893 and perhaps well into the 20th century. Little is known or written about the kind of rods he produced and no rods marked "C.F. Murphy's Son" are known. It's quite possible that either of the Murphys was capable of making fine Tuna rods, there's just nothing written about it that I could find.
Mark


Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Gents, Given this information you have provided, I wonder if maybe Zane Grey (or “Gray” as his given name was according to one of the books I read), special ordered these rods from Murphy’s son and they could not be replaced? This would explain the concern he expressed in the book about breaking them. It is confusing, as Mark noted, that he would use an “older” rod when surly advances in quality had been made by this time. Possibly, they were just a favorite of his? Either way you look at it, if one came to light on today’s market, I’m sure it would be worth a small fortune! John, start looking!


Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:07 pm 
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If this Murphy the rod maker is the son Charles F. Murphy, I posted a letter written by Charles Orvis on an earlier ORCA Reel Talk thread in which he discussed the intemperate habits of Murphy, Sr?

1n a 1908 letter, C.F. Orvis recalled that Charles F. Murphy was a "good-hearted fellow that 'crooked his elbow' [i.e., drank] quite too much- he was a good mechanic," and made split bamboo rods "for the trade.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19667&p=88999&hilit=Charles+Murphy#p88999


Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:55 am 
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Thanks to Joel on the bamboo fly rod forum, who supplied this info on what is believed to be the "correct" Murphy.
https://www.islapedia.com/index.php?tit ... vin_Graham


Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:04 am 
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wrong99 wrote:Thanks to Joel on the bamboo fly rod forum, who supplied this info on what is believed to be the "correct" Murphy.
https://www.islapedia.com/index.php?tit ... vin_Graham


Good job! Looks like our man.

Mike N


Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:01 pm 
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Mark, can’t thank you enough! Now I can be sure that what I thought I read, I really did read! :shock: I must have been actually paying attention to the book. I am quite surprised that none of these rods have surfaced, especially after reading the part about these rods being world renown! I guess it is possible that the Murphy rods were not marked as such and they passed into oblivion as just an old home made rod, but you would think that with the recognition that Murphy attained and the obvious quality of the rods, there would be a marking on them to indicate the maker. I will start paying closer attention to the “old” rods I find! Thanks everyone for the input :bow:


Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:36 pm 
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Wow, very cool!!


Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:35 pm 
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Good stuff!


Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:36 pm 
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I had a nice conversation with ORCAn Michael Farrior, historian for the Avalon Tuna Club and he indicated that he had several Murphy rods as well as components and tools he was able to purchase from Murphy’s estate. I’ll get some pictures next time i visit, but here is a pic of Murphy in the Club’s shop, tinkering with one of his rods (taken from Michael’s book, “the History of the Tuna Club 1898-1998”)




]


Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:05 pm 
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John, Great stuff! I, for one, would love to see some photos of those rods. Any “close-ups” of a signature or insignia or trademark would be a nice bonus! I figured the California Boys would be able to come up with some info!
I have read, in a few more books on fishing, some more references to Murphy. It would be a fair assumption that Murphy was relatively high on the big game rod building food chain.
Thanks for the update.
Regards,
Randy McConnell
Reeltyme


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