Sporting Collectibles is the company owned and operated by Len Codella and his soul-mate, Carol Codella, which trades in antique and collectible sporting classics, specializing only in the highest grade bamboo fly rods, fly reels, fly tackle, fishing accessories and accouterments, high grade shotguns and shooting accessories, from antique to contemporary.

After over 45 years of enjoying full-time work in this avocation, Carol and I are finally easing back a bit.  We are not totally retiring from the game, but are narrowing our focus to only the highest quality bamboo fly rods, fly reels and the occasional high grade firearm.

We will leave the lesser tackle, lesser bamboo rods, graphite rods, fly reels, other guns and miscellaneous to the remainder of the Internet purveyors of such.  We are hopeful that by limiting our main focus, we can address our needs to fish and travel a bit more.

We hope you will stay tuned....

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Carol Codella enjoys a 9 lb. Fly-Caught Jack
before she slipped it back in the water.

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Len Codella with a smaller 8.5 lb. Jack just prior to release.  She always catches the biggest fish.

"So tell me, just who is this Len Codella character?"

No doubt, some of you already know me, from more than 40 years of honest business dealings in this fascinating collecting hobby.  But, since new people discover us all the time, I'll talk a bit about my background, so those of you seeing this for the first time can judge with whom you are dealing.  And yes, I'll keep it as brief as possible...
 

I began buying, selling and trading in fine fishing tackle and collectible sporting items way back in the mid 60's when collecting fishing tackle was actually regarded as a rather weird pastime. And, by the way, since there were no other recognized legitimate tackle dealers active in the marketplace, someone actually having a business involved in these endeavors truly raised some eyebrows.   I loved every minute of that!

I've been a fisherman for almost 70 years and fly fishing for 60 of those. Tied my first trout fly in 1948, at the tender age of 8. Built my first glass fly rod in 1955 and hand-planed my first bamboo fly rod in 1966.

I owned  Len Codella's Anglers Den, a fly fishing catalog house and fly shop Carol and I operated out of world famous Linden, NJ, in the late 60's and early 70's.  Following the demise of William Mills in the early 1970's, we were the largest single dealer in  H. L. Leonard bamboo fly rods in the world; selling nearly 60 per cent of the Leonard Company's total rod production each year, in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Our advertisements seeking Used and Collector Tackle appeared in the very first issues of  Fly Fisherman Magazine, all those many years ago, in 1969.

Some of my personal collection of fine bamboo fly rods was used to illustrate the subject chapters in Ernest Schwiebert's two volume masterpiece,  "Trout".

Happily enjoyed my years as Partner, President, Buyer, Catalog Publisher, Rod Designer, Sales Manager and often, Head Janitor, at Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers from 1975 until 1991. During those years, I also published the  Hearthside News, (T&T’s Used Tackle business). Also ran the world spanning Fly Fishing Travel business that helped grow T&T and make it world famous. Sold the  Thomas & Thomas Rod Making Company  in 1991 and took my  true second love, (Yummy, High Quality, Collectible Stuff), and enthusiastically returned to those early roots.   (Carol and family are first!)

I've authored numerous pieces on fly fishing and collecting Classic Tackle published in books, magazines, international newspapers and the like.

There's lots more, but that’s enough for now. If you've been around fly fishing for  any length of time, chances are we've done business together and are still friends.   If you are just coming on board, the object of all the above was simply  to let you know whom you're dealing with, not to bore you with my resume!

Welcome to  Sporting Collectibles, home of some of the world's finest and most desirable sporting gear and fly fishing tackle.   Carol and I look forward to doing business with you.

BAMBOO FLY  RODS ...    I guess its no secret that I love bamboo rods and everything about them. A lifetime of working with   “bamboo people” all over the world is a constant source of joy and pleasure for me.   Almost two decades of ownership at the helm of Thomas & Thomas during its bamboo heyday has cemented forever my affinity for things bamboo and for the people that craft these lovely things.

Bamboo rod making is more than simply skill at craft. For the truly dedicated, it is art.   Yet some of the very best practicing the craft don’t think of themselves as artists at all. That seems almost unreasonable; it is certainly ironic, and it is definitely true. Indeed, talent is a weird and wonderful thing.  Each day that I’ve worked with, handled and looked at antique and collectible bamboo rods during the past thirty plus years has demonstrated to me how talented one must be in order to become a truly great rod maker.

When a devotee closely studies the individual work of Jim Payne,  Fred Divine, Goodwin Granger,  Hiram Leonard,   William Mitchell or Eustis Edwards, Fred Thomas, Wesley Jordan or Harold Steele Gillum, or any one of the myriad of other gifted rod makers, he begins to see a certain similarity of direction, a certain cohesion of purpose; yes, even a sameness of mentality. The more things appear to be different… the more they remain the same. Bamboo rod making seems to filter down to an essence… a concentrate… an elixir… a complex extract, if you will, that is at once shared by all these great builders… and those attempting to be great.

A look at the body of work representing the effort of today’s builders reveals that nearly all of that tincture is still discernible. You’ll find this quintessential substance in the work of men like Bernard Ramanauskas, Gary Lacy, Bob Summers, Walt Carpenter, Ted Simroe, Tom Dorsey, Tom Moran, Bob Taylor, Nick Taransky, Glenn Brackett, Mike Clark, Bob Lancaster, A. J. Thramer, and so many other great contemporary builders.

Paradoxically, these are very exciting times for the world of bamboo. At first blush, graphite rods seemed to daily erode the bamboo base, winning convert after convert among the newly indoctrinated fly fishers after A River Ran Through us. But, it seems as these followers mature, those seeking additional enrichment in their sport find their way to bamboo. Happily too, there continues a mainstream effort on the part of an increasing number of contemporary builders who are turning their efforts toward building bamboo rods. These people are continuing participants in the active development and nurturing of the art. Some of these contemporary craftsmen have clearly mastered the requirements for fellowship in the guild devoted to the fashioning of finely made fly rods from the “lovely reed”,  Arundinaria Amabalis.   Their work has already earned them a place on the roster of the future where the work of today’s artisans will be revered and venerated by generations of fly fishermen yet unborn.

Our list here is based solely on those modern and contemporary makers who have called on us to represent their building efforts by offering their rods through us when they are available. It is by no means a complete list, nor do I ever expect that it will be. We hope this list of builders will grow, as in time, we add the work of others to our offerings.

Absence from the list is not to be construed as any sort of tacit condemnation of any unmentioned craftsman. That person simply has not as yet asked us to work with him. Please be assured, however, that inclusion in this list is an understood endorsement of the work of that builder.
The following is a listing of modern, currently active rod makers, who from time to time, favor us with a rod or two which are always listed and offered in the  Classic Bamboo Rod page of this website...
 

Critchfield Rod Co. -- Bill Critchfield

C. Jenkins Rod Co. – Steve Jenkins

Jennings Rod Co – Homer Jennings

R. W. Lancaster Rods – R. W. Lancaster

Simroe Rods – Ted W. Simroe

Taylor Rods – R. W. Taylor

Thramer Bamboo Rod Co. – A. J. Thramer

Winston Rod Co    - Annette McLean

Chris Raine Rods - Chris Raine