Shakespeare Memories

johnfranks

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
985
I had a Shakespeare Victory X pole. 11 mtr, put in joints, bent like a banana and weighed a ton. But it caught me loads and won me a few quid. Did they bring out a pole called the Quadra with square sections ? Weird pole, think my mate had one. Pain in the "arris to pack away.
 

Paul Cresswell

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jun 14, 2006
Messages
953
My first pole, Christmas 1991, Shakespeare Equaliser 9.7m, £120. Handful at full length, virtually unfishable with the extension I bought to take it to 11m. Had a lovely golden butt and served me well. Always thought the Superteam pole was a thing of beauty. Amazingly just found a photo of it!
 

Attachments

  • 4D0EE87F-5906-4B5C-91CB-BEBD6F4E44D0.png
    4D0EE87F-5906-4B5C-91CB-BEBD6F4E44D0.png
    948.3 KB · Views: 15
Last edited:

PearTree

Calder Reborn....
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
619
One bit of rubbish Shakespeare tackle I bought was the Match International closed face reel
They never caught on up our way. I stuck with my original Abu 501's and 506 until I made the switch to open faced reels.
 

RMNDIL

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
759
One bit of rubbish Shakespeare tackle I bought was the Match International closed face reel
We were forever having those in to our shop to service/repair. For whatever reason they just didn't work.
 

Paul.P

Regular member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,906
My 1st reel was a shakespeare ball bearing wonder reel, circa 1967-70, a lovely little reel in its day !
 

jimmcd

Active member
Joined
Oct 24, 2015
Messages
84
I rarely came away from a tackle shop in the 80s without a catalogue or two. I loved looking at those rods that I could never afford. I ended up with the Strike too & it was a great step up from my 7’ solid glass spinning rod (Woolies brand) & I used it to great effect in Portadown when I was younger. I see a visit to the ‘bay very soon searching for some of those old books
 

BoldBear

Regular member
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
1,178
Although Shakespeare made some really excellent rods their reels were nowhere near as good as their rods.

Keith
 

Deejay8

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
1,317
I think it was called the Hexograph
The Hexagraph is a range of Bruce & Walker rods, made using triangular strips of carbon to create a hexagonal rod, in the same way split cane was used. Very nice they are, and very expensive. The Shakespeare pole was the Hexa. A strange piece of kit from a time when Shakespeare were trying to be innovative.
 

Deejay8

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
1,317
When did Shakespeare stop doing higher end gear and focus on budget stuff? Been quite a while since they’ve put out anything beyond budget ranges that I can recall 🤔

I haven’t got a great deal of Shakespeare stuff but still like my 10ft Mach XT Wand Bomb/Feeder rod I just don’t have much use for it these days. Might give it the odd outing on the canal once the rivers flood again though.
I think it was in the mid 1990s that Shakespeare seemed to target the budget end of the market, and leave the high end stuff behind. They do produce some very nice rods, but most manufacturers of budget tackle are able to make good rods these days.
 

Not Now Kato

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
973
I bought a 9.5Mtr Shakespeare Feather Lite Graphite pole when they were first introduced in the early/mid 80's to replace my glass fibre Lerc Ruby pole. Bought it whilst on holiday in Potter Higham from a store by the canal there. They didn't have any ptfe bushes, elastic or bungs there so I went into Norwich to see if John Wilson stocked them. He said they didn't as there wasn't any call for them around those parts as not many people were using poles around there and those that were used crooks on the end of their poles. So I was quite surprised to see, a very short while later, JW himself in a video using an elasticated pole saying he'd fished like this since he was a lad! It was really nice meeting 'the man' back then though and we had a good chat. The pole cost me £90 at the time and I still have it, along with a spare top 2 which I bought direct from Shakespeare, and it won me a fair few matches back then when everyone else who was fishing with poles, (not that many at the time, most were using rod and reel), were using glass fibre. I still have it, though it hasn't been used in many years now, and the Feather Lite moniker is a misnomer if there ever was one - it's bloody heavy!

I also have a Shakey 4.3Mtr Feather Lite Graphite whip which I still use regularly, (that is nice and light), and a 9Ft Worcestershire Boron #6/8 Fly Rod which I also use regularly.

Shakespeare made some nice stuff back then, though I never got into their rods or reels.
 

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
May 19, 2002
Messages
13,224
Back when I started fishing in the late 70s, Shakespeare dominated the affordable rods market - the only real competitor was Winfield (Woolies) - who made some perhaps surprisingly decent rods and the second hand market. There were a few carbon rods available but at a minimum of about £80 they were way beyond our means. The pocket money priced rod of choice was the ubiquitous Strike rod - or the badge engineered versions by Milbro and Argos - all identical bar the colour scheme and about two quid - £12.10 for the 12' Strike rod in 1978 and I distinctly remember the Argos version being £9.99.
The leading glass float rods were thirty quid so very much top of Father Christmas's list. One of my pals had a pair of Shakespeare Ambidex skirted spool reels and another got the close faced Match International for Christmas but generally we had budget reels from Mitchell (the small 208 series), Daiwa (1050 skirted spool reel) or if you were really unlucky the budget Intrepid Black Prince - the worst reel it has ever been my misfortune to turn the handle of. In fact mine, having jammed yet again, ended up getting launched into the middle of Albert Park lake where it lay gently rusting until the place was desilted about twenty years ago.

My first decent carbon pole was the Shakespeare Flavia 11m with two top kits
Caught a load of fish with that until the carp in the local commercials got a bit too big for it and I defected to Maver (via an early Daiwa Connoisseur which I disliked immensely)

My Strike rod ended it's days butchered to make a quiver tip rod - cut the handle off, whip a Fuji reel seat to the remainder of the butt section, move the butt eye to the middle section, cut the top 6-8" off and drop a donkey-top through, cut to size, whip rings to the donkey-top, paint and varnish, job done.

I didn't think I currently owned much Shakespeare gear until I sorted my rod spread sheet into alphabetical order

Shakespeare Zen 13’
Shakespeare Borak Barbel Specialist 360 12'
Shakespeare Sigma Supra 12' Barbel 2lb
Shakespeare Flymaster Graphite Fly 1755 9'6"(7-9AFTM)
Shakespeare Sigma Spinning Rod 6’
8m Shakespeare Superteam Whip
Shakespeare Alpha 9' 6" leger
Shakespeare Alpha 12’
Shakespeare Match International 12'
Shakespeare President 13' (carbon fibre)
Shakespeare Strike 13’

The bottom four and the Borak I bought second-hand - the latter because it was going cheap and the rest rods that I either owned or always wanted to own when a youngster. Tried the Strike rod and can't believe I caught so many fish on it back in the day - it's truly awful, but the all the rest are eminently usable although the President has a very odd action - the butt and middle sections are completely rigid, only the spliced tip bending. The Match International is still a joy to use, as is the Alpha which lacking the spliced tip of the International has a considerably softer action.

Of the rest of my Shakespeare collection I use the Alpha leger once or twice a year, it's a lovely soft swing tip rod. The Superteam whip I don't use as much as I used to but it's an awesome bit of kit. One rod on that list which I can guarantee nobody will have heard of is the Zen. It's a bog-standard waggler rod, dark brown in colour with a sort of tip to middle action, very light and very versatile. Never appeared in the Shakespeare catalogues at the time (late 90s) but my local tackle shop got a bunch of them offered by the wholesaler. At £25 a pop they flew out the door and he ordered another dozen - they flew out the door too and he couldn't get anymore. Strange thing is there must be twenty odd local anglers who bought one and yet I've never seen anybody else using one .

Shakespeare though seem to have a very strange marketing philosophy.

A few years ago they brought out the Mach range of rods and reels which were well received by almost everybody - updated them to the XT range - which were equally well received - and then rather than updating them again just dropped the bloody lot.

They must have sold loads (judging by the amount you see on the bankside anyway) and sold even more when Mike Ashley bought the remainder of the unsold stock and knocked 'em out at rock-bottom prices.

So rather than building on the success of the range - and the simplicity of the pricing policy (ie Mach 1 were the entry level rods/reels, Mach 2 were mid-range and Mach 3 the top spec) they bring in an entirely new range - Agility, for me at least, doesn't really fit with a fishing rod. Then they relaunched the Sigma / Sigma Supra name and again dropped the lot after just a couple of years.

Back in the day when they actually manufactured the rods in this country they brought out some classic rods - the Match International, President, Mach Two Boron, Sigma (canal rod and wand) - and then they seemed to disappear from view for years - I've got catalogues upstairs from 1998 and 2006 and both have a bewildering range of rods with one common feature being that I've never seen any of them on the bank!

Every so often they'd release a rod under the Superteam tag which would usually be sought after and worth buying (LXL float rod and Superteam whip for example) but even then they'd drop 'em after just a couple of years.

Now the Superteam name is back but it's attached to a budget range of rods - which I must admit, based purely on a tackle shop waggle, are decent bits of kit.

Simon
 

warrington63

Exiled Northerner
Site Supporter
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
11,891
I bought a 9.5Mtr Shakespeare Feather Lite Graphite pole when they were first introduced in the early/mid 80's to replace my glass fibre Lerc Ruby pole. Bought it whilst on holiday in Potter Higham from a store by the canal there. They didn't have any ptfe bushes, elastic or bungs there so I went into Norwich to see if John Wilson stocked them. He said they didn't as there wasn't any call for them around those parts as not many people were using poles around there and those that were used crooks on the end of their poles. So I was quite surprised to see, a very short while later, JW himself in a video using an elasticated pole saying he'd fished like this since he was a lad! It was really nice meeting 'the man' back then though and we had a good chat. The pole cost me £90 at the time and I still have it, along with a spare top 2 which I bought direct from Shakespeare, and it won me a fair few matches back then when everyone else who was fishing with poles, (not that many at the time, most were using rod and reel), were using glass fibre. I still have it, though it hasn't been used in many years now, and the Feather Lite moniker is a misnomer if there ever was one - it's bloody heavy!

I also have a Shakey 4.3Mtr Feather Lite Graphite whip which I still use regularly, (that is nice and light), and a 9Ft Worcestershire Boron #6/8 Fly Rod which I also use regularly.

Shakespeare made some nice stuff back then, though I never got into their rods or reels.
I have the whip, bought it new when they first came out, won a few quid with it at the time, I still use now, I have not seen anything I would want to change it for .
 

Not Now Kato

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
973
I have the whip, bought it new when they first came out, won a few quid with it at the time, I still use now, I have not seen anything I would want to change it for .
My lovely wife stood on mine a number of years back and smashed one of the sections. I was distraught! Contacted Shakespeare in the remote hope that they still had spares - of course, they didn't! However, they did send me a replacement section from another whip made on the same mandrel, free of charge, which fitted perfectly and hasn't changed the action one bit. Only thing is, it's green not brown like the rest of the whip and looks somewhat odd.
 

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
May 19, 2002
Messages
13,224
If anyone's looking for old Shakespeare catalogues, there's a fairly good collection on here:


All four quid each plus postage

Excellent selection of old angling books on the same site

Simon
 

Deejay8

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
1,317
Back when I started fishing in the late 70s, Shakespeare dominated the affordable rods market - the only real competitor was Winfield (Woolies) - who made some perhaps surprisingly decent rods and the second hand market. There were a few carbon rods available but at a minimum of about £80 they were way beyond our means. The pocket money priced rod of choice was the ubiquitous Strike rod - or the badge engineered versions by Milbro and Argos - all identical bar the colour scheme and about two quid - £12.10 for the 12' Strike rod in 1978 and I distinctly remember the Argos version being £9.99.
The leading glass float rods were thirty quid so very much top of Father Christmas's list. One of my pals had a pair of Shakespeare Ambidex skirted spool reels and another got the close faced Match International for Christmas but generally we had budget reels from Mitchell (the small 208 series), Daiwa (1050 skirted spool reel) or if you were really unlucky the budget Intrepid Black Prince - the worst reel it has ever been my misfortune to turn the handle of. In fact mine, having jammed yet again, ended up getting launched into the middle of Albert Park lake where it lay gently rusting until the place was desilted about twenty years ago.

My first decent carbon pole was the Shakespeare Flavia 11m with two top kits
Caught a load of fish with that until the carp in the local commercials got a bit too big for it and I defected to Maver (via an early Daiwa Connoisseur which I disliked immensely)

My Strike rod ended it's days butchered to make a quiver tip rod - cut the handle off, whip a Fuji reel seat to the remainder of the butt section, move the butt eye to the middle section, cut the top 6-8" off and drop a donkey-top through, cut to size, whip rings to the donkey-top, paint and varnish, job done.

I didn't think I currently owned much Shakespeare gear until I sorted my rod spread sheet into alphabetical order

Shakespeare Zen 13’
Shakespeare Borak Barbel Specialist 360 12'
Shakespeare Sigma Supra 12' Barbel 2lb
Shakespeare Flymaster Graphite Fly 1755 9'6"(7-9AFTM)
Shakespeare Sigma Spinning Rod 6’
8m Shakespeare Superteam Whip
Shakespeare Alpha 9' 6" leger
Shakespeare Alpha 12’
Shakespeare Match International 12'
Shakespeare President 13' (carbon fibre)
Shakespeare Strike 13’

The bottom four and the Borak I bought second-hand - the latter because it was going cheap and the rest rods that I either owned or always wanted to own when a youngster. Tried the Strike rod and can't believe I caught so many fish on it back in the day - it's truly awful, but the all the rest are eminently usable although the President has a very odd action - the butt and middle sections are completely rigid, only the spliced tip bending. The Match International is still a joy to use, as is the Alpha which lacking the spliced tip of the International has a considerably softer action.

Of the rest of my Shakespeare collection I use the Alpha leger once or twice a year, it's a lovely soft swing tip rod. The Superteam whip I don't use as much as I used to but it's an awesome bit of kit. One rod on that list which I can guarantee nobody will have heard of is the Zen. It's a bog-standard waggler rod, dark brown in colour with a sort of tip to middle action, very light and very versatile. Never appeared in the Shakespeare catalogues at the time (late 90s) but my local tackle shop got a bunch of them offered by the wholesaler. At £25 a pop they flew out the door and he ordered another dozen - they flew out the door too and he couldn't get anymore. Strange thing is there must be twenty odd local anglers who bought one and yet I've never seen anybody else using one .

Shakespeare though seem to have a very strange marketing philosophy.

A few years ago they brought out the Mach range of rods and reels which were well received by almost everybody - updated them to the XT range - which were equally well received - and then rather than updating them again just dropped the bloody lot.

They must have sold loads (judging by the amount you see on the bankside anyway) and sold even more when Mike Ashley bought the remainder of the unsold stock and knocked 'em out at rock-bottom prices.

So rather than building on the success of the range - and the simplicity of the pricing policy (ie Mach 1 were the entry level rods/reels, Mach 2 were mid-range and Mach 3 the top spec) they bring in an entirely new range - Agility, for me at least, doesn't really fit with a fishing rod. Then they relaunched the Sigma / Sigma Supra name and again dropped the lot after just a couple of years.

Back in the day when they actually manufactured the rods in this country they brought out some classic rods - the Match International, President, Mach Two Boron, Sigma (canal rod and wand) - and then they seemed to disappear from view for years - I've got catalogues upstairs from 1998 and 2006 and both have a bewildering range of rods with one common feature being that I've never seen any of them on the bank!

Every so often they'd release a rod under the Superteam tag which would usually be sought after and worth buying (LXL float rod and Superteam whip for example) but even then they'd drop 'em after just a couple of years.

Now the Superteam name is back but it's attached to a budget range of rods - which I must admit, based purely on a tackle shop waggle, are decent bits of kit.

Simon
I can vouch for the action of the President when catching silvers. The tip is the only section that bends. But I have caught more a few match sized carp and tench up to 7.5lbs on the President and then you find the lower sections come into play. It really comes into it's own trotting a stick on the river for roach and dace. The line pick up is superb, and you have total control of the line and can hit almost every bite. It's a wonderful rod for silvers. I've seen a few Alpha match rods in use. Very handsome and they are supposed to be nice versatile rods with the standard tip. I believe that the spliced tip was introduced as an optional extra as the Alpha was supposed to replace the Match International but some of the river matchmen felt the tip was a little too soft.
Even in 1981, Shakespeare had a confusing line up of match rods. The President stood alone as the only carbon rod in the range and priced at £135 to £159, depending on length. But when it came to the next level down and the fibreglass match rods, the Alpha, Sigma, Match International and Century XX1 were all competing in the £35 to £45 price range, and were fairly similar in abilities and quality. I got the 12ft Sigma match in 1982. A very versatile and capable match rod. I caught everything from tiny roach to double figure carp on it. I preferred it to the President on stillwaters, especially if there were bonus tench or carp to be had. I was gutted when my Sigma was trodden on by an idiot running into my peg, wanting me to photograph his 'specimen' bream. It was only just bigger than a skimmer!! I loved that rod. I'd love to buy another, but I haven't seen a 12ft one on the market. Although the Sigma was a good rod, it doesn't seem to have been as popular as the Alpha or Match International. Possibly because they were more established. And in 1982 the introduction of the carbon Sigma Supra match also competed with it.
 

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
May 19, 2002
Messages
13,224
Even in 1981, Shakespeare had a confusing line up of match rods. The President stood alone as the only carbon rod in the range and priced at £135 to £159, depending on length.
The President listed in the 1981 catalogue is the Mark 2 version

In 1979 both the Mk I and Mk 2 (the Supermatch) were both listed - quite a difference in price

1979 President.jpg



It's the Mark One I own - these are quite rare but not particularly sought after simply because they're not very good :p
Check out the difference in the thickness of the butt sections

With the Supermatch I think Shakespeare had learned to temper the action of the carbon fibre by adding a little glass to introduce a bit of give in the lower sections. These rods are still used today by river anglers looking for a spliced-tip carbon rod.

Simon
 

NoCarpPlease

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
4,850
aha ... mine wasn't THAT president supermatch (tbh it may not have been called a supermatch at all!!).... mine was later (perhaps 1986/87) and was a translucent very dark green blank and had a duplon material at the bottom of the handle.
 

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
May 19, 2002
Messages
13,224
Shakespeare just love recycling names

In the case of your version (the Mark 3?) they even recycled the number 1835/360 last being seen on the Match International less than a decade earlier.
This is the 1987 catalogue - it's not shown as being 'NEW' so presumably dates from the previous year.

president094.jpg



It had been briefly usurped by the Boron but was once again the flagship rod of the range

Simon
 
Top