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H.L. Leonard

Model 50DF Tournament 8' #5

H.L. Leonard 50DF Tournament, 8 ft., 3/2, 3 5/8 oz., 5 wt., the much sought after Leonard 50 Dry Fly, bright nickel silver downward slide band reel seat over butternut spacer, reel seat end cap has the typical maker's logo stamped as well as "Tournament" on the opposite side stamped, tan/yellow wraps with black tipping, bright nickel silver ferrules with dual 1870's patent marks, full intermediate wraps, ring hook keeper, agate stripper guide and agate tip tops, typical short Catskill style 5" cork grip, in original bag with readable hang tag and original case that a previous owner hand wrote the make and model on the outside. All wraps are there and look original, the grip is properly soiled and never cleaned and with no ridging, the butt section is 1/8" long due to the end cap removed to refinish the wood spacer and likely too much glue added when replaced, one tip has a minor fishing set. Circa 1920s/30s.

I've had both 50 DF and Tournament rods but this is the first I've had marked both. It's a interesting and logical connection between Tournament models and the later Dry Fly models. According to Marty Keane, the Tournament rods came out about 1901. The dry fly craze hit the US in the teens a lot of which due to Halford's book and Leonard was selling his pattern flies during that time. Leonard, wanting to supply rods for the new "dry fly" fishing, took their Tournament rods as a basis and redesigned them to make their first 50 and 50 DF dry fly models and then later the 4099 series. So it's logical that for some of the first years, the 50 models also carried the Tournament markings.


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