This section is from the book "Fishing: When, Where, And How To Fish Without Live Bait", by William Tweedie. Also available from Amazon: Fishing: When, Where And How To Fish Without Live Bait.
This you may make for yourself, or it may be bought, cheap, ready-made. Begin with a light one. It should be supple, and bend uniformly like an arch. If it bends sharply at an angle, a stout fish will break it at the angle. A few straight hazel rods, cut from the hedge, of different sizes, so as to taper regularly, and made to fit into tin ferules, will do to begin with; or it may be made of bamboo. The best rods are made of hickory; but they are for large fish, and are expensive. Provide yourself with two or three top pieces, as they are liable to break. Have but few rings on the rod for the line to pass through. And, for most of the small fish, a winch or reel at the foot of the rod, to wind the line upon, is quite unnecessary. A little forked stick to thrust into the ground, with the forked part upwards to rest the rod upon, when fishing for some sorts of fish, will be of great assistance, and will enable you to retire out of sight. When in shallow, clear streams, you will be more likely to get a bite.