I an a nooby here but I own and fish a number of different bamboo rods. I own and fish Hardy's(English), Heddon's, Orvis's, South Bend's, Sharps(British), H&I and have owned Montagues and Shakespeares. I can tell you that most South Bend rods I have owned, refurbished/refinished and fished with are **** for tough! Not often the most delicate casting but very sturdy. Most of the surviving SB rods are from the 50's and the glues they used then were of a more modern composition than glues from previous years. )(Paducah Michael might know more about that). My best SB rod is an 8.5 ft, 3pc #323 with fine tips and casts a wonderful 5 weight line. My next favroite SB rod is a #59-81/2 foot Bass rod, its great for stream/lake bass and casting streamers for trout in high water or lakes. Both real nice rods. If you can refurbish/restore the rod you get so much the better. I prefer (just MY opinion) SB rods over most others for good old fishing tools!
I love ALL Bamboo rods for their history and nostalga but if you need a good fishing "tool" with SB you cant go wrong.
(PS a lite, ie: 5wt SB 290 would be a great rod too!)