Like Monk my first rod was a garden cane with a Wilco (Woolworths) hook to nylon tied on to the end. I used it for a couple of years to catch record-shaking gudgeon and small sergeants on the Great Ouse.
My first 'proper' rod was a float/ leger rod I bought from many months of saved pocket money in a tackle shop in Bedford. It was a cumbersome 11ft job with the screw fitting for swing or quiver. Despite the weight it served me well and landed many barbel and chub from the Teme.
I'm sure I still have it somewhere but it hasn't seen service for 15 years or so.