Those who fly fish get it.
Standing thigh deep in cool rushing water with the sweet cool air of mountain country filling my lungs. The leaves of the low hanging willow slowly glide atop the gin-clear water. The sun is still low. A bird soars overhead, eager for a morning meal.
My rod feels like a familiar friend's handshake. My line feels like the smooth skin of a lover as it slides through my opposite hand. I become enthralled in the ebb and flow of my casts. My line dances above me like a beautiful ballerina set against the dark cascade of the early light, dancing her steady mourning song. I am intoxicated. I am drunk on admiration for God's beauty: Fly fishing.
Fly fishing is not just a skill, or an outdoor activity. It is not something we just go do to get away. Fly fishing is art, a form that relies on physical, mental, and emotional skill. Fly-fishing can't be done, nor achieved. Like art it must be experienced. It must be felt. While many who don't fly fish may not understand this, it simply can't be explained.
With this understanding, the rods and the people that create them need not be overlooked. Rod makers are the backbone of our art form and they create the brush for our paintings.
I decided to look for five fly rod companies making quality rods that us anglers should add to our collection. Some of the rods listed here are handcrafted from bamboo, some are made from fiberglass or graphite, but all of the rods are works of art. Like a fine wine or scotch they are to be savored and cherished.
When you buy your next rod check out these guys and their shops creating works of art. You may have to cough up some coin for them, but like Bamboo Rod builder Tim Aaron said, "At it's core, a bamboo rod has the soul and spirit of the rod maker." Soul, an essential aspect to the art of fly fishing, is priceless.
View the slideshow to see the rods.
Leland Rod Co. is a small company out of NORCAL that has set its sights on offering the finest fly rods and gear on the market. Their rods are made for the serious angler and they have one for every situation. From Sonoma to the Florida Keys, they have you covered with quality, distinction and grace.
They also offer a less expensive line of rods with their Red Truck line. Although less expensive, they still offer the same fast action, precision and quality you would expect from a fine rod maker.
Scott Fly Rods, of Montrose, CO, is also a high quality custom rod maker that strives to make "the ultimate fishing tools.... Focused on handcrafting every rod," they sell. While maybe not far off the beaten path they still make finely crafted fishing rods. They also pride themselves on the "Scott difference" or a rod that has "soul," as some would describe. Their rods designed for high speed and precision with a super fast tip. One can detect the lightest of bites. Scott puts quality over everything.
C.F. Burkheimer Fly Rod Company, out of Washougal, WA, is the stuff of legends in the steelhead industry and seems to have developed something of a cult following. They offer trout rods, two-handed rods, steelhead/salmon rods, saltwater rods, and deep action rods.
So why are they different? Like their site says, their rods have a, "deeply intuitive, innate mojo that sets Burkheimer actions apart from others." It's something "mass-market manufacturers simply can't re-create." Their rods are real works of art and meticulously crafted while having the "true feel of hand-rolled soul."
Aaron Bamboo Rods offers both spin and fly-casting rods. Aaron rods are meticulously handcrafted from a fine selection of bamboo. Aaron is the real deal, a true wandering soul, and one who has dedicated his life to chasing fish on the fly, while also being a top-notch rod builder. He doesn't just make rods, he makes family heirlooms. As he would describe it from his website, it's a rod "that you never want to put down." Based out of Portland, Oregon be sure to check him out when looking for you next rod.
Oyster Bamboo Fly Rods is a high-end, custom rod company that leaves nothing to be desired. Based out of Blue Ridge, GA with a shop right off main street they are one of the last remaining true rod shops on the East Coast. They make high-end rods for high-end buyers and also provide rod-making classes where you make your own rod. They also do custom engraving on their rods that is nothing short of extraordinary. Their rods are sure to prove worthy to your collection of fine fishing tools.