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Special Fishing Rods

By: Jim Treacy
By: Jim Treacy

There are many different kinds of fishing rods on the market but if you go back a few decades and beyond, the normal rod was made out of bamboo from China.

A couple of guys from Kanawha County are pretty good making them. Jim Treacy spent some time with the two rodmakers.

You quickly realize that these guys love what they do and are pretty good at a craft that goes back a long way.

How do you go from this big piece of bamboo to this pencil thin fly fishing rod?
Phil Smith and Lee Orr say, "Time’s a big thing on it. It takes a lot of time."

Sixty hours per rod but for this duo at Vandalia Rod Works, also known as their garage, it’s a labor of love because fishing is what they love to do.

Lee Orr explains, "It's nice to fish with the same thing that someone fished with back in 1910. It still works fine. Actually, it's better in a lot of cases."

These two should know because they've caught a few with their fly fishing rods and maybe the hardest part is finally sending one to a customer.

Phil Smith says, "Some people say I’m not going to fish that much with it. I'm going to put it on a wall. This rod was meant to be fished with. I didn't put 60 hours of labor into it to have it on a wall. You're not going to hurt it."

Lee Orr talks about how tough bamboo is, "You go to Asia and they make scaffolding, flooring, and furniture out of it. It's strong, strong stuff."

These rods are running around $500 which they say is the norm and every one of them comes with a very interesting favor.

The one thing they always request, "I want to make sure you put your name on it."


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