Bamboo, Fiberglass, Graphite and Carbon Silica Hybrid Custom Made Fly Rods.. Handcrafted Works Of Art…

In a world of mass produced products bombarding us from every side it’s great that there are still craftsman that still hold the art of building fly rods sacred. If you have spent any time at all on this site you know that I love handcrafted gear whether it be fly rods, leaders or even clothing.. I love products that are crafted by individuals that have a passion for what they are doing and putting out.

Today we are going to look at three of these individuals and show you their work.

  • JP Ross Fly Rods
  • Graywolf Products and Services
  • Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy

First we are starting out with JP Ross of JP Ross Fly Rods and also owner of Rising Trout Outfitter Fly Shop. After spending a good amount of time on JP’s website and reading about him, his history in the business and what he does, all you can say is he is amazing. Truly amazing with what he has done by the age of 41 from opening a fly shop, starting a rod building business and also calling on his understanding of material and fly rod design to come up with his own blanks. This is a rare thing as you know.

JP specializes in Fiberglass Fly Rods and also has a line of Carbon Silica Hybrid Fly Rods which is what I want to focus on. Never heard of Carbon Silica? Well, here is what JP has on his website about what Carbon Silica is and the history of how he developed it.

Carbon Silica Hybrid – Carbon Silica technology came about because JP wanted to release something to the market that was extraordinary for the user and technology advanced.   What we have done is combined the feel of casting glass with the action and fiber of graphite.  By creating a new lamina that combines these materials, we have made a real “hybrid” fly rod.  A carbon-glass hybrid.  We also have incorporated the use of silica into our component process to increase the bond strength of our adhesion. At first we thought this would just be for small stream rods, but later found that it was extremely effective in other rod as well. We believe this is the next step towards the new standard in fly rods, and this technology is proprietary to JP Ross & Co.

With the technology and design figured out it is now time to introduce you to the rod that gets to use that technology – The Black Jack Carbon Silica Fiberglass Hybrid 8’6″ 5/6 Weight 5 Piece Custom Built Fly Rod

The Black Jack is a medium action 8’6″ 5/6 weight built with a fullwells grip, silver reel seat with Buckeye Burl wood insert and black jack fly engraving on the reel seat and on the cork.  Guides are wrapped in a translucent gunmetal gray.  All guides are single foot chrome and the strip guide is a large size 16 for shooting line with ease.  The rod comes with a rod bag and black on black case.  Custom inscription is available for free.

A custom made fly rod with cutting edge technology all for $499.00. If you look at the images above you can tell that JP puts a lot of passion into what he does and his attention to detail is truly fantastic. Very clean.

The Black Jack Carbon Silica Technology Explained – I won’t pretend to understand what JP has done but I can tell you he has done it perfectly. Below is an excerpt from his website explaining the technology behind his creation a little more.

When we designed the Black Jack Carbon Silica Hybrid fly rod, there were a few design attributes and factors we wanted to include in the design.  One in particular was the butt section diameter.  We wanted that diameter to not be too big, so that custom builders could use this blank with wood reel seats.  In conclusion of design and manufacturing the butt section diameter turned out to be  0.40inches or 10 millimeters,  a diameter very easily worked around as a builder. 

Aesthetically, we wanted the rod to be unique, not flashy, and somewhat nostalgic.  So we went with the clear matte finish and left the blank un-sanded, except for the ferrules which are sanded to insure proper fit.

The action however was something that needed technology in order to achieve what we wanted to achieve.  The rod had to be 5 pieces, very durable, not clunky, and seem effortless to cast like a high end bamboo rod might feel, but with a little more tip flex to keep the rod from the typical glass wobble that you get as the line exits the tip section. 

The reason that nice bamboo rods are fun to cast is because all you have to do is move the rod in its casting arc and the rod casts itself.  This is true because of a few physics principals. 

Momentum is actually a combination or product of mass and velocity. A fly rod that is light and thin does not have the natural momentum of a slightly heavier rod like glass or bamboo.  You have to push a stiff light rod to flex and cast because it has less mass.  We didn’t want this push or fast acceleration need.  We wanted the caster to just move their arm and have the rod cast itself, so we knew we needed a little weight in the rod like a bamboo rod, but not much. 

Inertia is the principal of an object in motion.  A larger mass in motion has more inertia than a lighter mass.  So our rod is balanced properly, and has the perfect combination of glass and carbon so that when that rod is in motion it stays in motion until you stop the tip at the end of the stroke.  Little effort is needed to cast this rod, yet the tip does not wobble.

If we made this rod completely out of graphite, the rod would have to be very thick in order to gain mass, and when you go thick in graphite, you get stiff.  We did not want stiff.  We wanted a medium to medium fast action. Medium fast with a 5 weight, and medium with a 6.

If we made the rod out of just glass, the rod would be too slow, too heavy and too big in diameter to be a 5 piece.  It also would have a terrible tip wobble.  We know this because we made prototypes of this same Black Jack in glass, and it did not work. 

So the Black Jack is a Carbon Silica Hybrid.  A mixture of glass and graphite.  2.2 ounces of it to be specific.  Just enough to give the right weight and feel so that the rod feels like it casts itself when in its zone or sweet spot.  This rod is made for floating line, weight forward, and non-weighted flies.  Dry flies, small streamers, and light nymph rigs is where this rod works best.  And when you do catch a fish on it, the feel is amazing.  Better than glass or graphite, and because the rod is a tad bit heavier than normal, more like conventional glass but a tad lighter; when a fish bends the rod and changes the balance point, the angler must counter act to fight the fish and the feel is remarkable even on small fish. 

As you can see JP is a pretty smart guy with his design and development of a truly unique fly rod material. How many people can say they have designed a fly rod material? Right.. not very many..

Check out JP Ross Fly Rods at their website of https://www.jprossflyrods.com/ or Instagram @jprossflyrods

Truly Fantastic Work!

Our next custom rods builder comes to us from Michigan – Shane Gray of Graywolf Products and Services. Shane is a full time rod builder focusing his time on truly awesome fiberglass and graphite fly rods. As I said he lives in Michigan and is obviously an avid fly fisherman focusing on Trout, Bass, Steelhead and Salmon. Shane is an incredibly personable guy and I would guarantee if you got him on the phone and asked about fly rods the guy could give you more information that you can image.

When looking over Shane’s website it doesn’t take long to see the kind of passion he has for what he does. He builds some amazing fly rods and like JP, Shane’s attention to detail is magnificent. Incredible to say the least.

Looking at the first few images above you can tell what Shane is all about. It doesn’t take much to be able to look at a picture of a Graywolf fly rod and see the amazing work Shane is putting out. They are just different and different in a good way.

Shane offers builds on multiple different fiberglass blanks. McFarland Yellow Glass, Swift Epic, Ijuin, Steffen Brothers, Kabuto, Tom Morgan and Trout Smiths. We will take a quick look at a couple of the blanks he builds on but for a full list please visit his website to see everything he can do.

McFarland Yellow Glass – These blanks are known as AMERIGLASS Classic and made in Pennsylvania of honey yellow E Glass. The tapers are smooth, deep flexing with a perfect balance of power from the tip to the butt.

  • Models Available
  • 6’8″ & 7’0″ 3wt 3 Piece
  • 7’6″, 7’9″ & 8’0″ 4wt 3 Piece
  • 8’0″ & 8’6″ 5wt 3 Piece
  • 8’0″ & 8’6″ 6wt 3 Piece
  • 8’6″ 5wt & 6wt 4 Piece
  • As you can see there are a lot of configurations so give Shane a call and he can make just about anything you want.
  • Signature Line – $625
  • Stream Line – $645
  • Perfection – $675

Ijuin Fiberglass – These blanks are soft, full flex, fun rods as Shane puts it. Tomo Ijuin’s tapers are made in Japan out of uni-directional E-Glass. The blanks are painted a wonderful bright green color with white spigot ferrules.

  • Models Available
  • 5’11” 3wt
  • 6’6″ 3wt
  • 7’0″ 3wt
  • 7’0″ 4wt
  • 7’3″ 4wt
  • 7’6″ 4wt
  • 7’11” 5wt
  • Signature Line $635
  • Stream Line $655
  • Perfection $675

As you can see that’s only a couple of the fiberglass options Shane offer so head over to his website and see the other lines of fiberglass fly rods he can build for you.

In addition Shane has a line of Fiberglass Ultra Light Spin Rods. The rod is made from a yellow E Glass and they were designed by Mike McFarland. The rod is a full flex action which makes this rod the perfect choice for your next light line, panfish or trout trip. All the hardware is hand made from nickle silver and all rods are 2 piece models.

Ultra Light Spin Rod Models

  • 5’6″ 2-6 lb
  • 5’9″ 2-6 lb
  • 6’0″ 2-6 lb
  • 6’6″ 2-6 lb
  • Stream Grade Pricing – $395 (For A Custom Spin Rod… Amazing)

And.. Shane also build custom graphite fly rods built on blanks from SAGE, Winston, Thomas and Thomas and Swift Epic. If interested in Graphite give Shane a call or drop him an email.

To wrap it up on Shane and Graywolf Fly Rods.. All you need to do is two things… (1) Pull up Shane’s website and look at the pictures.. Just pull up the pictures and really take a close look at your screen and I can guarantee you will see the incredible craftsmanship that goes into a Graywolf Fly or Spin rod. They are truly a work or art.. And (2) Call Shane.. Yep.. Just call him..

Shane and Graywolf Products and Services can be found at his website of https://www.graywolfrods.com/ or his Instagram page @graywolf_rods

And Last But Not Least!

Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy – If you have followed this page for any time at all you have seen Chris’s name come up multiple times. That’s because Chris puts out amazing work and not only fly rods but truly fantastic leather items as well. I have gone over all the cool things Chris produces so check out some of the previous posts to see what he offers or head over to his website to see the full line. Yes.. I own 3 different pieces that Chris produces.. A fly waller, leader wallet and a small pack. All incredibly built. But.. that isn’t why we are here today. Today we are talking about Chris and the custom fly rods he puts out.

Chris is a jack of all trades when it comes to fly rods with a line of Split-Bamboo Fly Rods as well as Graphite and Fiberglass Fly Rods. We will touch on his fiberglass and graphite in a few minutes but it’s Chris’s bamboo fly rods that we are here today to talk about. WOW!! Now these are works or art and the amount of time spent making a bamboo fly rod is mind numbing. It’s a totally different process and Chris has it down to an art form. Below is a quick look at what Chris lists on his page about the process of crafting a custom bamboo fly rod.

Split-Bamboo Fly Rods – I hand craft each fly rod taking the time to split & plane the bamboo by hand. Often, I gently flame treat my bamboo so that the rod will be darker than a “blond” rod, but not as dark as a brown-toned rod. Only the best components available go on these rods. Let’s work together to make your custom fly rod.

I specialize in fly rods designed for trout & bass fishing of all different rod actions. I make the bamboo blanks from start to finish, taking the time to hand split & hand plane the bamboo. My split-bamboo rods are never built from mass produced factory made blanks. As an option I can hand make all the “snake”-style line guides from stainless steel wire that is extremely light, strong, & will not corrode (see below). I use Ferrules made from Nickle-Silver by Classic Sporting Enterprises. These are the finest ferrules available. The reel seats are all made in the USA & are the best in the world for appearance & function. All rod bags are made in house & to exacting standards of quality as well. All rods are traditional, six-sided rods. For every rod you purchase I offer a five day inspection period in which you can return the rod to me for a full refund -in unused condition- if you decide the rod is not for you. Purchase a custom fly rod from me without risk or worry. 

Let’s be clear.. Like I said. I own multiple items that Chris has produced (not a bamboo fly rod—-yet).. and I can tell you that 5 day inspection period really isn’t needed. I guarantee you won’t want to return it once you get it in the mail, open it and see the type of work Chris does. If you are the person that looks at the rod and returns it.. I would say you can’t be pleased. Plain and simple.

There are three different series of bamboo that he puts out so let’s take a look at them.

Prudential Series -For those of you who want a great casting split-bamboo fly rod, but at an economical price, a Prudential rod is just the rod for you. All rods in this line are 2 piece with 1 tip (2/1). They all feature snake style line guides, chrome stripping guides, & down locking reel seats with walnut spacers with high grade aluminum hardware. You can have any color of silk thread wraps you want. The rod shafts receive several coats of a hand rubbed oil-based finish. They are marked with a personal inscription of your choosing & the maker’s (my) name, rod length, line weight, & serial number. Each rod comes in a cotton flannel rod bag & a custom duck-cloth covered pvc rod tube. These rods are the perfect introduction to the world of bamboo for those of you who have been curious but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars. I warn you though, you may never go back to synthetic rods!!!
Prudential rods are available in any 2 piece length & line weight. The most popular are:
-6′ 5wt
-7′ 4wt
-7′-6″ 5wt
Price: $600 + $25 shipping & insurance

Classical Series

-All rod blanks are made from the same culm of bamboo. The tips are mirror-matched in node placement & nodes are spaced in the “3×3” method.

-Your choice of standard silk wrap colors of red, green, brown, or orange tipped in black. Other colors available at no extra charge.

-Hard chrome snake style line guides, chrome stripping guides & plain nickel-silver winding checks. 

-Top quality cork grip hand shaped in my shop from premium cork rings. All grips are standard cigar shape.

– Nickel-Silver “Super-Z” style ferrules made by Classic Sporting Enterprises. These are, in my opinion, the best quality ferrules available. 

– All standard reel seats are down locking & available in a slide-band or screw-locking style. The standard wood spacer is walnut. The hardware is made from high grade aluminum.

– All rods come in a cotton flannel rod bag & a custom duck-cloth covered pvc rod tube. As an upgrade option,your rod can also come in a traditional aluminum tube with brass end caps for a small additional cost.

– Every rod comes with a personal inscription. Each rod will have the maker’s (my) name, line weight & rod length, & a serial number on one side of the the rod. The other side will have your name or any personal inscription you choose.
All rods 5ft to 8ft in length are available in 2/2 (2 piece/ 2 tip) configuration. Rods 8”6″ to 9′ length are available in 3/2 (3 piece/ 2 tip) configurations.

Your options for rod length & line weight are many. I make rods from one piece 4′-4″ long to 3 piece 9′ in length & everything in between including all rod actions.

Base Pricing Without Upgrades

  • All 2/2 Rods – $865
  • All 3/2 Rods – $995

Custom Series

These are truly custom rods. Here, anything goes. You & I work together to make a rod that is truly unique to you. Every aspect of the rod is exactly what you want it to be. Each rod comes standard with everything listed for the Classical Series, with the following exceptions:

-Your choice of snake style line guides of hard chrome with standard twist or special hand twisted, stainless steel in a reverse “British” twist. (see below)

-Wraps in any color of silk thread you want. 

-All reel seat hardware is made from Nickel-Silver & are the finest reel seats available. You choose from many different wood spacers & styles of reel seats.

-The winding check is made from Nickel-Silver with finely detailed knurling around the edges. 

-Agate stripping guides are standard on all Custom series rods & you can choose between many different colors of stone.

-All Custom series rods come in a traditional aluminum rod tube with brass end caps.

-You can upgrade these rods with anything you want including custom engraving on the rod metal, custom reel seats, feather inlays, silk wrap colors, etc. With these rods we are limited only by our imagination. Contact me for other options.

Base Price Without Upgrades

  • All 2/2 Rods – $1,155
  • All 3/2 Rods – $1,270

As I said earlier Chris also produces a beautiful line of graphite fly rods as well. We aren’t going to go into a lot of detail so you can look over his website but the one thing that he says on his website that I think hits the nail on the head.

What’s The Difference?

So, what’s the difference between a graphite or fiberglass fly rod I make as apposed to one you can buy from a large store or catalog? Almost everything. First & foremost, every one of my rods are made in the U.S.A. With so many tackle manufactures moving their productions around the world for cheaper labor, I make all the rods myself, by hand, & with one thing in mind: quality.

Appearance – The first difference you’ll notice between my rods & the mass – produced ones are the look of my rods. I like to mix traditional elements with modern functionality. The many small differences of my rods add up to become a fly rod unlike any other you’ll use. For instance, many mass – produced rod’s guides are wrapped with nylon thread & coated very thick with epoxy that make for large, over-sized wraps that look out of place on a delicate fly rod. My guides are wrapped with a very fine silk thread & given a low-build spar varnish finish that results in smooth, elegant looking guide wraps. Also, many large tackle makers today are choosing guide wrap colors that are the same color as the rod shaft, & with no tipping wraps. That’s fine if that’s what you like, but when you purchase a rod from me you have many different choices when it comes to wrap colors, which can give your rod a very classy look. In addition, written on the rod shaft will be whatever inscription you want.

Components – The choice of components are another big difference in my rods. Most mass – market rods today sport long, skinny cork grips. I make my standard grips in a traditional cigar shape & the proper diameter for a comfortable rod you can fish all day long. Most mass – produced rods (especially the cheaper ones) don’t put enough line guides on their rods, or they use the wrong size guides in an effort to save production costs. All my rods come with quality line guides that are sized & spaced correctly for optimum rod performance. On many of the cheaper mass – produced rods you’ll also find rubber winding checks just above the grip. Not on my rods. I use quality checks of nickle-silver. Rubber will dry & break down in time. I build my rods to last for generations.

Performance – The biggest & most important difference you’ll notice between my rods & many of the mass – produced ones is the performance of the rod. Just the feel in hand tells you it’s a quality rod. The ease of the line shooting through the guides & the comfort of using it will be luxurious. A well made custom fly rod will be so much smoother in casting line than many mass – produced rods that you’ll never fall for those slick ads in the back of magazines again! All this mixed with classic, good looks that never go out of style & at a cheaper price than some of the large tackle maker’s prices. Contact me & tell me what you want in a rod, or let me help you decide. Together we’ll make you a rod we can both be proud of.

To put it simply.. Chris Lantzy puts out some beautiful fly rods. If you are looking for a true piece of usable art give him a call and talk to him about making you a true handcrafted bamboo fly rod and I can guarantee you that when you step on the stream, creek, river, lake or wherever you are your fly rod will stand out.

Custom Fly Fishing Rods by Chris Lantzy can be found on his website of https://flyrods.weebly.com/ or his Instagram page @customflyrods

That’s was a lot of information and if you made it this far you deserve a pat on the back. Trust me when I say there is a night and day difference between a big box retailer fly rod and a custom built fly rod by one of the three individuals I just introduced you to. Check our all three websites and one of them will be able to build you exactly what you need.

JP Ross Fly Rods – https://www.jprossflyrods.com/

Graywolf Products and Services – https://www.graywolfrods.com/

Custom Fly Rods by Chris Lantzy – https://flyrods.weebly.com/

The Outstanding Workmanship And Beauty Of A Liam Hoffman Axe. Simply The Best!

Somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina there is a guy that is putting out probably the finest axes known to man. Yes, I know that people will argue that Gränsford Bruk makes the greatest axes and they are truly fantastic works of art but Hoffman in my opinion puts out a superior product. Product is probably a horrible word to use.. work of art is more like it.

I have been around a lot of axes and hatchets in my life and used quite a few of them but this past week I was able to see a Hoffman and a Gränsford Bruk in person. I am looking to purchase a new small backpacking hatchet so I went looking for someone that had them. After seeing them side by side they are both truly fantastic works of art. But.. Hoffman just had a feeling of a superior hatchet and the fit and finish and attention to detail are absolutely second to none. So now I have to wait until December 23rd and rush to get on the Hoffman site to hopefully get one of the few Mini Campers he lists at 7:00 PM. I hear they go incredibly fast. Wish me luck..

Liam releases a different model every Monday at 7PM EST on his website in limited quantity up to a maximum of 10. This will be my first time to try and get one of his axes and if I don’t make it in time it looks like I may have to wait months until the Mini Camper is available again. That should tell you how much people want a Hoffman axe.

Now that I have found my backpacking/camping axe I thought to myself.. I am going to do a search on the web of “Best Backpacking Axes”. I did and the results were astonishing to say the least and it made me think about the way I do my previews and reviews on this page. I read article after article after article.. and I honestly couldn’t believe what I was reading. It wasn’t just one article or review it was EVERY SINGLE ONE I READ. I have to tell you I am proud of the way I do my reviews and reading these articles solidified that. I am going to give you one example of “Best Backpacking Axes”. Here we go.

I read the article and thought to myself.. is this guy for real? How is he saying these 6 axes are the BEST axes out there for backpacking. Then I scrolled down the the tiny tiny print at the bottom of his page and this is what it said “****** is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” Now his article makes total sense. He’s getting paid to give you an opinion that is so far from impartial it isn’t funny.

When I think of “THE BEST” I think these are actually the best. And when I think of the best I think of superior quality, workmanship and performance. Here are some descriptions he listed in his reviews of “THE BEST” backpacking axes. (1) Made In One Piece (2) Axe And Multi-Tool Combo (3) Lacquered Leather Grip (4) Potential To Chip After A Couple Of Hard Uses (5) Difficult to get good chopping power (6) Composite Handle (7) Edge Can Chip After A Few Uses (8) Dulls quickly and requires frequent sharpening. Honestly how can a person write a review of “THE BEST” of anything and have all those descriptions. I’ll tell you.. BECAUSE THEY ARE GETTING PAID TO SEND YOU TO AMAZON…

How I handle things.. I DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT get paid from anyone for advertising or part of a program where I get paid to give an opinion. Why?? Because it clouds your judgement and that doesn’t make for an impartial review. Ok Rant is over..

Maybe I am a gear snob but I do appreciate hand crafted quality gear and Liam Hoffman and his team does put out some incredible axes.

I do want to give you a feeling for what Liam is about and where he comes from. Below is what Liam has on his About Us page.

Growing up in the rural Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina I was accustomed to playing outside in the woods and creeks, opening up my mind to creativity. I have always been very hands-on and creative. I would make paper dye with wild violets and mold bowls from clay dug out of the creek banks. My mother and her family are very artistic and creative with design. My father is a hard working farmer. I believe I have both these attributes, and that when these traits are combined they fit perfectly the description of a blacksmith: hard work mixed with creative spirit.

I began blacksmithing in the fall of 2008 at the age of thirteen, starting out with nothing but a pit fire and a trailer hitch for an anvil. Over the last several years I’ve worked my way up by purchasing new equipment one machine at a time and learning about the craft and science of moving steel. My parents have been extremely supportive in helping me pursue my passion. They gave me a push start by building a small brake drum forge for my fourteenth birthday. My dad took on the project of building my small 200 square foot shop over a two-year period. Once this foundation was established, I had my business well under way before graduating from high school.

I always get asked how and why I got started in blacksmithing at the age I did. One might think that I saw a blacksmith at a local fair or read about it in school and ran home to try it out. There was no conscious reason why I started, it’s just called being a 13 year old boy. There is nothing else to it. Once I started heating up and hammering on steel, I knew it felt right. Only afterward did I discover what I was doing was called blacksmithing. Today I’m twenty-three years old with 10 years of experience, author of my book FORGED a Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith, and I’ve had the pleasure to teach private lessons to students from as far away as Australia. In June of 2016, I traveled NYC to appear on History Channel’s Forged in Fire. There, I forged a Kora sword and became the youngest to win Forged in Fire against ABS Master Bladesmith, Josh Smith.

I believe that high school hindered me in a way since I discovered my vocation at such a young age. Getting an education is imperative, but at the same time it felt nearly obsolete for me and it’s becoming more apparent every day how this traditional schooling isn’t working for so many folks with an aptitude for trades. I was already working 35 hours a week after school and on weekends, making both school and work life challenging. Add to that several years in Boy Scouts, achieving Eagle Scout at seventeen. I truly believe in hard work for building character. The secret to success is passion and hard work, of which I’m fortunate to have plenty for blacksmithing. Our goal today is to create a tool that your great grandfather would call quality. Made by people, not machines. We’re creating legacy tools to be passed down generation to generation.  

What that tells me is Liam is passionate about what he does and his axes are hands down in my opinion the best out there. So if you want a axe that is quality look up Liam Hoffman and get in line for one of his works of art. If you want cheap rubbish axe head over to Amazon and pick one up for $19.99.

Check out Hoffman Blacksmithing at his website – https://www.hoffmanblacksmithing.com/ or his Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/HoffmanBlacksmithing/ or on Instagram @hoffmanblacksmithing

As I always say with any hand crafted gear I post about – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Liam hands down makes the greatest axe out there.

Why Buy Mass Produced When You Can Buy An Heirloom Quality Knife? The Creek Hopper By Phil Seeley

I deal with a large number of people everyday and it isn’t often that I run into someone like Phil Seeley – a true artist with a passion for his work and people. A while back I started conversations with Phil and I’m not sure I have met many people in my many years on this earth that are more passionate and full of life than Phil. The guy loves what he does… plain and simple.

When looking over his website the products he is putting out is truly fantastic and the one thing that caught my eye was the Creek Hopper. A fixed blade knife that would be awesome out on the water, at camp or anytime you need to call upon a knife. These things are truly beautiful works of art!

One day I was messaging back and forth with Phil and I asked him where the inspiration came from for the Creek Hopper And his knives in general. His response was cool…. “My dad used to take me into a gas station in town where all the guys would hang out and drink coffee. Back when they had jack knives behind the counter. I remember falling in love with their shape and unique colors and couldn’t wait until I was old enough to get one. They were those old swoop looking fishing knives and the Creek Hopper resembles that shape to me. The Creek Hopper is my favorite knife and as of right now it’s the most popular. It is 100% my own design and it took me a while to get it how I wanted it so I’m proud of this style.”

And that’s how the Creek Hopper was born.. from the early beginnings of a young boy hanging out with his dad in a gas station. That’s pretty cool in my opinion. Currently Phil is selling the Creek Hopper for $190 which is a great deal for a knife of this quality and the attention to detail is remarkable to say the least.

You can check out his work either on his Instagram page @barnandbrooksupplyco or his website http://www.barnandbrooksupplyco.com

Phil is a great guy that loves people and I’m sure he would love to hear from you so drop him a line. You won’t be disappointed.

Barn and Brook Supply Co

Barn and Brook Supply Co. – Various Handmade Products – Knives and Leather Goods

We all have a pocket knives whether it be for everyday carry or what’s thrown in our gear bag or backpack to use out on water, trail or at our evening campsite. But.. yes we all have one or multiple.. I tend to lean towards the multiple!!

So when I stumbled across Phil Seeley’s Instagram page and website I decided to drop him a line and see what he was all about. What he’s all about is laid back, gracious, helpful, awesome customer service and he also happens to put out some amazing stuff. Yes I know I say it all the time but here it is again. I LOVE HANDMADE GEAR and Phil’s stuff is no different. Phil puts out top notch knives and leather products and you would definitely be missing out if you didn’t at least visit his page and browse around. As you can tell by the pictures below it’s good stuff.

Like I said Phil has been incredible to talk to and I think his website’s About section tells you all you need to know. On top of that he’s also a fly fisherman, so how bad of a guy could he possibly be!!!

Taken From The About Page on Barn and Brook Supply Co – Artist and craftsman, Phil Seeley, was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania and has lived in Vermont for eighteen years. Son of a woodworker, Phil learned at an early age how to combine form and function to create long-lasting, useful art. Barn & Brook’s leather goods are cut and stitched by Seeley’s hands to create the perfect feel and fit in yours, intended to be broken in and passed down through multiple generations.

His knives are carefully crafted with their beginnings forming on paper. Once every detail has been calculated he brings them to life. Working only with high carbon steel and stabilized hardwood, his designs take on a life of their own. Only considered complete once Phil himself feels that they are of the highest quality possible…and of course, the most pleasing to look at.

Phil finds inspiration through spending time with his family and spending time on the many local brooks fly fishing. He currently resides in Hinesburg, VT

So the question to ask now is do you want to travel, camp, hike, backpack or fly fish with a cheap poor quality Chinese knife or are you ready to check out Phil’s awesome heirloom quality knives as well as his other handmade products?

Passing down a knife of this quality to your son or daughter means something far more than the current knife you may have purchased on the clearance rack at Wal-Mart. So take a few minutes and look at Phil’s website or Instagram page and do yourself a favor and support a local artist and craftsman. These products are made by Phil’s hands and not some overseas machine.

You can follow his adventures in the barn and on the brook on Instagram: @barnandbrooksupplyco or email him at philseeley77@gmail.com

Check out all of Phil’s awesome stuff at his website: http://www.barnandbrooksupplyco.com

Echo Canyon Lanyards

Echo Canyon Lanyards – Handmade Fly Fishing Lanyards by Collette – $24 – $30.

We live in a world that is quickly moving towards mass produced goods, and when I say mass produced I actually mean poor quality/overpriced junk. If you love low quality, plastic fly fishing gear please stop reading RIGHT NOW because you will have no interest in what Collette is producing.

As most of you know I tend to go out of my way to track down handmade gear when available because it usually lasts longer and the most important thing, it was built by someone that probably cares about what they are doing and wants to put out good quality products. In my 20 years of fly fishing I have used just about everything made to carry gear around with me while I’m on the water and recently I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t as difficult as I am making it. Simply put, I carry far more gear in my vest or hip pack than I would need if I were fishing for 9 days straight. Hence the reason I’m starting to use a lanyard by Collette at Echo Canyon Lanyards and a small shoulder bag (previously reviewed) by Chris Lantzy with Custom Fly Rods. This set up is light and simple the way fly fishing should be in my opinion.

Now on to Collette‘s lanyards. As you can tell by the photos she puts out some really cool and unique lanyards with awesome components comprised of Bone, Horn, Seed, Natural Cork, Leather, Stone and other natural elements. What you won’t see used in her lanyards is plastic or glass.

The majority of her lanyards are sold through Etsy and EBay – links below. As she describes her products “The snaps and key rings make it easy to attach a zinger, scissors, nippers and tools of importance, Uniquely Different From The Rest. The neck back is hand sewn neoprene not foam pads. Unlike foam, neoprene is durable and resistant to oil, heat and weathering. These lanyards come with more interchangeable accessory connectors than most other lanyards (six not four).”

So if you are looking for a lanyard at an incredible price and made with high quality components look no further. Pick one up from Collette and you won’t be disappointed. (Mine is the Grateful Dead lanyard in the first photo). Check out her two stores on EBay and Etsy.

EBay – echocanyon123 or search for USA Handcrafted Fly Fishing Lanyards

Etsy – EchoCanyonLanyards

Email – echocanyonlanyards@gmail.com

The Grace and Beauty of a Custom Bamboo Rod

Chris Lantzy / Custom Rod Maker – Split Bamboo Fly Rods – $600-$1,270+

If you have followed me and this page for any time at all you will know that I’m a huge fan of Chris Lantzy and his work. In the past I have posted about his custom fly wallets, bags or other handmade goods but I have yet to post about his custom split bamboo fly rods. Well.. today is the day. When I think of bamboo rods I think about my childhood and going fishing with my grandfather. Although they weren’t fly rods my grandfather taught me to fish on a bamboo rod. The man was a true fisherman and passed on to me every ounce of fishing knowledge he had in his head. He was truly special.

Now.. let’s be clear about one thing…. the fly rods Chris produces are not your grandfathers bamboo fly rods. Absolutely not. These are truly magnificent works of art and I think the photographs attached will back up what I’m saying.

Chris produces three different and distinct levels of fly rod.

1. The Prudential Series – $600 – 2 piece rods and available in all length and line weights. Most popular are 6’ 5wt, 7’ 4wt and 7’-6” 5wt.

2. The Classical Series – All rods 5ft to 8ft in length are available in 2/2 (2 piece/ 2 tip) configuration. Rods 8”6″ to 9′ length are available in 3/2 (3 piece/ 2 tip) configurations. 2/2 rods are $865 and 3/2 rods are $995.

3. And lastly – The Custom Series. This rod is truly a custom project. 2/2 rods come in at $1155+ and 3/2 rods start at $1,270. Like I said, this is a custom rod and you will work closely with Chris on every aspect of your fly rod build.

I’m not sure I have seen a custom bamboo fly rod at this price point with this much quality built into everyone a Chris lays his hands on….a true artesian.

Check out the photos in the post and you will see that Chris is a true artist. So when you want something different than fiberglass or graphite, give Chris a call or drop him an email. I assure you he will be incredibly timely with his responses and happy to answer any question you have have.

Not everyone has the opportunity to fish like Paul Maclean but give Chris a call and you too can be standing knee high in the Blackfoot River throwing dry flies from a bamboo rod.

“…it is not fly fishing if you are not looking for answers to questions.”
― Norman Maclean

You can visit Chris’s site at the link below.
https://flyrods.weebly.com

You can also check out his work on Instagram – customflyrods

Chris Lantzy and The Mini Pack – Fly Fishing Simplicity

THE MINI PACK – by Chris Lantzy – $35.00

I have labeled myself a fly fisherman for about 20 years now and also a major gear junkie! i absolutely love gear and I love good quality hand-made gear. Why?? Because it’s being made by someone with a passion for what they are doing and not some mass produced thing. I’ve used everything from Patagonia vests to Fishpond hip packs… I haven‘t liked any of them that much.. then I ran across this pack and I’m ordering one first thing Monday morning. I think I may have found the answer. Below is the information taken from the website as well as the link to the product. Once I get it in I’ll post a more in-depth review.

Description From website – https://flyrods.weebly.com/accessories-bags-cases-wallets–…

Here is one of the most convenient accessories you can have for keeping all your essential fishing items in one place. This canvas Mini Pack is also perfect for those times when you’re going light & don’t want to wear a vest or carry a fishing bag. This is a truly unique fishing accessory – there’s not another like it anywhere.

With four expandable, accordion-style pockets, each with a velcro closure, it can hold just about all the essentials you’ll need along the water: tippet spools, leaders, floatant, nippers, a small fly box, etc. There’s room enough in here for everything. Since each pocket has it’s own closure you can access only the pocket you need at any time without worry about anything falling out of the pack when open. Two snap closures on the flap allow you to keep it closed securely no matter how much it expands or how full you fill it. The swivel hook allows you to attach it to your vest, shirt, or belt. It can be hung from a lanyard & it could possibly even fit in a shirt or pants pocket, too.

There’s even a back pocket on the pack for holding your hemostats, pliers, or other hook-removing tool. A strap keeps the tool secured in the pack, but easily pulls open for quick access when taking a hook out of a fish’s mouth.

So.. check out the website for a good selection of hand-made fly fishing accessories.

Handcrafted Custom Products – Rather Than Mass Produced Overseas Stuff…..

In a world of mass produced cheap China made products there are still masters at crafting hand-made exceptional quality items. One such person is Chris Lantzy at Custom Fly Rods. Don’t assume all he makes are simply stunning bamboo fly rods. No.. he also puts out a line of amazing leather items for fly fishing as well. Amazing work, super nice and incredibly accommodating. I stole some images from his page!! Sorry Chris! Check his stuff out on his website – https://flyrods.weebly.com/

The leader wallet coming my way will be the perfect place to store the greatest furled leaders out there. If you haven’t fished with furled leaders yet give Moonlit Fly Fishing a try. Amazing leaders to say the least.

Flies Tied Right Here In Your Backyard – Freddy’s Flies

If you are looking to support a local guy tying flies take a look at Freddy at Freddy’s Flies.  The pictures below are a couple of beadless Woolly Buggers that he tied up recently. Great job as usual and thanks again Freddy. I will be throwing these at bass and panfish when I return from Southern Colorado in a few weeks. Check out his work and items for sale on his Instagram page – FreddysFlies.  These are hands down some of the best quality flies I have used.

A Fly With A Propeller? ?

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock but in my near 20 years of fly fishing I haven’t seen a fly with a propeller on it. These little guys are made by a small company in Trinidad, CO – Hi-Country Flies and these propeller flies are called the Original Pistol Pete. I guess we will see how they do on the Purgatorie River, Bear Lake and Blue Lake. If you look at their FB page all the people reviewing them seem to love these things. Looking forward to giving something new a try! So… have you used these type of flies? Check out their website…

https://www.pistolpeteflies.com/

Update.. I fished these things over and over on my trip to Southern Colorado and just didn’t have any luck. Zero strikes, zero anything. The vast majority of the fish I caught which was near 50 in two days were all caught on mosquito dry flies and the occasional bead head nymph. Sorry Pete but they didn’t work. But in their defense I have read reviews that people swear by them. Not sure they will hit my fly box again but never know.