Friday, September 20, 2019

RENT THIS ROD - Tom Morgan Rodsmiths Partnership

This has been over a year in the making but good things are always worth the wait.  Rent This Rod announced this week that they have added several new fiberglass fly rods in their line up for rental  built by the folks at Tom Morgan Rodsmiths.  There are few things sweeter than a TMR four or five weight and I would expect that these two fly rods will get into many hands from here on out. 

I've been impressed with the idea and growth of Rent This Rod over the past several years and this is a neat step forward in their offerings.  David Moore and Brian Guengerich have a unique business brewing here and it's been interesting to watch it continue to expand.

I asked David if he'd mind writing up a few lines of where this idea came from and their thoughts on adding these fly rods to their the Rent This Rod website.

David wrote...  "Rent This Rod Outfitters, LLC is excited to announce our new, unique partnership with Tom Morgan Rodsmiths of Bozeman, Montana!  We recently received two of their fiberglass fly rods for inclusion in our rental rod arsenal.  On hand, we now are pleased to currently offer a 7'4" four weight (2-piece) and a 7'6" five weight (4-piece).  These 2 rods best represent what the folks at TMR have the most orders for.   As a side note, the 4-piece five weight is a bit of a custom option that isn't ordered very often, however in terms of compactness and the ability to transport, it's a great option, albeit a tad bit heavier than a 2-piece counterpart. 

We first reached out to Matt Barber and Joel Daub, who are now the owners of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, late in 2018 after reading a great article about them in an issue of The Drake Magazine.  Brian (Rent This Rod co-owner) and I sensed some similarities in both fly fishing passion and stage of life between ourselves and Joel and Matt.  Rent This Rod focuses on providing premium equipment as rental options to our clientele, so it was a hands-down no-challenge desire to want to work with TMR, especially when it came to bolstering our fiberglass rod options.  We reached out one day by phone to start the conversation last December and that quickly turned into a unique partnership discussion that spanned the course of the past eight months, until we received these exquisite rods in early August.  

The wait was so very well worth it!  Joel and Matt do not let any rod leave their shop unless it's perfect, or at least as close to perfection as any man-made thing can get.  This is apparent upon opening any TMR rod tube for the first time.  The attention to detail is spared nowhere.  Everything is absolutely flawless and awesome - from the glossy finish on the rod blank, to the agate stripping guide, to the highest quality cork grips, to the hand-written rod labeling inscriptions.  My God, even their rod storage tubes are works of art!

This new partnership between Rent This Rod Outfitters and Tom Morgan Rodsmiths is unique to say the least.  We are unaware of any opportunity, prior to now, for anyone to be able to demo or rent a TMR rod.  The nature of the Tom Morgan Rodsmiths business model is one of custom-order.  They don't do retail.  You want a rod - you call them or order one through their website.  The rod is then built FOR you and only you, based on your preferences of rod length/weight, grip shape, reel seat material, etc.  Rent This Rod is incredibly honored to get to work with TMR and to be able to offer would-be customers the chance at an extended demo session of actual on-the-water fishing, or to offer any of our clients the ability to rent a premium fiberglass fly rod for 10 to 14 day periods.  One of the best parts about this new partnership is that Tom Morgan Rodsmiths will take up to $100 off the purchase price of any of their fly rods for anyone who demos or rents a TMR rod through us and then decides to order one for themselves.  In this instance, customers are essentially getting the majority, or at least a significant portion, of their Rent This Rod rental fee applied to a new rod purchase!

For our clients looking to rent one of these rods and who also need a reel to go with it, we have opted to pair them with the new Ross Colorado LT reels.  These reels are the perfect combination of lightweight, ruggedness, and come with the ability to easily remove the spool.  And let's be honest - they provide an added dose of pure fly rod sex-appeal.

Visit our website or give us a call to learn more about taking advantage of this new, exciting opportunity to rent Tom Morgan products through us!  

Rent This Rod Outfitters also specializes in offering premium non-fiberglass rods from Thomas & Thomas Makers and Sage, and premium fly reels from Hatch Outdoors, Abel, and of course Ross Reels - all pre-spooled with Scientific Anglers Fly Line - appropriate for, and catered to, the fishing environments you intend to target and the fly rod you'll be using it with."

Visit the Rent This Rod website for more information and if you're planning a trip (or maybe even someplace local) where using one of these fly rods for a few days would make sense, and line yourself up with one of these very special rentals.


Small shop fly rod maker Chris Barclay and camera (of all sorts) nerd Dave Fason spent last week in a few undisclosed places with a light line weight glass prototype or two looking for Golden Trout in all sorts of places.

Press the PLAY button for a two minute glimpse of their trip.

Give the C. Barclay Fly Rod Co. website a look and please note that he has a new "Slow Down" decal that you're sure to need a few of and that same design is being offered on t-shirts too.

Check out Dave Fason's website for more of his work and be sure to follow along on Instagram too.

P.S.  Chris has started telling his story of this stellar trip through a series of blog posts on his website.  The Golden Trout Bonanza: Part One went up this morning and there will be more to follow.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

JEFF KENNEDY - Gates Lodge "Artist in Residence" Journal #3

The "Artist in Residence" journals continue (circle back and read Journal #1 and Journal #2 if you haven't already) with artist Jeff Kennedy from Gates Au Sable Lodge.  If you haven't gathered it already, this isn't a bad way to spend a few days in northern Michigan.

I'm up at 5:00 a.m. to the sounds of rain, wind, and thunder.  It looks like one of those days that I will be in the board room.  I grabbed some coffee when Kim opened the fly shop at 7:00 a.m. and decided to continue on the fruit theme.  This time it was an apple-bo.  

One of my favorite methods of fishing up here is to mouse in the evening hours and continue into the wee hours of the morning. They had a new mouse pattern in the shop, Mister Mouse Face, So I decided to use that as some inspiration for some sketches.  I have a Thursday evening mousing trip set up with Denny, which I am looking forward to. 

The rain let up and I decided to venture out to shoot some reference photos around the lodge.  After snapping a few reference shots, I decided to head out to the Thendara access to fish upstream.  It is small bug time of year on the Au Sable River, which means size 22-24 tricos and 8x tippet.  That size is a real test of my eyesight and steady hands.  The windy conditions made this combination a bit of a challenge.  I did manage to hook one small brookie and moved two more.  The wind took the fun out of it so I decided to head back to the lodge.

I wandered into the fly shop to see what was going on and find out how the fishing had been for others.  Denny and Jordan, another shop guide, were discussing their upcoming musky trip.  They have a really bad case of musky fever!  

Jordan and I wandered out back by the bench to see if there were any rising fish.  Jordan broke out his euro nymphing rig and began casting.  I was fascinated at the setup as I have never tried this style of fishing.  My understanding is that it can be very effective.  If anyone has attempted to fish the water behind the lodge, you know that the fish there have seen everything and are very reluctant to take anything remotely artificial.  Jordan handed me the rod so I could give it a try.  It took a bit to get the hang of casting, since it is not your traditional style of casting.  It's more like a modified roll cast with a flip.  You let it drift and watch for the line or the indicator markings on the leader to stop or change direction.  Neither of us were successful but I enjoyed the opportunity to learn something new. 

The fish started rising, so Jordan pulled out his three weight trico rig.  Again, they were a tough sell, but Jordan did finally fool one.  I ended the day having dinner with Courtney Martin [who came up from Kalamazoo to check out the river] and John, who is the morning chef at the lodge.  I look forward to his killer breakfasts every morning.  More on that later.  We decided to grab a burger at Spikes, which is a Grayling classic.  I headed back after dinner and turned in early.  I contemplated mousing but decided to get some sleep.  Mousing will have to wait until tomorrow.

Jeff Kennedy unplugged his website but the Drawing Flies 365 blog is a great trip down memory lane.  You can follow along with his latest fishing exploits and studio news on Facebook and Instagram.

Gates Au Sable Lodge is on the banks of the Au Sable River outside of Grayling, Michigan and has a longstanding history as a mecca within fly fishing.  If you haven't been, plan to go, fish, eat and stay.  Following along on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea too.

THE DRAKECAST - Dorian's Wake

There certainly has been a lot of talk online about the Bahamas and the hit that several of the island communities took from Hurricane Dorian.  The effects of this storm are still only just being understood and there is a huge effort within the fly fishing community to provide funds to those in need with various auctions and promotions and fly tiers continue to fuel #DozenForDorian with Instagram auctions of flies which have raised close to $30,000 so far.

Elliot from The DrakeCast took some time last week to speak on this tragedy and his conversation with Rob Neher of East End Lodge brings a first hand account of how donations and funds are being used to bring support to those in need while also highlighting the tremendous impact of this storm.

Give this podcast a listen and consider making a donation, toss a bid down on a few dozen flies and keep refreshing stories like this on your news feed as media will soon move on to the next story while the rebuilding of the affected areas in the Bahamas are years in the making.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

IN THE SALT - Issue 10

Don't get too thrown off that the latest issue of In The Salt is considered "Winter 2019" issue.  Seasons are flipped on the other end of the world.  Australia based but touching on locales worldwide including a piece by Christian Pretorius that is bittersweet in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian on what it was like to manage Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas.  


Saluda River Chapter T.U. - "Swap N Shop" Event

While this post is mainly for those in the Columbia, South Carolina area, this is a heads up that the Saluda River Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be hosting their annual cook out picnic and Swap N Shop event at Saluda Shoals on Tuesday, September 10th.

Along with local artisans, creators, industry professionals and others, The Fiberglass Manifesto will also have a booth space at the event and I'm planning on bring a mix of offerings from the T.F.M. Store to sell along with some T.F.M. freebies.  I'll have some demo fly rods to cast and who knows what else I'll bring along.

I am also excited to pass along, thanks to the support from Swift Fly Fishing, that I'll be giving away a coupon for a Ready to Wrap Fly Rod Building Kit, of the winner's choice. 

The other big news is that Sweetwater Brewing Company handed over a few cases of Guide Beer that I'll have iced down in a couple YETI coolers.  The beers will be free but if you'd like to tip the barman, and of course you should, I'll take all donations which will be sent to the Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation for those in the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

This is a not to be missed event, the food and fellowship is always excellent and you just may walk away with way more than you arrived with.  That's kind of the point to the evening.

The Swap N Shop event will be held at Saluda Shoals at the Redbud Shelter and will begin at 6:00 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m.  Bring your family and invite a friend.  This event is for members and non-members alike.

If you have any questions please give me a shout at

Friday, September 6, 2019


The latest issue of Tail Fly Fishing Magazine is showing up in mailboxes and is live online.  If you didn't know, Issue 43 celebrates seven years of salt.  In a time where and when print magazines are harder to come by, Tail Fly Fishing Magazine keeps getting better with each new issue.

Even if you don't subscribe yet, you can preview the first few pages and I'm stoked to have gotten a drone image of a huge permit flat from a recent trip with South Water Adventures Belize into this issue.  It's not often that I sneak an image into print, so this is kind of cool.