Tuesday, December 5, 2023

TOM MORGAN RODSMITHS - A Morning in the Shop with Joel

As the trip to Montana neared, I had reached out to Joel Doub, owner of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, and asked if I could stop by.  I had planned for my last day in Bozeman to be a series of shop visits and blocked off several hours to be at Tom Morgan Rodsmiths.  I was looking forward to talking with Joel, and if he was fine with it, to walk around the shop with my camera.

There was a sentimental aspect to this stop since, while I had never met Tom Morgan in person, we had traded emails and talked over the phone quite a few times.  Tom was always gracious with me over the years to share what he was up to in the rod shop and with their fiberglass fly rods.  He didn't have to take the time to talk with some "Glass Geek" he'd never met but he would always stop what he was doing for a twenty minute conversation.  I'll always appreciate that.

I arrived at the shop just before nine o'clock and minutes later, Joel pulled in with his pups piling out as soon as he opened the truck door.  We were the first ones there and Joel flipped the light switch on in the office and then walked into the shop doing the same.  I followed him around as he was on was on his morning routine walking station to station in the shop, checking something here and checking something there.  We talked about the time he, and (recently departed co-owner) Matt Barber, spent with Tom and Gerri Morgan learning everything that they could about Tom Morgan Rodsmiths.  They learned Tom's quirks and philosophies in fly rod design and fly rod building and have done their absolute best to continue that. 

Over the last several years, Joel and Matt found that the reality of running a fly rod business, with a handful of essential employees, is that it could only support one of them.  Joel took over full ownership of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths a few months ago and is still adjusting after working together as a team for several years.  Any given day in the shop is a mix of emails with customers, phone calls, but then also jumping to continue the process of completing the dozens of fly rods that are in some stage of completion.  Joel is also one of the last to carefully inspect the craftsmanship of every fly rod that leaves the shop to make sure it lives up to Tom Morgan's pursuit of perfection.

I really appreciated Joel being candid with me during the visit and allowing me to walk around take a series of images of the shop.  I could have spent all day there since the office and shop were a treasure trove of memorabilia from Tom's shop with paintings, posters, handwritten notes, sketches, and more.  

No apologizes as this will be a long scroll through thirty plus images and I hope you enjoy it.

Visit the Tom Morgan Rodsmith website  and follow along with the latest shop news on Facebook and Instagram.

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