Transporting Via Words & Photos

On the Madison River in Ennis, Mont.

Thanks to the author and her publisher for taking us there:

In Montana, the Art of Crafting Fly-Fishing Rods

“One thing about Montana,” says Matt Barber, an owner of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, a custom fly rod shop in Bozeman, “is if there’s a moving body of water, there is probably a trout in it.”

Photographs and Text by

Shiny agate stripping guides — through which the fishing line will run — are wrapped (attached to the rod) using garnet thread and brass wire.

I live only a few miles away from Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, a custom fly rod shop in Bozeman, Mont. But entering the workshop feels a little like stepping off a plane in a foreign country.

A row of rods ready for handle-shaping.

The language that circulates around the shop catches my attention. When read aloud, custom orders rival espresso-shop vernacular in their breadth, speed and rhythmic efficiency: “I’ll have a nine-foot, five-weight, four-piece graphite rod in clear blank with a Western grip.”

The shop’s owners, Matt Barber and Joel Doub, lifetime fishermen who purchased the company in 2017, translate the shorthand for me.

Nine feet, Mr. Barber says, is the length of the rod — which, among other things, affects line control and casting performance. “Five-weight” refers to a system of measurement specific to the line weight of fly rods. (Weights between four and six, for example, are ideal for trout fishing.)…

Read the whole article here.

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